07. September 2013 · Comments Off on Inevitable change · Categories: change, family, summer, vacation

I took the week off from work for the first vacation for the year. It was not a relaxing break but was a break from work. Without going into too many details, I did too much outside work, had rainy weather, and spent too much time alone and too much time feeling stressed for this to be considered a relaxing week.

Monday was the day to take my baby girl back to college. She had a rough first year, mostly roommate related. This year, she is in a new dorm with 3 other gals that had similarly difficult roommate issues last year. They are each determined to make this a better year. After less than a week after being at school, she and several of those gals took a road trip to see country star Luke Bryan. Given that she saw him over the summer in Hartford, she was in heaven seeing him again. I am so happy to see her in a much better place this year.

Last Thursday, I went shooting with my 21 year old son. He owns a couple of rifles now and I own one rifle that I’ve had since I was a kid. I inherited mine from my grandfather and have used it in the past to kill two deer as I was growing up in Pennsylvania. The shooting was both fun and entertaining. We had no hope of actually seeing the target from 50 yards away but had fun shooting nonetheless. The ammo was purchased by my son and I paid the range fees. All in all, it was a fun couple of hours together.

The big project that I started this week was the repair of our side yard that had stones covering the slope from the back yard to the front that the previous homeowner created. The stones were needed as the pine trees that were between us and the neighbor down the hill prevented most grass from growing on the hill. We removed the pine trees a few years ago and the soil has returned to a pleasant, grass-growing state. So the landscape cloth that the previous owner has laid down was now covered with dirt from the front yard (thanks to heavy rains) and grass that had both started in and now thrived in that same dirt. As I shoveled the stones into a wheelbarrow, I moved the stones that were on the side, many under the ivy bushes. While I was there, I pulled a few random branches while shoveling. Bad mistake. Poison ivy covered most of the ivy so my arm are now covered with what is left from that poison ivy, a week later. It has been a miserable experience that I don’t want to do anymore! To top things off, I had my first colonoscopy on Friday. Fasting for 48 hours and taking the meds to prep were among the least fun experiences of the year to put it mildly.

While there’s a bit more going on at home, I’m not quite ready to reveal that yet since it’s still pretty much just starting to be juggled and is very much up in the air. Let’s just say that one life coach and one therapist will push a few things into changing. It’s been a rough 5 years with no friends outside of work and two very demanding jobs – things are certainly ripe for change. Also, when you no longer need to have your kids in a specific town or high school, options open up. When one of you is in a job you hate and get beat down every day, things have to change. We’ve been together 27 years, married for over 26, but things change. Hopefully, whatever changes come will include both of us.

More to come…

The past few weeks at work have been absolutely nuts. Our team moved under a different manager during the summer, including a different VP over our team. This changes our direction somewhat, but we’re mostly doing the same thing we have been doing. The biggest exception to this is what I am specifically doing. We have three members of our team, but each brings a different level of experience to the team. I am, by far, the most seasoned info security professional on the team. I am a bit younger than my closest teammate in age, but she has spent a considerable amount of time in a related but somewhat more focused role. The youngest member of the team has moved around a bit and has, again, been less focused on our primary goal of information security for his entire career.

My focus on information security started when the industry was really in it’s infancy. Part happenstance, part luck, I ended up where I am through many hours and lots of persistence. So, I have a new role. The migration of our team into the new VP somewhat lined up with other changes happening in the Enterprise Architecture Services group. People would be aligned with specific domains – information, technology and applications to name a few. My specialty continues to be a strong background in data security, so I am now the domain advocate for the security domain that crosses all of the other domains. This is either a blessing or a curse. A blessing because it provides more corporate focus on information security, a curse because as of today, I am the only one in this domain. The fact that I still have responsibility for all of my existing projects, each requiring a great deal of attention, is my biggest challenge.

As this year winds down, I have an increased workload and decreased ability to “opt out” of projects. At the same time, I have increased visibility with the senior management of the company. If executed well, this could be an excellent career move. If I stumble and don’t ask for help and training and patience, I can easily be the driver of my own failure. The choice is easy – ask for help, pawn off existing projects, and create some time to focus on the new opportunity and doing the right thing for the company. I’m sure that I can work this out and succeed if I handle this right. Now, about that vacation I had to take before year’s end… that might just have to wait.

Starting on Monday, and concluding today, I purchased a 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid. This car is loaded to the gills, with a full navigation system, XM radio, heated leather seats, and moon/sunroof. I never thought I’d pay this much for any vehicle, but with my job situation likely to change in the next few weeks, I will have a much longer commute each day. The car is very comfortable and will also make the 18-hour drive back home for a weekend or two worth while!

Here is a picture if you want to see (CLICK HERE).

