The Final Miles at Lawrence & Schiller


On August 24th, I concluded my employment at Lawrence & Schiller and started working for a company called Security Labs. I’ll still be doing ColdFusion development but without the marketing focus. This will be more product-based. Leaving L&S was difficult, and I departed on good terms (but only after we had lunch at HuHot).

A Growing Unhappiness

What do you do when you suddenly realize that you haven’t been happy? In my case, the realization came in a flash, although the unhappiness was a slowly growing thing. I looked back on the past year or two, and I tried to identify exactly what had changed. There had been some personnel shifts, some reassignments. Client relationships had changed. The air conditioning had actually gotten colder. But, what was the root of my problem?

All of those are temporary changes. They’re things that can be fixed. I could request a different personnel shift. I could help change a client relationship for the better. I could wear a sweater and a coat. Yet, contemplating those changes didn’t lift the feeling. As I considered what an ideal job for me would look like, I noticed it was missing something key to my time at L&S. I realized my interest in marketing and advertising had waned.

This was something significant. For one, Lawrence & Schiller is a marketing and advertising agency. It’s what they do. So, if I’m unhappy with marketing, I was surrounded by it there. That also meant I wouldn’t be happy at any other marketing or advertising agency, which limited my options quite a bit. Ultimately, though, it meant that L&S couldn’t fix my problem and make me happy. It meant my time there was limited.

A Modest Search

I looked mostly at telecommute opportunities, given the small number of non-marketing development jobs in the area. I also explored frontend positions (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) along with ColdFusion positions. Some of the leads were promising, but I had my doubts about telecommuting. I think it takes a strange kind of discipline to work that lifestyle, and I didn’t know if I was up for it. My search seemed at an impasse.

Then, the miraculous happened. A job listing appeared on a popular ColdFusion blogger‘s job board: it was a ColdFusion job listed in Sioux Falls, SD. Really? What are the chances! I sent an email to a guy named Adam who worked for a company called Security Labs, and I waited to see what would happen.

After some interviewing, an offer was made. I discussed it with Eric Cross, my discipline coach, and I explained the position I was in. He reacted as all good bosses should, torn between wanting me to be happy and wanting to keep me on the team. If I remember right, he broke down in tears, sobbing, “You’re a much more 1337 hacker than me. Please don’t leave. I’m nothing without you!” It was obvious to both of us how this would play out.

It was a difficult two weeks. Coincidentally, I announced to my team that I was leaving on the same day another developer was having his going away lunch. Talk about a downer. (Also, it was another opportunity to upstage Bob.) Things didn’t really get better from there. I was as torn up with leaving as everyone else was. I had not been wronged, or passed over for promotion, or slighted by my peers; there was none of the bad blood that would have made things easier. Instead it was all legitimate, sincere sadness.

When you work at a place for almost five years, it gets in your bloodstream. I’m very thankful that I made my decision to leave based on logic. Had I stopped to consider the emotional toll it would take, I don’t know that I could have gone through with it. With the magic of Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, and IM it’s kinda like I never left – they just asked that I start working on other clients from another building with other people.

Security Labs

Security Labs is a tiny Sioux Falls company of four people that does ColdFusion development. Their primary product is a classifieds engine. It specializes in automotive, although it’s been adapted to agricultural and real estate listings as well. A good example of their handiwork is Car Truck Trader.

My role will be as the second ColdFusion developer. It looks like I’ll be doing much the same type of programming as at L&S. Based on the status meeting we had today, there are some very interesting projects coming up that I’ll get to partake in. I think it’ll be a good opportunity to learn and grow my development skills with an agile, focused team.


My time at L&S was priceless. I learned so much from so many people, and I got to teach a lot to a lot of people. I’ve never met so many energetic, intelligent, creative people in one building. I miss them already, but I’m looking forward to my new adventure. And, who knows? Maybe I’m not done going the extra mile just yet.

9 Replies to “The Final Miles at Lawrence & Schiller”

  1. Good read Miles. Good luck at the new place! Seems much like when I left my last job after 5.5 years, only I actually did hate them.

  2. Great post! Sounds pretty familiar, too. It has to be one of the hardest things–to leave the people and place you’ve enjoyed being a part of for so long. But, you’re right, that’s why we have social media! Enjoy, newbie!

  3. I know they’re sad to see you go, but you can never turn down opportunities, it’s how the world goes round. Good luck to you, hope the fan is doing great!

  4. Best wishes Miles! You need to be happy in what you are doing in life and when you realize you aren’t, it is time to move on. We will pray this is the job that will bring happiness and a future. Blessings.

  5. Your wit will be missed most of all. You have an uncanny ability to make people laugh when they really need it. I do wish you the best of luck and hope we can work together again in the future. Until then, stay out of trouble and try to keep Adam and A.J. in line.

    P.S. The tears are still flowing :)

  6. Props for realizing something was missing, identifying a path forward and taking the big leap, M!les. All the best at the new gig. You’ll continue to be great. And wry.

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