30 Years as a Professional
July 2, 1984, a young 25 year old kid was walking down a sidewalk in Cincinnati, Ohio to start his new career with AT&T. As I reflect on these 30 years, it amazes me how much change has occurred, especially in technology and organization structure, but how much has stayed the same, soft skills and quality mechanics of writing, speaking, and negotiation. And through it all, I’ve adapted. Now I am a seasoned professional with a little thicker skin, a little more cynicism, yet still a core of enthusiasm and awe
I was actually making quite a career jump that July day. I had just resigned from a teaching job at Forest Hills School, had just earned a master’s degree in Computer Education, and had asked the most wonderful woman in the world to become my wife (she accepted and has taken this journey with me). I taught mathematics and had realized teaching was not the best fit with my skills and ability, I was interested in getting more involved in this new information age and saw myself embarking on an adventure with few expectations, but a lot of concern.
I was hired as a Course Developer into the AT&T ETC (Engineering Training Center) to help develop computer based training. I was actually referred to the job by the parent of a former student who saw potential – my first introduction to the power of a network. I was confident in my ability and knew I had a strong aptitude for PC based tools and capability. I also knew of organization structure having been employed in a school district for 3 years. Little did I know how similar the two worlds are – because they both depend on people. Actually one of the frequent questions I received after starting a job in the business world is how different teaching was from business world, and my smart aleck answer was: “in the classroom I dealt with twelve year olds that acted like they were six years old; in the business world, I deal with fifty two year olds that act like they are six years old.”
But back to the reflection. I walked into the office, met the person I thought was my boss and was told that there had been a reorganization already and you were now reporting to somebody else. I was then also told that the entire day was going to be spent in a team meeting dealing with Change. At least my job was still the same. And I’ve noticed since that day, my job is still the same. It is applying knowledge to solve a problem. Whether its configuration of a data network switch, administration of an application, writing business requirements, developing requirements, project management, or executive presentations.
I hope to share with you some of these observations over the next future (ok I have learned how to be vague sometimes when I don’t have the editorial calendar developed) and how they have impacted me as a business professional. I will spend time talking about my first day meeting, my adoption of technology, the anecdotes of corporate stupidity, and the successes that help keep us all going.
I sign all my emails with the same salutation because I think dialog and continuous learning are the adoptive skills we all need to thrive, and we can’t do it alone.
We’re All In This Together !!!