Friday, September 11, 2009

My Work Story

I majored in Electrical Engineering. However, I was not a great student, and I definitely did not know what I wanted to do with my super smart, cool degree, so I interviewed with anyone who would see me! Luckily, I ended up getting a job at a FANTASTIC company doing network engineering! And I stayed for 5 years. In that industry, five years is a lifetime; 3 years is average! I was almost like a mini-celebrity there - other than the lifers (engineers that had been there forever and would probably never leave), and some operations people, I was one of the few junior, or even mid-level, engineers that had been there for so long. This place was like an extension of my family. I knew how to do things, who did what, how to get what I needed, what supplies were provided, what the Christmas party was going to be like (AMAZING!!!). They saw me through marriage and two kids. The thought of leaving was nerve-wracking and scary and everything else. I could not tell these people I was leaving. I wanted to stay. But, I also wanted to get out. In some ways, my job had become suffocating. I had been there too long and needed to branch out, spread my wings.
I went to work for another government contractor doing the same type of work - like someone once said "same street corner, different pimp". I thought that was how it would be; I would seamlessly transfer in here, meet new people, and grow my experience. What I was not prepared for was how different these government agencies would be, how I would not know anyone, and how I was not a known quantity. I was so used to everyone knowing that I rocked at my job that I could totally suck and no one would be the wiser. That was one of the reasons I left the company - I felt like I had maxed out my potential. Plus I hated the project. So I had to start from scratch, make myself known, prove my worth, and learn, learn, learn! It was so hard. I am an introvert, and not prepared to throw myself out there in everyone's face, I wanted to be quiet and sit in my cube and do work. I thought the job was a bad fit for me and worried that I had made a bad decision. Until my sister inadvertently caused me to realize it was my problem and I could do something about it! So, I went to work the next Monday armed with questions for various people, and you know, you don't have to say much to get someone started on their own soapbox. It wasn't long before everyone knew who I was, started copying me on e-mails and meeting invites, and now, four months into this new job, I love it! I could not have made a better decision. I will still go through (frequent) periods of questioning this fit and worrying that I'm not good enough. But today, the stars are aligning, and I feel good!!!

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