The Job Experience, StartupVille: Year #8

The Function

like me

Hope this guy has strong neck muscles…

StartupVille was looking for a good support guy.  They had a solid software product and they’d convinced a small number of companies to buy it.  These companies would call in and ask for assistance.

Sound familiar?  It should, because supporting software packages is what I did for the first four years of my career, back when I was with SoftwareCompany.   This particular package centered around configuration management.  You can read the wikipedia page about CM solutions  if you’re interested in learning more on this topic — I won’t get into it here.

At any rate, up until I was hired, the engineering staff fielded these calls directly, and it was a burden on them.  So I took control of all customer requests, and began to build out infrastructure to audit and manage the incoming tickets.  This was my primary job function and it wasn’t all that bad because the workload was reasonable.  Instead of fighting the goblin horde, I faced off against a small pack of maybe five.  Totally manageable for a high-level warrior like me.

As an added bonus, I’d already acquired most of the skills I needed to be successful in this role so there was virtually no training ramp-up like either of my first two jobs.  I hit the ground running, more or less — my second week there, I was already talking to a few end-users and resolving problems.  It was an absolute relief to not have to do more Matrix-style knowledge uploads into my brain.

Also, because StartupVille was, of course, a startup company, everyone was asked to be a little bit flexible in their function.  You know the whole hat analogy in the business world — we put on a different one, and suddenly, viola!  We’re doing a different job.

This was a good development for me personally.  I spent some time working with our quality assurance team, filled in as a sales engineer for brief periods of time, and provided feedback on the future direction of the software.  On two occasions that year, I traveled to a client site to resolve a dicey issue.

Although I wore a lot of hats, none of them felt all that heavy.  Best of all, I was allowed to remove them whenever I wanted.

Functionally, I think that this is as good as it gets, for an office job.

Hindsight hasn’t changed that initial opinion a bit.

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7 Responses to The Job Experience, StartupVille: Year #8

  1. Tom says:

    I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’ve had jobs where my whole life revolved around work with little time for anything else – for extended periods of time. Years… I use to envy people with 9-5 jobs who never had to take work home with them. As you noted, work is so much more tolerable, and dare I say, even enjoyable, when you can assign it sufficient energy but with remaining stores in the battery packs for other things. Money is nice but when you don’t need much you have to question your motivation. You figured that out much earlier than I did.

    Over two years ago I turned down a contract gig that would have required a horrendous hour plus commute in both directions. Having FU money, I turned it down and two weeks later was offered a better position for more money and an apartment with less than a five minute walk to work. I know two other guys who were not as financially secure and to this day are still making that two-hour commute. Though they didn’t complain all that much, to me, at least, I could see them aging in front of me. The world will be a better place when we greatly reduce the need to sit in traffic for hours each week to earn a paycheck.

    • livingafi says:

      I really love the stories like this. Not the part where you were overworked, of course, but rather the fact that your stash allowed you to carefully consider your employment options and ultimately gave you a huge boost in life-quality in the form of not having to commute. Aside from the fact that long daily drives simply cost a lot, they’re draining and often feel like half of the work you do, on any given day. Lots of co-workers throughout the years have said their commute is the #1 thing preventing them from exercising on a more regular basis, for example, and it makes sense — that hour and a half on the road would be the perfect time to dump into a trip to the gym or even a long walk around their neighborhood. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Frankie's Girl says:

    I haven’t been a good commentator, but I just wanted to say that this series has been FASCINATING to me. I actually check in every day or so just to see if you’ve written more about your working life, so the length of the posts have been a bonus as far as I’m concerned. Awesome reading!

    • livingafi says:

      No worries, I’m still working on the next one. For what it’s worth, they take me a while to put together, mostly because of the length and image work. Not complaining at all — actually I find the process very enjoyable — but trying to offer an explanation on the number of days between posts. It’ll definitely be out in another day, two tops. There goes my regular job, getting in the way of my hobbies yet again… BTW, thanks for the comment and I’m glad you’re not bothered by the word count.

  3. Sounds like some good opportunities out east! Is the demand for engineers as hot as it is here in SF you think? The job market here seems to make people want to move every 2-3 years.


    • livingafi says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Sam. So I’m not familiar exactly with how hot things are in SF, but definitely it’s cooking along the NE corridor right now, and has been at least since 2012. For many people, it’s a good time to move and finally get that job-change-payraise that your current employer has been denying you for the past X years.

  4. Frank says:

    This is an excellent story, hell of a read

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