I’m not sure there are words to express my excitement. I’m am ECSTATIC about this. There’s really nothing quite like seeing your spouse have a dream come true. Forgive me for bragging just a second before moving on to why he’s making this leap:
So few people are really doing what they love for a living, something they’re passionate about. Tom is. That is such an amazing gift. And not only is he passionate about it, but he’s great at it. To use an analogy: if Tom was a pilot, his plane is the one you’d book a seat on. You want the best. And Tom really is so amazingly good at what he does.
For the last three years, Tom has worked for Careerbuilder.com, working on a team that builds software for employers. (Which means that unless you were paying careerbuilder to use their site to find people to fill jobs, you probably never saw his work.)
He really enjoyed working there. He worked with a very talented group of people, and he thrived in his role as a software engineer. In the three years he was there, he was promoted four times until he was given the position of team lead this fall. It happened to occur right around the time we were discussing him going into business for himself.
Tom’s always talked about working for himself “someday” and that he didn’t want to be working for the man forever. (Okay, he didn’t say “the man,” but he didn’t want to always be writing code for someone else’s company.) We had no idea when “someday” would come, but early this fall, we began to really pray about it. We asked God to make it clear if this was the time for him to start up his own company or if he should stay put for now.
You just don’t ask God to make your path clear unless you’re ready to shift gears and follow wherever He leads you.
Over the next few months, from the world’s perspective, Tom should stay put. He had just been promoted. He had security. He had great benefits. He got along with his bosses. He had a great team. It made NO sense to leave.
Except that it was clear that’s what God wanted him to do.
So many things led to us believing that, but here are a few:
1. Every single guy on the 8BIT team, without knowing the others were doing so, got in touch with Tom (before knowing this decision we were considering) just to talk. Each time, each one of these guys ended up telling Tom that they feel that he is gifted in the area of development and that they know he will be successful in whatever it is that he decides to do professionally because of his talents and strong work ethic. (It’s true. He gets in this total zone while he’s writing code. Wanna see?…And no, it’s not a purse under his arm; it’s a pillow.)
2. When Tom made it known to 8BIT and some people on twitter that he was considering making this career shift, people immediately started sending work his way. And John prayed over Tom during an online discussion (importance shown in #4.)
3. At work, Tom was doing less and less development and more and more management. Which is not his passion.
4. At church, they had a sermon series called Game Plan all about knowing God’s will. The timing could not have been more perfect. It started very generally and narrowed down each week until it was focusing on specific things.
Two that really got our attention were one entire sermon about work and the one the week before that. It had been about leaning into the “thumbprints” that God has placed on you. One way to recognize His “thumbprints” (or those areas He has specifically given you a gift for) is to pay attention when people point out what they consider to be your talents. If you hear one repeatedly mentioned, it’s probably not a coincidence. (See #1.) They also mentioned a verse. 1 Timothy 4: 14 says, “Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” We couldn’t help but think of John (who is in seminary, by the way, which made us think of him as an “elder” in our situation, though he’s not necessarily filling that role in our church) asking to pray specifically for Tom during a phone call a couple weeks before that sermon, out of the blue. (see #2.)
Anyway, those were some of the main reasons that we felt very compelled to do this. If we hadn’t prayed about it, and all this stuff had occurred, we would have thought, “huh, that’s funny.” But since we had been praying for clarity, and ALL of that happened in the two months or so following the beginning of our prayers, we knew it was more than just something we wanted. It was something we felt God wanted us to trust Him with completely. To give up all “security” and just make the jump. I put security in quotations because I feel that if you’re somewhere God doesn’t want you and you know it, then you’re not really in a place I’d consider secure.
Since the day that Tom officially turned in his two weeks notice, we’ve had a ridiculous (as in ridiculously awesome) amount of support. Not only have our siblings and parents prayed for us, called, and texted us to show support, but our friends have lined up to join Team Tom.
What is Team Tom? Well, it’s actually something great that our friends came up with back in 2007. I was throwing Tom a surprise birthday party the night before he graduated from college. And some of our friends made t-shirts for all the guys in Tom’s apartment (including Tom) and all of those guys’ girlfriends to wear during the party. We were all part of “Team Tom.” (There were a ton more people there, but they couldn’t make tees for that many people. That’d be crazy.)
I still have mine. The day that Tom had to go in to hand in his two weeks notice was hard. I knew he wouldn’t relish telling his boss he was leaving because he didn’t want to let anyone down. So I rallied the troops. I asked all the original members of “Team Tom” to put on their shirts (if they still had them), send Tom a picture of themselves in the shirt, and have some supportive text go with it. They did, and Tom got some hilarious and great messages from them.
That picture went out with the tweet. I had made a little (or…huge) banner for our kitchen so that Tom would be feelin’ the love when he got home from work.
The response was pretty neat. Lots of twitter friends have sent out encouraging tweets to Tom since then with #TeamTom attached so he knows they support him.
And tonight some of our friends are having us and a few others over for dinner to celebrate Tom’s official last day in the corporate world.
Have I mentioned that we have the best friends and family ever? Because we do. And we appreciate y’all and all of your support.
So this is it. Today is a goodbye for Tom and Careerbuilder. Tomorrow is a hello for Tom and More Development, his new business. For those of you who wondered why we’re making the switch and how it’s gone for us so far, now you know. =)
I’m so proud of you, Tom!