"How I Went from" is an ongoing blog series that highlights our employees' different journeys to InterWorks. The results are pretty diverse, but each story is special in its own right.
My journey at InterWorks is more about the hopping around I’ve done within InterWorks than it is coming from a different industry. Many consultants found their love for data and IT before they joined InterWorks, and while I’ve always loved IT, it took a different set of experiences and roles at InterWorks for me to find out what I really enjoy.
As part of our “How I Went from _____ to InterWorks Consultant” blog series, I’m offering a slightly different perspective. If you want to learn more about what it’s like to work for InterWorks, check our “Life as an InterWorks Consultant” post. That post will also link you to stories from other InterWorks consultants.
My First Tech Job
My career in IT began after I went to school for E-Commerce and Computer Science. I wound up in Stillwater by following my soon-to-be wife and took the first job I could find. That job was as a web developer/web administrator at a medium-sized bank in town. It allowed for a great introduction to server management and gave me a lot of freedom to build and develop their intranet and external website as I saw fit. Although I learned quite a bit in that sense, that wasn’t enough to satisfy me.
Finding Something New at InterWorks
After a year at the bank, I found out about a company called InterWorks and started researching how to infiltrate this glorious, hidden gem. I had also just finished reading a book by Dan Pink called “Drive,’ which was probably the tipping point. Things like mastery, purpose and autonomy started to become important to me. I enjoyed the people I worked with, but I got tired of the corporate politics of the banking world, freezes in pay and the same projects day in and day out with little appreciation.
Above: Me (left) “pretending” to be a nerd during my time at the bank.
About the same time, I was getting ready to play an online game and was looking for some Stillwater folks that might be playing too. Through that, I met InterWorks’ Brian Bickell. Coincidentally, Brian had my current job at the bank before me. He also then had the job I wanted to have at InterWorks. So, I got to know him and his wife a bit and began applying to InterWorks back in Jan. 2009. Fast forward a year and a half, and I received my offer from Behfar and Staci despite my soon-to-be manager voting me as a no pass after the interview.
The Switch from Web Developer to BI Consultant
I started out in the web/dev world at InterWorks and immersed myself in Drupal. I had very little PHP exposure, but had an awesome team and leadership to guide me through it. After a year, something was still missing, and I couldn’t figure it out. I just didn’t enjoy coding every day and was finally coming to that realization. After a couple chats with Dalton and Behfar, they talked a confused, young man away from the ledge of returning to the banking world and thought I would fit in well with the consultants on the BI team.
Above: Me (left) and fellow InterWorkers, Eli Sprague and Blake Anderton before the Warrior Dash
It was a dream position for an IT consultant. When you work for a client, you walk in like you own the place, show them the magic of Tableau and walk out like a rockstar. It was a bit stressful at times with the extensive travel and big-name clients, but the end results were almost always rewarding. I got the chance to really hone my database management and SQL skills. I even got to scratch that coding itch without sitting down for eight hours to write Drupal modules. Not to mention, the awesome conferences Tableau put together gave additional allure to the position. TCC12 in Las Vegas was especially memorable. Dan Murray introduced us to his self-created energy drink, consisting of an energy powder handed out at the customer party and scotch. All I remember is stumbling back to my hotel room at 4 a.m. after navigating an obstacle course of industrial-sized vacuum hoses and cleaning people getting the casino ready for the next day. Had every day on the BI team been like that, it would have killed me.
Switching Things Up … Again
About a year into this position my world came to a screeching halt with the birth of our first son. After that, I had no desire to travel or be away from the family. I’d also started to get that same itch to learn something new. I blame my self-diagnosed ADHD. With my head down, I walked into Behfar’s office and asked to move from the BI team to the Networking team. At this point, I didn’t know if Behfar would be annoyed or irritated, but it was just the opposite. He understood the importance of family and also the desire to do something new and be challenged every day.
Finding My Home in IT Services
I finally found my spot at InterWorks on the IT Services team, and after passing that year milestone, I can safely say it’s where I’m meant to be. Every day is different and presents new challenges and projects that test every aspect of what I’ve learned so far in IT. From scripting to implementing a fresh ESX environment to configuring SQL maintenance plans, I’m able to use the skills I’ve picked up on the web team, the BI team and now IT Services. I’m able to mentor others and be mentored by some of the smartest people I’ve met in my life.
Had I done the strengths finder assignment which was passed out at orientation, I may not have had to make so many jumps. The more I think about it though, I wouldn’t trade the journey that led me to where I am today for anything.
Above: Me talking to students at the Oklahoma State University Career Fair.