There and Back Again - A Cloudreacher’s Tale
It was March 2017. I had been working at Cloudreach for about a year and was almost finished with a large-scale project with a customer on the West Coast. The project was challenging but near its conclusion, and I was looking forward to the future with Cloudreach.
But then, one of my best friends since childhood reached out about a startup where he was working, because my background lined up with what they needed. It was, and still is, a great cause (www.greathearts.community) that helps people live a 'giving lifestyle' and connects them to causes they care about in a digital community. I hadn’t worked in the non-profit space before and this felt like something I needed to pursue, both professionally and personally. At the same time, I knew Cloudreach would be difficult to leave behind. After a lot of soul searching and tough conversations with my wife, I decided to move onto Great Hearts.
I was prepared for the conversations with my cloudy co-workers to be tough. It would be hard to say goodbye to the team I had just worked so closely with on the large-scale project - not to mention the leaders and mentors that had been such great advocates on my behalf, and all the people at Cloudreach I now called friends. What I found through those conversations was a response that couldn’t have better exemplified the values of the company. Two of my favorite Cloudy Values shined through specifically: (1) Promote Personal Growth and (2) Respect the Individual. Cloudreachers were genuinely excited for me to have this opportunity and happy to see me taking on something that I was so passionate about. Many of the conversations were about the good times we had working together and the exciting experience ahead of me. I still remember the call with the Head of the US who again encouraged "promoting my personal growth" as he wished me the best of luck on my new job. All of this made me remember why I joined Cloudreach in the first place and why I was so sad to leave it behind.
But onwards; it was time to go save the world at a startup, right?!
My time at Great Hearts was, well, great. It was a passionate team of 4-5 people working hard to build a digital community for doing good in the world. Working at a startup was both challenging and rewarding. There’s so much to do and never enough time to do it. And as if that wasn’t enough, we faced constant uncertainty on the best path forward and what to focus on. In the 11 months I spent with Great Hearts, we grew the user base significantly, learned a lot about the nonprofit world, thoroughly tested several revenue options, and defined a viable line of revenue.
I was grabbing a beer with a friend from Cloudreach around the same time that I had realized I had fulfilled my role at Great Hearts and that it was the time to move on. My Cloudreach friend and I were exchanging stories and catching up when we broached the subject of me returning to the company. I’d loved working at Cloudreach, but being a bit of a pessimist, I immediately started to think through the negatives. Should I be concerned about going back to a place that I moved on from just a year before? Would there be any hurt feelings I’d have to deal with, or people who’d try to make me feel bad about leaving and coming back? Should I embarrassed about my change of heart?
Suddenly, I stopped myself, and I remembered the company I was returning to. This was Cloudreach and if it was the same cloudy company I had left a year ago, none of these things would be an issue. Why waste any time worrying about it?
As expected, in the coming weeks of discussions and interviews, the team’s cloudiness showed through. The recruitment/onboarding process was extremely open and honest. Cloudreach was still growing and there was a good fit for me to come back. Both sides moved quickly and before I knew it; I had an offer in my inbox.
Once I formally accepted the position, the texts and emails came through from colleagues welcoming me back. I couldn’t wait to get back to work with the team. The company had grown significantly while I was gone; the office I came back to had lots of new faces. My first few weeks back included doing things like meeting the foster dogs a coworker brought to the office or popping down to Rossi’s bar after work on Friday for a quick beer with everyone. It was clear that the cloudy values like 'respecting the individual' and 'being easy to work with' were still keystones of the culture.
Ultimately, the culture, values and people at Cloudreach make it a place you want to work; a place that’s hard to leave and very easy to come back to.
Thanks for reading and keep it cloudy!
by Sean Hennessy, Cloud Engagement Management Leader, Cloudreach