From Unlikely Beginnings to Thriving in IT: A Journey of Discovery

Estimated read time 4 min read

While strolling down memory lane thanks to the fun post by Eric Brown, Jr. about LAN parties, I thought I would share how I moved into IT as a career.

While strolling down memory lane, inspired by Eric Brown, Jr.’s nostalgic post about LAN parties, I am reminded of my own enthralling journey into the realm of IT. In the late 90s, a twist of fate propelled me into an exhilarating adventure that would shape my career. Over the span of nearly two years, I found myself immersed in a whirlwind of learning experiences, from mastering CL and RPG to assuming responsibility for PC and network support. These formative years allowed me to rebuild crashed servers, contribute to the AS400 upgrade, and prepare my company for the impending Y2K chaos. Along the way, I developed an uncanny knack for recognizing the Xerox printer’s paper shortage by its distinctive sound, and reveled in the excitement of running a check burster during the AP run. These vibrant memories serve as a testament to the profound impact of the diverse skills and experiences that shaped my early days in the IT industry.

Chapter 1: The Unlikely Friendship

In the midst of my work in the accounting department, fate intervened, leading to an unexpected bond with John, the local IT specialist. Our growing friendship introduced me to the intricacies of the AS400 and the enduring legacy of the System/38. As someone with a PC and Apple background, this unexplored territory sparked a deep fascination, drawing me further into the realm of business technology.

Chapter 2: A Passing of the Torch

A defining moment arrived when John announced his departure from the hotel. Little did I know that his exit would unlock doors I had never imagined. During a casual conversation, John shared that his former company urgently required a system administrator for their AS400. The untimely passing of their longstanding admin had left a void of knowledge that needed to be filled. I found myself standing at a crossroads, torn between the opportunity to step into John’s shoes at the hotel or embark on a daring new adventure alongside him at Biltwell Clothing Company.

Chapter 3: Embracing the Unknown

Driven by a sense of anticipation, I made a bold choice to join John at Biltwell. While the corporate office of a men’s clothing manufacturer may have seemed worlds apart from my accounting origins, I couldn’t resist the allure of continuing my journey under the guidance of my trusted mentor. As I settled into my role, a wealth of knowledge unfolded before me. I became intimately acquainted with CL and RPG, fearlessly tackling challenges ranging from server crashes to Y2K preparations.

Chapter 4: Beyond Technology

My time at Biltwell proved to be a transformative experience, revealing that IT encompasses far more than code and hardware. I discovered the profound impact technology can have on a business, as each decision I made reverberated throughout the organization. Understanding the importance of aligning technology with the company’s needs and budgetary constraints became paramount, emphasizing that technology should serve the business rather than being a mere pursuit of cutting-edge trends.

Chapter 5: The Circle of Mentorship

Throughout my continued journey, I recognized the immeasurable value of mentorship. John’s unwavering belief in my potential paved the way for personal growth, inspiring me to pay it forward. Serendipitously, an opportunity arose to recruit my brother Scott, enabling me to pass on the knowledge and support I had received. Guiding others on their own IT paths became a source of joy and fulfillment, embodying the enduring power of mentorship.

With no regrets about leaping into a career in IT, I reflect on the thrilling journey that has brought me here. As I look ahead, I am excited for future generations, as the IT landscape continues to evolve in complexity, offering them the chance to contribute to technological marvels yet to be imagined. The path I have traversed, filled with unlikely beginnings, unexpected friendships, and a deep appreciation for mentorship, has shaped the IT professional I am today.

#technology #job #payitforward #career

Originally posted on June 30th, 2023

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