Goodbye Cube life…

Goobye mau5trapThis month marks the end of my 41st year in information technology, IT; or a it was called back when I started, Data Processing.

Interestingly, officially yesterday I cleared out my “executive” cubicle at the mau5trap and for the first time became a remote (work-at-home) worker. I have to say I’d have preferred not to, but really given the distributed nature of our team it was simply a waste of time and space to maintain the cube, especially since I’m there infrequently; and for the most part, none of the other technical team members are.

It also means I don’t have to waste 90-minutes per day getting to and from the mau5trap, which has got significantly worse in the last 5-years. Yesterdays drive home was an epic waste of time, nearly 2-hours of which 90-mins was getting through downtown Austin.

Over the years I’ve worked at the head office of the businesses I’ve worked for; commuted by train, planes and automobiles to offices; worked on international assignment, temporary assignment, and virtual assignment; but I don’t ever recall actually giving up an office entirely before. In my later projects at IBM I was remote from the team and regularly worked from home; that was actually pretty demotivating.

As it turns out, it’s a pre-cursor to the start of other changes, and probably marks the beginning of the end of my technology career. I have no plans to retire just yet, but as someone who spent his career thriving off the enthusiasm and excitement created by being around others, spending days doing whiteboard architecture and design, I find the current state of tools, webex, powerpoint, chat and the omnipresent  email less and less an attraction.

Add to that my recent tendency to take-on the jobs and assignments no one else wants, or is hoping someone else will do, and there you have it.

| Edit. Thanks to #1 for pointing out I had too many “too’s”

4 Responses to “Goodbye Cube life…”


  1. 1 Monty P September 16, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Good for you! Hope it works out well for you. Like you I recently made a big change in my work environment – I became a ‘work at home’ employee on a semi-permanent basis. But I didn’t just stop commuting – I was able to move my home and family to another country! I’ve not even been at it a month and I have to say there are many things about Austin (and the U.S.) that I’m starting to see that I just can do without, now that I’ve gotten away from it all. One of them being the constant drive to get ahead and acquire more – what does that get us?

    • 2 Mark Cathcart October 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      God to hear from you Monty, where are you now?

      I’m heading to Boulder CO personally, and hoping to be able to pick-up working remote more effectively. I have some interesting open options, including one that might take me back to a hardware business.

      • 3 Monty P October 14, 2015 at 5:00 am

        I am in Ecuador through next summer… in a quaint little town in the Andes, though it is a tourist destination of sorts. Baño de Agua Santa is the name – “Baths of the Holy Water”. It is named this due to the many waterfalls and natural hot springs stemming from the nearby active volcano. We’ve enrolled our kids in a local public school, and the wife and I are attempting to learn Spanish on our own.

        Only my manager knows I’m here – after looking into it she saw no reason to stop it nor any reason to tell HR. The only negative is of course I have to pay my way back to the States for any business travel.

        Have only been here two months and am thinking that I may keep doing this a while!

      • 4 Mark Cathcart October 14, 2015 at 7:18 am

        Wow how neat… I’ll email you.


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About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formally a Senior Distinguished Engineer, in Dells Software Group; before that Director of Systems Engineering in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. Prior to that, I was IBM Distinguished Engineer and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. I'm an information technology optimist.


I was a member of the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Steering committee. Read more about it here.

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