2001 Consultant’s Retreat

My name is Bob Jones, and no, there is no connection with the university of the same name. I am an engineer in recovery, a consultant looking for work (aren’t we all?) and a personal, professional and executive coach.

I am a child of the ‘60s and on the first wave of the baby boomers. My parents met in World War II and kept up the fight for almost 30 years. I met my wife at a folk festival when I tossed her a joint. She’s been with me ever since. I was into Ram Dass and she was into Alan Watts. Lost souls in the desert of Detroit.

After over three decades in the software and technology trenches, I am transforming my life, in search of balance, soul, intimate contact and healing. I have been “right” in way too many conversations. Now days, I would rather be in meaningful relationship.

I live (for the moment) in Redmond, Washington. My house has been on the market since mid-June, and we haven’t had a single offer. My children are all grown up (25, 23 and 21), and my wife and best friend, Donna and I are already emotionally living in Bellingham. Most of our house is empty, and we are packed and ready to go. Anybody want a great house near great schools, with huge Douglas Fir trees in the back yard? Apparently not. Argh!

When it comes to software, I have pretty much been there, done that. I have coded in close to two dozen languages on main frames, minis and micros. I have worked for all three auto makers, IBM, DEC, Tandem, Microsoft and others, and done my own startup four times. I have designed, built, taught, argued, consulted, facilitated, founded, funded and failed. I am 55 and still not grown up.

About 11 years ago, I was working at Microsoft as a Director in their newly formed consulting organization. I worked for the boss from hell and felt like shit. I had uprooted and moved my family from sunny San Jose, California to the dark and gloomy, rain sodden Pacific Northwest. I was failing in my job and my life was falling apart around me. Bridges were becoming appealing, especially high ones. It was time for recovery. And as the great prophet, Jerry Garcia said so well, “What a long strange trip it’s been.”

I am now in my fourth start-up, reincarnated as The Socrates Network. This time, I am committed to integrating all the pieces of my disparate psyche. I don’t want to discard my analytical and engineering skills, but I am tired of programming. I have at least a million lines under my belt, and I am finding that I simply don’t have the energy and attention span needed to learn Big-bad-Bill’s latest language-de-jour.

Recently, I discovered coaching. It allows me to work closely with people and help them help themselves. It isn’t therapy, and it doesn’t require a special degree; but it does seem to require the kind of focus, listening and self-awareness that comes out of many years of personal growth. I’m told by those I have coached that I am quite good at it; but getting paid for coaching seems to be a ways off.

I am attending this retreat because one of my closest friends, Wayne Haythorn has been bugging me for several years to get my ass down here. So now what?

Bob Jones, October 6th, 2001

p.s. I went directly from this conference to the New Warrior Training Adventure where my journey down the path of mature manhood began.


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