When I bought my first computer at the age of 13, my career aspirations never came into mind. I will admit that I knew from a very early age that I never wanted to be a programmer. I rage quit all of that when I would type in programs from the back of my computer magazines only to have a minor syntax error make the previous few hours a huge waste of time. Luckily I had Wizard of Wor, Spy Hunter and B.C.’s Quest for Tires to help me get over it.
I never considered the computer thing as a career. When I graduated high school in 1988 (mullet and all) I was only focused on playing baseball and hockey and having enough money to do both. I ran through a series of nametag jobs. I worked retail, construction, etc. Nothing from these jobs stuck with me or even motivated me beyond quitting time. I never gave them another thought. I needed motivation to turn “just a job” into a passion.
When I finally decided to quit the nametag jobs and pursue a career into something that I had a passion for, I had to determine what I liked doing. I hadn’t touched a computer in years but I remembered how I liked working with them. Even before I bought a new computer and started working with them again, I told my then fiancé / now wife my plan. I wanted to consult companies to help them use computers to become more efficient. In hindsight I’m surprised that I was so accurate in exactly what I wanted to do.
When I started taking computer classes I found that I couldn’t get enough. I finally found my passion. I would stay at school after hours to help rebuild the labs. I loved learning. When I got my first job in the computer field I found that I didn’t stop doing the job when I left for the day. I had found something I was interested in and wanted to improve myself. Not just for my career either, I had found something that I was really loved. They always say that if you are doing what you love, you will never work a day in your life. That’s mostly true, but it’s hard to say that running into problems while doing an Exchange or AD upgrade at 2AM is considered something I love.
For me, the path to get from the job to the passion took a long time. When I found my passion, I found ways of making things happen. In all of my positions I’ve held I have held a belief that I wasn’t just holding a job to earn a paycheck. I was following a calling and I was part of something bigger. When I read the following quote a few years ago it really hit home and I feel that it really wraps everything up very nicely:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
– Antoine de Saint Exupéry