Well, after almost 9 years at the same place part time, during which I have worked 1 year fulltime elsewhere and 4 other places part time, I'm finally getting a career again.
boring background stuff. You can skip the next 3 paragraphs if you just want to get the skinny on my new gig.
Right out of high school, I got a job at the local community college as a lab assistant. At the time, lab assistants would tutor for anything from word processing to C++ and could do homework on the clock. I'd been taking college classes while I was in high school so I already lived in the lab. It was a logical choice. While in high school I had a few part time jobs, so I kept the one I'd been at which only worked me 15 hours per week. The college started me at 20 hours a week.
Working 35 hours, 20 of which allowed homework, gave me time to spend with my girlfriend, some okay money for a 17 year old, and of course, enough time to take about 12 hours of classes and still get homework done. I ditched the mall job to take a 30 hour a week job as a desktop PC/Mac tech at about $3 an hour more at the college. Like a promotion you apply for. A little more fast paced, but enough cash and free time.
Finally in 2000, I got a full time job in tech support for a network security company and was quickly promoted to the penetration testing team. I kept up with 30 hours a week at the college as well, getting up to being a server technician. I left the security company after about a year, and I've had a few other part time jobs since then, but the part time job at the college has been my mainstay for the past 8 and a half years. I'm currently a part-time systems analyst pulling more cash per year 30 hours a week hourly than I was pulling salaried as the all-star "hacker" for the security company.
Well, I'm ditching them next week. I've applied, in vain, for several full-time gigs at the college. They passed me by several times for reasons unknown to me. I'm throwing job stability to the wind, and trading it for a company that's ready to give me a full-time job with a very juicy benefits package, and pay me what I'm worth - for real.
I'm stoked. It's a small start-up that's fortunately already gone through some of the most painful parts of starting up. The desktop environment is 100% Mac OS X. The server environment is almost purely OpenBSD. These are my two favorite operating systems in the world. I'll be a system administrator for their OpenBSD cluster.
It's hard to believe. Even though I don't officially start for a week, the college was closed today so I spent quite a bit of time in my new office just getting up to speed with some things and building some rapport with my new co-workers.
It's kind of a scary move. I know the college isn't going to go under or get bought by a company that just doesn't want to compete with it (and fire all the employees once they own the company). These are all things that could happen to me now. But at the same time, I've been working my tail off at the college, doing pizza delivery, and some consulting and programming on the side. I won't be making much more per year right now, but I'll be working a lot less hours, spending a lot more time with my wife, and not worrying about my health as much. It's the first time I'll have had insurance since 1997.