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Well... Chalk up one more IT guy in the unemployment line

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jeff Hoak, Jul 1, 2003.

  1. Jeff Hoak

    Jeff Hoak Well-Known Member

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    As of Monday June 30, 2003 at 5:00 PM

    It's been a good run... 5 years and 1 month as net-admin/user support for a small family owned company.
    As they say... All good things come to an end.

    The downsizing and layoffs actually began March 2001. Between then and now staff has been reduced from around 120 to 6 (me included). Frankly I'm amazed that they kept me around as long as they did. Do you know how little there is to do with only 5 users to take care of.

    The good news... Really nice severence package plus up to 39 weeks of unemployment. By my calculations I won't HAVE to work until early in 2005. With any luck at all the economy will pick up a little by then and companies will be hiring IT staff.

    D@MN... I suspect that this is going to have a really NEGATIVE impact on the HT upgrade budget... On the flip side I've got plenty of time to enjoy what's here!!!
     
  2. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Well-Known Member

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    What sort of small, family owned company has an IT dept. of 120 employees? Or, was that the whole company?

    Have you looked at Lockheed? I have a few neighbors that work there.

    Todd
     
  3. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Well-Known Member

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    Real Name:
    Paul McElligott
     
  4. Jason_H

    Jason_H Well-Known Member

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    Do you have any certifications or specialties? I would use the time off to get certified in a platform that is in demand (Oracle, Cisco, SQL Server, etc.) so you can move beyond support. IMHO, don't bother with generic MSCE certs or anything like that.
     
  5. Jeff Hoak

    Jeff Hoak Well-Known Member

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    Todd Hochard,

    The whole company was 120. The office staff across 2 locations hovered around 40. There was 1 IT person, me. Total staff remaining in the office (only one office now) is currently at 3. Quite a change from how things USED to be...

    I interviewed at Lockheed about 6 years ago for a contract position. After 3 seperate visits and interviews with 7 or 8 people, they decided that I lived too far away to be of any use in an "on-call" capacity. Oh well...

    Jason_H,

    I already hold MCSA, MCSE, CCNA, and A+. I've been studying for MCDBA (SQL server) and upgrading the MCSE to XP-Server. I took the classes for CNA but never took the exam. There's still a few Netware shops around but they're getting fewer and farther between.

    I don't lack a whole lot of hours of having my network engineering degree. I'm hoping to spend the time off in school and finish that up. Depends of course on funding (or lack there of).

    I've also got a possible shot at trading consulting work for tuition at a local private college. If I can hold out financially I could end up with a BS business administration and possibly a MBA. On the surface it sounds like a good idea and a heck of an opportunity but I'm not sure I want to spend that much time in school. At 45 my capacity for learning is a bit limited.
     
  6. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Well-Known Member

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    You should be able to get assistance considering your current predicament. Good Luck in your new quest.
     
  7. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Well-Known Member

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  8. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Well-Known Member

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  9. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Well-Known Member

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    Jeff- Did you do a lot of network stuff at your job? I would say concentrate on getting your degree and then maybe getting an additional Cisco cert or just taking a few of the CCNP classes.

    IMHO, getting certifications in stuff that you don't have work experience in isn't going to help you too much with getting hired. Getting that degree and getting more knowledge in the fields you already have will help. You've got a good variety of certs (make sure to keep them current) now maybe a little specialization is in order.

    The other good thing that finishing up your degree would do would give you access to your school's career placement offices, which can be a great assist in getting where you want to be.
     
  10. Jeff Hoak

    Jeff Hoak Well-Known Member

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    Matt Stryker,

    A lot of "network stuff"? I'm not real sure what that means. Did I design, build, and configure the entire network at my last job? Yes. As well as the day-to-day net admin tasks I also did software support for all of the users. On top of that was the WAN to the other office. No easy task condisering the quality and relibility of circuits in rural central Florida. Let's not even discuss Exchange Server. Anyone know how to keep an Exchange 5.5 server from leaking memory??? I sure don't!

    This last network was 100% NT 4.0 servers and workstations. VERY stable and all but bulletproof. I had one server that hit 900 days of uptime until a software update forced a re-start. I took the MCSE and CCNA classes anticipating a Win2K rollout but the company downsizing KILLED the IT budget and it never happened.

    Prior to that was about a year of hardware service. I'd gotten kind of burnt out on network administration and was looking for something a little different. Started out doing bench and field tech work. In the end they put me back on network andmin work so I was right back where I started. Developed the attitude of "why fight it, it's what I do".

