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New Beginnings

One of the amazing truths of human life is that we are given the opportunity to make each day a fresh start. A prophet once said “His compassions  never fail. They are new every morning”

For me, and a good number of my peers, new beginnings will take on a very personal meaning this week. For some of us the change is welcome – for others, it will be tough. In any case, it will be change and I am convinced that the rest of my life will be built on the experiences I have had up to this point. I will be taken to new levels that I am sure will challenge my abilities, my energies and my faith. But I am also sure that I will look back on this new beginning as a positive step.

A number of years ago, while in a staff position in SE Programs, I had a number of SEs come to me looking for career guidance. My advice was simple:
1) make sure you develop skills that are transferable outside of the company. That way, you will be of value to the company…and if you should find yourself outside, you will have skills to fall back on.
2) Invest in your life outside of the company to retain balance.

To some extent, at least, I have been able to follow my own advice and it leaves me well positioned to enjoy my retirement from IBM and to hit the ground running in this new beginning.

Over the last several years, I have become chairman of the board of a charity – a writers’ association called The Word Guild. As well, in partnership with my wife (with her doing most of the work), we have done some publishing. One of the highlights of the last couple of years was a joint project between the charity and the publishing partnership where we were able to donate a half a million dollars worth of books to World Vision to use in their fund-raising efforts on behalf of kids with aids.

That book, Hot Apple Cider, is a compilation of pieces from 30 Canadian authors who are members of The Word Guild. In addition to the books donated to World Vision, Hot Apple Cider has sold enough to become a Canadian best seller.

We see a lot of opportunities to expand both the ministry of the charity and the publishing. I am thankful that I will no longer have to limit my involvement to evenings and weekends – it is exciting to think of what might be accomplished.

I have had many conversations recently with a business man who has been encouraging me to look at the merits of being a big cog in a small machine vs being a small cog in a big machine. While I am looking forward to that, I know that one of the best parts of being part of a big company has been the teamwork with so many other ‘cogs’ – I will miss those relationships. The people I have worked with have been the highlight of my career. And I know that success in the future will mean partnering with many others. (that’s one of the transferable skills I believe I have learned.) And isn’t it exciting to see the potential teamwork that can be built with the new social networking tools? (See you in facebook!). ….Les