After Hours

10 Things Call for Feedback: Who is the best person you ever worked with?

Have you ever worked with someone who had a major positive impact on your life, your job, and/or your outlook? Share your story with the rest of us.

If you watch the news, it's all bad. The newscasters focus all kinds of energy on the negative while glossing over the positive. Does your day feel like that? Do you feel like it's a series of bad events with a few good things sprinkled in but largely forgotten?

Stop the madness! Take part in our latest Call for Feedback and share something positive and uplifting with fellow TechRepublic members.

In your IT career, have you ever run across that one person who, when you look back, you realize was simply a Decent Human Being, a hard worker, someone who led a well-balanced life or had some other positive trait that made working with him or her a joy? Did someone in your IT past really bail you out of a bind? Did you ever work for someone who acted as a mentor or a guide?

We want your stories! If you'd like to submit a story but want to keep it anonymous, send it to me at tr10things@slowe.com. Otherwise, post your story below. I'll choose 10 good ones and summarize them in a future post.

About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

9 comments
llmccabe
llmccabe

There are actually two people who helped open doors into my technical world. The first was a good friend of mine. I used to sit in his garage and watch him work on his car. At the time he was rebuilding his automatic transmission. Now this is a man who does not need a book or training. He is one of those people born with technical ability. He was also building his own computer from scratch. It had a huge disk to store data. This was back in 1977. I did not like working at fast-food places and he suggested that I learn how to solder. So he taught me how to flow the solder and the difference between a cold solder joint and a perfect one. He taught me how to apply the iron and then add the solder. Then he helped me get a job where he worked. They showed us a training video and then tested our soldering. I ended up being responsible for repairing everyone else???s mistakes because I was so good and fast. The other person that recognized my potential was my supervisor at the next job that I landed. I started in an assembly position there too. However it was a different kind of soldering. I was using resistance irons as well as regular soldering irons. I was in charge of a very big project that needed someone with excellent soldering skills. I was making stripline filters that operated in L-Band. My supervisor was actually the Production Manager and also an RF Engineer who taught me the extremely important process of troubleshooting and the science of tuning an RF filter whether it was stripline or resonant cavity. He taught me how to record my findings and use them as a reference when approaching new projects. He taught me the theory of how a wave travels along mechanical devices. I learned about coupling, rejection, VSWR, insertion loss, phase, phase matching, harmonics, etc. I worked on every type of filter from S-Band to KU-Band and by the time that I left that company, I was the Lab Supervisor responsible for delegating the workload, training the technicians, and working with the engineers on proto-type filters. I worked on a device that went up in the first Space Shuttle. I learned so much and am very proud of the work that I have done. I guess you could say that I helped pave the way for other women RF Technicians I must note that my friend who taught me to solder also helped me obtain another position where I learned how to build a PC and expel my fear of them. I had no problem running frequency generators, oscilloscopes, network analyzers, phase meters, etc. But I was scared to death of computers. So much so that I would spend hours re-typing and hand drafting professional test and assembly procedures for a Microwave Subsystem that I helped bring from design to production. My co-workers tried to get me to use the computer, but I was really worried that I might do something to break it because none of them knew how to use it either. However, once I actually built a few, set them up (prior to Windows being released), and started training myself on one that I built from slightly imperfect parts, the fear disappeared and I discovered that running a computer did not require any special scientific knowledge...just plain common sense seemed to suffice. By the time I left that position, I was the Production Manager and personally processed all customer service issues involving the repair and/or replacement of their systems and created failure trend analysis using the power of the first spreadsheets, Lotus 1-2-3, which I learned from using the ???Help??? menu. My friend performed all of the ROM programming, testing, and trouble shooting on the system motherboards. I have been building my own computers and repairing every one that came my way ever since but I have never gained the knowledge that I needed to make repairs to the circuitry such as replacing an IC to fix a problem with the motherboard. I have worked in a number of fields as a result of my first acquaintances and some that I seem to have an aptitude for such as Fiber Optics, Airport and Obstruction Lighting, Office Management and Finance. My last long term position started out as an accounting position, but I always try to find a way to be more involved with improving processes and teaching others so that they feel more comfortable and become better workers. I was the Sales Analyst/Accounting Assistant/IT Technician. I became responsible for the client operations and repair, server back-up and maintenance, and technical advisor on purchases for repair and new systems. I would sometimes begin work at 4 a.m. in order to have the client PCs fully operational for customer service at their regular starting time. I worked weekends and holidays and I even worked from home through a VPN. What I owe both of these men was that they recognized my talent and taught me exemplary work ethics that have taken me very far in my life. They were both calm and exhibited not only intelligence but acceptance of a lack of knowledge and taught me the importance of being able to recognize it and seek answers instead putting on a facade of being all knowing. I am now at a point where I either need to be learning on the job, solving problems, or creating so I am now working on my Computer Science and Programming degree. I worked during my young college years and there are many benefits to being a student as I was so fortunate to be in employment positions during that time. I am now in my early 50's and pursuing my dreams of becoming a scientist/engineer. I am looking forward to the day when I can sit down with a motherboard, or any other circuit board, and know exactly how to go about investigating the problem. I am able to troubleshoot circuits and components at higher frequencies because I understand the theory, but that is only part of today???s designs. I will be very happy when I have completed my bachelors. I am confident that I will then be fully schooled and able to make repairs have eluded me in the past. Thank you for everything Steve Wallace and Richard Soto...I am forever grateful to you both for having the desire to teach me your expertise and introduce me to the engineering world. It is an exciting and rewarding path that I know you both are continuing to function in. Lastly, a special thanks to Gene Schultz and Steve Prokop for their support and friendship during some of the best years of my life.

