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On Itches, Boomerangs, 4 Non Blondes, and Bon Jovi, or Why I Returned to JMP Statistical Discovery

Hey there! You may remember me from my previous stint with JMP Statistical Discovery when I was a member of the Life Sciences group. Well, I’m back, and things are better than ever! Yes, they are.

My return has generated a lot of questions both internal and external to JMP, but to answer the all-important question on why I returned to JMP, I first need to shed some light on why I decided to leave in the first place. And to be honest, that question is far more challenging to answer.

First and foremost, I was exceedingly happy at JMP the first time around (2011-2018). I worked on interesting problems and collaborated with an exceptional group of colleagues. Every day was different, and I had the freedom to explore potential solutions that would put answers and insights within easy reach for our customers.

Well, if that’s the case, why leave? Most people will never have the opportunity to experience such an amazing and fulfilling workplace! That’s true, but things are never that simple.

Let’s examine some reasons why people leave their jobs. The list below was compiled from Google when I asked, “Why do people leave jobs” (Table 1). While I think there is some repetition in this list (Ha! We still need people after all! Take that, algorithms!), the only item that could even remotely apply to JMP in my mind was “Career advancement.” First, JMP (as well as SAS) is an extremely flat organization. The manager of my manager was (and is again) John Sall, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of SAS and Founder, Chair, and Primary Architect for JMP. In other words, there was not a whole lot of layers between where I was at the time and the very top of the organization. Second, people love working at JMP, so unless the company gets bigger or people retire, new roles are few and far between.


Table 1. Why do people leave jobs?


Career advancement

Company culture

Bad bosses

Career change

Hostile work environment

Lack of appreciation

Better opportunity


Lack of feedback

Lack of growth

No opportunities for advancement

Better salary

Better compensation

Excessive workload

Feeling underappreciated

Manager relationship

Mental health

Flexible work arrangement

Poor benefits

Poor communication

Poor management

Remote work

Job was unsuitable

List generated 2024-02-12.


However, for individuals who have been conditioned their whole lives to ask, “Where do I go from here?” or “How do I take that next step?”, or are encouraged to build that curriculum vitae with “Bigger, Better, Faster, More!” (an accurate description, 4 Non Blondes), an itch begins to develop. I was at JMP for seven years before that itch became overwhelming. (I’m sure many of us have heard the term “seven-year itch”; Wikipedia states that the seven-year itch is a belief “that happiness in a marriage or long-term romantic relationship declines after around seven years.” Billy Wilder even made a movie about it.)

Though not a romantic relationship, I did love my job, but I was starting to develop a fear of missing out. On what? I haven’t a clue exactly, but the fear was still there. Shouldn’t I strive for a fancy title or more responsibility? Aren’t there other challenges to conquer? New knowledge to acquire? Or worse: Am I giving up by staying put, by not moving forward? (To where exactly, I have no clue.)

It is important to note that up until that time, JMP was my longest tenure in my schooling or career (UNC-Chapel Hill was a close second with six years for graduate school. Go Heels!). So again, I start to feel this rumbling in my brain telling me that I am missing something potentially great elsewhere. So eventually, and despite my father’s sage advice, I made the difficult decision to move on.

And now, roughly six years later, I am back in a role very similar to the one I held before. When I posted this news on LinkedIn, I had several individuals comment that I had become a “boomerang,” a tool designed to return to the user when thrown. I had never heard the term used in this context, but how many of us leave a company only to return down the road?

So now we arrive at the all-important question: Why come back?

First, let’s return to the third paragraph of this post (like a boomerang, get it?!?): Because I’ll get to work on interesting problems and collaborate with an exceptional group of colleagues. Every day will be different, and I’ll have the freedom to explore potential solutions that would put answers and insights within easy reach for our customers.

Second, I know I will love my job.

I do not regret leaving JMP the first time, though I do regret letting my fear take the wheel when making that decision. I had some amazing opportunities to build and lead entire departments after I left JMP. I learned a lot, pushed myself to new limits, and worked with a number of talented individuals. I even made some new friends along the way.

In my time away, however, I learned that the “Bigger, Better, Faster, More!” I was conditioned to chase required me to spend a lot of time on things that didn’t interest me or bring me the joy and satisfaction I was hoping to experience. Some of it I actively disliked, and these tasks came to dominate more and more of my time – which is when I realized that the things I truly valued had already been within my grasp during my seven years at JMP. It was a long journey filled with some exceptionally difficult days, but I am not sure I would have come to this realization had I not left JMP. (Though my father, if he were still alive today, would have said “Duh, dummy.”)

Thankfully, JMP Statistical Discovery gave me the opportunity to return. It is great to be back, and in many ways, it is almost like I never left. Like I said, people love working here, so I have reunited with many previous colleagues. However, JMP continues to grow, so there are new faces and intriguing things on the horizon. And like Bon Jovi, I’m going to hold on to what I’ve got. I have a lot of years left in me; I am eager to put them to good use.

Last Modified: Apr 16, 2024 12:01 AM