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


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13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Jeff Hoak

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Posted June 30 2003 - 11:18 PM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   Todd Hochard

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Posted July 01 2003 - 12:28 AM

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
I love to singa, about the moon-a, and the june-a, and the springa...
-Owl Jolson

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Paul McElligott

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Posted July 01 2003 - 05:11 AM

[quote] What sort of small, family owned company has an IT dept. of 120 employees? Or, was that the whole company? [quote]I took it to mean the whole company was 120 people. I work for a company that size and we have a an IT depart of 2 people.
R.I.P. DVDSpot

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Jason_H

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Posted July 01 2003 - 06:19 AM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   Jeff Hoak

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Posted July 01 2003 - 07:07 AM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   Kirk Gunn

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Posted July 01 2003 - 07:55 AM

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

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Ryan Wright

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Posted July 01 2003 - 07:55 AM

[quote] At 45 my capacity for learning is a bit limited.
[quote] Don't sell yourself short, Jeff. Despite what they say, you can teach old dogs new tricks. If my 25 year old (dog years) can learn to stop barking at nothing, surely you can learn... whatever it is you need to learn.

I had a point here, somewhere.

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Jason_Els

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Posted July 01 2003 - 08:07 AM

[quote] At 45 my capacity for learning is a bit limited. [quote]
Rubbish. You start studying the brain goes back into learn mode. It takes a few months so it's worth it to practice studying but it is easy.

My father is 63 and he's starting a doctoral program at Oxford University in jolly old England no less.

My late neighbor took up Ottoman history, graduating with a doctorate from NYU. She was 72 when she graduated.

My cousin decided she wanted to be a doctor at 33. Starting with a pre-med program, she graduated with honors from Columbia medical school and interned at USF hospital. She now practices family medicine in Richmond, VA.

My sister, who at 40, received her MSW from Yeshiva is now starting to train in analysis at 42.

My mother began an MSW program at age 55 from SUNY Purchase, she still working on it as time permits.

My younger sister is now 33 and received her MSW two years ago from Johnson State in Vermont. She is now planning on a PhD in psychology from UVM after she marries in October.

Yes, I grew up with a family of head-shrinkers. I won't go into how I feel about that.

And finally, over half of all students graduating from college in the US are non-traditional adult students. Don't think for a minute you can't accomplish what they have. The only thing standing in your way is YOU.
For beauty is only a step removed from a burning terror we barely sustain, and we worship it for the graceful sublimity with which it disdains to consume us. - Rainer Maria Rilke

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#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Matt Stryker

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Posted July 01 2003 - 08:15 AM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   Jeff Hoak

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Posted July 01 2003 - 10:18 PM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   Todd Hochard

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Posted July 02 2003 - 12:44 AM

[quote] 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. [quote] If you gots da mad skillz yo Posted Image, change their mind. I'm doing this, one company at a time, because I lack the inclination to give untold hours of my time and money for something (at this point in my career) of little benefit.
Of course, this doesn't work with giant companies with rigid HR structures. Then again, I don't want to work for these types of companies.
Where in rural Central FL do you live? I promise not to forward to anyone who would force you back into the witness relocation program.Posted Image

Todd
I love to singa, about the moon-a, and the june-a, and the springa...
-Owl Jolson

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Jeff Hoak

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Posted July 02 2003 - 08:39 AM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   LDfan

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Posted July 02 2003 - 09:32 AM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   Todd Hochard

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Posted July 02 2003 - 03:16 PM

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.Posted Image 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
I love to singa, about the moon-a, and the june-a, and the springa...
-Owl Jolson




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