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Old 06-15-2014, 06:41 AM   #1
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How is work where you are?

As poor as the economy in Maine is, I have been extremely busy with computer work. For those of you who do not know, I deal with network infrastructure in regards to recovery and backup, network performance, server design and implementation, desktop and portable configuration (for corporate networks), and IP phone systems. I work with lower end network tools for management purposes since my clients are all small business (5 to 50 seats per business).

I have a client in a different state who has been rapidly expanding (4 servers, 30 employees, and about 100 total devices (notebook, desktop, smart phone for each) plus four servers), and they are headed for 50 users by the end of the year...

As such, as much as I wanted to spend this summer drag racing and performing weddings (a side job scenario), I have been backed up with new equipment deployments and the last week of June will be in Virginia upgrading equipment.

I am curious what people in other occupations are seeing in regard to local economies and opportunities. What does everyone do, how busy are you, and how competitive is the economy? I am fortunate that 30 years experience in IT allows me to set my own price (within reason) and over that time I have finally achieved the goal of keeping clients that pay on time and appreciate the service instead of clients who beat me up on price and want to cheap out. That said, it has taken decades to weed out the cheap and slow to pay businesses...
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Old 06-16-2014, 05:37 PM   #2
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Re: How is work where you are?

The company I work for never really slowed down during the economic crisis
We stayed busy for the most part. we are extremely busy right now 50-60 hours a week !!
Were looking to expand our sheet metal fabrication shop we have so much work its crazy
I have been working there since I was 17 and now I'm 35 and I have never seen so much work
coming and going ...
the company has purchased a new robotic welding machine , cnc mill ,100 ton Amada press brake
a Amada cnc turret press that had a price tag @ 700,000 dollars
10 new employees and 3 temps.
the bad I work 60 hours a week ...I'm tired my feet and my back hurt all the time I need
a vacation and even though I just had one Lol!! Myrtle beach bike week 5/12/2014
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:02 AM   #3
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Re: How is work where you are?

I've been in IT for 15 years, was just promoted to management. Implementing a new Cisco IP phone system this year and have to go to training for it next week. Last year added Cisco wireless infrastructure to our network. Also, I'm in the process of interviewing people to hire someone else full time.
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Old 06-17-2014, 07:09 PM   #4
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Re: How is work where you are?

I work as a mechanic for a smaller delivery company. We are very busy in almost every position company wide, but mainly because we cant find help. Seems to be a problem around here for a lot of places.
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Old 06-17-2014, 10:00 PM   #5
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Re: How is work where you are?

Ted, its good to hear things are going well for you.

It looks like I haven't had as much luck as the rest you on this board. I haven't found much work in my area. Annoyed by this I started my own start up and work part time to pay the bills while I struggle to get this company running competitively.
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:46 AM   #6
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Re: How is work where you are?

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Originally Posted by adam85 View Post
I work as a mechanic for a smaller delivery company. We are very busy in almost every position company wide, but mainly because we cant find help. Seems to be a problem around here for a lot of places.
I can't believe how hard it is to find good help. I see many business' now offering a bonus if you show up on time and work a full week. Where have the work ethics gone?
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:41 AM   #7
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Re: How is work where you are?

The company I work for (been here almost 3 years) is doing extremely well.
  • We have doubled our revenue and will be close to triple this year ($500 million when I started in 2011, last year was a hair under $1 billion and this year should be $1.6 billion).
  • Our stock has more than quadrupled in that time ($26 when I started, $115 as of yesterday).
  • We have gone from ~140 servers to just under 300.
  • Last year I migrated us from Exchange 2007 to 2010, did a full SAN migration (40TB of production data from a pair of NetApp FAS3140's to a pair of EMC Symmetrix VMAX 10k's), virtualized almost all of our physical servers (~60 servers) and built a fully redundant DR site.
That was just the big stuff, there were a number of smaller projects as well. And besides all the projects I do a large part of the day to day operations as well. We did this all with one full time systems engineer (me), one 40hr/week contractor (does tickets and simple requests) and one manager (mostly in meetings). I handle all of the servers/storage/networking and my boss does the firewall/security/phones. We do leverage professional services and managed services, which is the only reason I'm not insane right now.

I am very grateful and fortunate that I got in with a very good company when I did. They take care of me pretty well but I do work no less than 50 hours a week, typically closer to 55-60 and sometimes more than that. If I didn't work with such a great group of people and such a thriving company I would have left long ago. I have lost most of the time I had for hobbies so now I mostly either work or spend time with my wife/daughter. I did manage to sneak a 2008 BMW M5 into the garage, but I don't have much time to do anything with it but drive it to work.
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:12 AM   #8
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Re: How is work where you are?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Camride View Post
The company I work for (been here almost 3 years) is doing extremely well.
  • We have doubled our revenue and will be close to triple this year ($500 million when I started in 2011, last year was a hair under $1 billion and this year should be $1.6 billion).
  • Our stock has more than quadrupled in that time ($26 when I started, $115 as of yesterday).
  • We have gone from ~140 servers to just under 300.
  • Last year I migrated us from Exchange 2007 to 2010, did a full SAN migration (40TB of production data from a pair of NetApp FAS3140's to a pair of EMC Symmetrix VMAX 10k's), virtualized almost all of our physical servers (~60 servers) and built a fully redundant DR site.
That was just the big stuff, there were a number of smaller projects as well. And besides all the projects I do a large part of the day to day operations as well. We did this all with one full time systems engineer (me), one 40hr/week contractor (does tickets and simple requests) and one manager (mostly in meetings). I handle all of the servers/storage/networking and my boss does the firewall/security/phones. We do leverage professional services and managed services, which is the only reason I'm not insane right now.

