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SeeChange Turns 20 – The Beauty and Burden of Being Your Own Boss

This fall marks an important milestone, and I almost let it slip by: the 20th anniversary of my freedom from "the man."

I’ve been harping a lot, of late, in my journals and posts and some attempted poems, about freedom. And I'm reminded: this has been a lifelong theme.

At age 22, right out of college, armed with a BS in Business Management, Decision Information Sciences, I jumped onto the career track, determined to climb the ladder and attain a level of financial freedom that my mother and her children, dependent on my unstable father, never had.

I spent 13 years, navigating the up or out IT consulting world, giving my youthful years, my blood, sweat and tears, away to the corporation, playing my role as a cog the Reaganomics-era machine.

It’s wasn’t all bad: I learned the ropes of consulting, enriched my vocabulary of Beltway Bandit acronyms, and gradually built my nest egg, socking away portions of my paycheck into 401ks and employee stock purchase plans, accumulating enough, by age 33, to buy my own home.

Though I could never quite get ahead in the male-dominated tech world. Yes, I leaned-in, (Sheryl Sandberg). The more I pushed, the lower I went, getting fired or laid-off, truth be told, from every job I ever had. It hurt; I wish I could have seen, back then, that my dissatisfaction with ‘the system’ was a healthy sign of my budding entrepreneurism.

I went to grad school to study what really interested me: the human side of organizational systems. In 200M1, MS in Organization Development in hand,

I bid farewell to my last employer and simultaneously launched SeeChange. The Star Model I developed via my thesis became a key company differentiator and change management tool.

It hasn’t been an easy road, as President, wearing all the hats – marketing, sales, execution, finance, HR, IT. Everything’s been up to me – an incredible burden, much of the time.

But what freedom!

I got to decide everything – who my clients were, what approach we used, whom to hire and fire, how to manage the money, when to schedule meetings and when to shutdown the computer and trot off for my daily run. Ahh, and when to give myself a 2-year sabbatical to serve in the Peace Corps.

Now, a round 20 years from inception, I get to decide again, and more definitively than I did back in June: I want more freedom than even SeeChange provides.

So, is this another sabbatical? Is it a clean break?

Time will tell. Though, for now, it’s a shift to a more spiritual and personal take on change than the old command-and-control company president would allow.

My latest post, Freedom Isn’t Free, Simplicity Isn’t Simple, gives an honest account of the obstacles I’ve encountered on this current quest for freedom, and the challenging truths I’ve had to face.

In sharing my personal stories, laced with questions of freedom and beauty and truth, I invite you to ask yourself the same questions.

  • What have you been?

  • How has it served and not served you? Trapped or freed you?

  • What do you want now?

Join me on this next phase of the journey.

Share your ideas.

It’s time to dream.

If not now, when?

(A plaque above the window in my writing cabin in WV reminds me.)


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