Five Reasons Leaving Novell is A Tough Move

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After two great years, it’s time for me to move on to a new opportunity*. This has been nothing short of a very challenging decision for me as I have loved the time I have had at Novell, even though the ride has been a little, ah, tumultuous, it has been an excellent experience… one that I will honestly miss for quite a while into the future.

Since late 2009, I have been a Senior Recruiter at Novell, which was acquired in early 2011 by Attachmate.

I wasn’t looking for a new opportunity, but one came and found me.

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Initially, I was confident there wouldn’t be anything I would rather do than work here. Over the last two years, I have had the privilege of recruiting several hundreds of people to work on some truly great technology, for one of the best names in Enterprise IT Technology in the world.

This new offer caught me off guard. I initially thought I would just hand out some referrals and be on my way, like I usually do when recruiters have come calling in the past. I honestly had to go to core on this one and really get down to why I loved doing what I do, and what this new challenge presents in terms of those things that make me tick.

So, to capture these feelings, I share them for you here.  These are t

he five reasons I’m having a tough time leaving Novell:

(NOTE: I will repeatedly use “Novell” to simply reference the combined Attachmate, NetIQ, Novell and SUSE business units of The Attachmate Group. Since I have been a principal recruiter on the Novell and Suse businesses, this is natural for me.)

First: An Incredible Team

My current team knows this: that there are no other people I would rather work with or work for.

It is a little ridiculous to consider that, here, with a team in the Americas of just THREE full-time recruiters and an incredible director, and a new coordinator, we have engineered a massive hiring system and processes to bring onboard several hundreds of new employees across the company. In fact, by the one-year anniversary since our merger with Attachmate, we are on-track to have hired more new employees than the entire global headcount of the company I am joining. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have less than fifty open-headcount requisitions on my desk…. then the phone rings again and my bubble is popped. Back to work…. and I love every minute of it.

Second: Some Strategy… again.

You can’t shake a stick in Utah County without smacking someone who used to work for Novell, WordPerfect or that has somehow been closely affiliated with these companies. And, if you ask them what they wish for the company these days, they will likely tell you the same thing — Get a vision and strategy and stick to it.

Over the years, the Novell strategy has come under fire in various ways.  Though I was not here through many of those days, as a recruiter in Utah Valley for the last ten years, I knew some of what was going on.  Today, there is renewed focus and strategy at Novell, who relocated its headquarters back to Provo this year.  Summary: It’s energizing and refreshing to have a clear strategy, even if it’s not the shoot-the-moon type passersby wish for, or Novell even had in the past. I appreciate the way that certain tough decisions have been made this year because it brings focus and clarity around what our collective purposes are, and the kind of company we will be in years ahead.

Third: People. 

I could really go overboard on this one. Look, I have worked for a lot of companies either full-time, as contractor or consultant/vendor, and I have known some really great people in my career, but I have never (I mean this) worked for a company with so many truly great people. people that remember we’re human first, and that we have lives outside of these four walls called work, and that regardless of what happens between 9-5, we all go home at the end of the day to things that are, in the long-run, much more important than the things we do in here.

I have chased the golden goose before, and worked for companies that, externally looked shiny and amazing (ahem) but internally were, at times, on the verge of falling apart.

I will never forget the excellent people I have worked with here.

Fourth: Culture of Openness and Accountability

Two dramatic things have stood out to me from my first days at Novell: Their openness and the culture of accountability here.

A lot has happened here in the last two years, but I feel like, where possible, the company has been open, direct and forthright with information. Personally, I attribute this to a combination of the company’s public stock (now private) and it’s desire to be a valid open source player, plus well-trained executive managers. I was shocked and amazed at the raw, open nature of the quarterly global video conferences where the earnings reports would be reviewed and the executives would literally take questions from anybody in the company about any thing.  I’ve said it before, that I’ve worked for 30-person companies that had a harder time communicating than this 4,000-person company.

Though The Attachmate Group is a private company, I honestly hope the new leadership continues this openness.

I have a theory that you can tell a lot about a company’s culture by their usage of the “CC” and “BCC” lines in email. Novell’s employees don’t have a lot of time to mess around with the subtle politics of things. The openness I mentioned above is joined with an expectation of accountability–that you will do what you do well, with little to no supervision. We just don’t have time for anything less than that.  Plus, it’s a great feeling to work with highly-productive people.  This results in clearer communication, clear expectation-setting and a sense of responsibility for your work that is freeing and empowering.

Fifth: Worldwide Influence

The Attachmate Group is one of the largest software companies in the world, in terms of revenue.  Novell is still a player in connecting and securing the world’s IT infrastructures from attacks and hacking. In fact, when I recruit candidates from outside of Utah and especially outside the United States, their sentiment is often the same: “I would really love to work for Novell.”  Our worldwide influence is still strong–who can’t enjoy being in a team that has such worldwide recognition?

Furthermore, I have had the distinct pleasure of working with teams not only across the United States but internationally in Toronto and then cross-geo teams in (especially) India and Germany/the Czech Republic and elsewhere around the world.

I am really amazed sometimes at the talented people that this company has working diligently day-in and day-out around the world. The sun never sets on Novell, Suse, Attachmate and NetIQ employees around the world. It truly amazes me to have been part of such a worldwide organization with such global impact in the day-to-day operations of some of the world’s best companies.

I will never discourage someone from pursuing a career with Novell. I have loved my time here and strongly recommend this company to anyone looking to work with great people and have a truly-worldwide impact in high tech software.

* I purposefully left out where I am going. Watch for that announcement next week here, twitter, linkedin or G+. P.S. Add, circle, follow or link-in with me :)

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One thought on “Five Reasons Leaving Novell is A Tough Move

  1. Congratulations on your new job! I can’t wait to hear where you’re going. Hopefully you’re not moving away. I like having you here in Utah. Your posts help me keep my thumb on things. :)

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