I am very grateful and fortunate that I got in with a very good company when I did. They take care of me pretty well but I do work no less than 50 hours a week, typically closer to 55-60 and sometimes more than that. If I didn't work with such a great group of people and such a thriving company I would have left long ago. I have lost most of the time I had for hobbies so now I mostly either work or spend time with my wife/daughter. I did manage to sneak a 2008 BMW M5 into the garage, but I don't have much time to do anything with it but drive it to work.
But all your company's profits come form taking advantage of sick people.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:58 PM   #9
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Re: How is work where you are?

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But all your company's profits come form taking advantage of sick people.
No, we just make people **** their brains out.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:04 AM   #10
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Re: How is work where you are?

Quote:
Originally Posted by adam85 View Post
I work as a mechanic for a smaller delivery company. We are very busy in almost every position company wide, but mainly because we cant find help. Seems to be a problem around here for a lot of places.
When work was slow for me a few years back I started performing wedding ceremonies to help make ends meet. It is one of the few occupations where start up costs can be less than a hundred bucks and each ceremony can bring in four times that amount...

I am just glad to have steady and reliable revenue as being a one man band for sales, service, and all the stuff that goes along with up and down economics creates times of good money and times of nothing... My wife is in car sales so her revenue is inconsistent (although she does quite well over the course of a year).
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:58 AM   #11
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Re: How is work where you are?

Work for me has always been good since taking my current job as a software engineer almost nine years ago. I've always had a few complaints, but they were about small things that didn't really affect me day-to-day.

In 2010, the company I originally started with was acquired by the one I work for now. The new company is based in the Seattle area (Bothell actually) and through acquisitions has established a handful of locations throughout the U.S. including ours. When they bought us, they were run by a guy with a background in accounting. Our CEO before that was a guy with a background in sales. So I had always been accustomed to working for a company that focused on the bottom line above all else.

Early this year, we got a new CEO. He's a software guy, an engineer. He came to us from Intuit (he was president of a division), so he knows how Silicon Valley software companies run and thrive. He knows how to keep developers productive, and he knows that if you focus on building a great product, the bottom line will take care of itself.

That has resulted in a handful of really great changes:
  • As of late last year, I've been promoted to Senior Software Engineer and named technical lead for my team, which includes five other developers with 1-4 years seniority, plus two QA testers and a business analyst. Together we're responsible for a pair of web applications that serve the insurance carrier market, plus a host of custom-built tools that help them scale.
  • The promotion came with a healthy pay raise. Let's just say my annual income (pre-tax) starts with a 1 now.
  • Every developer and QA tester has a new computer. We were given a choice of Mac or PC, desktop or laptop. I, along with just one other guy, chose a Mac desktop (most everyone else picked laptops). It's a 27" iMac with an extra 27" display, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and a 3.9GHz quad-core i7 with hyperthreading. It is absurdly fast compared to what I was using before, which was a 3.4GHz Core 2 Quad without hyperthreading, 8GB of RAM, and a 250GB traditional disk. They spent about four times more on this machine than what they have spent in the past, and it has allowed me to be much more productive.
  • They're finally focusing on improving our products, rather than on making sales by promising narrowly focused features to prospective new customers. I'm spending more of my time engineering and improving a product to make it great, and less time adding trivial features just to make one customer happy. (This transition is still in progress, as we still have a sales organization and their favorite thing is still making promises without regard to the product's current capabilities.)

The company has always been the thought leader in our market, and I get to work closely with several of the people who are credited with those ideas. We are two generations ahead of our closest competitor in terms of software capabilities, and we're widening the gap. The software I work on is right in the middle of everything and I love continuing to make it better.

The people I work with have been consistently great throughout my time here. The only downside is that they're so great that Google and Amazon have discovered that we're a breeding ground for great developers, and our best guys have started getting poached. Over the years I think there are about ten developers (out of about 40 who work here) who have left to work for one of those two. I've been recruited several times myself, but I'm not willing to relocate.

We've always been a growing business. Annual growth between 10 and 20% has been the norm. I see no sign of that changing. Internally, we're focused on improving infrastructure and processes so that we can continue to scale and not collapse under our own weight. The new leadership has the right ideas and has demonstrated their commitment to that goal with the corporate wallet repeatedly by investing in new software, new hardware, and expert staff in all of the key places.

So yeah, work is good.

My personal life has been pretty great, too. I've been quiet here for quite some time. I think I'll go write another post to fill you guys in.
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:58 AM
 
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