You have given me more in the last 18 months than I have given you. You have been a kind and loving companion. I will never forget that. You picked me up when I was down, you carried me on your shoulders when I was drunk, and you overall lifted me up to the level I am today. I hope in some small way I left you in a better place than you have left me. I love you.
The day I started at Rockfish, I knew I was in over my head. I was a little fish in a big pond surrounded by scary other fish who seemed to know what the hell they were doing. I had no idea what I was doing. I think I was the living, breathing incarnation of ‘fake it ’til you make it’. But I faked it, and I buckled down, and I copied smarter people’s work, and I become a 10x better developer because of it.
I would not be the greatest developer in the world were it not for you.
Actually, there’s a 14 year old kid in South Korea who is a little bit better than me, but I’m a damn close second. And it’s because of you.
We have shared a hell of a lot of laughs, tears, and everything in between. We’ve been thrilled together, sad together, and utterly furious together. We’ve seen friends, clients, and people we don’t really know very well come and go. Alison has scolded each and every one of us at some point, and it hurt us all the same.
I really, truly, and plainly will miss you, Rockfishers. All of you. Every last person in the office is special to me in some way, big and small, and it really does break my heart to think I won’t be around to shout unnecessarily at some of you from the length of the office, or to accost you for eating meat (which is gross, by the way). And who is going to sneeze without covering their mouth, abruptly and as loudly as possible? I feel like I’m actually on good terms with everyone in the entire office. Yes, even you. Now that I think about it, I think I’m generally on good terms with everyone in the company. Now that’s a hell of a track record!
If there are any take aways that I want to keep for myself, they’d be along the lines of ‘always strive for perfection’ or ‘good enough is never good enough’ or some such thing. In a company this highly regarded there is always someone better than you. And by you I mean me. You can’t be a joker at Rockfish. If you strive to become the best possible at what you do at a company like Rockfish, you will be in an elite group if you ever make it there, trust me. There are people who don’t even have my same job who are better than me at it.
If there is anything I wish I could leave for my coworkers, it would be (appropriately) “Never be afraid to be silly”. Work is serious business, I know that, but you always have to take the time to laugh at yourself and laugh at everyone else. You get one shot on this big blue rock, and you should laugh about it every day. Work will be there in the morning when you wake up, I promise you that. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
Last thing: Someone call me, goddammit. Invite me up for happy hour. Now that I can’t be fired for drinking too much, let’s see what the keg is up to. I’ll finally let my hair down and be my real self.
John David Back