Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mission Accomplished

I've found gainful employment. Living outside of my means can begin again!

I'll provide details once I start but I found something interesting about myself during the whole process.

I had a few opportunities on my plate. A couple were with different teams/organizations within the same company. While these teams had a "small company" feel, they were still under the umbrella of a large (REALLY large) company.

Right now, the biggest thing for me is "getting my head" back in the game. While I LOVED the time I had at MediaOcean (and would go back in a heartbeat), I got "stale" there. By that I mean that they had some pretty clear delineation between departments. Obviously at some point, you have to have that. One person can't do it all. The problem is that some of my skills got a bit stale. Having not used them in over a year, it made for rough going during the interviewing process. There were some questions that I should have easily answered and yet, because it wasn't current in my mind, I blanked.

What's spanning tree?

I know this. I explained to the guy that while I knew what it was, the best I could provide as an answer was that it was used on switches and vaguely related to redundant interswitch links. I just couldn't recall the exact definition. He gave me "credit" so to speak on the answer since I was in the general area. When he said "loop free", my mind recalled everything it could.

A year ago, I could have told you how to configure Cisco switches for redundant uplinks and which ports you would enable or disable spanning tree on. Today, not so much. I'd have to dig.

I ran across this when recruiters would call me.:

"Are you available for a network engineering position?"
"I am but I wouldn't feel comfortable with it."
"Why not?"
Insert long story about not having current experience, not being able to drop right in and get going and thus not being justified in the salary range I'm currently in.

Same thing happened when I was asked about AIX or HACMP or god forbid HPUX. I haven't used HPUX in over 10 years. Yes, unix is unix but if you dropped me in front of an HPUX box, I'd have to navigate around a bit to remind myself of where things were. I'd have to fire up SAM and renavigate all the menus. Same goes for AIX. When I was working with those technologies, I never had to use the menu-driven admin tools. I could lscfg, lsattr and set_parms with the best of em. I knew exactly what options to pass to the Volume Manager to create new VGs. I could start smitty right at the area I wanted.

So I decided to go with a smaller company. The shop is entirely Linux so no hope of a refresh of my unix skills. However, I'll have involvement and control of the network gear (including the one major load balancer vendor I've not used - F5) so I can bring that skillset current.

After this place, who knows? Small companies have risks. Small companies that are internet companies have more risks. I might be right back in the market in 6 months or a year. I don't forsee that but if I am, I'll have more options to work with.

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