My last day at Instructure was just a little over two weeks ago now. It was a hard day, saying goodbye to the wonderful friendships I’ve built with that wonderful team. I had a fantastic job as a Sales Engineer supporting a brilliant inside and outside sales team. It was a challenging job, to be sure: I was traveling quite a bit, presenting, fixing customer problems, answering questions, in short, serving as a technical resource for any who needed a bit of help. I hope, considering the work load, that I was able to contribute something valuable to the Instructure team and the work they’re doing to revolutionize (and modernize) teaching and learning technologies.
If it isn’t plain by now, I will state it emphatically: I love Instructure, enjoyed working there, and particularly appreciated the work that they do in education. This raises the obvious question: why did I leave?
As amazing as was the work experience at Instructure, there was one very specific challenge: the travel. A little over three months ago, my wife, children, and I sat down at a family council and seriously discussed how much I was gone. It had gotten to the point where one of my sons would regularly ask me, when I was leaving for work, if I was coming home that night. The impact on the family and its dynamics was significant and something we simply could not ignore.
This family council didn’t result in a decision to leave my job; instead we elected to stay the course and try making a few changes to reduce the impact of my extensive time away. We gave these things a try for a while and waited to see if the travel would slow down, our efforts would work, or something else would give.
The turning point came at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s General Conference in April. President Boyd K. Packer, an Apostle (a special witness of Jesus Christ), spoke to the Church about families. In that talk, he said the following:
"Family time is sacred time and should be protected and respected. We urge our members to show devotion to their families."
You can watch the video of the talk on YouTube’s Mormon Messages channel.
That message of family time and its sanctity struck at my heart. Because of my job at Instructure, I had set aside so much of my interaction with my kids and wife. Before Instructure, I scheduled regular outings with each child: once a week, I would take each of my older children on a “date” (with my daughter) or “hangout” (with my sons). There was no way for me to keep that schedule or even a reduced version if it with the travel.
Those sacrifices, along with the many lonely nights in hotel rooms with family prayers said over FaceTime and a mounting distance between myself, my wife, and my children, were pains I had kept at bay for nearly a year. Hearing President Packer speak so poignantly about the preciousness of our time with family brought that pain and a sense of failed duty to the surface. It was on that weekend – during that very talk – that I resolved to make a change.
I knew a few friends (and former co-workers) had started a company called Space Monkey. The idea was very aligned with my talents and past experience. I gave them a call to find out if they were looking for people and to figure out a bit more about the company. I loved what I heard and saw. The team was (and still is) quite small- when I stopped by their offices, there were a whopping 5 people tucked in a tiny room in Sandy, UT. That alone was pretty compelling – and after speaking to Alen Peacock and Clint Gordon-Carrol, I was pretty convinced that the team was amazing and the opportunity not to be passed up.
To make a long story short (and feel free to ask about the details later), I decided to leave Instructure to go to Space Monkey as a Software Engineer. Today, I’m wrapping up code that will be used by future customers as they synchronize, backup, and store huge amounts of data in their own, personal clouds.
I’ve been at work here for a little over two weeks now. The atmosphere, the team, and experience thus far has been outstanding. Working here is not the only benefit; for more than two weeks now, I’ve been able to revive my weekly (daily for me) outings with each of my children, take my wife on a date to the LDS Temple, and start to rebuild the relationships that are, above all, most precious to me.