How did I get here?


Thanks for the birthday wishes, and thanks for taking a look at my blog. This is not only my birthday, but it’s a kind of crossroads in my life, and I’d like to share it with you. Friday, my employment contract ended. Now, it’s not only my birthday, it’s the first day of my unemployment. I’ve been in IT now for nearly 20 years, and I have decided that it’s time to part ways with this career path. So, yeah, that’s a pretty big announcement. You may find yourself asking how I got here and where am I going to go from here. Or you may not be asking either of those questions, in which case, thanks for stopping by.

As to how I got here, that is pretty easy to explain. I am a creative type who got into IT because that money was good and it was a dependable career. Right out of tech school, I got a job with a now-defunct camera store called Mid-City Camera (In the newly created Digital Direct digital imaging division) on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. I was one of the computer techs and it was there that I got my first real exposure (yeah, I went there) to digital photography and image editing and processing. After a brief stint of teaching computer repair at a now-defunct electronics school, I started my real IT career.

I found myself contracting for Citibank at a location in Delaware. I did well and pretty soon, another opportunity arose with Wyeth, a now-defunct pharmaceutical company. Wow. I’m old. Well, to be honest, Wyeth didn’t close, it got acquired and sold for scrap. Anyway, I got there just as the IT bubble burst and sort of got stuck in a well-paying, but go-nowhere position. Well, ok – part of the reason it went nowhere was probably my attitude. I found that corporate America didn’t think like me. Or perhaps, I didn’t think like them. After the merger, I was quickly thrown to the scrap heap, with a nice severance package. I was really quite ready to give up on IT back then, but a friend of mine, Doug G, talked me into staying in IT. He pointed out that I had a lot of value and could still make a career in IT, despite my stagnated skills. He was right, a quick certification, and I had another gig, paying great money.

Fast forward to the end of the contract, four years later. I was a bit crushed that I didn’t get picked up at Vanguard. I made a lot of friends and I felt connected to IT again. Fortunately, I got another job quickly. It paid well, but this time I was working for a bank that had just been bought by another bank. The pay was great, and I took the job thinking I would be there for 6 months. Then I got an offer for an extension for another six months for a 10% bonus. Cha-ching!

Unfortunately, finding another job after that proved to be a challenge. It took about six months after one false start. Oops. Probably best not to ask about that. Eventually, I landed a position with a local company on a six month contract. Six months turned into a year. I felt like I landed in a place where I was given no direction (again) and being paid for doing almost nothing (again). Well, I did do something: A lot of thinking.

I had that time to think and reflect and bounce things off of my wife. Through a lot of encouragement and hand holding, I think she got me pointed in the right direction. She knew I wasn’t happy and needed a change, desperately. I am so lucky to have her support! By the time my “sponsor” at Gore told me my contract was ending, it was almost hard not to smile.

So, here I am, fifty-two and venturing into the unknown. If you have read this far, you must surely be curious – where will I go from here? Well, for that dear reader, I am going to make you wait.

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