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Monday, May 16, 2011

Perspective: Then to Now...

What a journey!

When I first started at CCARC in 2007, I had just been laid off by my previous employer of 14 years. That had been a series of corporate IT jobs, my favorite having been a couple of years in desktop support. When I got the news, there was about 30 seconds of "Oh sh*t, what now?!?", followed by an immense sense of relief that the Universe had finally granted me an exit opportunity from a job I was too afraid, insecure, (and lazy) to leave on my own.

I hadn't been unemployed but a day when I came across the ad for the position of IT Coordinator here at the agency.  Working IT at a non-profit was something I had considered many times, but the hurdle of significantly reduced salary was more than I had the courage to try and overcome. With this job posting, I had a chance to pursue a career path closer to my heart, and a chance to put my skills to use for an organization that was making a difference.

Working someplace where I didn't feel like I had to check my soul at the door every morning, doing what I do best?  Sign me up!

It was literally 6 days from unemployment to first interview, and 2 weeks from interview to first day on the job. I was the first IT person they'd had on staff, having patched together support from a few sources and somehow limped through their introduction to computers, e-mail, and the internet. When I came on board, I was welcomed as a much-needed resource, and I quickly got to work putting out fires. A lot of fires.

I had quite a road ahead of me, but not once have I thought that going back to a corporate gig was a preferable option. I have a ridiculous amount of flexibility and latitude in this job. There have certainly been times when the breadth of my duties and responsibilities has been overwhelming, but those anxieties were matched with the sense of accomplishment I felt when I would implement a solution that required my own brand of innovation and "can do". I have been able to experiment and explore tech in ways that have sometimes seemed tangential  at first, long on the "tech for tech's sake" without any practical application in the context of the needs I am trying to meet here; but then somewhere down the line those explorations and discoveries have suddenly developed relevance when a new challenge appears.

If there's one thing I truly miss, it's a sense of cameraderie with fellow geeks. I am hoping that by journaling my challenges and triumphs here, someone out there will reach out and share their stories and "a ha" moments. This can be a lonely business, not strictly because I am the only IT person, but also because I am working with tools and concepts that most people don't find as fascinating and promising as I do. And that's OK.

So on I go, and here is where I will leave my breadcrumbs for others to perhaps follow.

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