My Career Path – Part 2 “The Dream”

pencilIn my first post I detailed the choices that led me from my original plan of being a history teacher, to dropping out of my computer science program, to starting my first help desk job.

After 2 years of working at Taima (now Convergys), I felt that I had hit a wall. The job no longer challenged me and became very monotonous. I decided to put my resume out there to see if anyone was looking for someone with my skill set. I learned very quickly that call center technicians are typically only hired for other call center jobs. Luckily Tonia, a good drinking buddy of mine, was working at Magma Communications, a then small ISP who was looking for people to work on their corporate support desk. I was called in for an interview which covered advanced networking, provisioning, and Linux/Unix administration. After stumbling and bumbling my way through the interview I never expected to get a call back. To my surprise I received the call 2hrs later and was offered the job. My new manager later told me that I did horrible on the interview but I had great people skills and that Tonia said I was lots of fun to go drinking with.

It was at Magma where I started learning Unix/Linux/Windows system administration. I will admit that it was quite a steep learning curve but I really enjoyed it. Three months into my new job I received a call from a recruiter who was looking for a platform analyst, which is a fancy term for technical support person, for a contract at Nortel Networks.

“Wow, Nortel!” was the only thought that went through my mind. At this point Nortel was still at it’s peak and hiring like mad. Layoffs were the furthest thing from everyones mind and there was nothing but prosperity on the horizon.

At the risk of burning bridges at Magma I accepted the contract at Nortel, with promise of an extension after the first 6 months. Upon arrival I realized that a ‘platform analyst’ role at Nortel related to resetting forgetful users custom application passwords. After about 2 months I realized that working at Nortel may not have been the best career move. To sum it up:
The Positives:

  • More money than I had ever made before
  • Met my future wife
  • Got engaged to aforementioned wife

The Negatives

  • Lost quite a bit of my technical skills due to monotonous, repetitive work

As with most people with Nortel on their resume, the axe finally swung on my job 3 days shy of being there a full year. The Friday prior to the layoff I was assured by both my manager and the HR representative that I had nothing to worry about and that my job wasn’t going anywhere. Needless to say I was devastated that Monday morning when the same management tag-team told me that everything they had told me on Friday had been “recalculated due to business requirements”. “Recalculated” being the politically correct term for “bold faced lie” in this case.

So here I was…unemployed, living at my soon to be in-laws house waiting to take ownership of my newly purchased house (Oh did I forget to mention that little gem?), and not knowing what my next steps were.

Check back shortly for my next posting which details my post-Nortel career workshop experience, the job that launched my security career, and the co-founding of Koteas Corporation.

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