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Back from the dead
20,626 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was thinking the other day about the journey I've taken from entering college to my current job, and I wonder how many people here are like me and didn't follow a straight line path. I'm curious to see how other people ended up where they are.

Here is my path:

<li>1982: Started as an electrical engineering major in college, but never got calculus
<li>Switched to business with no real goal. Briefly considered trying to become a professional musician (the silliest thing I've ever done).
<li>Switched to history, graduated with a B.A, goal was to join the Foreign Service (State Dept.)
<li>1987: Went to Sorbonne in Paris for a year.
<li>Came very close, but could not pass the Foreign Service exam, only given once a year.
<li>Came home from France with no money or job prospects (why did I chooose History???)
<li>Became Asst. Manager of a Pizza Hut. Spent free time writing software for scheduling and inventory. Was always good at programming.
<li>1989: Offered a Pizza Hut of my own, I instead applied for a Tech Support job for a well known Santa Monica software firm (still small and owned by its namesake). Against all odds, I get the job!
<li>Did TS for a year, then was asked to join the engineering team. This is the defining moment of my life, because I was now working with the most brilliant engineers in the business. The industry was still young back then so I got to invent stuff and I got to ride the leading edge for years. (I can guarantee that a lot of you have used my work!)
<li>1994: The small company got bought, got bigger, and got a lot more corporate. I got restless and wanted to shake up my life. Decided to leave L.A. and take a job in the SF Bay Area.
<li>Went through a few jobs working on email, enterprise reporting, and finally ended up working on health care software.
<li>2005: Got married to the girl sitting in the next cubicle.
<li>Getting tired of this business, what's next?

5,627 Posts
Well, I am another history major, who after I graduated from college (2001) worked construction for almost 3 years before getting my present indexing/abstracting editor position (mainly glorified data entry), while taking part-time classes to get my masters in library science. Still waiting to break into that field.

Live where I live by choice (well sort of), not because of job. Want something new too, but beyond being in a library field, not sure what.

Strained coccyx etc etc
21,050 Posts
1. first 15 years in bootcamp, started running away at 14
2. instiutionalized
3. moved out at 16
4. quit high school working 2 jobs and moonlighting as a bouncer at (pre-) raves
5. learned to wait tables
6. played bass in touring punk rock bands
7. learned to manage restaurants
8. learned to be a lowly mail clerk
9. GED and technical AAS
10. had a child, married, divorced, owned three (mortgages) houses
11. moved up and currently/still shackled by corporate amerca after 13 years
12. photographed Eddy's feet

Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
9,416 Posts
My path, such as it is.

1. Anthropology major in college, did a lot of history and studio art too.
2. Got out of school with no plans or goals. Got a job selling copiers--horrible.
3. Decided I'd go to law school--took LSAT, did very well.
4. Got a job at a law office (State Public Defender) to see how I felt about it. I was a records clerk, which means I mostly read and annotated trial transcripts. It was a decent, if low-paying, job but it helped put me off going to law school.
5. Got a job working for a management consulting company specializing in jail/prison management. I was mostly a low-level drone, though I eventually became the office manager because it was the lowest-ranking job left in that office (a satellite office). This time pay was moderate, but the job wasn't much.
6. That company closed its DC office, and I had the choice of severance or moving to Columbia SC. I wanted to stay in DC, so I took severance.
7. Got what I took to be a stop-gap job as a bike messenger, because it looked cool, and it was easy to get one. I did that for about 3.5 years. Pay was for sh*t, but it was a good job, and really helped me straighten my head out about a lot of things--mostly in terms of stuff I thought I needed, but didn't.
8. Toward the end, I started taking graphic design classes at a local art school, on my girlfriend's (now my wife) advice.
9. Parlayed that into a design job with a large local print shop.
10. Went from there to the art department of a big political PR firm, but as a production manager--making sure everything got done on time, and that the designers had what they needed to get the work done, and did all work for bidding print jobs. I'm a much better cat-herder/multi-tasker than designer, so I was very good at it.
11. Got tired of working 60-hour weeks for pretty low pay and zero respect.
12. Came to my present company to be a production manager here, only this time working with video packaging and sales materials (sell sheets, catalogs, etc.)
13. Got involved with our web efforts because I'm good with computers, then got into IT, and the web stuff got bigger and bigger with the addition of a couple of mail-order catalog operations.
14. I've been here 8 years and counting, and now I'm senior management. Pay is great, I'm well appreciated, and benefits rock. Now if I could just get over how much I hate being management (when I'd really rather work to deadlines instead of setting them), I'd be all set. But the money is good enough that early retirement is a possibility (I'm saving like mad), so I'll probably stay.

