So here I am at the end of 1996, new town, new state. I did
have the benefit of some kind of computer experience, however,
which put me in a better spot than I had been in before.
After a few weeks of searching, I got a job as a contractor
working for GE...they had a small computer shop that leased
out computers for trade shows and conventions. We loaded
computers up and brought them to the Dallas Convention Center,
hooked them up, and then tore them down and brought them back
to the shop after the convention was over.
As a contractor, though, I was not accruing any vacation pay.
But after several months...I think Christmas had passed, so we
were now in the year 1997...they offered to take me on directly.
There was a catch, however...there would be a cut in pay.
I was not thrilled with that, so I continued to look for something
else. I was lucky that it was a good year economy-wise, as well
as the tech industry being healthy in Irving, Texas. The trade
school I had taken turned out to be one of the few things in my
life that actually had some benefit.
I got a tech support job with a company called Software Spectrum.
We did phone support for Microsoft, it was my very first job
doing phone tech support. I started this job on March 3, 1997.
(As an aside, a few weeks after starting this job, The Daughter
At this job, I supported network engineers who needed advice and
technical assistance in 'planning, deploying and configuring'
their Microsoft Exchange email servers. It was scary and
intimidating at first, but now I have done this long enough where
the most stressful part of the job is trying to explain to someone
over the phone how to do various tasks on their computer when they
are not computer literate.
One of the great perks of working in Microsoft's environment was the
unbelievably lax dress code...shorts, sandals, flip-flops, tee shirts,
everything was fine, as long as it was clean, not torn, and did not
contain any offensive logos.
If you walked in wearing a suit and tie, you would have attracted
more attention than if you had put on pajamas and a bathrobe.
I had this job for a little over 3 years, a good run by my standards.
I lost it because of many complicated reasons. Generally in my past,
I lost my jobs because of lay-offs, slow-downs, and dis-satisfaction,
but really have not been actually FIRED from anything except maybe
that Tax Service sales job back in 1993, but that was unfair on their part.
In this case, let me just state that while following standard company
procedure on a call, I failed to recognize that the caller on the
other end was a 'favorite' of the owner of the company, and should
have warranted free technical support. Of course, I had no way of
knowing that, but that did not stop them from releasing me.
The painful thing about this was the fact that I had been one of
the top performers of the company for the past few years, had nothing
but glowing and positive letters from past customers, never missed
a day or came in late, and had to endure a belittling and humbling
chewing out from them before they showed me the door. This was my
reward for being a hard worker. This is why I hate Big Business.
Sometimes I think that the people who sit around all day and collect
welfare and unemployment because they don't want to work are the smart ones.
I went home and picked up The Daughter from daycare...she was three
years old at the time. I gave her a bath, played with her, and then
put her to bed. I was glad that she was too young to realize that
her old man had just lost another job.
This was on May 16, 2000.
I was 43.
Peace be with you.