Every Day Is a Winding Road

Today is my last day as Internet Development Manager at Coldwater Creek. After three years, I am both relieved and anxious (a psychological tug-of-war if there ever was one!) about venturing forth to new opportunities.

The relief comes from knowing that I won't be receiving frantic calls from the support desk at 2:00 AM. The anxiety comes from giving up that regular paycheck for the variable income inherent in being self employed. As someone once said, there's a fine line between self employment and unemployment.

The title of this entry is a Sheryl Crow song title, in case you don't recognize it as such. The line that follows it in the song is: I get a little bit closer to feeling fine. I chose that title because that is what the last couple of weeks have felt like. I've still been working too hard for a short timer, but seeing the light at the end of the tunnel makes it all worthwhile.

My new venture is really an old venture. I'm returning to Logical Expressions, Inc. which is a company I started with my wife about 11 years ago now. As a software development and technical content company, we did really well in the late 90's and early 00's, but starved for work when the Internet market tanked.

Well, the market is back. My wife Susie has more work than she can do, and we are getting inquiries for development work again. We are going to work together again, which is something I greatly look forward to. My skills and business knowledge have expanded substantially over the past three years, and I'd like to put it to work making money for my own company.

Fortunately, Coldwater has been very supportive of my decision. They made me a very generous offer as a Senior Enterprise Architect to entice me to stay (I had expressed dissatisfaction with the management track). But when the time is right to go out on your own, you can't get distracted by shiny objects. They lose their luster over time and a market of opportunity doesn't last for long.

Instead, I'll contract back to them as a consultant a couple of days a week. That gives me a little extra cash to ease the transition into more independent work, while helping them out until my replacement can be hired.

So, here I go. I figure that no job is particularly secure these days anyway, and it's time I created cool stuff for my own company instead of someone else's!

Comments (7) -

6/30/2005 3:30:13 PM #


First, welcome to the space!  I think this will be an amazing opportunity for you.  As someone who knows you, and your skills, this move is really what you're meant to be doing.

And, you already know my opinion on "shiny objects" (it seems CWC has 'ex post facto' recognition down to a science).   And what would be better than to be your own architect?

Congrats again, it's scary but exhilarating...

Michael K. Campbell
Michael K. Campbell
7/1/2005 12:33:35 AM #

James, welcome to freedom. You definitely deserve it. Honestly, I'm still tickled pink that you are out on your own. My 3 month anniversary away from CWC and out to freedom comes due in just a few days, and I couldn't be happier. Given your drive and passion, you're truly returning home.

The thing I still love the most: my cell phone doesn't go to bed with me anymore. It stays on my desk. Period.

Anywho, congrats. We'll have to do lunch some day and discuss world domination (from scenic Sandpoint, ID). Oh, yeah, don't forget to turn the lights off when you leave CWC.


7/1/2005 5:52:37 AM #

Not to hijack the thread but Mike, you're right on about the cell phone going to bed with you!  Mine stays dead half the time because I forget to charge it.

I'm roughly 4 months out and I still have flashbacks, including one incident that got the CIO fired.  Good times.  :/

When I asked my manager @ MSFT about "electronic tethering," she simply said, "Yeah we don't really need to do any of that.  You're responsible for your stuff and if we have to fix it, we just drive over to your house and beat you up."

Sweet freedom -- isn't that what July 4th is all about?  Smile  A virtual cheers to the three of us, gentlemen!  And let us not forget our fallen comrades and those still fighting the good fight.

7/1/2005 8:38:01 PM #

I appreciate the support, guys. It is nice to look forward to the future once again. Plans for world domination can be complicated and daunting, but for true megalomaniacs, the challenge is therapy.

I look forward to exchanging ideas and opportunities with you guys. I've learned some things since the last time I worked independently, and one of those things is to maintain a relationship with others who share your passion and interests. Doing so stimulates your creativity and expands your knowledge, not to mention the emotional satisfaction that comes from sharing life experiences with your friends, even if the experiences are virtual.

As Brian said, July 4th is all about Independence. It was no accident that I chose to give up a paid vacation day so I could enjoy this particular holiday as a former employee of Corporate America.

Dennis G.
Dennis G.
7/5/2005 6:34:36 AM #

This is good news, James.  I am very happy to hear that you were able to cut that cord to "the man" and go back to working for yourself.  Those "shiny objects" have nasty hooks and I was just about landed before someone grabbed my tail fin and saved me.  (Thank you, Michael, for the daily reality check you provided me at the time)  Smile

Although, I understand there are smoldering bridges here and there, I still contend that for me, the web group at CWC was one of the best I have worked with.  Everyone was unique and interesting, and I got along with everyone great.  I took the job because of the people in the group and had a very difficult time leaving because of the few left.  I shiver now, though, thinking about the what if's....

7/5/2005 12:28:53 PM #

Freakin' I blog for a year and along comes James -- 1 post and bang, more comments than I've ever gotten Smile  

Just teasing.  DL, good point on the people.  People will make all the difference in the world -- I too thought CWC had a wonderful team and my struggle was centric around that issue.  Now that most of us are gone, I too shiver at the "what if's"...

James B.
James B.
7/8/2005 9:28:06 AM #

Sorry about that, Brian. Didn't mean to take over your blog. But hey man, you INVITED me Wink

Thanks to Dennis G. for his added support. I don't think the turnover game in that group is over yet. The problems that pushed us out the door are still present, and it remains to be seen if the new DVP can change anything.

I still have my login and email account because I'm doing the consulting thing. I got on yesterday to clear out the junk and check on the state of things. It was horrifying for reasons I can't really go into here, but suffice it to say that I have no doubt about my decision to leave. My only regret is that I left Thomas holding the bag.

After being on my own for a week, I'm starting to feel pretty good. I took the dogs for a half-hour walk on our trail system yesterday, then went back to work. That kind of flexibility is what I really missed at my previous 9 to 6 on-site job with over an hour of wasted commuting time every day.

I had a client meeting on Wednesday and was handed a wish list two pages long. They were talking retainer because they want to make sure they get a consistent block of my time. So, I won't have trouble keeping afloat while I build up a few recession-resistant streams of residual income.

Thanks to all for your support. I'm looking forward to many conversations with you all in the future!

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