51 Posts
1) Graduated High School, knowing full well that I did not yet have the attention span for higher education.
2) Moved to Texas with Family (DFW-- Grapevine). Worked at several pizza places.
3) Tried school again, UT Arlington -- EE major. Never re-enrolled after 1st semester, told my parents I was waisting my time and their money.
4) While @ UTA got a super cool job with a small semiconductor design house (owned by Atari) . Was taught VLSI-CMOS chip layout and LOVED IT. Worked my butt off for 2 years! But company folded in 1989
5) Missed NC, moved back. Saw Lemond on TV (91 Tour), the next week purchased a Bridgestone RB-2
6) After Hurricane Hugo I worked construction for a year, thus my lifelong loathing of pouring concrete.
7) Got a job waiting tables (everyone should work food service for AT LEAST A YEAR).
8) Back to a community college for some computer networking courses. Recieved my Novell CNE
9) Almost got married,
9) Started working for a Bank in Charlotte, and in Oct it will be 9 years with 2 layoffs

10) Trying to get the nerve and make the leap to self employment..

164 Posts
This is a cool thread! My road wasn't as twisty as the rest of yours, but here goes:

1. Went to college to be an English major.
2. Drank too much, missed too many classes, failed 1st semester (Except English, where I got an 'A')
3. Got kicked out of the dorms for too many violations
4. Moved into a rental house with a bunch of Beauty School girls
5. Was getting my hair cut by one of said girls, and got asked out by the woman who I ended up marrying
6. Took some time off from college, worked driving an oil truck
7. Got REALLY sick of driving an oil truck, so went back to school for computer programming
8. Having finally found something I enjoyed, I graduated in 3 years with a 3.9 GPA
9. Accepted a job at a start-up company
10.Said company promptyly went out of business
11. Back to driving the oil truck
12. Took a low-level IT job at a manufacturing plant
13. After a year or so, accepted an entry-level programming position - 85 miles away
14. Commute every day (over 3 hours on the road) for 2 years
15. Accept senior-level programming position, where I am still employed.

60,639 Posts

--graduated HS in 83...
--went to Junior College for a year (Journalism)
--went to Photography school in Denver, worked retail (clothing sales)part time to make $$
--moved to Seattle after graduating photo school. Worked briefly as a architectural photographer and working in a custom photo lab
--decided I hated Seattle's weather and photography as a business, moved back to Iowa because I could still claim in-state tuition at U of I
--Moved to IC and got a degree in English...I was drifting quite a bit at the time and reading and writing was a passion (still is)
--Worked part time selling men's suits for $$
--Met my wife at U of I and after I graduated we got married and moved to Boulder, CO
--Got a job at a local book publisher doing order fulfillment, data entry and copyediting (the office entry-level dogsbody)
--promoted to Sales Manager after about a year...hated it...later fired...I learned lots about databases and discovered I was pretty good at computers here though. Vowed never to do sales again.
--Got a job with a tech non-profit doing DB/data-entry work. They asked me to learn HTML and do a website. Soon I was the company webmaster.
--Quit that job after 5+ years over differences with my boss and general boredom with the routine
--Freelanced and looked for other gigs for a while
--Got a contracting job with a local telecom doing web work
--went on full time with same company when the bottom dropped out of the IT market. Been here about 6 years now. :eek:

