Many months back I started going through the various jobs that I had. I figured it would be about a four part series, and I got through part one and part two, fully intending to hit the third and fourth part shortly thereafter.
Oops. Turned out I probably just didn’t want to talk about part three. And it also turns out that part three has multiple parts in itself. I think I waited to post it because it was a hard story to write. Why? Because for the first time in my life I failed at a job, and couple that with the fact that the company reneged on promises made at hire and I had a manager who I believe was just an awful person, and it was one of the darkest times of my entire life. Not just my career, but of my life.
See, this job wasn’t just a bad job. Don’t get me wrong, it was a bad job, but I almost let it get deeper than that. I came pretty close to letting it change me, and not in a good way. So, yes, it was definitely the worst job I’ve ever had and hopefully I never come anywhere close to this again.
The Brief Pre-History
After having lost my job in March 2005, rather unexpectedly, I was pretty bummed out. Until then, my career of just under ten years had been on an ever increasing trajectory. After college, I started on a technical help desk, quickly became a team lead, jumped jobs to get a big salary increase and learn lots about the server and network world, became team lead there, jumped jobs again when I couldn’t go any further, became manager, was sent to three locations to improve customer service numbers and did so. I hit a wall there when I ran into a manager that, truth be told, I think didn’t want to be surrounded by successful people, and had no idea when I was blindsided and let go.
So, my confidence was a little low, simply because this was something I had never expected and had never been used to. I spent a little time taking a break and decompressing before I got really into looking for another job.
I wanted to get in at a big company that my friend happened to work at. They had outsourced most of their IT stuff, but my friend advised that I look for jobs that might not be directly in line with what I do or wanted to do, but the important thing would be to get noticed. This strategy actually had worked with my last job, as I applied for an engineer job, but was hired in as a manager.
So, I tried again.
The Phone Call
The first thing I did was apply for a job in my field. The closest that I found in the location I wanted was as a Lead Auditor. I had never done auditing, but many of the secondary skills such as organizing teams, technical knowledge, and time management, were right up my alley. I applied and within a couple of weeks I got a call. I had a good conversation with the director of the IT auditing group. I was a little surprised that he was interested, and I even asked him this up front.
He assured me that the secondary skills were just as important, and that they could teach me the auditing aspect, which would likely be second nature to me. This seemed fair enough, and it might have actually worked had they followed through.
Still, it was a great phone screen and I was promised that I’d go through the interview process, which was actually a marathon of interviews all held over the course of half a day.
The Highlight Of The Job
A couple of weeks later I showed up, ready to go. I was set to have a long interview with the manager of the group I would be working with, followed by two short interviews with perspective colleagues, and if they all gave the quick thumbs up, I would meet with the executive director. I had been told that the meeting with the executive director was pretty much a guarantee that you’d be getting an offer.
The long interview with the manager went amazingly. He and I hit it off right away. I was up front about not having audited, but he was cool with that and again reassured me that this wouldn’t be an issue. He was impressed with what I had in terms of technical knowledge, and thought there’d be an opportunity to expand the audits into areas which they didn’t do because they didn’t have anybody with technical knowledge to put that together.
It was awesome. And it was the highlight of my entire time there!
I had the two colleague interviews and was also given the opportunity to meet with the executive director, which went just fine. All in all, I was confident I would get an offer, and I did.
About three weeks after the interviews, I showed up for my first day. This is where I will begin tomorrow.
Rest of the series: