Isn’t that a great title for a Monday morning? Unfortunately, I can’t play that song. Not yet. But I can on Friday.
After three years at a company I dubbed Medishack, I am moving on to a new company that does online order fulfillment. I literally will be telling robots what to do. However, I’m not literally telling Medishack to take this job and shove it. But it is time to move on.
I came to Medishack about 3 1/2 years ago after being laid off for six months. Prior to that, I did contract work to keep the lights on. I actually only had about 10 weeks of actual unemployment. The first four were funded by severance pay. The last…
Yeah, that was scary.
Medishack was a perfect opportunity. It combined my old skills (Desktop support, and no I will not fix your computer. Go see Geek Squad.) with my new (Web programming.) It also restored my old salary.
Coming to Medishack, however, was culture shock. I went from BigHugeCo the previous year to a company with only 120 employees working in a converted warehouse on the far side of town. BigHugeCo is a Fortune 500 company that owns a sizeable chunk of Cincinnati. (No, not P&G. P&G is one of those rare companies where people spend most of their working lives.) At BigHugeCo, we had a real estate department that would move your furniture for you, teams on IT to move your computer, plug in your network, and change your security, all while you sat at your breakfast table eating your Wheaties. At Medishack, we moved half the company around with the company president showing up in shorts, a T shirt, and ratty sneakers to move file cabinets.
The new company, which still needs a bogus name to mask its identity in my online presence, is closer to Nita’s company: Smallish, but behaving like a larger company. There are more formalized benefit packages. Someone else moves your desk if you move. But there’s still only about 100 employees. For now.
One thing that will take some getting used to is the fish bowl environment. The new company works on an open office plan where everyone can see everyone else. No cubes. On the upside, this makes getting distracted by shiny stuff on the Internet less of a problem because everyone will want to be seen working on code. On the downside, no privacy. I have a tablet and an iPhone. I can do my car payment online with those.
I’ve had more than one interviewer ask why I would ever want to go into development after working so long in desktop support? Simple. I realized years ago that desktop is a dead end. When I came to BigHugeCo in 1999, the desktop, network, and server guys all ruled the world. We were kings, and the business units gave us kingly raises. My first raise was 13%. Yeah, you try getting that, especially in a jobless recovery.
But in 1999, desktops still had novelty. I loved ripping them apart or changing the Windows version. It is like a teen’s obsession with cars leading to a job as a mechanic. My brother tried that. Now he seldom mentions he works on his own cars lest someone ask him to fix theirs. It’s the same with desktop. I don’t tell my neighbors that. And since Medishack, I never mention the desktop side of the job. I call myself an IT administrator and talk about the system I wrote. Forget the desktop half of the equation. I’ve got enough yardwork to spend my Saturdays finishing.
But a small company that’s been small for 25 years is no place to stay unless you’re just maintaining your income. I went to school in my forties to reinvent myself, mainly to get better income. The new company is growing. There are jobs they don’t need yet that I can grow into. There are jobs elsewhere I’d like to come looking for me in three to four years.
There are student loans to pay that won’t get paid on Medishack’s pay.
Still, it’s kind of scary. Now I have to do programming for real. And I did get comfortable at Medishack. But no one achieves anything outside of their comfort zone.