While I try to limit blog posts about me personally. Mr. B. Woodman, one of the regular readers and commenters has asked. So, here is my tale.
I worked in the telecommunications industry. It was something that was very lucrative and looked like it would go on forever. I started working in the industry at 19. My earnings increased dramatically over the years as I advanced myself, until 2008. Between industry collapse and the economy going down the shitter (regardless of what the lies and propaganda of the current administration says), it was lose-lose, and I had been treading water for the last 8 years. I am now 54 and collecting unemployment for the first time in my life. How did this happen? Was I an alcoholic, drug abuser, problem gambler, or some type of criminal? Nope....just squeezed out of the work force like pus out of a pimple. I was working in a dying industry for a company that was mis-managed and had no focus. Their business plan was built around sales, that used a weak sales force that was non-existent in some key geographic market areas. However, compared to my peers, I have outlasted a lot of them.
When the technology evolved, the telephone, which was once a vital piece of business equipment, became something that was now less important. People became so used to the crappy call quality of packetized voice from cell phones, that call quality no longer mattered. Nobody wanted another piece of equipment on their desk, so the phone became an app on a computer. And look at all the neat toys that the phone now has! Because of this, the phone system fell under the responsibility of the IT Department, instead of a dedicated Telecom Department. The IT Departments really hate dealing with voice (because they view it as voo-doo and don't really understand it), so it falls by the wayside until the shit hits the fan. Then it's a mad scramble to try and fix things. 99% of the time, the problems were caused by the IT Department, doing things to their network with no regard to the voice portion, and no involvement of us that service the voice system. All we got was the panic emergency call on Monday morning that the system was down. Selling and installing a new system was just as bad. In the old days, a new system was planned to the enth degree. An install usually went off without a hitch and the need for very little change to the original plan. Now, it is ALWAYS a cluster-fuck. The systems are sold almost cookie cutter, because little attention was paid to all the users needs by those making the purchase. They are purchased and shipped as soon as the ink is dry on the contract, even though the new building being built is still a steel shell. But hey, gotta get that money rolling in! The equipment now has to be stored until the new building can accommodate the equipment. By then the software it was shipped with is out of date and all the equipment needs software, firmware, and sometimes hardware upgrades just to fire it up. By then the other players that should have been involved in system design come out of the woodwork demanding their needs be met. Now we don't have enough licenses for users or features. The change orders are starting to come fast and furious, as we get ready to bring equipment to site to rack-n-stack. Oops.....they totally forgot to have the electricians give us the power and grounding we asked for. So now the install is delayed because the racks have to be partially disassembled and moved for the electricians. Oh, and the cabling requirements also got changed without letting us know. "Yeah, we decided to go fiber optic to the closets" meaning we are now scrambling to get the proper fiber adapters for our data switches. Project management is an absolute nightmare, and the timeline for the project seems to go on forever, with the termination date constantly being pushed further down the road. Even when the project seems to be done, and the punch-list is complete, a conference call is setup and now it turns out that items that were completed months ago are back on the agenda. In the fire service, even on a large scale incident, there is termination of command and the incident is declared over. Whether the building is a smoking pile on the ground or still standing...IT IS OVER! When I was laid off, I told my employer that I am finished with the industry. I have remained true to that statement. There is one company in the PSRK still (successfully) doing this work, but I refuse to work for them. They are the collection of assholes I have worked for and with over the decades, and I would rather flip burgers at Mickey D's than work there.
I have decided to return to my roots which is electronics. I went to a state trade school instead of a traditional high school and studied electronics. The job hunting process is now completely on-line and I have filled out many applications for jobs in the electronics field. Because I hold a Class B CDL, I have also filled out applications for truck driver. This has been going on for over 2 months with no response from anyone. Job hunting is nothing like it used to be; making a personal appearances, knocking on doors, filling out applications and dropping off resumes. You give them only what they ask for on-line and you never hear back unless they really want you. Finally, last Wednesday morning, I picked up an email from United Technologies. It was an invitation to interview this Thursday December 1st, for the very first job I applied to, and the job I most desired. It is for a 2nd shift in house Electronics Technician to service the controls on their CNC manufacturing machines. The aerospace industry is exploding, so if I can get in now, I will hopefully be secure until I either retire, or decide to make my exit on my terms from this PSRK hell-hole. Financially we are still doing OK, and picked up some reasonable short-term medical insurance to cover catastrophic medical issues. It sure would be nice to have good wages, insurance benefits, a retirement plan/pension, and be able to put money in savings again.
If anyone has specific things they want to discuss, please use the "Contact Me Directly" email form on the right side of the main blog page. Then we can have more of a dialogue.
UPDATE 12-7-16: My interview went OK, now I am just waiting to hear back on whether I go any further. I am told by people in the know, that UTC does not move very fast. Just for "ha-ha's" I checked the UTC career site to see if there were any openings in my other field of expertise, emergency services. THERE WAS! I immediately applied for the open Firefighter/EMT/Security position on Friday morning. Last time, my applications sat in the "Application Received" mode for quite some time. Early Monday morning, when I checked my candidate status, the application status already showed "Application Under Review", meaning someone had picked it up. With 23 years in the fire service, and several high level state certifications, I feel my chances for this position are as good as anyone's.