After five very happy years, I find myself back on the job market. Instead of attempting to take on a new job search entirely on my own (which is exactly what I would have done in the past), I’m looking to grow my “ask for help” muscles by, well, asking for help.
Besides, other folks have a different perspective on both me and the job market than I do — if only because they’re standing somewhere different than I am. Having additional viewpoints might help me find an fantastic opportunity that I might not have otherwise heard of, or might not have considered.
Up front, I want to be open and transparent about this. I’ve spent the past five years working for Accunet Solutions with the dual job titles of “Storage Practice Lead” and “Virtualization Lead”, and I’ve been very happy there. The role wasn’t “Pre-Sales Engineer” or “Implementation Engineer”, but involved work across that entire spectrum, making me “an Engineer”. In a 30-person company, you want (and need) people who can perform more than one function.
Back in October, Accunet was acquired by Red River. Being a larger company, they have more clearly-defined roles. They have a clear separation between the Pre-Sales and Post-Sales roles, with each reporting to a different place on the org chart.
Essentially, I became the square peg who would have to try to fit himself into a round hole.
What My Roles Were
During the five years at my now former job, I fulfilled the following roles:
- Pre-Sales Engineer – I worked to support Account Managers. I worked to help customers define the requirements for their data center and IT infrastructure needs. I put together solutions to meet those requirements
- Post-Sales Engineer – When solutions were delivered to customers, I worked to implement them, installing, configuring, and testing them. I provided performance tuning, knowledge transfer, and complete documentation of the configurations.
- Professional Services Engineer – Sometimes the solution a customer needs doesn’t require any additional hardware or software, but is pure services, knowledge, know-how, and experience. I provided billable services to customers, including assessments and IT infrastructure health checks, converting physical data centers to virtual ones, data center moves, developing and implementing a disaster recovery solution, and more pure consulting services.
- Technical Lead – As the Practice Lead for both Storage and Virtualization, I was the primary technical contact with our vendor partners who offered solutions in theses areas. I was also responsible for reviewing new technologies and vendors to recommend whether or not we should add them to our portfolio of offerings.
- Technical Marketing – I produced both internal and customer-facing content about the solutions we provided and the benefits they could bring to our customers. I created a Style Guide for the company website to ensure consistency and clarity of communications, and was responsible for reviewing all content before it was published on the website.
- Company Representative – I represented our company at various IT industry events. Here is a list of the public events I attended in 2016.
Overall, it was a position in which I wore many different hats and got to be a sort of Jack-of-all-trades, a role I took great pride and pleasure in.
What I’m Looking For
In the conversations I’ve had with folks so far, I’ve been asked about what kind of company I’d like to work for. Would I want to work for another VAR / systems integrator? Would I want to go back to working for a vendor? Do I want to join an analyst firm? Do I want to be involved in running an organization’s IT environment?
My answer is that I’d be open to any of those, provided it was the right opportunity. I don’t want to risk missing out on something that might be a great fit for me by limiting my search options at this point.
The things I’m certain I’d like to have be part of my next job include:
- Staying Technical – I wouldn’t mind being the lone “tech guy” in a role that is traditionally seen as “non-technical”, provided that I’m afforded the opportunity to stay technical. I’d want at least part of my role to be hands-on with tech, even if that was only spending some time in a company or personal lab. I’d like to be in a position where I continue to be exposed to new and developing technologies.
- Customer- / User-Facing – I think it’s important for anyone working in the industry to maintain regular contact with the end-users of the technology. They’re the ones who will have insight into changing business needs before anyone else. For me, this contact could take on any or all of several aspects. I believe in-person interaction is important, whether it be at industry events or during closed meetings. Maintaining contact via social media is important as well, provided one is actually engaging and listening and not being broadcast-only. I’ve done presentations and developed and led training events, and would enjoy doing more of that.
- Blogging – While I’d also be very happy to be a regular contributor to a future employer’s official company blog, I want to work someplace where they’re OK with the fact that I run my own independent blog. Ideally, a potential employer would see this as a positive thing.
- Some Degree of Autonomy – I’d never want to be in a completely “directionless” position. It’s important to assure that my work is helping to move the organization forward. That said, the projects I’ve enjoyed working on the most have been ones that don’t come with step-by-step instructions. I enjoy (and believe I perform well on) projects that are more of a “We’re currently at Point A and need you to find the best way to get us from here to Point B or beyond” type.
What I’m Asking For
Here’s my actual request for help:
If you know of, or become aware of, some position, job opening, team, or organization where you think I’d be a great fit, please help put me in touch with the right people.
If there’s a chance you could get a referral bonus for helping me find my next position, I’m good with that. Reach out to me, talk with me about the position, and I can send you my resume so that you can submit me for it.
Thank you for anything you’re able to do to help me find my next great job. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me.