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Life is full of curveballs, which is an American euphemism for saying, “things don’t always go as expected.”  At the beginning of this year, I decided to return to the Java open source ecosystem when offered the chance by David Blevins and Tomitribe. It’s probably the best decision I’ve made in 14 years, and I’m grateful to Tomitribe for bringing me aboard and to the Java community for making me feel welcome.  

Tomitribe is an exciting place to work. We are very involved in the new Jakarta EE (EE4J) project at Eclipse Foundation with members participating on many of the sub projects and leading in the PMC and Jakarta EE Working Groups (Steering, Specification, and Marketing). Tomitribe is one of the founding companies and most active participants in the Eclipse Foundation MicroProfile.  Finally, Tomitribe is a leading contributor to TomEE and provides support services for TomEE and other open source projects.

I had high hopes for making a difference and contributing in a significant way to Tomitribe and the community, and I think things went pretty well for a while, but a couple of months ago life threw my family one of those curveballs resulting in some difficult times. I’m not going to go into details, and I don’t want anyone’s pity, but I’m happy to say that we are recovering and things are getting back on track. I wanted to say a couple of things about how David Blevins, Amelia Eiras, and Tomitribe have handled it.

After a couple of weeks of dealing with some family issues, I had to admit to David and Amelia that things were not going well and that I hadn’t been very productive.  The first thing they did is to tell me that at Tomitribe, “Family comes first.” I’ve heard this before, but this is the first time that it was really sincere. Despite practically dropping off the map for the past couple of months and producing very little output, Tomitribe has stuck with me providing encouragement and support and never pressuring me to be more productive.  If they had, I probably would have resigned, as I had no choice but to focus on my family. When I look back at all the other places I’ve worked, that would probably have been the outcome – my resignation – but not at Tomitribe. Not with this band of wonderful people.

I counted up all the places I’ve worked since entering the IT industry and it comes out to be about seven corporations over 24 years with plenty of breaks for entrepreneurialism and freelancing.  Of all those corporations I’ve never felt like my employer was anything but supportive, but there has always been an expectation that everyone should remain productive. It’s a contract: I produce, and they pay.   I’m happy with that, but, Tomitribe showed me something else; Loyalty. That’s where a company sticks with you no matter what, because they see you as part of a family not just a cog in the wheel. In terms of loyalty, and so many other things, Tomitribe has exceeded all expectations. It is the finest company, with the best management, and most inspiring employees I have encountered in 24 years in IT.  Thank you to everyone at Tomitribe for sticking with me through thick and thin.

Things have finally started to settle down, and I’m excited to get started contributing again. Life throws us curve balls all the time, something that everyone can understand and have experienced, but with the support of your domestic and professional family, you can overcome the worst difficulties and then it’s your turn to give back.   I hope to honor Tomitribe’s loyalty with the best work I’ve done in my career because now it’s my turn to give back.

Richard Monson-Haefel

Richard Monson-Haefel

Richard has more the 24 years of experience as a professional software developer and architect. He has written five books on enterprise Java including EJB, JMS, web services, and software architecture. He has served on the JCP executive committee and multiple expert groups, is the co-founder of OpenEJB and Apache Geronimo, was a Sr. Analyst for Burton Group (aka Gartner), and is a celebrated public speaker.

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