If anything is certain, it is that change is certain.
The world we are planning for today will not exist in this form tomorrow.
Phil Crosby, American Businessman
When Bill and I decided to buy into Wollongong I was working for a global shipping line, a world leader in the movement of cars and containers. It was a responsible position heading up the front-line customer service for import, export and equipment handling Australia wide.
The company had decided to migrate its computer systems onto the intranet, and integrate shipping and cargo data into real-time world-wide. It was a massive project, with Australia as the first area to go-live. It was the type of software implementation that is quoted in “how-to” manuals – under the section labelled “What can go wrong when ……….”
The U.S. team who were leading the project had joked to me that they decided to throw the Aussies on the barbecue to see how long it would take us to fry. Thanks for that collaborative approach guys. The idea was that because Australia was such a small part of their overall trade, we could serve to show up the fault lines without causing too much business disruption.
Ya’ gotta’ love testing in the live environment.
Along with other initiatives that I was driving in terms of personnel and processes, I was feeling pretty burned out by the time the project was wrapping up. The time was coming to decide whether I would stay behind in Sydney through the week; or look for work in Wollongong. Either way, Bill was retiring.
There were many factors in my decision to resign, including that I had more than forty people in my reporting line, and I didn’t want to leave them rudderless as they were bedding down the software changes.
So after consultation with various senior colleagues, at the beginning of 2008 I gave my employer six months’ notice, so as to allow plenty of time to find and train the right replacement, and to ensure a smooth handover. I knew I was taking a chance, but Bill and I had planned financially for the day he would retire, and I believed I had a job opportunity awaiting me down south.
The last thing I can remember saying in defence of my decision was –
“Superannuation’s doing well.”
Within a month of moving to Wollongong, we were all introduced to a new phrase –
“Global Financial Crisis.”