I’ve worked for a software company these past 10 years (would have been 11 years in March) that I actually grew up with. When they were small in a meager sized office space, back when I was hired, I was employee number six or seven. I started as a customer service agent, made it to Lead, the Customer Service Assistant Manager, then the Manager, headed the Labs department and worked with another science guy on performance testing of computers (with Windows Performance Toolkit) and then seized an opportunity to suggest the company add an IT Helpdesk department to relieve all the low-ball duties from upper IT so that they could focus on higher duties and then was essentially put in charge of that department.
So we were recently acquired by another technology company in the same industry. Now, after so many years with the company I’ve been laid off after they acquired it, assured everyone their jobs were safe and then about thirty days later that laid off about half the company. That’s business I guess right? Well I can go on a rag about all the wrong people who actually got to keep their jobs but what will that resolve really. Dust off the britches and just keep moving.
For the first time in 27 years I have had to file for unemployment but you know, I almost think they did me a favor because now I can look back and reflect on that company and I can see that although I spent so much time there they were actually holding me back. I was the exemplary employee, always early, personable with fellow employees, always on call when there was a problem in the departments or with computers, even on weekends. I didnt have to, that was just me. When I work for a company I work FOR the company.
I made it to InterOp once but I otherwise never received any special training or company sponsored training as they said was available so I had to learn on the job, sign up at online sites to learn things, read for myself, Google stuff, I was – and am – total old school teach myself. If i cant afford it I improvise. In the end I have nobody to count on but myself anyway. If I had a task I would get it done in any way possible, its because I knew my limitations and I knew my resources to use to get something done. Obviously the company I worked for before the acquisition recognized that or I wouldn’t have been put in charge of certain assets, departments or been lasted so long. The then CEO did give me a watch though to commemorate my 10 years with the company, this year of all things. I only prize it because of who gave it to me though, not because of the company.
I look at similar jobs lately and companies want a AA, BA, ADMA, ABCDEFG and stuff. Unholy crap, but I plan to go back to school so totally possible. However, aside from maybe teaching structured discipline I cant say those BA’s and such are worth the paper they are printed on next to real world hard knocks experience. When I would hire people, I can tell you that certifications and degrees someone had were not the first place I look and I have not ever felt that they represented a persons real world experience. I’m sure they may stand out but its been my hiring experience that has literally shown me that just because some people have degrees or certs doesn’t mean that they are at all smart.
What I would favor is another small start-up to jump on board with and ride that wave again to make a difference. I’m sure I’ll find it, or perhaps I’ll just find my own business to start. Ah who knows. Im a great cook so Im sure I’ll cook something up.
And this too shall pass.
UPDATE (December 2013)
Well the company I was laid off got a hold of me to come back but not for an IT position that I was in previously but for a QA Analyst position. I took it and do enjoy how intellectually stimulating and challenging it is but its the experience of learning more skill sets that enticed me. It has its moments where I want to rip my hair out but welcome to QA right?