I’ve wanted to work as a programmer since long before I earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Wichita State University. When I was in the Air Force I developed an application in Visual Basic to track the status of the unit’s refueling drogues, for which I was primarily responsible. At Bombardier Learjet I developed an Access database to track overdue receivables, for which I was also responsible, and Excel VBA macros to prettify data regurgitated from SAP. Programming is what I enjoyed, so I made opportunities (i.e. excuses) to do it.
After moving to Maine in 2007 I answered a job listing for a traveling photographer. I thought it would be fun to see New England and pursue another passion of mine, photography. It was a good and bad decision. I’ve enjoyed meeting many new people and traveling in beautiful scenic country. I’ve very much disliked being away from Kirsten and the girls so many nights and Saturdays. My schedules have been light and too few; I’ve never been able to count on a paycheck or have a budget. I’ve been looking for other work off and on for quite a while. Recently I’ve begun aggressively planning and researching starting a freelance web design/development business. Every morning for the past week I’ve woken early, showered, and headed to Starbucks to study and plan. It’s been exhilarating.
Yesterday morning, while at Starbucks with Skye, I got a voicemail from an employment recruiter. It was for a three to six month contract position at Tri-County Mental Health Services in Lewiston, Maine developing Excel Dashboard Reports from disparate data sources. An interview was set for 14:30 in Lewiston.
I was thirty minutes early for the meeting, so I sat in my car and read a web development magazine. I met with Tim and Jason, who asked me about my background. The fact that I’m a pilot came up, as it often does. I talked to them about my experience developing in Access and Excel at Bombardier. After twenty minutes we shook hands and I began the hour-long drive back to Saco.
After less than thirty minutes of driving my phone rang. It was the recruiter telling me they wanted me to start Monday. I’m thrilled! I’ll be given a mini-project that is supposed to take three days to complete. If I don’t have it done in that time they will cancel the project. It’s a bit stressful, but I know I’ll be able to do accomplish the task. I’m going to spend a significant amount of time this weekend honing my VBA skills and reading everything I can about Excel Dashboards.
A new, better, chapter is beginning for me. I plan to do a lot of the planning/startup work for my freelance business while I’m employed at Tri-County Mental Health Services. The experience should also help me to secure future contract work. Right now I’m just thrilled to know we’ll be able to comfortably pay our monthly bills. That’s a HUGE stress relief!