I have a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. The job offer I received at graduation was from the Boeing Company, as a technical writer. At the time, they hired engineers as technical writers because it was easier to teach an engineer how to write than it was to teach a writer how to communicate with engineers. I performed technical writing type jobs twice at Boeing. Once in the late 1980's and the other in the mid1990's. I also worked as a programmer at Boeing during the early 1990's, doing maintenance on software used to control a manufacturing process.
This lead me to doing software quality assurance at Texas Instruments Defense Systems in the mid to late 1990s. The division was purchased by Raytheon. They laid me off.
Following that, I did software quality assurance for Orbital Sciences on their Pegasus Launch vehicle. Space was always fascinating to me, so this was a high point of my career. I worked with real rocket scientists and got to see ex-astronauts in the hallways and at meetings. While working at Orbital, in the year 2000, I went back to school and earned a one-year certificate in Organizational Development. Changing business conditions and a new contract in a different facility meant they moved my job to the other facility and laid me off.
For the next two years, I did a combination of quality assurance, technical writing, process improvement and metrics for a little company doing the Department of Defense medical records database.
My wife longed to be back in Texas, so we moved. I thought it was a good time to pursue a long-time dream of mine to be a teacher, so I got my master's degree in Adult Education and worked as a contractor in the training department at AT&T doing work related to instructional design (developing/updating training classes).
After four contracts, AT&T hired me, but the next month, they announced the company transformation effort. They were transforming from being "the phone company" to being an all-IP, all-cloud, mobile and video technology company. All the old land-line phone technology was being replaced with servers in the cloud, therefore, many of the workers for that old technology were required to find other jobs. The training I was working on was for the old technology and would not be needed at the end of the transformation. After an elapsed time of more than 11 years associated with AT&T, I found it to my advantage to look for another job.
I reassessed the kinds of work that I did well and what I didn't do so well at. I tried a blue-collar job and learned to appreciate a whole new set of skills. (Don't be afraid of blue-collar jobs. Those who do them are much more appreciated by their customers than most corporate office workers. )
I'm happy for the variety of experience I have had, but wish things would have been more stable for my family.
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