Six Months In

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Rumi

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.

Making 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.

Explaining Things

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.

Promoting Things

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.

Mischief Managed

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.

15 comments

  1. Bob Spence · · Reply

    Congrats Andrew – it’s good to see experience and expertise recognised, however belatedly. Reading your posts has definitely shortened my learning curve on a number of topics – hopefully your talent won’t be too valued so you will still have time to post 😉
    All the best,
    Bob

    1. Thanks for saying that, Bob! It made my day.

  2. Congratulations! I feel like you will influence the future of various Avaya API’s.
    I have learned a few tips and tricks from you and have driven my in-house APS person a little crazy. I am certain things are going to be fun!
    Alan

    1. Crazy is the norm these days. 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Mark Boxall · · Reply

    Congratulations Andrew Avaya is an awesome place to work, I always look forward to your posts as they inspire me to think outside the box and learn new technologies and ways to doing things as well as take the opportunity to change my thought process and dive in to learning.

    Thank you and keep the posts coming

    1. Thank you, Mark! I can honestly say that my blog have taught me new technologies, too. Before I write something, I need to make sure that I know it well enough myself. That forces me to dig deeper than I might otherwise have.

      1. Mark Boxall · ·

        Andrew, Thank you for the reply.

        And I agree, none of us are able to know everything about everything but what your blog does in a great way is to dig deeper to learn what were missing and that is how new technology is created.

        Mark

  4. Emilio Alminana · · Reply

    Congrats Andrew!! It is sad that companies have become so detached from employees that you had to learn about not having a job that way. It shouldn’t be that way. I have learned few things from your posts, please keep it up 🙂

    Emilio

    1. Grazie! I contemplated leaving out that part of the story, but enough water has gone under the bridge that I can now laugh about it. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. cathy fransson · · Reply

    Congrats on the job at Avaya, they are lucky to have you on board! Also, thanks for the blogs, learning a lot from them…

    1. Thanks so much for saying that, Cathy!

  6. June Nickens · · Reply

    Good Morning Andrew — congratulations on your new position at Avaya. They are blessed to have you. I have learned by reading your posts and you are truly brilliant. We all have different strengths and learn from each other — as it take a village to raise a child; it takes a hmm passel of geeks to be brilliant .. at least in my case. Enjoy the new challenges.

    1. Thank you for the wonderful comment, June. I am and hope to continue enjoying new challenges. I am not quite ready to be put out to pasture. 🙂

  7. Hey Best of luck to you sir! It’s funny your blog has been an on and off again resource for my own knowledge for my current job. I’ve been mining your blog for information and help since 2016 when I started at Nokia. I’m still here and I still come back to your treasure trove of info… So I was glad/surprised to see you had a ‘recent’ update from earlier in the year . I hope you’re finding your stable footing now that you’re most likely a year into to the new job..

    1. Thanks! I may swerve from technology articles every so often, but you can be assured that I plan on writing for a long time to come.

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