Preface: This isn’t going to be a technical posting. This is a personal recap of my professional life over the last 6 years.
After more than 6 years I’ve decided to leave my employer for good. An employer which is very loyal and fair to its employees and where I got the chance to grow from of a Senior Systems Engineer Role into a Datacenter Architect over my time there.
Before I come to the “why”, a little bit of history.
When I start a new job in a new company I usually try to get my hands onto some work as fast as possible. I hate nothing more than sitting on my desk and have nothing to do. So, even as I was hired for a project position, I actually started with support work for the company’s own network environment. Which is, as usual for a managed service provider quite huge. Next to it I also worked for lot of customer projects, but the operations/support work followed me through all the years. After about a year I got trusted with the implementation project of reengineering/updating the network for the internal Datacenters. From my past experience in working with/for ISPs and building up networking infrastructure environments (actually from scratch, even building up the racks) it was great to lay my hands on the infrastructure. It was about this time where I decided that I wanted to close the obvious gap between the “networkers” and the “server” engineers that, at least at this time existed in every IT company. For me as being always interested in new topics and technologies, this was great! And a great thing with my former employer was that there was always the chance to get the hands on a lot of lab equipment to play and learn!
Then, about 2 years ago I found myself in a very uncomfortable position. There were management changes, my plans to continue to my 2nd CCIE (DC) got interrupted and I was stuck on nearly only in doing operations work. After I couldn’t find an internal solution to fix this, I’ve decided to leave the company and find my luck somewhere else. This was recognized by the upper management. And after 6 weeks of working out how my future situation in the company could look like, we found a good and agreeable solution for both sides. So I reversed my decision and stayed. The new agreement was that I would move on to an architectural position with a new manager and get the sponsoring to continue to work on my DC CCIE.
On the first view it looked pretty great. Now working as an architect, free to work on new and challenging projects, developing new topics that will push the company forward. And last but not least, getting my DC CCIE.
So what went ultimately wrong?
The upside was, I could work on a whole bunch of great projects. My favorites includes ACI Installations, a lot of very interesting automation projects and datacenter designs for customers. But this two years in the new position made one thing pretty clear to me (and I’ve talked with other engineers about that too and came to the same conclusion): Once you’re in a operations/support role in a medium sized company, it’s pretty hard (or even impossible) to get out of it. I gave my best, but ultimately i failed to solve this. Of course there were other factors too that led to my decision but at the end this was the main trigger.
Would I still tell my younger self (6 years ago) to take the initial job?
Hell yes! I worked for a great employer. You’ll get a lot of support in your professional and personal development. There are always tons of interesting projects and the colleagues and culture are absolutely great as well!
So what’s next?
This will be answered in the next blogpost, but I guess it won’t be such a big surprise 😉