How are you today? Have you done something with your hair? It really suits you.
Theodore Roosevelt once said that "in any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing and the worst thing you can do is nothing". Making decisions that are right, but aren't what you'd like in an ideal world are always going to be hard but after about a week or mulling over the different options to take, I think the decision I've arrived at is the right one - I will be stepping down as Web Services Director for the division.
Sadly, there comes a time in everyone's VATSIM career where they do come to the end and, as the King said, they have to stop. As many of you have noticed, my availability has been slowly diminishing over the last few weeks due to an increased workload in my career, an increase in expectations in personal projects, and a range of personal factors. Whilst I have been tempted to ride out the storm in the hope that there may be calmer waters ahead, I am only too aware that leaving my team to be left dragging dead weight during my absence would not only be bad for them but also have a huge knock-on effect on those members who rely on our services developing and improving, to sustain their enjoyment of this hobby.
For those who don't know my background, I started my VATSIM journey in 2006 as a member and after an incredible amount of badgering to showcase my talents to Simon and Matt Hardman, was allowed to be in charge of the CTP Website for (what was) a tame event back then. Following the success of that system, Alan Hunter trusted me with updating the football results for the World Cup on the division's website (Simon, I'm sorry I never bought that back) before offering me the role of Deputy Web Services Manager.
Back then, I never imagined I would stick around for a total of 11 years, with a short break in service whilst I was behind the great firewall of China - I have to mention that before Barrie has an aneurysm for me not mentioning it's not continuous service (are you sure you don't work for the Department of Work and Pensions?). In that time we've recovered from various catastrophic happenings to our data, improved the provision of web services tenfold and built the department up to something that stands out in the VATSIM ecosystem as one of the best provisions available, has very firm foundations, an incredibly high bus factor and is welcoming to the community (there's no sign up process, or red tape to contribute to the web services - just code and push).
I've loved every single opportunity that has been presented to me during this time - it's helped me not only on a personal level but a professional one too. Having spoken with Simon, I've passed on some of my recommendations for how to proceed and offered my service as an advisor/external-eye/critical-
friend/someone to sanity check something whenever the team might need it.
The team I'm leaving behind are an incredibly talented one and we wouldn't be able to provide such a good response time to tickets, or turn around on new features, without their dedication, support, and knowledge.
Before I conclude, I want everyone (everyone) to remember something: we're all here for the same reason. Regardless of what your opinion is on the network politics, the policy, the infrastructure, or hell the colour of our logo, please try to keep in mind that we're all here because we want to share the thrill of aviation with one another, learn new things and mix with those that want to be part of a friendly community. Before you next hit "Post Reply" berating a member of staff, or slamming their idea into the ground, please do remember: we care just as much about this division as you do, so try to be part of the solution and move in the same direction as the team. The UK is heading into new, greater territories and it's important that the staff have your full backing and your belief that they'll do what's right for the division (see my quote at the beginning).