For me, the most important part of any job is working with people you respect and enjoy being around. Consider this stat from RealSociology.com: “We spend 57% of our waking time at work during a working life of 46 years.” More than half of our conscious day is at work. Imagine being around people that drive you insane! I am fortunate to be a part of a great team here at ORR who lent me their valuable time to answer a few questions. Here is what I have learned from my coworkers as well as some advice they gave for those just starting out in the IT world:
Rayna D. - Help Desk Specialist
Rayna is from the Louisville area and enjoys gardening and reading. She has been with ORR for about a week. I asked her why she decided to move to ORR and she told me it was because of the unusually low turnover that ORR’s IT department has. She also noted that people in the area leave long-term positions at other companies and come work for ORR in various departments.
Rayna got into IT from her early work at a bank. She started as a teller and then made the transition to customer service. At the same time, the bank was moving to online services and the management team tapped Rayna to help implement the new systems. This experience led her to pursue IT as a career ever since.
Advice from Rayna:
“Stick with what interests you; specialize in what you love, intern in the field you want. IT is so broad; don’t get stuck in an area you don’t want.”
David A. – IT Intern
David is my fellow intern and has a super cool background. He used to perform drums for a Norwegian Cruise Liner. Back in mainland USA, he spends time mastering a traditional form of Japanese Jujitsu. He chose IT because he loves solving puzzles and problems. Computers are chock full of puzzles and problems (most problems are caused by IT, David joked).
Advice from David:
“You’re going to have to go out and learn the things you want to do in IT on your own. Don’t expect everything to come from the classroom.”
Rob S. – Help Desk Specialist
Originally from Wyoming, Rob is our resident "cool guy" as far as some IT nerds go. He spends his free time at target practice, motorcycling, and camping. His move to ORR was a matter of timing; his prior company was downsizing at the same time ORR was growing. He has now been with ORR for six months.
Rob’s degree is in Computer-Aided Drafting (CADD), but in his first role he realized he knew more about IT than the engineers he worked with. Because of this, leadership moved him into a position to train the engineers and bring their systems up to date. He fell in love with this work and has been doing it ever since.
Advice from Rob:
“Working for a large corporation, they tend to stick you in a position and leave you there, but you get to work with the cutting edge. Smaller companies allow more flexibility and train in the basics. ORR is a larger company, but they operate like a smaller company. Get as much IT knowledge you can, learn from all areas of IT, and don’t settle.”
Chris C. – Senior Infrastructure Engineer
Chris is my direct supervisor. That being said, if you’re reading this Chris, I won’t be in next Friday (just kidding!). Chris is from the Louisville area and is very passionate about music. He is always looking for band members so please email him if you play the fiddle, guitar, banjo, or can sing. As a kid, Chris’s dad would bring home broken radios. Finding ways to fix these radios was all the motivation he needed to pursue technology as a career. He’s been with ORR for a year now and was drawn to the company because of its size and family atmosphere.
Advice from Chris:
“Follow your passion, but don’t get stuck in one spot. Try to find the thing you like and something that someone else isn’t doing yet. Create an opportunity for yourself to be in demand.”
Bob N. – Senior Help Desk Technician
From the Louisville area, Bob is the veteran of the help desk. Problems that take all afternoon for a mere intern fear Bob’s presence. He is a master of customer service and problem-solving and has no time for closing tickets. That’s my job, to which I say, “Thank you for keeping me employed Bob!”
In his free time, he enjoys music, video games, movies, and reading. Like many others, his dad inspired him to pursue IT. A hobbyist programmer, Bob watched his dad work with an old Apple II Mac. In fact, that same machine acted as his reading instructor. In college, he studied journalism and helped professors and students with computer problems. Bob and his classmates watched the journalism market shrink substantially and fortunately, for Bob, he could fall back on his affinity for technology repair. He’s been with ORR for four and a half years and loves the people he works with.
Advice from Bob:
“Don’t stop at fixing the ‘problem.’ Investigate the cause and find a way to prevent it all together. This is the key to helping customers overcome IT issues.”
Mark C. – Solution Architect
Another Louisville native, Mark is a fellow veteran and separated active duty the same year I did. He’s been around computers since a young age and first learned to program in Basic Training. Same as Chris, Mark’s dad used to bring home old terminals and they studied the hardware together. Unlike the others, he wanted to distance himself from IT and studied political science in college. As it seems to happen, Mark was in a position where he could fix computer issues others couldn’t.
During his military career, Mark was consistently stepping out of his role and repairing computers and networks. This culminated when the SharePoint instructor retired and left a void. Mark learned SharePoint and began teaching it to his coworkers. Despite his best efforts, he could never escape IT as his calling.
Advice from Mark:
“Don’t be afraid to break it!”*
*This advice incited protest in the office. Lots of, “Don’t tell him that!” followed.
Chad T. – System Administrator
All the way from the Windy City, Chad grew up playing with new technology and was fortunate to have grandparents purchase him a computer at the ripe age of 10. This helped drive his fascination and push him towards IT as a career. In his free time, Chad produces Louisville’s chapter of the 48 Hour Film Project. If you look at their home page, you can see him on the left side banner! Chad has been with ORR for 2 years and absolutely loves how agile the company is for its size. He notes that even the lowest level employee can have a say in the direction of the company. While most companies in the area are spending time maintaining old technology, ORR is aggressively pushing forward.
Advice from Chad:
“Play with as much stuff as you can.”
ORR's IT Department has interns just beginning their career (like myself) and veterans with impressive pasts, but we are all able to complement each other daily. I truly appreciate the time my coworkers took to answer my questions and give me insight on who they are and bits of wisdom for me to take away. That's it for this week's edition of ORR Intern Insights, stay tuned next week for a post on ORR Intern Perks and Policies!
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