One Year In…And Out…

…And the quest still continues. Due to my lack of posting, I have considered many times just taking the site down and putting up a static page. I suppose I haven’t done that yet because I still have some ideas to write about, I just haven’t really felt like it due to the decision that was brewing in my mind.

Over the course of time since my last entry, I have considered many different “what-if” scenarios, and I finally reached the conclusion that I had done all that I could for them. There was only a little room left for technical progression, and I realized that even if I reached that state, I would still not be happy due to the constraints of the job (mostly related to how government IT works – something I am now very familiar with). There were other negative aspects that would be difficult to go into without remaining professional. Since this blog is public, I do my best not to venture down that road, despite the open and honest nature of my writings.

The job lasted just over one year…and eight blog postings. I will never forget just how happy I was when I had my first meeting with the entire department. I will also never forget how quickly the luster of the job wore off. I am still convinced that this is because the job I interviewed for was not the job I received. The job description was very network-oriented. The interview questions I received were very network-oriented. The actual job was simply running the help desk and resetting people’s passwords and things like that. That was not the job I signed up for. How ironic that the discussion of that first department meeting I attended was to revise all of the job descriptions. Of course, in hindsight, that should have been the biggest red flag of all! (The revised job descriptions are more accurate than the previous ones (such as no longer requiring experience with Windows NT!!) but they are still not very accurate to what the jobs actually entail).

However, I knew that I had been given a great opportunity. I got hired after my first attempt and first round of interviews. I had heard of other people in the department not getting in until as much as their fourth attempt. I was feeling pretty dissatisfied not too long after being there (the rose-colored glasses post), and it really only got worse from there. However, because other people coveted this position so much, and I knew it was a good opportunity for me, I did my very best to make the most of it.

I spent many months attempting to transform the job into something I could be happy with, while working within the constraints of my position. However, all of the networking-oriented tasks associated with my job were invented by me; nobody asked me to do them. Things such as network documentation and various technical procedures that the entire department ended up using and referencing. My idea was to help out everyone that was at my level, and also help out those above my level where possible. The effort was very much appreciated at and below my level. I never felt like I was appreciated from those above my level on the corporate ladder, though.

I learned that the people ahead of me in the corporate ladder were actually not nearly as experienced as I thought they were. I found out that there were many areas where I had more knowledge and experience. Whenever I tried to make suggestions based on that knowledge that would be beneficial to the entire department, they were essentially shrugged off. That might not actually be true, but that is certainly how it felt. The tides began to turn.

During my time, I did my best to be as helpful as possible to my co-workers. I felt extremely appreciated by those at and below my level, but never a single time did I feel it from those above me. I started to realize that even if I stayed long enough to make it to their level, I was not going to be happy working with them. The entire environment started to feel toxic to me, and I started to dread going in every day.

I finally realized that I needed to make the change happen for myself, in a much bigger way. Everyone lauds government work for its stability, but the complacency and stagnation was killing me. Even when I tried to make the change from within, it only got me so far before I started hitting brick walls and could make no further changes.

While working for this job, I have had the opportunity to fully re-evaluate myself in a way that I was not able to with the job I had before. I discovered that I have knowledge and skills that would never be fully utilized here. At this point in time, I have more confidence in myself and my skillset than I ever have before. With my last job, I didn’t have anyone to compare myself to. When I first got this job, I was stepping into the enterprise realm containing things I had only read about up until that point, and it seemed massive. But it came as a big shock to me just how quickly things shrunk for me.

Confidence in myself is by far the biggest thing I will be taking away from this job. I don’t feel like I was ever arrogant about it: my only intentions in anything I did were to be helpful toward the department as a whole. However, I came to realize that I was capable of so much more than the technology department was going to offer me here. In addition to confidence, I feel quite a bit more open about talking with people. I’m still a little shy, I don’t know if that will ever completely disappear, but I feel like I can speak with people much more easily than I used to. I certainly felt that way during my interviews for the new company. It is because of this that I am not regretful for working here. I feel like I learned more “life” lessons than technical lessons (other than things NOT to do 🙂 )

I start my new job as network engineer for a nationwide company based out of Orlando on June 1st. I feel like I have a much different attitude about things this time. I was more selective about the places for which I gave my resume, and I was much more direct in the questions I asked during my interviews. When I interviewed for Flagler, I only had a vague idea of what I was looking for in a job (and indeed my overall career). When I interviewed for this new company, I had a much sharper image in mind.

I know what I am capable of, and I am excited to finally be able to put my skills to good use. Hopefully this will mean more blog postings in the near future 🙂