In need of sock puppet
9,420 Posts
1. Graduated High school early, 1974
2. Attended UMass Amherst (pre-med/art building a foundation for medical illustration)
3. Transfered to Art Insitute of Boston, BA in Illustration (emphasizing on scientific illustration)
4. First commercial project: nearly two hundred medical illustrations for Physical Rehabilitation manual, published by F.A. Davis for BU's Sargent College.
5. Worked as an illustrator for Boston Phoenix, MIT's Technology Review, Boston Globe, WBCN, WFNX, WAAF, Columbia Records, Hasbro, several Boston TV stations, and many Boston area companies doing military and research projects.
6. Joined small Ad/Design Agency in NH working on defense projects
7. Lead illustrator/pencil/inker for US ARMY comic book Preventative Maintenance
8. Left agency to become lead scientific illustrator for a firm that specialized in corporate presentations, primarily working on Raytheon projects. Much of our work - classified/secret. Visited many missile test sites to document systems. Remember the Scuds vs. Patriot missiles?
9. Started up design agency focusing on local clients.
10. Marriage #1.
11. Partnered with a fellow racing buddy/graphic designer and formed Iguana Advertising.
12. Iguana became the world's largest "bicycle specific" ad agency, with clients: Mavic, Tange, Tioga, Look, Shogun, Offroad, Rhode Gear
13. On random chance while on vacation in Zion, bought and opened up a bed and breakfast at the national park.
14. Moved Iguana to Utah.
15. Operated B&B and agency concurrently.
16. Over creative differences, Iguana dissolved.
17. Started doing freelance illustration w/digital tools. clients: Strata, Psychology Today, Videoreview, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science.
18. Joined Strata full time as 3D artist, doing design and illustration projects to promote Stratavision and StudioPro (mac based 3D products)
19. Transitioned into corporate spokesperson for Strata (actual job title: Cyber Warrior)
20. Appeared on television programs, radio, and penned articles focusing on transitioning traditional 2D artists/designers into digital tools.
21. Recruited to join Fractal Design, in Scotts Valley California to act as their Kai Krause counterpart
22. Worked as an evangelist for Fractal Design, 2 years of over 200,000 miles traveled per year. Phew!
23. Sold B&B in Utah. Moved to Bonny Doon, California.
24. Took product manager position at Fractal Design/Metacreations, managing Poser.
25. Transformed Poser from a niche product into Meta's cash cow.
26. Became group product manager of 3D products at Meta.
27. Meta exits software market in favor of web strategy. Everyone laid off. (The Web - smart move, eh meta?)
28. Divorce wife #1.
29. Take job with Apple, iMovie 2 product manager.
30. Left Apple within three weeks to start-up Curious Labs (software publisher, focusing on artists' tools, replicating the business model of Meta/Fractal Design/Strata), bought several software products from previous employer Metacreations with funds provided by parent company based in Tuebingen Germany. My role? President. Board of Directors, and Board member of parent company.
31. Curious Labs grows to 40+ staffers, with offices in a Dublin, LA, Santa Cruz, Japan and Germany.
32. Dot com bubble bursts.
33. Downturn causes layoffs at Curious.
34. Rebuild staff.
35. September 11th. Revenue tanks following attack. Layoffs again.
36. Marriage #2
37. German parent company close to insolvency, while we are cash cow. Forces us to launch product too early to fund German operations. Product is market flop. I take the heat.
38. Refuse to layoff staff needed to repair product, am forced out by board of directors.
39. Parent company goes bankrupt. I spend a year trying to secure investors to buy back Curious Labs assets. No luck.
40. Take full time gig with Havok - real time Game Physics developer, as director of marketing.
41. Leave Havok one year later to join Futuremark, daughter company of game developer Remedy Entertainment (Max Payne developers)
42. Leave Futuremark to start up consultancy.
43. Trying to secure new clients including cycling industry, software, gaming segments.

That's it! Now to add it onto a wiki page. :D

120 Posts
Went to college for two years - felt like I was wasting time
Dropped out of college - all I knew was I didn't want to go back home
Helped a friend open a tattoo shop and worked there for about a year
Wasn't making any money, so I quit and got a CDL
Drove an 18 wheeler for about six months - wouldn't wish that hell on anyone.
Kicked around at a couple of different jobs - grunt work mostly
Got married
Decided to move back home and work at the family business (gm car dealer, I'm a mechanic)
Surprise! - working at the family business is actually enjoyable
Been there for three years now, and plan on staying

Gronk SMASH!
1,973 Posts
pretty boring stuff for me

— Applied to lowly Cal State school outta HS and got rejected.
— Dragged feet through JC for about 6 years before I realized English was gonna be the degree
— Went to real Univ. and got my degree in 3 years, only 10 years after I graduated HS. Yay!
— Went to work through headhunter, who got me a job as an underwriter for an auto insurance company. Money was OK, and there was the potential for big money if I was willing to sell my soul for sales.
— Had a friend who worked for a paper, and had always longingly eyed journalism from afar. Begged him to let me know if there ever was an opening. He got me an interview to work on the copy desk.
— Landed the job at a significant pay cut. Went back to sleeping on parents' couch and girlfriend's bed on weekends.
— Promotions came fairly fast and furious, and within a year and a half I was running a copy desk at a fairly large daily paper.
— Management was worthless, and I started to hate the place more and more, so I went back to a copy desk job elsewhere (at better pay! :) )
— Shuffled around here a bit. Got married. Bought a house. Went back to grad school, and I'm about a class away from my master's in lit. Will teach as a grad assistant next year.
— After that, who knows? Probably stay in journalism.

