TJ Kelly

Off to [Smaller] and Better Things

The title of this post was stolen, without permission, from the almighty Fred LeBlanc. And it’s perfect. Sorry/thanks, Fred.

I resigned my position at StudentCity, my employer for the last 4 years. As of October 17, 2011, I work for McDougall Interactive, a digital/search marketing company in Danvers, MA. I’m sad to leave my friends and colleagues at SCC, but I’m excited for what’s ahead for me with McDougall.

Thank you, StudentCity

I’m grateful and indebted to StudentCity for the time, energy, resources, and training they gave me. I started there when I was just a few months out of college, still new to the real world.

I got my start there, learning how to design and code for an enterprise-level website, maintain code standards across a team, and build scalable, reusable assets. I learned how the business world works, an important lesson for SaaS workers. And I learned how *I* work, a VERY important lesson for any employee.

It feels like graduating

School is designed to prepare students for the real world. My 4 years at StudentCity felt similar. It felt as if those 4 years were an internship or apprenticeship, preparing me for the next thing.

The trouble is that, when students graduate from schools, they do so together and it’s a happy occasion. When a worker “graduates” from a company after several years, s/he does so alone and it’s bittersweet.

I’ll miss StudentCity

Mostly the people. I’ve had the same boss for almost all of those 4 years. He’s been awesome; friendly, accommodating, understanding, patient, trusting, empowering, inspiring, just about all the things one could hope for in a manager.

The rest of the IT team, old and new. In those 4 years, I had the pleasure of working alongside 16 other IT people. Currently, 6 of them are still employed by StudentCity and only 5 in our department. It’s a smart, talented group of people and they’ll be just fine without me.

Why this will be better

I loved my time at StudentCity. Things weren’t always perfect, but I have nothing negative to say about the company or people. It was by no means “bad.” However, working with McDougall will be better for me for several reasons.

  1. I’m invested in their products and services ― something I couldn’t say about spring break.
  2. It’s a small, flexible, adaptable company ― no getting lost in a sea of parent companies.
  3. They need my help ― the design & development parts of McdIA weren’t a priority until now.

I can’t wait to start this new chapter in my life and my career. It’s going to be challenging, fun, and rewarding. I’m nervous about it, but very excited to hit the ground running.

12 thoughts on “Off to [Smaller] and Better Things

  1. Fred LeBlanc

    Permission granted. It’s gonna be weird not looking through DVDs of girls eating bananas from the crotches of other people. (Those were actual pics on the DVD we were given when we asked StudentCity for marketing pictures back when I worked on the site.)

    Do awesome things man! Congrats!

  2. Jennifer Fortin

    W00t! Congrats dear sir! Change is a great thing. Places to go. People to see. New challenges to face! So awesome! Miss you.

  3. Mike Kivikoski

    Congrats TJ and rock house at the new gig.

    This is a fine example of how to leave an old gig and start a new one with class.

    Now all you need to do is grow a beard (or at least a mustache)

  4. Chris


    Congratulations on the move – you are the perfect mix of people person and dev/design for an agency. Really excited to see what comes of the new gig – you deserve a glass of scotch!

    Catch you on the Internets,

  5. Brian Christiansen

    I enjoyed this line,

    > “when students graduate from schools, they do so together and it’s a happy occasion. When a worker “graduates” from a company after several years, s/he does so alone and it’s bittersweet.”

    Good luck, TJ!


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