Older and Wiser

This past August passed the 3 year mark of a company I work for. The anniversary occurred while I was on a business trip to Europe, otherwise I would have gotten wasted with several coworkers (which seems to be a tradition among the people whom actually get things done there).

It’s hard to believe when I look back. The very rapid rise (though it seemed slow at the time) that I experienced can seem somewhat daunting. At 25 I’m already single handedly making more than the average household income in Canada. I rose from a measly monkey that called people when shit broke to a Jr. Systems Engineer in the span of 10 months and from there moved to a Senior role 6 months later. It took 8 months just to land a job at all after school. I went through dozens of interviews where people said “oh, we loved your enthusiasm and your knowledge, but we’re looking for somebody older and with more experience even though we thought you’d be wonderful for the job.” I then land a job and rapidly rise through the ranks. The laughable part is that it didn’t seem all that difficult to do. Maybe I’m just well suited to the logical (and spat of creativity) required to fulfill the role I’m in.

Fresh out of school I would have never thought that I’d be in a Senior role, building systems that cost more than I make in a year, traveling to 4 different countries for this job, being the only one left after laying off 3 other people in the group, and own a 2 bedroom condo right smack in downtown Toronto. It’s been surreal, going to London (England) and having people call you the guy that gets things done and being offered beer…it’s a whole other continent!

I’ve realized I’m in demand…UNIX administrators can be a dime a dozen, as everybody who’s installed Linux seems to all of a sudden be an expert. However even somebody with my skill set…somebody that can begin to rebuild a DNS infrastructure, web servers on a whole different platform, Weblogic and Java application servers, enterprise grade SANs, sendmail, learn and implement a whole new UNIX platform (FreeBSD to Solaris, as much as I disagree to some reasons of the migration) I pulled it all off with relatively few issues. So somebody like myself, that can do more than create some webserver that “ just works” but works properly and can back it up with facts to people who disagree AND have been working in the industry for much longer. I know know that UNIX admins of my calibre are a very rare breed. I’m not even in it for the money. I actually enjoy what I do and it’s a challenge and a pleasure. I’d do it for half, except for the fact that the industry is actually paying more.

It was something that I was afraid to do before. If somebody else merely said “I don’t want to do it that way” I would clam up, but now I speak up and they better have a damn good defense or they’ll fall apart. I’ve slowly, but surely developed the confidence to back myself up.

It’s a bit weird to be sitting on my balcony looking out over the Grange park on a pleasant evening. I’m very well off, got a great girlfriend, excellent prospects for the future, hilarious cats that are trying to stalk pigeons from the balcony, and hardly a care in the world. I can only wonder what the future will bring.