Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Job

2011 was a big change for me in the career front.  Well the change was really only for the last two months but changing jobs was a big deal. For the last 9.5 years I have been working at Northwestern Mutual in essentially 3 different roles.  The first 3 years I worked in Enterprise Business Intelligence designing large enterprise data warehouses and reporting databases.  The next 3 years I spent reverse engineering, re-engineering and improving an enterprise content management system consisting of a diverse mix of technology making it intricate and almost exciting.  The last 3.5 years I spent as an application architect/application engineer working on various projects from batch run web services, and a number of Websphere applications.

Although those last 3.5 years started out promising with interesting web apps to create with a good amount of autonomy and even a touch of cutting edge that was quickly derailed when the economy tanked.  NML froze most every new project I was to be working on.  As a way to preserve local employees, they sent a few hundred contractors back to India and diverted resources such as myself, who had no projects to work on anymore, to fill the gaps left by departed contractors.  This started a 2.5 year slide into software development doldrums.  I got some roles that were not a great fit for an Application Architect and subsequently lost a lot of interest in the field.  For a while there, I would have taken a job at Walmart and been happier.  Add on all the new direction for IS, the little box I was relegated to with the use of "Career Frameworks" and the heavy move to what I guess adds up to any standard big company process driven overhead BS, and I just was dying inside.
So after years of being hidden away and never having a thought of looking for another job, a former acquaintance hooked me up with a company looking for a .NET Web Solutions Architect.  It sounded great but I had one phone interview and hadn't heard anything for a while.  The thought that I could look elsewhere did fuel my interest in checking out the job market and seeing what was out there.  Well in the realm of technology there is not a job shortage.  I put a resume out there and I was getting calls daily for contracting positions in various technologies.  I applied for a few permanent positions at the behest of various headhunters and had some phone interviews for a few of them.  This was handy because I was going to be picky and I didn't want to settle plus I needed the interview practice.  I found that often the job as initially presented is not what the job really is.  The position at Kohls was just NM but even more limited in scope. The position at Heiler, although work from home and well-paying,  really was nothing than a road warrior java coder. The position at nVisia seemed decent but I was interviewed by the Java guy for a .Net position.

In any case, the first position I interviewed for called back and we arranged several more interviews and after another long wait I finally got the call while I was out in Washington DC for the Marine Corps Marathon.  In getting to know this company, I realized it was exactly what I was looking for and that I would be able to yank my career right back to where I had wanted it to be in the first place.  I now have an architect position,  I am free from most corporate BS.  I am rated on my ability to deliver on scope schedule and cost and I have the decision making authority to make the call and it...it just happens.  It still blows me away after two months.  It shows the level of how entrenched I was becoming that it is like a new miracle every day that what I do directly impacts a project or that I can just make the call and it is acted upon.  Such a great relief.

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