Big Fish to Small Fry

I’ve gone through a significant change recently – in this case the one change has largely impacted me professionally and personally. Here is a re-cap on my experiences.

Rewind to 2007 where I was just starting to look at career options – I had a superb job at a small IT firm who were looking to keep me post-graduation – I had proved my worth with close to two years casual service. I had also taken the step and approached a number of large firms with thoughts toward joining a graduate program – the world was promised – travel, career options and experience. After much deliberation I decided to accept an offer with a large IT outsourcing firm – for a number of reasons:

  • I felt I had been spoilt in my current role. Things were too good – I needed to taste the sting of the IT industry to truly appreciate what I had.
  • I wanted to experience big corporate life with all its glorious bureaucracy (as I would soon learn).
  • I was concerned about career progression and training.
  • I was under the impression things would lead down a very different path.

A brief description of the company I decided to side with would go something like this – Multi-national IT firm specialising in delivering managed IT solutions/applications. Rough employee figures within Aus sit around 3500. The company serviced a number of Industries including financial services (which I was soon to join) and natural resources and mining.

I had joined a graduate program that highly advertised travel and career progression including strong industry training. Things started strong – I was placed within a Server Operations team managing Wintel systems across a number of clients. The team was great, the location not so – plenty of distance between myself and it. Within my first year I grew a lot – I had come from a background where the entire company could go to a bar and have a drink – in my new role I was part of a strong team but there were layers and layers of management – not to mention multitudes of other teams servicing the same accounts. I soon begun to understand this was the basis of the outsourcing industry – core teams specialising in a single subject matter would provide a stronger service to the client while reducing costs. Another great measure is using offshore resources – this was another learning experience for me – half my team was based in multiple locations across India. I now had a strong grasp of the systems, the client and how the corporate system worked. One of the senior engineer’s had taken me under his wing and guided me through a number of tight situations – we were continuously under the microscope from our clients – waiting for us to slip up and be hit with financial penalties (another *feature* of the outsourcing industry).

At times I hated my job – the stress placed upon us was in some cases extreme. I felt as a graduate I was being abused and was graduate all by name – I was working as a full time engineer, part of an intense oncall roster, assisting in large projects but being paid the wage of an inexperienced graduate – needless to say this was a constant sore point.

By the 18 month mark I had learned a lot and was functioning as an Engineer without the assistance of others. I had assisted in developing a patching framework for a major client that was largely a success – I had also effectively assisted in our jobs being offshored by training and assisting offshore resources. A new contract was signed with our teams major client that pushed for larger offshoring and our team could sense the end was nearing. We begun to look elsewhere.

I was lucky in this case – I had still maintained friendships with my previous colleagues and an opportunity arose for me to interview for a Support Engineer role – effectively what I had been doing before I left for the graduate position – but full time.

As I waited for the results of my interview I advised my multi-national employers I would potentially be leaving – the gears started to move in the back ground as I assumed they would….

work calls- To be continued!

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