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In Which Joel Freaks Out and Quits His Job

Crater Lake (via <a href="">aspearing</a>)
Crater Lake (via aspearing)

This has nothing to do with Tennessee, and only a little to do with this blog. It's personal, and if you're not interested, we'll see you at 10:00 when the next post in the Best Plays of 2010 series goes live. Thanks.

Today, I quit my job.

Well, not exactly today. I gave notice 45 days ago, the day the rest of the world was talking about the death of Bin Laden. But today is the day that I will hang my suit and tie in the closet and leave it there for the moths.

The whole thing is weird. I've practiced law for nearly 13 years. Apart from an early two-year span that was pure hell, it was a good, mostly hell-free run. For the last eight years, I worked in-house for a great company with great people, and we did a lot of great things together. But as I got further and further into my career, the more I realized that I had no passion for the field apart from the challenge of it all. I gradually spent more and more time wondering why I went into the profession in the first place, and the best that I could come up with was that it was sort of an Everest kind of thing for me, a Big Thing double dog daring me to conquer it. And so I bit, and honestly, the challenge of the pursuit was cool, and I don't regret it. But as it turns out, at least for me and the way I'm wired, there's nothing at the summit but an entrepreneurial Sherpa selling Been There, Done That t-shirts at exorbitant prices. So after 13 years, I'm packing it up.

What's next? I'm going full time with my own e-commerce company, Gameday Depot. Many of you were aware of me dabbling in this last fall, but I had so much fun that most of my free time between then and now has been laying the groundwork for a full-time launch this season. We'll have product for nearly 50 schools, hopefully some NFL stuff fairly quickly after that, and we'll be doing custom shirts (and other custom stuff) for folks who want it. We're even opening a brick and mortar store in Kingsport. The target date for all of that is August, and after a couple of days of vacationing to catch my breath, the great majority of my time will be spent getting ready for that launch rather than exchanging advice for money in that blasted suit.

What's it mean for Rocky Top Talk? Very little, probably. The Maple Street Press annual is mostly put to bed for the year now (expect the street date to be sometime mid-July), and I'll be reducing the number of balls in the air from five to three. One of the moonlighting gigs now becomes the main day job. Because I'm the boss now, and because it's my time and my stuff, I theoretically have the freedom and flexibility to post whenever I please. On the other hand, if this thing's going to work, I'm going to have to make it work. If I had failed in the day job, they'd have replaced me and merrily gone on their way, just as they'll now do now that I've resigned. If I fail in this endeavor, though, the entire business fails, and I and my kids don't eat. It's the other side of that Boss coin, you know? So I'm just going to have to play it by ear.

But the blog has always been an escape for me, and I doubt that that need is going away, so I expect to just keep rolling right along. Bottom line, there will likely be more consolidation and less compartmentalization of the various aspects of my life, but other than that, very little is going to change here at Rocky Top Talk, I don't think.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Contrary to popular opinion, we bloggers do have real flesh and blood friends and relationships, but I consider myself extremely fortunate to also consider all of you friends as well even though I've only known most of you through computer screens and emoticons. And you always want to share exciting news with your friends, right?

So there it is. One more day in the suit, and then I'm jumping. Watch this, y'all.