The Sun Alumni Reunion was last Saturday. I bought tickets as soon as they went on sale several months ago. I didn’t care that they were $160 per person. I didn’t care whether anyone I knew would be there. I missed Sun and wanted to bask in its light just a little longer.
I started at Sun in 2002 as an MBA intern. I did not join Sun at the height. I was there during the struggles and hard decisions. I was there when Sun had to do it’s first major lay-off. I was there when SUNW became JAVA. I was there when even JAVA became no more. But I learned from and loved every minute of it.
Sun shaped me and my career path. I learned to agree to disagree and then commit. I learned that to make things happen, I have to contribute. I learned that the key is not doing what I was passionate about, but to be passionate about what I was doing. I learned that to succeed, I have to listen. I learned that leadership is more like parenting than being a drill sergeant. I learned that my job was to do what was right, even if it was not popular. I learned not to ask for permission, but do and then ask for forgiveness. I learned that you CAN run a company and still treat everyone as individuals and with humanity.
The reunion was closure. I reconnected with friends and bosses and colleagues. Some traveled from far and wide. I was amongst people who still share Sun’s vision and passion. But everyone had also moved on. We took with us what we learned at Sun and focused on applying them to other companies, other careers. I don’t know that I will ever be able to work for another Sun. But I can make my little corner of the world as Sun-like as possible, kicking butt and having fun.