It has been nine months now since I hung up the console cable and embarked on my PhD. I seem to be unusual in the 21st-century IT world in that I have only had a couple of employers over the twenty or so years in the industry. I left each of those jobs on (I like to think) good terms and I tried hard to provide as much information as I could for my successors so they weren’t coming in blind.
But as we all know, there are always going to be those quirks that never got written down or the systems implemented that the new guys aren’t familiar with. With the job I left in February, I even scheduled a couple of Skype calls with the new network engineer to discuss the documentation I provided and any questions they may have and I have gladly answered emails and the occasional phone call, especially in the first few weeks after I left.
As someone who takes some pride and perhaps a little proprietary interest in what I’d built, I’ve always felt a bit of an obligation to not leave unanswered questions, so when a couple weeks ago I got a phone call about the DMVPN implementation at my former job, I was happy to go through and help troubleshoot an issue with them. Of course, being a full-time student, I have the luxury of doing that without impacting on a current work commitment.
Sometimes though, it seems to stretch the friendship a bit. I am now studying at the University I previously worked at for 17 years, and I’ve made a conscious decision to not get involved in IT tech or politics. Crossing the quad I was stopped by a former colleague who mentioned some Squid proxy scripts I wrote in 1999 that are still in use and was asked a question about a bug they’d come across. Perhaps that is stretching the friendship a little?
How do you deal with your previous jobs? Do you just make a clean break or are you happy to help when a call comes in from a former colleague?