One of the things I like most is the Bluetooth integration. From the steering wheel, I can initiate calls or answer calls. From what the people I’ve spoken to say, the clarity is excellent – much better than with my Bluetooth headset in my truck.

The other thing I like is the dead silence when the car is stopped. No noise what-so-ever. After running tonight, I asked Melanie to tell me if the car was running or not. She said no… then I put it in drive and edged away. She was surprised to say the least. Give me a few thousand miles to figure out if I really like it!

This year will be one of change. Jake will get his drivers license and have a full season with the Robotics team. KT will have her knee surgery and regain mobility. Sue will continue to run both the house and the Foundation with utmost precision. I will finish hundreds of miles running capped by completing the half-marathon. We will consider our job options and current location with care, sure that there will be a change in one and likely a change in the other.

It is indeed a year of change.

This afternoon, I am trying to rewrite my resume. My current position is not getting any better, actually regressing to what I did several years ago. This is certainly not where I want to be in my career.

My company outsourced much of the IT department to a really big company, otherwise known as Itty Bitty Machines, but I won’t mention names. Since that has been implemented, we lost all of the administrative staff that was on-site, with that now being handled by an off-shore team in Argentina. While I think that they are doing a bang up job, they simply don’t have the experience to perform the same functions that the folks who left did. That lack of experience and personal accountability is showing in the fact that they have many times more people doing the same job that the three people were doing on-shore.

Well, I am not a complainer at all. At least not until lately. I have found myself complaining about the number of things that they don’t know, the number of circumstances for which they simply cannot respond without my intervention. At times, I have 4 or more chat windows open with them requiring my assistance since it’s a new situation or a “we don’t handle this, do we” question. The down side to this is that the rest of my job doesn’t stop when I am handling this other work. So, I have found myself working more and more hours, and thinking / stressing about work more. Even on the weekend, I work, and certainly don’t ever clear my mind of work. I’ve become unable to break the barrier of work and my family is starting to pay the price.

So, it’s time to look elsewhere. Putting down on paper the things at which I excel is uncomfortable. I have spent 10 years accumulating the experience at my company that is the reason why I do so well. Experience is not common in my company, sans a few key players, and allows me to see a very broad picture that a newby just doesn’t. I will struggle on how to put this down in words without coming across as cocky, but enough to get my foot in the door at a new firm. If they would only talk to my references first, I don’t think that I’d even need a resume. If they could talk to some of my co-workers, they would hear that I am able to and am willing to help them when no one else does.

All I really know is that 10 years in one company is now actually held against you in many cases — not seen as a stick it out / make it better strength.

Happy New Year!

It is 2007, officially, as of about 12 hours ago. My daughter and I celebrated at a friend’s house with a bunch of other guys who were on their own. Several of us were in that position because our wives were out of town visiting mutual friends. We touched base with our spouses a few times – just before and just after midnight. It was a good time, with lots of darts and food, and a couple of beers to boot. As usual, my friend Jeff and I won at darts — we are very good as teammates at anything we do. He is normally better at most “sporty things” than I am, but I can pull my own and often surprise myself.

Today it is warm and raining. For the past three years, we have played tennis for a few hours early on New Year’s Day — but not this year. We play outside, so don’t have the luxury of either heat or play in inclement weather. We were sure of the weather last night, so knew we weren’t playing today. So, we drank more than if we were playing, and stayed up way too late. I’m paying for both today, so hope to get in a nap later. We are heading across the street for the annual brunch that our neighbors throw. Good food and many friends will be there – always a great way to bring in the new year.

Here’s to a wonderful, prosperous new year!

With my job that is. I think that we have people bailing left and right, with the only ones that are staying put are the ones that insane. Guess I’m one of the insane ones for now.

I do have an interview next week. The “opportunity” I spoke of earlier. Not quite sure what to think about it yet. Can’t get a job description other than a very general one. It would be a great company from what I hear, but a very challenging job. Some cleaning house first, then setting up many policies and procedures. Now, do I even have a good suit to wear? Might need to visit a suit shop this weekend and see what I can buy off the rack. I hear S & K has some good off the rack stuff. At least I can wear it to church when I’m done.

I really don’t want to sound negative about the job possibility. I would love to be in a better company, where people are not treated as a commodity. Guess I’m stuck in the 80’s where that was the life I lived. Did I work my tail off for them? Absolutely. Did they pay me well? Absolutely not. Not because they chose not to, but because the companies were young and growing and reinvesting all the capital into themselves. Did it pay off? Absolutely. I’m in a much better position now because of the sacrifices I made then. Having the kids, having my kids in particular would make it impossible to do that over now. To date, we’ve been lucky with jobs. Guess it’s that go-get-em attitude we both have and a bit of luck. Mostly the attitude. Work harder than anyone else and eventually it’ll come back to reward you.

TGIAF (almost friday)…