The Job Experience, IT Plumbing: Year #5, Part 2

Knowledge Upload

neo

In 2005, I would have paid almost anything for an auto-learn device like Neo had in the Matrix.

When I was initially hired to work at FinancialCompany, I wasn’t worried at all about the requirements of the position.

Let’s see if I can get the job first, I said to myself.  There’s a fair amount of overlap between the skills I have and they skills they’re looking for.  It should be OK.  

It was only after I’d been there for perhaps a month when it started to really sink in how much stuff I didn’t know.

I had to learn four massive software packages, a bunch of stuff on the networking side of things, nuts and bolts on processes and operational management systems, two new scripting languages, plus blah blah blah and I’m sure you’re hoping this sentence will end soon so let’s do that now.

You might be thinking at this point that I was putting too much pressure on myself.  That companies know that it takes time for new employees to come online.

Reasonable or not, my company wanted to plug me into the day-to-day as soon as humanly possible.  Statler and Waldorf needed breaks; they were burnt and needed downtime to recharge.  And I really needed to understand everything so I could competently manage these high-profile problems with the production systems.

During outages, we had these massive calls with ten or more people on them and if you were unsteady or unsure of what to do, you’d be exposed.  My manager said he wanted me leading the charge on these types of issues in about three months.

Learning:  Fantasy versus Reality.

Learning: Fantasy versus Reality.

I created lists of things I had to learn, and attacked it.  I installed products and ran examples and logged into systems to poke around and understand how everything was configured and linked together.  I read specifications and standards and manuals and web documentation.  It was stressful.  It was exhausting. But it was also fairly interesting and I’d matured as a person to the point that I was able to accept the fact that I’d signed up for this, and my company was paying me in accordance with the effort I was putting in.

Still, it’s one thing to say it and another to live it.  I was spending a couple of hours every night after work reading and working. Then I’d devote at least a half day every weekend to the same activity.  I wanted to be as ready as possible for when I started directly troubleshooting and managing issue resolution for FinancialCompany.

On this subject, the good news was that I was already an expert in the backbone technology that they used for their trading systems.  This is because it was the same software that my first company SoftwareCompany produced.  This was the main reason that I was hired, after all — I knew that product inside and out.

Bottom line:  Everyone’s curve is always the greatest during your first year of employment with a new company.

Mine was going through the roof.

explode

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8 Responses to The Job Experience, IT Plumbing: Year #5, Part 2

  1. Dwayne Hoover says:

    “After a while certain things build up in your mind over time like plaque in your arteries and the only way to flush them out is to get up and walk to a new place. I could feel the bits of congealed frustration breaking loose and getting cleared out.”

    This part is a punch to the gut. B2B sales role for 4 years, but I’m about to take a non-selling role with my company if I can last another 30 days or so without quitting. The closer I get, the harder this job is. Probably twice a week, I’ll wake up in the middle of the night, after basically have a nightmare about a technical issue with a customer – some former, some current, some a figment of my imagination. Can’t wait to clear my arteries. First thing I’ll be doing is changing my cell phone number (which my customers have).

    You’ve got a really unique voice. Keep up the awesomeness.

    • livingafi says:

      Hey Dwayne, really sorry to hear about the job situation. That totally sucks and as you know from my blog posts, I can completely relate, especially to the sleeping bit. Too many nights like that and you know it’s time for a change or you’re going to start getting ulcers. You can definitely make it for a month though, and when you get there you’ll feel SO much better, trust me. That big fat job-change reset button will get hit on the stress. Sure, your new position will be challenging but good-bye clotted up old junk. A good trade.

  2. Gamergirl says:

    I can’t believe they chastised you for bringing your lunch to work!

    And I agree with you about dressing up for work when you work in Accounting or IT is stupid. I turned down several job offers at places with strict dress codes.

  3. DS says:

    Really appreciate this series! Found your blog through either MMM or BNL and have been reading for 3 months or so. Just hit my one year mark in IT (basic project mgmt and data analysis) at a financial-based company. Between the incident counting, meeting sitting, and progress reporting, I have related a little too much to what you’ve written. Wishing every day I was hiking or doing anything but sitting in that office. Thank you again – I will continue to read, and I hope to reach FI some day soon!

    • livingafi says:

      Hey DS, thanks for stopping by. You’ll definitely make it — the only thing really required for FI is a good savings rate, and consistency i.e. sticking to your plan over time. Looking outside your window on nice days when you’re stuck in the office will help keep your motivation up and there’s no doubt you’ll stay on track. GL!

  4. Raffy says:

    I’m a new fan! I’m enjoying reading through this series. This week I had to deal with the disappointing feeling of failure and being a fake when everything is riding on you. I’m learning to accept it and move on… it’s just work after all, and the harshest critic is always yourself. Keep up the excellent writing!

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