Time to Retire (Really)

Today I finished my last event and really will retire.

Back in 2019 I ‘retired’, but everyone who knows me, also knows that I am really bad at retiring, because I have done part time work off and on since then.  With the return of in-person events in 2022, I have done quite a bit of travelling to work as an onsite contractor, managing the hardware.

While I was lucky to travel to some pretty nice places like Melbourne, Australia, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and several US cities, this year, I have finally decided that I should really retire.    I know now that I miss retired life on the Island more than event life, and the role onsite is too limited versus what I used to do as a PM/Account Manager.  So it’s time to sign off.

I loved being a Project Manager and making clients successful.  Best times were when the client was a true partner, and we worked together to solve problems and create innovative solutions.  People plus technology means something will go wrong; the good client accept the problem, and work together to find the solution and lessons learned.  The bad ones grind you into dust because a mistake was made. The good ones, especially the ones that I worked closely with for many years will always have a special place in my heart.

I loved working with brilliant and fun people.  I have met and worked with so many fantastic people; all passionate about the industry (you must do this to survive), and so many times I have been in awe of their technical knowledge and intelligence, along with their commitment to the client.

One might consider the travel as a perk. But in truth, you spend almost a week in a city, and usually don’t see much more than the inside of a convention centre and the route back and forth to your hotel.  When you are lucky, you get to go out for dinner, but many many times, that’s not until late in the evening and sometimes you just want to crash! Early mornings, late nights, jet lag and non-stop business means it’s not a cakewalk.  But the onsite experience is the culmination of many months of hard work and it is rewarding to see it come to fruition, with if you are lucky, no major problems.

The role I have been doing in the past year , however, is much more limited in scope and doesn’t afford me the ability to work on the long-term projects.  Being a hardware jockey for a few days for a client, with whom you have no special relationship just doesn’t cut it for me.  And that’s why it’s really time to say good bye.  It is somewhat with a heavy heart because it has been so much a part of me and meant a lot to me, but the retirement phase of our life, in the paradise we live, is much more meaningful and I do look forward to compete freedom to do as we wish!

My last hurrah is a good one. The event was in Melbourne Australia, and was for a Cisco, a client with I worked very closely for many years.  I attended the same event in March of 2016 and nobody else onsite on our team could claim that!  It makes me feel like a real Old Fart.  So it’s a bit nostalgic going down memory lane, remembering all the good and challenging experiences during my >15 years in this business.  

Enough about work, what’s Australia like?

Melbourne is a lovely city.  With the river Yarra running through it, and an interesting skyline of some new, modern buildings with very pleasing and interesting designs, it reminds me a bit of London, England.  Being here in December means that it has been summer, with temperatures during the weekend of over 30°C, trees full of GREEN leaves, and flowers blooming everywhere.  Quite a treat to miss the snow back home!

Along the River Yarra
From St. Kilda’s Beach, looking towards downtown

The convention centre is beautifully located beside the river, in the “Docklands” area.  The views from the expansive windows while walking around are quite lovely.  

View from the Convention Center

And, I’m not sure if it’s because Australia is in the southern hemisphere, or if it’s because they drive on the left side of the road, but I’ve had to adjust to revolving doors going clockwise rather than anticlockwise, and standing on the left side of the escalator.

We did make it to the beach on Sunday evening, and it was pretty busy, being a warm summer, weekend day.  The rain clouds were starting to collect over the ocean, so I didn’t expect much of a sunset.  But the view from the restaurant window was stunning.  As the sun sank below the horizon, the red glow grew.  Then the colours were more intense, and reflected on the base of the low-lying clouds.  It was stunning, and a wonderful treat.

So thanks, Cisco and RainFocus, for making my last event a memorable one.  It was smooth as silk, in a lovely location, and my colleagues were great to work with. Tomorrow I’ll do a tour along the Great Ocean Road to see a bit more of this beautiful country before flying home on Sunday.

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