Some years ago I had to acknowledge reality. I wasn’t as good as I thought I was! That occasion and things that happened afterwards are worth talking about as this may be a realization others must face. My experiences I hope will shed light but also hope for others.
So…background first. I apologize in advance as this is long.
I have a masters in Software Engineering and worked in computers in one way or another from 1967. I’d done many different things over the years:
I was an instructor at Oracle with hopes of being promoted. I had been promoted over two years previously to my current position. It was acknowledged that I was good at what I did but there where concerns in two areas. I was more technical than managerial and a promotion would mean more manager stuff rather than technical stuff and my stats regarding class evals only ran 90%. only 90%? Now I can’t speak to what Oracle is doing these days so please don’t assume anything from what I say here regarding current policies. I’m of the opinion that you can’t please all the people all the time or even close so how one could consistently get over 90% approval in class evals beats me. I was irritated and set about to show that one of the issues was class size. Yes I understand percents but one person in 10 has a greater effect than that one person has on a class size of 24. Because of the class topics I taught my classes rarely had more than 6 people in them. I had to teach four classes to have 24 people doing evals while many instructors would have 24 people in a single class. The math wizards out there will see where this is going but the real problem is I spent a lot of energy explaining why the way stats were gathered was unfair rather than trying to improve so it did not matter. As for the technical vs managerial issue? Well that is me! I’d rather work with the tech stuff than the people stuff so there you are! I was stuck in my current position and had hit a glass ceiling as far as salary was concerned.
I left Oracle to work for Documentum where I did instructional design on new products. I had done some instructional design while at Oracle but there where issues here. Some were managerial, some where issues within the software development team which made it difficult to write instruction materials for a product that lacked maturity and some were mine in that I was not as good as I thought I was! I was saved from myself by changes in staffing and task assignment. I found myself responsible to the VP for whatever she needed from the Oracle database for learning management and free to invent toys er tools to help her find and examine trends. I also worked on the eLearning system. Life was good until I had another issue of thinking I was better than I was coupled with an inappropriate medication that made me irrational and prone to panic attacks. I was fortunate I did not get my ass fired.
In the timeline of my life this is when we went to Nashotah, WI for Glen to attend seminary. After a period of unemployment and a short time at Abbott Labs where I got to be brilliant with my work with their installation of Oracle Clinical I went to work for HomMed. All was really super at first but things did not stay super. I was teaching at University of Phoenix, working at HomMed and keeping up with home, church and life on campus and nothing was getting enough attention. The result was my manager telling me and another employee in a joint meeting that we were no longer needed because the company was going in a different direction. I did not know the company had ‘fired’ me until I was denied unemployment. As part of that denial I was told I had failed to meet specific goals. Oops! I wasn’t as good as I thought I was!
Fortunately my career ended on a high note as all was well at Pioneer Bank in Roswell, NM and at Seattle City Light. It is interesting to note that these last two positions required me to really stretch my ability to combine multiple skills to meet the need I was hired for. In general I have done better when I have had to stretch rather than just doing something I had assumed I really knew! Funny how that works sometimes.