    Before that one was 4.5 years administering a smallish (35 users, 1 location) Netware network. Started out with 3.12 and ultimately migrated to 4.0. I wish I remembered everything I once knew about Netware. I suppose if I have to it'll come back to me. I hope!

    I don't figure that a degree can hurt a thing. It's always annoyed me that some employers REQUIRE a degree (a BA in underwater basket weaving is just fine) for a job and actual "hands-on" experience counts for SQUAT. I'm working under the assumption that having the paper in a field actually related to what I do can't help but be an atvantage.

    I've always been a bit fascinated by the administration side of large databases like SQL and Oracle. I may head that direction. ERP looks interesting. Network security is shaping up to be a HUGE segment of the industry. Considering my history (a little bit of black-hat hacking) I'd probably be good with it but I just can't seem to get excited about the idea. If that's where the $$$ lead then so be it.
     
  11. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Well-Known Member

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  12. Jeff Hoak

    Jeff Hoak Well-Known Member

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    Todd Hochard,

    First of all... The main office is just outside of Lake Wales. I live about 15 minutes from the main office. Our "remote" office was in Clewiston. In all fairness, this end of the circuit was always fine, thanks to Verizon (GTE). The Clewiston side on the other hand... Well let's just say, that in my opinion Sprint data services frame relay isn't worth much. Certainly not what they charged for it.

    On the subject of... "to degree or not to degree... that is the question"

    See... That's the problem. Skills or no skills, without the paper there are some who won't even talk to you.

    LRMC... no degree = no interview
    Polk County... no degree = no interview
    PCC... no degree = no interview

    And so forth and so on...

    The sad part is that I've SEEN these peoples networks. NOT sophisticated AT ALL. I don't have any idea who writes the "job requirement" spec but they clearly don't have a clue as to what's REALLY required of an admin.

    Another example: The fine city of Lake Wales. A few years back they built a new "city government center" complete with a brand spanking new "state of the art" network. They decided that they needed a new "senior network administrator". I saw the add and called. I almost laughed out loud on the phone.

    JOB REQUIREMENTS: A Masters degree or better (PHD preferred) in computer engineering or comperable. Minimum 10 years of experience in network administration. MCSE (required) CNE (required) CCNE (required). Vet prefered. Salary: $19,500 to $22,000 depending on experience.

    Just try to NOT laugh at that... I hope that they "got a clue" though for some reason I doubt it.

    Example #2... Academia... There's a local private college. About a year ago they were interviewing for a new "Director of IT". I actually interviewed for that one since I'm VERY familiar with the school in that I (1) attended classes there (2) built almost ALL of the computers that they currently use and (3) My SO's father is a member of the senior faculty. Anyway... Masters or better REQUIRED! Salary $12,480 per year. I quickly did the math ($6.00 per hour) and asked the HR Director that I was talking to if he realized that I could make MORE money flipping burgers at the local McDonalds. He advised me that their salaries were "competitive with local industries and in line with those of other southern schools". Yea right!

    Ok... I'm on a rant now... Time to stop.

    I'm actually looking forward to a point in my life where the most difficult question I have to ask any given day is "Ya want FRIES with that?".

    It's looking like it'll be sooner rather than later...
     
  13. LDfan

    LDfan Well-Known Member

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    These days, at least here in the DC area certifications are a big deal it seems. Anyone in the industry will agree that a certification doesn't mean anything really but it's the HR people that are flooded with a hundred or more resumes per job vacancy.
    Given that most people applying have similar education and work experience the one thing that may stick out are certifications. The microsoft ones are becoming a standard must have since most places expect them now. Ones that will really stick out are the more difficult ones to obtain such as Oracle, certain Cisco ones, Sun and so on.
    The database area is still a good one to focus on. The ERP area is another good one too. Consultants for ERP companies still rake in a high salary even in this economy.

    Jeff
     
  14. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Well-Known Member

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    Jeff H,

    Those job listings are a joke. Typical though- govt and universities seem to be out of touch with the real world re: salary vs. experience. Let me put it this way- the secretary at my friend's office (he works at Hyperion) makes more than that.

    It might be time for another field, though. You IT guys seem to have it rough (although there does seem to be a glut of IT people). My field (semiconductor equipment engineer) is less crowded, but then again, we aren't hiring either.[​IMG] And, no one in my company has gotten a raise for quite some time.

    I'll be rolling through Lake Wales tomorrow on my way to Fort Myers.

    Todd
     

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