kkilmer6
kkilmer6

When I went back to school to dive into IT, I was fortunate enough to sit next to a person that would have a tremendous impact on my life and career, Jessy W. Part way through the semester, after getting to know each other a little during classes, Jessy asked me if I wanted to apply for a job where he worked. He said they were 'looking for a few smart guys'. I ended up working with Jessy for about 5 years. During that time I looked to Jessy for guidance. I could tell he knew what he was doing, in IT and in life. He always worked hard and studied hard. He knew more about the job and product then almost anyone in the office and was very well respected. He was always the go to guy when there was an unsolvable issue. If he didn't know the answer he knew how to find it. He told me once that anytime a topic came up that he didn't know about, he would make some time to not just find the answer, but to thoroughly understand the topic so he would be better prepared for the future. On top of knowing the technology and product, he understood people and how to work well with others. Of course he also knew how to have a good time and make the job more fun for everyone. Which was an especially appreciated skill in a stressful customer service/support role. I learned it was not only OK, but necessary to take some time to goof off with your co-workers. The stress relief and bonding create a more productive environment overall. Even with his tremendous dedication to doing the best job he could at the office, he made sure to make his family a priority. Jessy also provided a lot of guidance regarding faith (but that's a topic for another forum). Jessy has always been an inspiration to me and I know I'm in a much better place in my career and life thanks to him just being himself. Thanks Jessy!

jpnagle59
jpnagle59

...at a now defunked company, Mosler ( you would think a company 124 years old would have found a way to do it right), I was hired as a Vault Installer- vault doors in banks, weapons vaults for Uncle Sugar, heavy steel work...had the opportunity to travel literally around the 'globe' breaking my back, and justifying the danger by saying I needed to feed my family...as the body became seriously in danger of complete failure due to back breaking work- some of the tools I used weighted 600 pounds- anyway, I happened to to be tasked with 'John' helping him with some things that the other 'service tech's ' wanted no part of, and he opened a whole new world for me...he took me from being a steel worker to a very fine technician...not a great 'super tech' but one that kept me in the game...he changed my life by having the patience to show me things that I never knew I could do with electronic equipment...and computers...I will never be the Tech he is, never, but he opened my world to new possibility's and I love him for it...I say he is my best Friend I have ever had, and He believes the same of me- I think...or he better have, I can still whoop his little fanny to this day...thank you John, I hope maybe some where along the way I helped you too...James..

John_LI_IT_Guy
John_LI_IT_Guy

I used to work with a great guy who was my mentor when I first got into IT. We worked hard, all kinds of crazy hours and played hard. I really learned a lot, not only about technology but about clients as well. He moved on to another company after a couple of years and I moved into his position. We are still friends to this day and he was an usher at my wedding. I had an opportunity to go work with him a couple of years after he left the company where we met but it would've been an horrendous commute due to the distance. While I've had a good career in IT at least until recently I sometimes wish I had made the move. Thanks J.

Suresh Mukhi
Suresh Mukhi

I'm an IT Manager. I have a staff who works as an Analyst Programmer. He is not an IT graduate but an ECE. However, the way he can learn new programming languages in such a short period of time is mind boggling! He can get apps up and running with few bugs. I almost rarely have to test his work. They just run! :)

piGirl
piGirl

In my early 20s, I had a boss who saw that I was very nervous when telling him about a mistake I had made, and proceeded to teach me that mistakes are a learning opportunity. This philosophy has followed me throughout my career, and I am grateful to now pass this along to those who work for me, through constructive Lessons Learned sessions.

benjolley
benjolley

I am a PR professional who at one point in my career reported to an VP of IT for a company. I learned more about leadership and technology from that manager than any other since then. He supported all I did and made an effort to learn what it was I did. He was my mentor and I strive to follow his example each day. Thanks Rick, you made a huge impact on my career. Ben Jolley

codepoke
codepoke

I've had 4 bosses in my current gig (11+ years) and all 4 have been over the top supportive of me. I give extra and they do too. It's been mostly a bed of roses to work for each of them, and I'd take any job working for any of them again in a heartbeat. I hear a lot of unhappiness out there, but it isn't me.

maj37
maj37

I haven't heard, or used, the term uncle sugar in so many years. Thanks for bringing back some memories.

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