Chris Jackson

I Don't Often Blog, But When I Do It's Here…

Everybody Has a Last Day


I’ve only ever worked for one company since I left University.  Rackspace.  And on Thursday 19th February 2015, I leave that company to start something new.  People change jobs all the time, but for me, this is a big deal, let me explain why.

Four months before I was due to graduate from University in 2006 I was sat in my room with the graduate scheme contract for Logica, working in their Space and Defence sector.  I have no idea what would have happened if my dad had not called and recommended I look at a small hosting company he’d started running his business with that had awesome customer service.  That one small moment and decision has changed everything…

This is why leaving Rackspace is bittersweet.  They are simply a phenomenal employer, they saw something in me and helped me develop it.  Taking me into new roles and more growth opportunities time and time again.  I entered as a Data Centre Technician and I leave as a CTO/Technologist/DevOps Unicorn herder, who can honestly say that a company has invested that much in them?  They’ve enabled me to take a career path that would have been just impossible trudging the world of formal graduate schemes and divisions of large consultancy practices.

However, we often toss around the term “there’s no such thing as a job for life” and when you are 33, facing an ever increasing retirement age putting a 50-year shift in with a single company just doesn’t make good sense, which is why I take solace from my colleagues reminding me “everyone has a last day”.  But it has taken something genuinely spectacular to pull me away from Rackspace.  On Monday I start at Pearson, the global business providing education to the world but who also own publishers and news houses.  I will be doing things I’m passionate about – simplifying technology for people and enabling businesses to do things they thought were impossible.  The team at Pearson is building a reputation as forward thinking innovators and I’m going to test myself with a leadership role that will help me learn what kind of career is available to me for the rest of my time working.  Its scary (which makes it more exciting) but I am also confident that I’ve spent the last 8.5 years working with some of the most talented and inspiring leaders and if I can apply just a fraction of what they’ve done for me, I’ll do ok.

I don’t normally do a blog post to just document something I did, and this one is no different.  My ask to you is to look at what your employer has given you.  Do you feel like you’ve had a fair deal for your years of service, not just in salary and benefits, but how much have they actually invested in you, building, shaping and developing you into a more valuable professional?  If you doubt the investment, challenge it.  A world class employer will invest in you without condition they live by the philosophy that you will stay for longer if they commit to developing you and giving you the opportunities to work on things you love.  I’m living proof of that.

If you’re not sure your employer is doing enough, talk to them.  Or better still talk to Rackspace!  Unless of course, you are a crack-hot DevOps legend who wants to help an ex-Racker build a PaaS at a massive global company.  In which case, as of Monday… I’m hiring 🙂

2 thoughts on “Everybody Has a Last Day

  1. Chris, congrats. And yes, as our former CEO used to say a lot, “Every Racker has their last day”. Even Lanham did, as much as he was loved here. Best of luck in your new pursuits! Some day I’ll have a last day – perhaps when they roll me out of the office on a gurney – but rest assured, there WILL be a last day. Sounds like you found a challenge and challenges always energize me! Make a difference. Be helpful!

    Rob La Gesse
    VP, Social Strategy
    Rackspace Hosting


  2. Great article Chris, i’m sure many of us can sympathise as ex-Rackers! All the best at Pearson – Beth