The Job Experience: Tech Support, Year #1

Yes,  I did this for four years.

Yes, I did this for four years.


Serious Warning: I’m going to embark on some very long, self-indulgent posts through June  the end of July mid-August.

If you read blogs strictly for financial insight, skip these.  I won’t be offended, and you’ll thank yourself for not wasting ten minutes every day.


Work and Money.  Money and Work.  Bound together, two sides of the same coin.  Their relationship makes discussing employment experiences acceptable in the context of personal finance and lifestyle blogging.

And I will be discussing these experiences quite a bit over the next couple of weeks. Part of the drive is simply to document my journey, highlighting positives and negatives, while sharing a few epiphanies which ultimately led to my decision to get the hell out of the rat race forever.  I have this vague sense that I might forget many of the details once I’m not actually living it anymore, and I don’t want to let these memories disappear or, much worse, become rose-colored over time.

The other part of the motivation is that there might be interesting or helpful bits scattered about. Before I went into the workforce, it was difficult or impossible to know in advance what the experience would really be like.  This is because no one talks about how the hours actually pass.  If you ask someone how it’s going at their job, they’ll search for an anecdote — some passingly funny joke or incident that they think will entertain you for a moment — and deliver it.  What they won’t do is give you a blow by blow accounting of pain and pleasure, suffering and triumph.  Or boredom.

And holy shit is there boredom.

In my teens, for example, I looked up at folks in their 30s and 40s, people who I knew held down full-time employment, and I didn’t have the slightest idea what their jobs or lives were like.  Example:  Oh, that’s Uncle Teddy:  He’s an insurance salesman.  And that’s Aunt Rudy: She’s a registered nurse.  There was zero concept regarding the real texture of their days. The Job Experience was basically a black box, the truth hidden from prying eyes.

I want to provide some of that truth.

One final note before I get started.  Many of the posts are very long.

Navigation Tip:  There are links to additional pages (1-9) below, under the sea of garbage.

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16 Responses to The Job Experience: Tech Support, Year #1

  1. Sounds like fun, sign me up!

    • livingafi says:

      Yeah. It really *was* a good job overall, that first year. The pain endured was roughly worth the compensation — a fine trade. Just wished I saved more of it.

  2. Gamergirl says:

    Oh, I had it even worse than you on the ‘needs based financial aid.’ My father made a cool half mil a year, but refused to contribute ANYTHING to my eduction. I literally could not even qualify for loans. I worked two jobs the entire time I went to school. THEN THEN THEN!!! While doing this, my father once had the audacity to sit me down and browbeat me because my grades were down.

    Anyway… at least your parents contributed something.

    • livingafi says:

      The fin.aid system has some pretty horrible inflexible formulas. It works out for some people and punishes others. Really sorry to hear you couldn’t qualify — at least my dad made under a certain threshold which allowed me to take out loans @5% or so directly from my school. And wow, your dad’s behavior… sheesh. Not OK. Even though I think the cost of education is out of control, it does end up working out for most people. Options for employment without a degree are pretty limited.

      • Gamergirl says:

        Yeah, its TOUGH if you don’t have a degree. Due to my dad’s ‘non-support’, I am still the only one of his kids to graduate school (last time I saw him he was musing about why that was, and I really had to hold back from really giving it to him). Anyway,
        All of my siblings are just barely scrapping by, barely able to afford rent (if that- one of my much younger brothers lived out of his car for several years).

  3. Gamergirl says:

    Heh, this post struck a cord with me. I too remember the first time I was too candid with a manager. He phrased somehting like a question “Hey, Gamergirl, can you handle this *big freaking project that is really time consuming*?”

    I replied with “No, manager, I’m really swamped just trying to do my monthly tasks.”

    Thats when I learned my managers politly phrased requests, were, in fact, not requests….

    • livingafi says:

      Yep. They’re not asking, they’re telling. It’s really best to play the “happy to help” game. “Yes, I’d be happy to help with that.” You’re going to have to do the work anyway, might as well be nice about it — and you’ll get on better with your manager in the bargain. I do make some exceptions to this rule, especially if I’m already absolutely stretched to the max — but that’s because of the power of FU money. Generally I’m still a H2H type employee b/c it makes the job experience, if not quite pleasant, at least less unpleasant.

  4. Brian Mota says:

    I really enjoyed this article and can relate to it in so many ways. I also work in the IT industry for a small business. It can be very stressful and demanding at times. I do like my job for the most part, however it is still work. I would much rather be home enjoying life, which is why I started to invest in the stock market in the first place. I am looking forward to your future articles!

  5. Really cool rendition of the early days, especially the transition from college bum to eager beaver trainee. My first year was spent wearing a tie. Young people were a minority my cube farm, although I’m a different kind of engineer, and I didn’t get any socialization through work. I was beginning to suspect I had made a terrible mistake… so I started to implement my plan of escape. Luckily I had some good travel opportunities (first to the Philippines in 1999) and my all-tech stock portfolio was going gangbusters, which kept hopes for a better future alive…

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  12. ajf101 says:

    I can relate to this. 2 solid years of tech support in a call center straight out of college. And BOY did they love their numbers. You couldn’t fit into the structure, you didn’t last long. (Two years was considered “long”.)

    Literally got into a fight with my boss one time that went something like this after a lunch that didn’t particularly like my stomach:

    “Hey boss, I need to use the restroom”.
    “You already took your 15 minute break.”
    “Yeah, but I REALLY need to use the restroom.”
    “No. Only one break. More than that and you’ll fall outside the 30 minute max for breaks today.”
    “Don’t care. If I don’t go now, I’m going to go in my pants.”
    “You can’t. The queue is above the level where CSR’s are allowed to take a break.”
    “Nature ain’t waiting. I’m going to log out of this phone, and I’m going to the bathroom. I’ll be back as fast as I can. I’m off the phone, and the company isn’t paying me to do it.”
    “I’m going to write you up.”
    “Fine.” *Started to walk away*
    “Is this a number 1 or a number 2?”
    “Go f*ck yourself.”

    He did me a “favor” by only doing one write-up encompassing both cussing him out and taking an extra break. Two write-ups was basis for being fired.

    Not sure I would have cared, really. The following month, they started the mandatory 6th day overtime…

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