10 Years at IBM

Saturday marked my 10 year anniversary with IBM. It’s very hard to believe that I’ve been here for a full decade.

When I started with IBM it was just before the dot-com bubble burst and companies were still hiring like crazy. I was courted by several different companies: FedEx in Colorado Springs, Ericsson in Dallas, Dell in Round Rock, among others. IBM offered me the most money and the job was in Austin, a fun-looking town after you got away from I-35. I accepted the position around November 1999 before I graduated the following May. The general mood of new-hires at the time, regardless of which company you went to work for, was that you’d be there for a few years and move elsewhere. Then the bubble burst <poof!> and everyone was quite happy to be gainfully employed.

Interestingly, shortly after I started working for IBM I discovered that I wasn’t a very strong candidate for hire. It was only because one of the interviewing managers thought I had some potential and wanted me in his department that they decided to make me an offer. Oddly, I never did work for him. They were wary enough of me to give me the lowest starting salary offered at that time — something I only found out the next year after my next manager said that while she was giving me a raise because of my great performance, she was also required to do so since the new hires would be starting higher than I was making!

I like to think since then they’ve changed their minds a bit. In 10 years I’ve gotten good performance reviews1, 3 promotions, and 9 notable awards2. I’ve been empowered to define my own position, which might as well be summed up by the word transponster ’cause there’s no good title for what I do3.

I’ve had a total of about 6 managers during my career and each one raises the bar for the next one. Each and every one of them have been amazing people who care about their employees and their employee’s career. To a one they have always watched out for me and ensured that I have retained a good work-life balance.

What’s the plan from here? Keep on keepin’ on. I’m continuing to grow into my new band and expand my sphere of influence. I’m working on increasing our project’s overall bus number for performance which should free me up to focus on other things. I’ll continue to work from home until it becomes impractical to advance without being in an office.

I always said I’d never go to a job I hated day in and day out regardless of the pay. I’ve been lucky that I am well compensated for a job I enjoy and part of a team that’s top notch.

1 I started to list the aggregate ratings but the definitions have changed enough over 10 years that it wouldn’t be meaningful.
2 This isn’t counting the 24 Thanks! awards over the years — 24 out of a potential 27 isn’t bad!
3 My title listed in the corporate directory is “LDAP & DB2 Performance Peon” — that’s what corporate gets for making it a free-form text field.

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I'm a gay geek living in Seattle, WA.

2 thoughts on “10 Years at IBM”

  1. I only learned recently that “peon” is from the Spanish “peón” for “day laborer”. It comes from the same root as the English “pawn”; in fact the chess piece is a “peón” in Spanish.

    But I digress–as usual. :) Congrats on the big anniversary!


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