598 Posts
1992 - Graduated H.S.,typical band/musical geek, raced in summers. Babysat, did odd jobs, and worked at McDonalds for money. Fast food is totally thankless.
1997 - Graduated from Ithaca College, degree in music performance (voice)
1997 - Facilities mantenance at Case Western while my wife was in grad school. Also waited tables and worked one night stocking books at Borders. Couldn't hack it.
2000 - Hired as police officer for Pittsburgh, PA. Loved it, did SERT, great gig. I miss it greatly.
2002 - Joined the PA National Guard (at age 28). Wanted to go active duty, wife refused.
2005 - Bought parents' house when they retired, now 3rd gen. of my family to own it. Now I work for a small P.D. in Bucks County, great schedule, lots of time to ride, and they work around my race schedule.

The journey still isn't over. I have the opportunity to possibly go to flight school for the Guard, and am weighing it with family/personal issues. I have no idea how I went from music to a career in law enforcement/military. I guess I've always had that part in me, and majored in what was "fun" at college. I simply view myself as well-rounded.

Brooks K.

187 Posts
1. Graduated college with a degree in history (seems to be several of those on here)
2. Supprted myself as a freelance photographer for about 3 years, lots of sports and photojournalism/editorial work. Lots of travel, lots of headaches....I was good at the photography part, not so great at the business part.
3. Worked for 2 years as the bookeeper, account balancer, back-office mgr for a futures trading firm.
4. Got engaged
5. Same trading firm gave me an opportunity to be a trader in their currency arbitrage system, system fell apart after 8 months and everyone became purely speculative day traders. Bailed out to find something more stable.
6. Waited tables to pay for wedding, otherwise unemployed for about 5 months.
7. Worked at a boiler room type placement agency for IT professionals as a salesman (anyone ever heard of Boylston Group, Remmington International, McArthur Assoc, or Atlantis Partners, all part of Stride & Assoc....stay away from them if you're looking for an IT job!). Let go after about 8 months.
8. Unemployed for 2 months.
9. Took another sales job at a sub-prime mortgage lender. Didn't really like brow-beating people with bad credit to take a 9% mortgage and push them to also pay 3 points in fees. Pressure from manager to close deals at any price resulted in tons of work for no commission. Decided to get out of sub-prime lending.
10. Took operations job at current company working as an underwriter. Been here almost 3 years, fairly flexible schedule, good benefits, commute to work on the bike 2-3 days a week. Don't plan on going anywhere else in the near future.

Palm trees & sunshine!
24,200 Posts
I started out with "computers" when I was 12 but I never considered a career in IT.
  1. Graduated HS in 1988.
  2. Started working as an electrician immediately.
  3. Took a bunch of college courses on various topics that intersted me but never had much intention of going for a degree. I just wanted to expand my knowledge a bit.
  4. Married in 1994.
  5. Got completely fed up with the construction business and started looking for an out.
  6. In 1996, I hooked up with a desktop support job at a large publishing company.
  7. Moved into network engineering after about 4 months of doing desktop support.
  8. Switched to a different, but smaller, company in 1999 doing essentially the same thing. Moved into managment in 2000.
  9. Company lost major chunk of business in 2001, filed Chapter 11.
  10. Moving into an "executive management" postion by default, we were able to salvage the rest of the business and make the company more profitable than it had ever been. We pulled out of the 11 4 months later, took care of the crditors and sold the company for several million more than what anyone ever thought we'd get.
  11. Resumed my original position with new owners but was very bored after going through the excitement of the bankruptcy.
  12. Got a call from a former associate in 2002 asking if I wanted to run the IT operations for the company he was CIO of. I loved working with him in the past so I took the position.
  13. Moved to MD in 2003.
  14. Love my job.

Rock the Mullet!
305 Posts
1. Graduated high school in 1981.

2. Worked with 2nd cousin installing rain gutters/insulation/anything too nasty for most.

3. 1982 - Started job as a janitor in local junior high then high school.

4. 1983 - Joined US Army in hopes of saving money for college. Basic at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. AIT at Goodfellow AFB, San Angelo, TX. MOS is 98C. Married in December 1983, still married to same wonderful woman.

5. 1984 - Report to 5th Infantry Division at Ft. Polk La. (Not the end of the world but you can see it from there.) A lot of field time, no time for college.

6. 1986 - Sent to 1st Armored Division, Ansbach Germany. Loved Germany and most of Europe, became serious ski bum to augment summers on the bike. Try to get college classes when not in the field.

7. 1989 - Return to US and get sent to San Antonio, Tx. Cushy assignment, no time in the field. Became pasty white and developed an aversion to the sun from working 2200-0700 for nearly 2 years.

8. 1991 - Sammy screwed up and sent us to Hawaii. Became serious surf bum and lived on Oahu North Shore right across from Velzyland. (Surfers, you know what I'm talkin' about). Also learned geek skills in UNIX.

