Day: August 20, 2017

365 Challenge: Day 161 – Corporate Jobs

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Corporate Jobs: jobs I held immediately after college where I learned about corporate operations and business management

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me.

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived

The current set of 5 Sundays covers the major groups of roles / jobs / positions I’ve held over my career. Though I have had about fifteen titles over the years, when I broke it down into smaller groups, week three is all about the jobs I held in the beginning part of my post-college career.

  • Quality Assurance Analyst
  • Copywriter
  • Associate Technical Writer
  • Process Analyst

 

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When we left off last week, I’d just gotten my college degree with a major in English and a few minors in the business world. What’s a guy to do when he has to make that long drive home from Pennsylvania all the way back to Long Island after graduation? Search for this first job, of course! It was May 1999. I arrived home on Saturday afternoon. I took no breaks. First thing Sunday morning, I combed through Newsday, our local paper, and selected a bunch of jobs that seemed appropriate for a smart guy with no real specific business skills or knowledge of what he wanted to do. One of those jobs was for Cablevision, the cable provider in the tri-state area, whose headquarters were in Bethpage — also the town in which I grew up and lived. I sent out my resume via fax from my computer… so if that doesn’t date me, along with the 1999 comment above, then you aren’t paying enough attention!

They called me that afternoon… “Do you really live in Bethpage?” … I said Yes … {Aside: Why would I lie about this?} … They had me in for an interview the next morning at 9 and by 12, they’d called back to offer a job as a contractor with one of their current consulting companies. They called me a Quality Assurance Analyst. Since the world was going to end a few months later when the Y2K (Year 2000) arrived, they needed someone to read all the letters from their vendors on the status of whether all the products that Cablevision used were Y2K-compliant. {Aside: Personally, I’d have used the time differently if the world was gonna end, but you know, that’s just me being silly.} Since I had strong communication and technical skills, they assumed I’d be good at this type of work. I was the final member of a ten-person team hired that summer, and we worked side-by-side for the next 7 months all in the name of preventing a complete and utter computer meltdown glitch. I like to think we saved the world, since no glitch happened. Must mean I was 1 of 10 heroes or heroines, right? Anyhoo… I worked on databases, mailings, reports, metrics and presentations.

When it ended (Y2K, not the world in case you were wondering), they asked me to join a team moving to work on similar types of tools but in NYC. I said ‘no,’ as I didn’t want to commute over an hour each way. At 22, I still hadn’t spent a lot of time in the city and didn’t want to overwhelm myself. I’d also just moved in with someone who followed me back from PA, as we’d begun dating right before graduation. He signed a lease in Bethpage to be near me, so I couldn’t just up and leave, right? So… my contract at Cablevision ended, which lead me to searching for a job again. I applied for an Office Manager role at an advertising agency, but they talked me into accepting a job as a Copywriter. They liked my writing background and business knowledge, assuming I’d be highly creative in their campaigns. Let me just start out by saying this was the truly the only job where I’ve ever been fired. I was writing marketing copy for a mannequin company, trying to describe mannequins in brochures and catalogs for prospective buyers. I told the truth. They didn’t want the truth. They wanted it to sound dreamy and wonderful. I’m thinking… it’s a mannequin. You put clothes on it and sell things. How much copy do you really need? Cutthroat business, I suppose. After 2 months, they had the “talk.” I wasn’t working out, but I could stay for two days and then be out of a job. Me being the pushy guy I really never had been before… argued for two weeks, noting that’s what I would have given if I chose to leave. They understood and let me stay for 2 weeks additional pay. I looked them up a few months later. They had gone out of business.

Jobless again, but only for one day. My former boss at Cablevision called to say they had a full-time job for me. I interviewed with several people and accepted the role of Associate Technical Writer, where I was responsible for writing all the training and user guides for all the software systems utilized at Cablevision. My knowledge of writing, education and technology was a great skill, they said. And it actually turned out to be something I was quite adept at. One would think that with two titles including the word “writer” in my job role, I’d have tried to write my novel back then. But no… I had to do it the hard way. Go work full-time jobs for another 15 years before finally caving in. More about that in a couple of weeks tho… that’s not today’s set of job skills.

After 9 months, I was promoted and moved from an Associate Technical Writer to a Process Analyst, where I then began documenting all the business processes in the technology and operations departments, so that they had formal policies and procedures. It was this job which enabled me to get the mortgage to buy my first house in Plainview, a fixer-upper where for nearly two years, all I ever did was work 60 hours each week and then come home to do construction. Oh, the memories… I learned so much about how the corporate operations of a company’s back-office truly work. It set the stage for my transition into a technology role, which will be next week’s focus for the fourth week of my various job groupings.

No, that’s not me. At least not today. Maybe 15 years ago. I don’t recall.

As I look back on these first three years of my career after graduating from college, it really helped formulate the stage for my future. It was a combination of all the things I had learned in school and had talent for, except I had little passion for any of them. Sure, it had some writing responsibilities, but not creative fiction. And don’t tell me that mannequin campaign counts. I had proposed a series of brochures about the story of a model’s life, but they told me I was being too creative which was the job of the account manager, not the little copywriter. Can’t win, huh? So… I can really say these were all valuable even if I never really loved them as much as I did my other roles. But I will say one of these bosses did become the first of two great mentors I’ve had in my life. And for that, I am quite grateful!

How about you? Which job trained you the most for your current role? Or the role you’d like to have? Any horrible boss stories? I can’t write about mine as I am not sure who is and isn’t reading this blog. So I’ll behave myself.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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