Doctor? Lawyer? Indian Chief? Not Exactly.

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Incredibly, especially after 6 jobs in my first 17 years of employment (the half-life of software start-ups is less than half of what you hope for), I celebrate today my 10th year, consecutive that is, with my current employer.

After the Navy, I helped to build ships in Maine. Moved to North Carolina & entered a sales training program with ITT Telecom; tossed-out 7 months later with the other 2,000 employees. Began a 7 year run in the factory automation software business, including hired, fired (here we go again), re-hired, bought the company, bought-out by the Japanese partner and then hired and moved to Europe with our German distributor. Conclusion: I didn’t belong on the manufacturing floor even though I enjoyed the complex process of production.

Two more start-ups: one in user-experience design delivered on the ‘ol CD-ROM; the other developed an application server for delivering back-end data to a browser via the magic of the Internet.

10 years working from home and during most of this period I saw my direct manager once or twice per year and in a couple of years, I never saw my manager. I value the complete control of my time and the emphasis on producing results more than making appearances. Of course, video conferencing may change all of this.

When I consider how my father’s concept of work and employment changed so radically from his generation to my own, I can hardly imagine how these terms will be defined for my sons.