NOVEMBER 18, 2011 12:35AM

My brilliant 2nd career: Management

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Almost everything you read below is true... but may not be grammatically accurate.

Long ago, when 4 years of college seemed insurmountable, I wrote down the phone number of that school that shouted commercials at us all day on TV and the radio.  "For a great career in computers - call today".  The recruiter told me "Your too young and don't have enough work experience to be a programmer, but the computer operator course is right up your alley".  I didn't know what a computer operator did, I was clueless. But a friend had an Apple II® and I liked the games and the promise of $5.35 an hour was enough to impress my girlfriend.  As it turns out I was trained on IBM mainframe computers, yeah - the big guns.  The Apple II® my friend had was "cute" compared to the blinking memory registers and clacking printers and whirring tape drives of a commercial data center.  As it turned out I had a pretty good aptitude for the job and I liked the work.   

I started my “great career” five weeks after shaving my last teenager years from my face and twenty some odd years later I was still going strong.  Early on, I built a reputation of getting a lot done and created some solutions that led me in and out of the programming world.  (So much for that recruiter!)  But even the best innovation





but I finally made the move. <pre><i></i><font fam> </pre>

So after a few months as a project manager, my boss told me that I had a knack at leading my peers with defining project tasks and suggested I consider management.  I had al




but somehow I was assigned to a business transformation project - as the lead project manager.

This project was completely unpredictable.  At first they told me I would participate from my home office in Birmingham and travel about 1 week a month, max!  After 4 weeks commuting to Chic



 it I was a required approver for any plan updates.  

The pilot re





only one person volunteered (one of the best) and I asked the next smartest looking person to help.  With everybody’s hard work we met our milestones and kicked off the strategy with all the other regional offices ahead of schedule.  Maybe the timing was perfect and a little luck came my way but even I was surprised at the “successful manager” I was becoming.

Its been three years and I’ve overcome two things I avoided most of my career.  1) flying and 2) being a manager.  The flying still bothers me and probably always will.  A glass of wine and an aisle seat usually get me through take offs and landings.  Occasionally I freak out (I really do) and I don’t board.  




and asked for advice.  She seemed like a hard worker and told me she had a technical degree.  I gave her some pointers on her resume and told her to reapply.   She g





ew of my peers I really love to say:  “you suck!”   

After all, I am a manager now.


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Grats on overcoming your fears. I would wave at you from down here on the ground in Iowa, but you don't take the window seat.

I'm new here as well. Welcome.

I am working on overcoming my fear of writing.
I remember those commercials: "If you like to work with your hands, but don't like to get your fingernails dirty, a career as a computer operator may be right for you!"
thanks Con.... the most dangerous part of the job was closing three ring binders