Tag: College

Did your job exist 10 years ago?

When I was in high school, approaching graduation, there were only a few careers put before me. I had to choose what to study in college. I had to find something that would prepare me for the real world. And pay my bills.

I wanted to be a zookeeper when I was young. I loved the outdoors and animals. Then that morphed into working for National Geographic when my interests collided with my budding geekiness. I wanted to travel the world and document what I saw from the lens of a camera.

When I was in high school the Internet was going through a bubble and a bust. But even then, the jobs I knew existed were the age-old professions like doctor, lawyer, fireman, police officer, or military service. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Nor did I have any idea the world would change so much between then and when I entered the job market four years later.

But now, there are jobs that simply weren’t around a decade ago. There were no software developers or graphic designers. No mobile developers or systems administrators. Computers filled rooms or tables. They didn’t fit into your pocket. People who understood these systems were only found in labs or universities. They weren’t inside every company and government agency.

There are thousands of jobs today my guidance counselor wouldn’t have even dreamed about in the year 2000. I graduated high school and entered the college world 13 years ago. ((I feel old.)) I went to college for four years to learn that I didn’t want to work in Advertising. I hold a B.S. In Mass Communications. But after four years I didn’t know what to do with that. I had no real world skills. I couldn’t get a job with it.

So as I was floundering and desperately hunting for something to pay the bills that wasn’t McDonalds when I graduated, I stumbled across a want ad for people to set up new computers. This was a job I could do. I called the number on the page and spoke to the woman on the line. She gave me an office number and a time to be there. And I was.

I don’t remember if there was much of an interview process. I think it was, “Hey, you’re got two strong arms and can read English. You’re hired!” Maybe there was more to it. But I got that job. And that led me down a completely different career path than I thought I was preparing myself for.

Since then I’ve worked in technical support and taught myself what I needed to know. I’ve learned enough to fix problems and have fun doing it.

My college degree hasn’t ever opened doors for me. But it made sure those doors were not closed prematurely. And being in the right place at the right time launched my current career path. And that’s something I never could have predicted.

Fancy Letters

I don’t have any fancy letters next to my name. I don’t have the years learning a craft with a fancy sheet of paper to show for my work. I went to college and I got a degree because that is what was expected. Out of high school you go to college, you get your degree then.

That’s where the story ends. What happens after that?

At every job I’ve ever held people have always asked me how I got to be so good at what I do. Where did I go to school? What did I study? The root of their questions always seem to be who taught me all of this wonderful knowledge I have now?

The answer always surprises them. The wonderful teacher who handed down their knowledge to me, was me.

I did not go to school for a technical degree. I was not a computer scientist. No math or science major. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Creative Advertising. ((My degree reads a BS in Communications.))

I went to school for Advertising because I wanted to be a designer in either print or web. I wanted to make things and communicate with people.

I went to college to learn all I could about the craft of advertising and some marketing. I spent my four years in school learning I didn’t want to work in Advertising.

All those long hours of brainstorming sessions over baskets of friends ((I used to literally sit with my creative partner(s) in a local eatery where we’re hash out our ideas over a basket of friends and soda for me, beer for them.)) All of the selling of junk people didn’t really want or need. I couldn’t work in that industry in good faith. It felt like I was lying to people. I was causing stress in their minds so they’d buy things to make them feel better.

Since I needed something to put food on the table. I started down a career path in Tech Support. My first job out of college was a 6 month contract working for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality on a PC deployment (moving from Windows NT to XP). As fate would have it, those 6 months turned into 12 months and I had a blast on the job. We traveled to all the DEQ sites around the state and setup hundreds of computers. That first year made me realize I really enjoyed working in tech support. I had found my calling.

I learned tech support was what I was really interested in. I wanted to bring the same sense of communication about something to customer support and service. I don’t want to make people buy things they don’t really need. I want to make people love and use the things they already have and learn to use them better.