My Job History, Part One: The Golden Decade

Last month I wrote about the best job I never took.

I figured it might be interesting to highlight some of the various twists and turns that my career has taken.  I thought I’d start off with the time after college.

I graduated college in 1996.  My first job out of college was working at a call center for a major IT company. I did technical support, helping people with password resets, troubleshooting printer problems, and other such things.  I was the youngest person on the team, but I was noticed quickly.  I was part of a team that traveled to other parts of the country to gather information from other call centers to form better processes.  I was named team leader after a few months.

(Side note: This job was awesome for so many reasons.  The pay sucked, but it got me practical experience, plus it was pretty entry level across the board.  It makes me sad now because I’m sure that these jobs simply don’t exist today as most call center activity is overseas these days.)

The job was good.  There were metrics that needed to be improved that simply weren’t being met.  I worked on a few things, set up a simple tracking spreadsheet, and soon we were approaching and even beating the metrics.  I wasn’t the only one that made it happen, but being part of a team that made things work was great.

Within a couple of years, I was ready for more.  The company was holding back on training opportunities, and given the massive structure of the organization, I couldn’t advance as quickly as I wanted.  I wanted to be more involved in setting up systems, and was also looking for more pay.  Even though I didn’t have as much hands on experience, I was offered a job at a small company (less than 20 people) doing network, server, and desktop support.

The pay raise was for almost 50% more than what I had been making.  This seemed like a fortune to me, though I realized after a while that I probably could have asked for even more.  This was never so apparent as when the first couple of years saw raises of 15-25% each year. Still, I was happy.  I bought my first place ( a condo), and was loving life.

I learned on the fly which was really cool, and was assigned as the point person for some emerging technology that the company wanted to focus on.  Plus, it was pre-Y2K meaning everybody was pretty much replacing everything, so business was booming.  Again, I did well.  I learned a ton of new things.  I got certified in lots of technology.  One day I mentioned that I was thinking of going to get my MBA, and without even hesitating, the owner told me they’d pay (looking back, another indication that I probably was a bit underpaid *lol*).

Everything was cool.  I loved it there and stayed for four years, when the post-Y2K slowdown hurt our business, making me realize that I probably had hit my peak there.   The owner had merged with another small business owner, and their personalities completely clashed, so the atmosphere went from relaxed and happy to nervous and fearful pretty quickly.  So, it was time to move on and I did.

I interviewed and was hired to do technical project management as well as be the manager of network and desktop services for a community hospital.  I didn’t work for the hospital directly as they had outsourced their business.  This model actually appealed to me, because it meant that I could potentially have upward mobility outside of the hospital at which I was working.

Healthcare was completely new to me, and I was now involved as a manager and in making strategic decisions.  They thought I was a great fit, and I stepped in and did well.  I re-organized some of the services that the desktop team was doing to improve customer service metrics, which had been below acceptable terms.  I helped organize and lead the migration of hundreds of servers to an offsite centralized data center.  Things were good.

So good that, once things had settled in, they actually pulled me off that account and had me work at two different sites which were having some of the same problems.  In both cases, I was able to work and improve their metrics.  I was getting good raises, good recognition, and making a name for myself.

At this point, it was early 2005.  I had been in the job market for nearly ten years.  Things had been going great pretty much at every step of the way.  Over that time, I tripled my salary.  I got some great certifications.  I was doing management level work and leading teams.  I really hadn’t hit many bumps in the road.

But I was about to….

Check back over the next couple of weeks and I’ll update the second part of my job history, where bumpy is the name of the game.

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6 thoughts on “My Job History, Part One: The Golden Decade

  1. A cliffhanger! You’ve got me hooked because you just covered a decade, and since you’re in 2005, the last 6 years must be action packed…

    • Well, it’s also like a resume, the further away in time you get form the job, the less relevant it gets. But yes things do pick up in 2005. Stay tuned!

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I love hearing about people’s pasts because they form such a great portion of who we are today. This is why I began my Confessions of a PF Blogger series and why I continue to seek out ways to share more about my financial journey.

    I think people sometimes see what’s presented currently on a blog and take that as the whole representation of the blogger. What they miss are all of the stories that have led up to the present–it’s sometimes quite different!!

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I haven’t written the next chapter yet but I know roughly what it will say. The positive feedback makes me motivated to do so soon!

    • It’ll probably be a couple of weeks. I think the whole series will be four posts if things go according to my vision!

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