Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When the big pictures shifts, part 1

Last Wednesday, I got a call from the CMO of my company to let me know that The Iron Yard, by rule of the board, will be shutting its doors permanently.  Our current classes will be taught till graduation, an extra month of career support offered to alumni, and then it's all going to be finished.  And my last day will be August 2.

Even though a co-worker friend of mine had sent me a hurried Slack message with the bad news a split second before I picked up the phone call, I was shocked and taken by complete surprise.  I always thought I'd be with this company until, or unless, I made the decision to move on to something different.  I have been cultivating dreams and goals for myself within this company, and just this year I'd seen a lot of encouraging forward motion in my personal career here.  Suddenly, it's gone, and the big picture shifts.


It's one thing to lose your job.  It's another thing to have to begin the grueling job hunt.  It's a completely other thing to love your beloved company, to see your friends go through the same pain, to feel deep sympathy for everyone around you, and to know that there won't be any campus, headquarters, or mother ship to return to for reunions.  Our network will move to social media and occasional coffee dates.  Our mark will be seen in the waves of new web developers breaking into the tech industry.  Our legacy will live on exclusively in the lives we changed.

When you tilt your head to see the situation in that light, when you realize how the greatness and beauty and ingenuity that was crafted within these walls will live on even when the walls fall down, it's very, very easy to breathe again.  To open your hands and connect with the reason why we were all doing this in the first place.  Our mission was to make lasting change in the lives of those around us, and we did a heck of a job of that.  Thankfully the mission will be carried further by different coding bootcamps, online tutorial sites, and other avenues, and while I may not be in the center of the magic much longer, there will still be magic happening.


I can't express my wholehearted appreciation and love for The Iron Yard well enough.  I'd come to the Atlanta campus from a very traditional work environment looking for a challenge.  Somehow I interviewed 3 days after submitting my resume, and I was hired two days later after I met the team in person.  With conservative operations experience but an eagerness to succeed, I entered the startup world, the tech world, The Iron Yard world, and one of the best teaching experiences of my life.

The struggles came quickly, but so did the support and encouragement from the people around me at work.  My role was a very new one, and two other Campus Operations Managers came on board at other campuses soon after I was hired.  Our weekly collaboration talks and our company-wide required journaling sessions were my safety net.  I struggled, but I never struggled alone.  When my personal life brought shadows with me into work, my teams told me they'd love to help however they could.  My Atlanta teammates have been anchors during some of the most turbulent storms of my adult life.  When work situations and relationships got tricky or sticky or straight up unhealthy, even more of my work friends spoke up, reached out to me, shared advice, and gave me hugs (many of them virtual hugs).

The Iron Yard has a great track record of hiring excellent human beings.  One of the greatest pains in my heart is the pain of losing these friends.  Yes, there's always Twitter, and maybe I'll make it down to Tampa or Orlando one day so I can grab a drink with folks in person, but not being able to work with these people every day is going to a hard adjustment.  From the executives to the new trainees, there are so many people I deeply care about and deeply appreciate at this company.  I know it hurts us all to see us all in this situation, but I'm thankful that even in this, we aren't alone.  We have each other.  We have our inside jokes.  And we have one more week all together to raise standards, change lives, and do the incredible.


Every time I think through this situation, I always end up with the most beautiful silver linings.  I'm tempted to write more here about my own personal situation, but I'd rather keep that separate, because what I already have here stands on its own so well.  The Iron Yard grew organically as a new solution to a real problem, and I'm so honored to have been a part of it.  Our team estimates that 3,000+ careers were changed for the better thanks to The Iron Yard, and I know our reach goes even further through the free kids classes, coding crash courses, event sponsorships, and field trips we've hosted, etc.  Every campus has had an impact on their city, and I can't wait to be stopped on the street by people touched by our work when I wear my Iron shirt in public.  Yes, even though I've almost completely moved away from screen printed tees, The Iron Yard shield is a badge of honor, and I'm proud to wear it.

1 comment:

  1. Lindsay, I can't tell you how much this post means to me—to the point that it's difficult to track down the exact words to describe how your description of The Iron Yard makes me feel. Suffice it to say, words like yours have a way of making a sad heart feel full of joy. Thank you for taking the time to write from your heart.


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