“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
Last May I was let go from my job at ConvergeOne. While there is no perfect way to tell someone that his or her contributions are no longer required, there are some truly sloppy ways. In my case, I learned of my layoff by looking at my online paystub and finding that all my outstanding vacation days had been paid out. I went from confusion to realization in about six nanoseconds and when I finally received the obligatory HR call, it was old news.
Within minutes of the paystub surprise, I began working my professional network to find a new home. I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do, but I was very sure of what I didn’t want. After 11 years of working for communications business partners, I was ready to return to a company that made what it sold. I began my career as a software developer at Northern Telecom and missed the days when I could say to myself, “I helped create that.” I also knew that I didn’t want to simply be a heads-down programmer. That ship had sailed. I needed a job that allowed me to make things, explain things, and promote things. Thankfully, I found that even in the middle of a worldwide pandemic there are great companies looking for someone like me and before too long I was in the position of choosing my fate from a number of exciting opportunities.
To make a not-too-long story short (less than a month to be precise), I chose to work for Avaya and came onboard July 6th, 2020. The crazy part is this is exactly 37 years to the day after starting my Northern Telecom job. And since Avaya purchased Nortel 11 years ago, it was like coming home. I almost broke out singing “Will the circle be unbroken” when the offer letter came.
So, here I am six months into my job at Avaya and still convinced that I made the right choice. As with everything in life, no job is perfect, but I have exactly what I was looking for – I get to make, explain, and promote things.
Within days of starting my new job, I was writing a virtual agent for FAA pilot certification. Since then, I’ve created more virtual agents, written a plethora of CPaaS applications, and most importantly, I created a toolkit that allows developers to embed Avaya Spaces functionality into any web application.
To make life even sweeter, I am working with a team of like-minded folks who love to get their geek on as much as I do. We all have different strengths and areas of expertise, so if I don’t know how to do something (which is quite often), it’s not hard to find someone who does.
I couldn’t have been more than a month into my new job when I was asked to create and present an APIs for Beginners webinar to all of Avaya. This turned out to be webinars in four different regions – Asia, Europe, North America, and Latin America. I can’t say that I was fond of the time zone for the Asia presentation, but that was a small price to pay for the opportunity to present something I love to people who are anxious to learn. In the end, the webinars were viewed by thousands of people across the globe.
For anyone interested in seeing an updated version of the webinar, it can be found here.
Most recently, I created five CPaaS tutorial videos that have found a home on Avaya’s YouTube Channel.
A few days before my start date, I was asked to participate in an upcoming all-company hackathon. It was an opportunity for teams across Avaya to come up with their best ideas and write software to turn them into prototypes. Rather than forming or joining a team, I chose to take on the role of mentor and despite being the new kid on the block, I became an in-demand resource to explain Avaya APIs and how they could be used inside all kinds of amazing solutions. Not only did this allow me to promote Avaya technology to fellow Avayans, it forced me to figure out things that I didn’t already know how to do. It was this figuring out part that led me to creating my Spaces toolkit.
My job also puts me in front of customers where I can evangelize everything from AI to the latest trends in customer experience. I am also given the freedom to present to IAUG chapter meetings and of course, write my blog articles.
I’ve been at this working man thing for a lot of years, but still feel that I have something to offer. I am in love with learning new things and putting myself into the middle of new and exciting technologies. And although I am a geek at heart, I need more than bits and bytes to make me happy. Human connections and experiences are just as important as writing really cool software.
I learned the hard way that when it comes to employment, nothing is permanent. However, I am happy where I am today and feel that I am making a difference here at Avaya. If that ever changes, I hope to be the first one to know and take the appropriate action (no more paystub surprises). Until then, though, I expect good things to come from this partnership.