A Career Of T-Shirts

I was doing a major clean-out of the darker recesses of our house recently and found many nerd-shirt, most of which were thrown out. They brought back a lot of memories.

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My first job out of college had me working as a UNIX developer … can you believe that!?!?! The project ended, and some of my Linux-to-Windows porting work lead me to being transferred to our budding Microsoft consulting team. And it was there that I got training and certification from Citrix on WinFrame (now XenApp). That was the start of my journey to here.

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I spent most of my early days working with my employer’s brand of Intel servers (fridge-sized machines with 12 x 9 GB SCSI drives) and our storage system in the lab, setting up proof of concepts and demo labs.

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I left there after 4 years to spread my wings. That was the start of my many years of working with HP hardware.

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I lost my job a week after 9/11. The consulting company’s directors decided to re-launch as a “dot com”. I realized that my skills had not been developed and I struggled to find work. I was unemployed, and spent just about every waking hour getting a W2000 MCSE. A few weeks after that, I was employed again.

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I -hated- that job. Actually, hate might not be a strong enough word. I was doing field engineering. It was an awful experience. And I moved on a few months later.

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After some time contracting I got a job working for a German (but Irish headquartered) finance company, merging 9 international offices and upgrading them from Windows NT 4.0/Office 97 to Windows XP with a W2003 forest. I -loved- that job; the responsibility of designing and “owning” the global infrastructure (eventually 17 locations) was a rush. This was when I started working with virtualisation in work (Virtual Server and Virtual PC) and with pre-System Center (SMS and MOM) products, and was the start of my path to here.

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Unfortunately, the directors (who ended up being chased by German prosecutors) decided to move IT to Stuttgart, while making us redundant. That ended up backfiring big-time – we were state of the art and the German consultants both hadn’t a clue and were extremely expensive. I wore the above t-shirt for my exit interview. There’s a story behind that which I won’t tell, but the German HR executive looked like she had shat herself when I walked into the room Smile

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Oh yes, not only did I start off by programming on UNIX, but I worked happily on VMware before I switched to Hyper-V.

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The work that I was doing at the time lead to me being of interest to the local Microsoft office. I started to get involved in the local community, I had been blogging for a couple of years, and I was asked to present at the Irish launch of W2008.

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My community work grew and eventually led to me being awarded MVP status in … SCCM Smile A year later, I was switch to the Hyper-V expertise, reflecting what I was then working with and writing about.

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Books were written, travel to events was done, and I staffed a booth at TechEd in Berlin. I wore one of the blue “plastic” Microsoft shirts. Just 5 minutes in one of these and you had black armpits all the way down to your waist.

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A couple of years ago I signed up with the Petri IT Knowledgebase to write about Microsoft virtualization and then my role expanded to write op-eds and other article types on other things. It’s been fun to branch out a little, and reach a bigger audience. Now the site has added Paul Thurrott (under his own URL) and more staff to cover other areas, and that audience is growing.

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Last year was a big one, career-wise. I recommended some new brands to distribute. One of those was DataON, and that has become quite a business for us, not just in Ireland, but across Europe. I took part in the TechEd North America Speaker Idol … and won a speaking slot at Ignite this year in Chicago. And I was awarded a speaking role at TechEd Europe, got one of the larger rooms, and came in as the 6th rate overall most effective speaker! And then I popped the question and got engaged at Christmas, finishing 2014 on a real high.

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