9. 1997 - Got out of the Army (Echo Tango Suitcase) and moved to Atlanta where my wife got stationed.

10. 1997-2000 - worked for Hewlett Packard Response Center doing HP -UX support.

11. 2000 - current - work for IT company supporting bankrupt Atlanta based airline. (sorta ryhmes with Helta Skelta)

12. Currently back to working on my photography with an eye toward opening a small portrait studio and leaving the IT stuff behind.

42 Posts

1994-graduated from Art School with BFA
1995-got divorced. So much for college romance....
1996-hit the road for NYC. with no job, no contacts, no prospects. and $231 in pocket.
1998-left NYC with $342 in pocket....made $111 on the whole NYC experience!
1998-arrived back in Mo, successfully got into graphics. Started working for a company which ended up MOVING me back out to East the ****-hole Baltimore area.
2005 Bought a Harley, quit my job, and took a year off to paint, got remarried to a hottie artist chic, we're making another "go" at NYC this Summer. This time for keeps.

Life's a big 'ole circle.

A couple of my paintings.

also this one...a big painting of my dads Army boots.

Gronk SMASH!
1,973 Posts
thinkcooper said:
1. Graduated High school early, 1974 ...
43. Trying to secure new clients including cycling industry, software, gaming segments.

That's it! Now to add it onto a wiki page. :D
Geez, Coop! Nice life.
I'll have to read it again, though. I think I missed the "Lived with Burroughs in Tangiers for a year" line


Windrider (Stubborn)
22,021 Posts
Great Topic

1.) graduated HS in 1973 in Philly…..scholarship to good private college
2.) Mom Dies 1 week before college
3.) Best friend killed in car accident 2 weeks after college starts, I escape accident without a scratch.
4.) Drink and play pool thru freshman year….lose scholarship
5.) Negotiate with dean …1 semester to bring cum for 3 semesters over 3.0 or I’ll pay back entire first year (I’m desperate)……..Never get less than 3.9 after that.
6.) College</ST1:p 1977…take job with big 5 accounting firm.
7.) Firm losses ½ base staff in first 6 months I’m there……bad news is, I’m thrown into deep end of pool, good news is I Get more experience in 3 years than peers get in 10…Find out I’m pretty good at this.
8.) 1979 first marriage….1st child
9.) 1980 leave Public for a Pharmaceutical Firm…travel Int’l for 3 weeks out of 5. Get to 75 countries in 3 years. Second Child
10.) 1983 Relocate to <ST1:p<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com
Graduate</st1:placeName> <st1:placeType w:st=" /><st1:City w:st="on">Dallas</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">TX</st1:State> …controller for startup division of Pharma co. Third Child born

11.) 1984 4<SUP>th</SUP> child born
12.) 1985 promoted and relocate to Memphis Tn. As Division Financial Head
13.) 1987 Wife # 1 divorces me, moves kids to Southern Del, Division I’m with is sold and my job is eliminated….so much for fast tracking.
14.) 1988 Recover and take a job as Controller for Wood flooring plant in <st1:State w:st="on"><ST1:pNorth Carolina</ST1:pla</st1:State>. Life in Balance. Lead process to Salvage & expand Business, build plant in <ST1:p<st1:State w:st="on">Alabama</st1:State></ST1:p, & return Co to profitability.
15.) 1991 Marry Wife #2. Promoted to VP Finance for Parent Co. Relocate to <st1:City w:st="on"><ST1:pPhiladelphia</st1:City>; work with CEO to salvage “bleeding” business. Return it to Profitability and cash generation in 2 years.
16.) 1998 Family that owns business refuses to be generous with riches we have made them….I negotiate exit and take some time off, swear I’ll never work where I don’t own a piece of the Co again
17.) 1998 Relocate to Eastern Shore of MD to be CFO of Private Equity backed Co where they give me a piece of the Co.. We acquire & merge largest competitor successfully. Increase profits 4x…..sell business in 3 years and return 7x the original investment to PE co. New Owners bring in own CFO.
18.) PE Co asks me to “Help them out” with a portfolio Co they have that is having problems……6 week assignment turns into 2+ years……Co grows exponentially.
19.) PE Co continues to “Parachute” me into their problems…I become their “Fixer.” Different problem every assignment, challenging and it plays to my strengths.

Who the heck knows from now on?


All I wanted was a Pepsi!
5,349 Posts
Shortest, straightest path here

1) Graduated high school 1991
2) Enlisted Navy 1992
3) Here I am - six.25 to go.
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