The State of the Geek – Professional

I know I had mentioned that I would start posting the State of the Geek posts last night. Unfortunately, real life prevented me from getting time to actually post anything. It’s a relatively slow Saturday, so I’ve got a bit of time now. :-)

So, during the year I had been working as a contractor to Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. The job was a little different to what I was used to; in this case, as opposed to focusing more on systems, I was a network administrator. The department I worked for was the Enterprise Group Shared Labs, which was essentially server space for research and development. We had servers that was as old as my IT career next to hardware that hadn’t even been publicly announced yet. I was the network admin for the labs out in Palo Alto; fortunately, the nature of my job was that it was very uncommon for there to be someone on-site, as all of the equipment was accessible and configurable over the network. I also worked on some side Linux admin work, like helping set up the R&D IT department’s company-wide GitHub Enterprise environment and proposing an on-demand cloud backup solution, complete with a proof-of-concept system.

I rather enjoyed the work, even if I was a little outside of my comfort zone doing network administration. On the other hand, there were a couple of warning signs, like the fact that our contracts hadn’t been extended, and the backup solution had been abandoned. I took them with a grain of salt, though.

Unfortunately, the warning signs were there for a reason. As a result of the divestiture of HPE’s Enterprise Services division, budgets were cut dramatically, and we were informed in a conference call in September that EGSL was being moved to be under a different division, and that the department was being decimated. All of the contractors like myself were going to be let go, along with several full-time employees. When the smoke cleared, EGSL went from close to thirty employees to under ten.

The only bright side was that our contracts expired at the end of October, and it was made clear that our primary jobs at that point would be to find new jobs. :-)

Fortunately, the staffing agency that got me the job at HPE got me a new contract-to-hire gig. My new employer provides telecom services for inmates in jails and prisons. This time, I’m back within my comfort zone, doing Windows server administration.

That’s not the only good thing about this job. This time, I’m not expected to do any actual user support, as there’s an actual help desk that provides user IT support. In addition, the commute is less than half what my HPE commute was, so I get to spend a little more time with Lucas in the morning and evening. :-)

Overall, I’m doing pretty well. Once I go to full-time, it’ll be nice to have benefits and vacation time. Also, the chances of me having to do any travel for business is pretty small, so I won’t have to worry about that.

So, as they say, one door closed, and another one opened. I’ll miss working for HPE, but I think I’ll do okay at this job, for now. :-)