I’m happy to say that I am still happy with my new job; no rose-colored glasses involved this time around. I believe this time I had a different set of expectations, as well as things I was looking for in the job. Sure, like any job, there are imperfections, but there hasn’t been anything that makes me dread going in, like I encountered previously. And with the last job, the luster wore off very quickly. That hasn’t happened yet here. This time, I absolutely received the job that I interviewed for.
At the same time, I have known since the first week that this job is going to be a stepping stone for me. I am getting a lot of much-needed real-world experience here that I have only read about in textbooks up to this point. I had mentioned previously that with my last job, I made every effort to transform the position into something that I could be happy with, but that really only got me so far. Conversely, this job has just about everything I’m looking for at this stage in my career. In a way, it’s almost as if the last job served as a nice transition from the job before, to my current position. But of course, that isn’t something that is easy to see while it is happening.
Having a sharper image in mind when I was interviewing really paid off. Unlike with my last job, my suggestions are taken very seriously and actions are usually taken based on them. That is a very good feeling. I will admit, for my first few weeks, I was still a little unsure of myself just because I still had very little real-world experience in an enterprise setting. It wasn’t that I didn’t have access to all the knowledge that I need (hence the notes post), I was just worried about getting to the information fast enough in case I didn’t know something off the top of my head. I’ve learned to make general suggestions, then take the time to research and present the specifics. As I see the results of my work being successful, I am learning to trust my instincts more and realize that I do know what I am doing.
Perhaps the nicest thing about working here is that I am finally in a job that directly supports my studies. I don’t mean financially (I might explore that after I’ve been here for awhile and made some more contributions), but rather having an avenue of practical application to what I am learning. For example, the environment uses a large portion of the technologies covered on the CCIE exam, and it has been extremely beneficial to have live data to work with as far as show commands and things of that nature.
It has also been nice to read about something in a book, and then see the real-life use case of the technology. Before, when I read about something, I could only imagine how it might be used. Now, I can see exactly how it is used in a production environment. Likewise, as both a work and study tool, I have replicated key portions of our network in a simulator so that I can test changes without affecting production traffic, as well as learn more about the technologies I am working with. It definitely helps to make my studies feel more real.
Based on some of the work I have been doing lately, I finally feel proud to call myself a network engineer, and to finally have that as an official job title. I really feel like the last four years of studying have led up to this point, and the stuff I continue to study will only serve to propel me even further.
As I said, I know I won’t be here forever. For the past two times when I changed jobs, I just had a feeling that the time was right to do so. I know that feeling will come around again eventually, and I’ll be ready to listen to it yet again. I can only go up from here.