This is the second part of the three-part series I started describing Where I Came From, Where I Am Today, and Where I Want to Go.
Sixteen years ago I left North Carolina, my home for about 19 years, and decided to move to California. There are many reasons why I made that decision but at the top was a want to live near my grandparents and extended family while there was still time for me to do so.
Soon after I moved to NorCal two things happened that changed my life. I met my wife and I entered the professional world.
I met Jennifer in October of 2000 and by January of 2001 we were a couple. Four years later we were engaged and in 2005 we married. My life as a husband, and eventually a father of two boys, began.
Professionally, I was lucky to have an aunt that put me in contact with my first employer. I was very green but I realized as I looked for work I wanted to be part of the dot-com world. I didn’t exactly get that wish but my career in IT did begin in September 2000. For nine plus years I worked at the same small business as a document management consultant. Although I had a couple of coworkers that mentored me and shared their IT knowledge the vast majority of my IT skills were self-taught. I did go to specific product trainings but my general IT knowledge was all on the job training. At times I’m amazed I’ve managed to continue a career in this field with no formal certificates or degrees but then again there are many that have gone down the same path.
In 2006 Jennifer and I had our first son and in 2009 our second was born. I was a happy daddy multiplied by two. I always knew I wanted to be a husband and a dad and those dreams finally came true… and soon Jennifer and I will be celebrating 11 years of marriage.
My professional career hit a bump in April of 2010 when I was laid off as the consulting firm slowly closed it’s doors. I remember vividly getting called into my boss’ office and later that day going home to Jennifer to let her know the news. Frustration was among one of the emotions I felt that day, and I’m sure I’ll write one day to explain more, but over time I realized that I was finally free of a job that I had never left out of fear. Although I was appreciative of the job and my employer for letting me enter the door nearly 10 years earlier I probably should have left to seek out new opportunities much sooner. In hindsight, I’m grateful that I was pushed out of my comfort zone.
By August 2010 I found myself commuting to Vacaville, CA to one of my former clients. For the next two years I was able to continue bringing in a steady paycheck thanks to a few individuals that helped put me in a new consulting position. Although I was employed by a Sacramento based network consulting firm, Shandam Consulting, I continued to spend the majority of my time at the Vacaville client.
In time I was able to apply for a position that opened at Solano Irrigation District, the client I had been working for, in September of 2012. I am now approaching my 4th year anniversary as a full-time employee.
In the six years of serving SID my IT knowledge has climbed. I transitioned from a very help desk only orientated role to yet again being a consultant; albeit a consultant on the SID payroll. I now fill the roles of help desk support, document management subject matter expert, and chair of a customer service committee, among others. But if I had to describe my job today it is less IT Administrator as my title states and more business systems analyst as I work with the various user groups and assist with software implementations, integrations, and deployments. Regardless of the role, what I am doing more and more is advising and consulting with many of the software and online media related projects. And although the hats I wear are constantly changing the one constant is that I’m continuously serving others. That is my job. To help my coworkers be successful with their work by making sure they have the IT resources to do so.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize that I’m part of a two-person full-time IT team at the District that continues to receive support from Shandam Consulting.
Outside of work and home I’ve managed to be part of the core of a men’s soccer team that has played together for nearly 9 years straight. As a dad, I’ve also enjoyed coaching youth soccer for the past two years giving me a chance to develop as a coach and mentor. And most recently I joined the Roseville Pony Baseball league as Director of Registrar. After seeing how positive of an experience my boys had their first year with the league I decided I would do what I could do to give back and serve on the board.
So today, in 2016, I am a husband, dad, and all-around family man. I am also a youth sports advocate serving as a board member of one league and a coach (x2) in another. And while I fill all those roles I am also seeking out who I really want to be and using this blog and social media to help with that discovery process.
I’ll share a little more of my personal goals and what I want to see in my future in my final post of this series.
I’m also interested in learning more about my community. How did you get to where you are today? What were the major milestones that shaped who you are?