The journey of life is a funny and interesting trip, and as any experienced traveler will tell you, it's the journey, not the destination. I have worked from early on, when I was just a young boy, mowing lawns and throwing papers on to people's porches. I have worked agriculture, tomatoes, apricots, almonds, walnuts (my dad retired with a walnut orchard)prunes and grapes. I had a great time, though some of the time riding behind a tractor, busting dirt clods is not what I would want to do on a regular basis. The work made me stronger, and a couple of my friends, who were on the football team, came up to work with me and declared that they would rather do a back-to-back workout than try to harvest prunes again. I did it for 5 years, middle school through high school. The man I worked for actually had to sell his place a couple of years after I stopped because his son didn't want to continue in the family tradition... kinda sad actually.
I went on to join the Air Force, out of high school, and sometimes I wonder if that was the right thing to do, or should I have gone on to college. I've had a pretty good and successful life, but yet wonder, "what if?" I did return to school years later, and completed a program with the University of San Francisco, and even now I'm pursuing my PMP (Project Management Professional) Certification, and that is actually what I want to talk about with this entry.
I've been in retail, high-tech, and construction, and have worked with big, medium, small and even start up companies. All of them have had their rewards as well as costs, and early on I found that by not having my degree I always felt intimidated by those that did. I thought that they knew so much more than I did, but found through the years that they really didn't, it was just that they had the opportunity to get to high education, so called, and I didn't. There are many aspects of the education system that allows for the academics to feel very proud of what they have done and become, and they deserve every bit of it, but just because you have a college degree doesn't mean you know what to do, it means you've completed a program. I found this out later, and perhaps it has made me a better person.
I have come into the last part of my working career now, and as a result of the economy I was laid off (3 times). Once from Sun Microsystems, and with that separation I received a nice severance package an it provided me with a nice cushion to fall back on, while I searched for that next opportunity. The next one was with a company called Rudolph and Sletten, a construction company. Well, in 2007-8 the U.S. economy took a serious nose dive and I again was laid off, but this time without much of a package, and unfortunately I had not saved much additional funds, and it was to be over 17 months until my next position. While in the high-tech world I began to learn a bit about project management, and then with construction I was kind of dropped into a position that required running projects, and then a long bit of not working at all. During that down time I did some studying to learn more about Project Management International (PMI) and decided to pursue my PMP certification. I finally landed a position that I had hoped was going to be my final position, with HMS Technologies, and great little company that basically serves the government in different ways through contracts, and I was pulled on one with the Veterans Affairs, and thus my true career as a project manager was to begin. This, unfortunately, was not to be. After being with them for the last 8 months of 2010, the contract that we, there was a team of 8 of us, were on was canceled and suddenly, on December 27, we were told we were out of a job. It was a bit of a shock to most of us, if not all, and on top of that, I was recovering from minor surgery on my right foot. The surgery itself wasn't so bad, but because it was my right foot, and I was in a cast, I was not able to drive, and wouldn't be for several more weeks.
This is where the journey is taking another turn, as I believe it has opened yet another door for me to travel through and see where it will take me. I am looking for my next opportunity and hope it does not take too long to get here, because this time there is almost zero money to fall back on. That previous 17-month stretch did a good job of depleting our funds, and in fact caused us to go a little in to debt. I am, however confident that I won't be out too long, and that something will show up that allows us to get back on our feet (I talking about the collective of my wife and I now), and we will finally be able to work towards building that retirement base we need, so that we don't become a burden to our kids.
As the journey continues I will post again, and see what happens. I have mixed emotions about continued PMP work or go back to high-tech management. Both have good things, and both have challenges. I guess the truly good things about that choice is that they are both good.