There are various significant parts of one's life; junior school, high school, university, the first 'grown up' job, getting married, and so on. Changing jobs isn't usually a remarkable event, but in this situation, I do feel its a significant event. As I exist in my final week after thirteen years with AMC, I'm remarkably surprised to find myself reflecting on the past (as I'm normally such a Vulcan-like logician, this sentimentality does indeed surprise me).
Unlike many university graduates who get an entry level job and then bounce around from one company to the next (because lets face it, company loyalty is for the most part a thing of the past), I was very lucky to have stumbled into my first real job whilst still studying. Having just finished my first year at university doing a double-degree, with no money, my parents rightly pressured me into finding a temporary job for the summer. So off I went, walking up and down a main shopping strip, giving my resume to pretty much every shop on both sides of the street. I got a phone call when I came home, from a retail outlet who needed late night data entry work; as they were putting a new point of sale system into place. It was the perfect temporary work I needed, so I accepted and went to do a weekend of 6pm - 2am data entry. It was there where I met a man who would shape the next decade of my life and the first stage of my career. I joined AMC for summer work experience as a casual junior developer, and then changed the double-degree to a single degree while continuing to work part time at AMC until I graduated, then joined up fulltime. AMC and university was a great match, as I was learning how to do things the 'proper way' at uni, while learning how things were done 'in the real world' on the job.
Twelve years and ten months later (I'm still surprised at that length of time), I'm handing over the Software Development Manager's role to my replacement, amidst the company being acquired and my long mentor, friend and former owner no-longer involved with the company. I had been looking to move on for the past year or so, as I was so very tired of dealing with barcodes, point of sales, stocktakes and all related things, and had even worked out a smooth exit strategy over 12 months, which included the slim slim hope that HawksBed Studios would make Dan and I millions and could spend our life writing whatever iOS apps we wanted. Of course that didn't happen, but it did give me crucial iOS development experience and really solidified my desire to do it full time. As fate would have it I responded to an ad for a casual iOS developer only a month before AMC was turned up-side-down, putting me in contact with some great people. After the shit hit the fan, I quickly decided that I would not stay on at AMC with the new owner and started looking for full time iOS work. I was then offered a full-time contract position with the awesome guys at Revolutionary Concepts and Collect3 that has the potential to take us all to amazing places. Working from home has huge advantages but presents new challenges and to get to the goal that's in sight will require working harder than I have ever worked before. But no matter the outcome of what's next, a huge chapter of my life is about to close and another is about to be written (here we go, bring on the cliches!).
Looking back over these thirteen years, there are so many significant tales, events and turning points that would probably be very therapeutic to write down, but a public blog just isn't the place for these stories - perhaps if I ever need therapy my therapist would get a boring earful of it all. The short of it is, as they say (to keep being cliched about it), "There were good times and there were bad times", but mostly it was just very good times. The calibre of people I've worked with, colleagues, clients and vendors has been amazing and the experiences and opportunities I've had have been varied with constant education on the way. I would ultimately like to say "So long AMC, and thanks for all the fish", but in reality they never gave me any fish. Thus I'll just say "So long AMC, and thanks".