A New Job

Skye's Hot Chocolate

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!

11 Comment

  1. Great news for you Brent. Must admit I’d never heard of Excel Dashboards before.

  2. @Steve – Thanks. Me, neither. They do look pretty cool, though. I’ll know a lot more about them by Monday morning.

  3. I’m very excited for you, and us! You’ll do awesome. It will be great for you to have a regular schedule and do something you enjoy. And it will definitely be nice to see you more!

  4. Congrats! As you know we have been through the same thing here the past few months. Its great to be back to work! But I must say I’m a bit jealous because your doing something you love. Thay is my plan is to find that perfect job. Great Work! There is no stopping you now!

  5. @Jason – Thanks. Developing reports using Microsoft products is not something I “love”. It is a step in the right direction, though. I’m not complaining.

  6. L L Bowden says: Reply

    I’ve said it before…and I’ll say it again…”you da man”! Any organization is fortunate to have you on their team. Concerning the ‘3 day project’, you will probably have that done in a day.
    I did not know you were a pilot…of jets also?

    1. @Lloyd – Thanks, friend. The three day project never happened. I’m deep in development of the project for which I was hired. I’m secretly hoping I’ll be contracted at the end to help them develop their intranet. :)

      I earned my private pilot certificate in 1998. I am rated to operate aircraft in the Single-Engine Land (SEL) category.

  7. L L Bowden says: Reply

    Brent-again….you are the man! You wrote, “I’m secretly hoping I’ll be contracted at the end….” Should this fine institution peruse your blog, your desire will no longer be a secret;)
    There is a small airport in East Haddam, CT; I trust you enough to rent a small plane and have you fly us up the CT river…some day.

  8. @Lloyd – Deal! :)

    “Should this fine institution peruse your blog…”

    During a tour my first day a woman said, “I know all about you.” She had done a search for the company name over the weekend and this blog post came up in the query results. I thought that was pretty cool.

  9. Congratulations, dude. I used to live in Lewiston, not too many years ago. They have evening concerts at Bates on Thursdays at 6pm during the summer, check it out after work (it’s open to the public). Bring lawn chairs and blankets, the kids will love it.

    1. @Ken – Thanks for the tip. I’ll definitely check that out.

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