Nine Years Ago

Nine years ago today I gingerly approached the door to Alt-N at about 8:45 AM. I had gotten there early. I was nervous because I knew one person there and I didn’t want to have a very, very awkward first day at a new job. Silly me: I bring awkwardness and awkward humor with me wherever I go 🙂 My boss, Jerry, opened the door and let me into the building. I don’t remember exactly what went down the first day, but it was the first day of an amazing journey that isn’t over yet.

I’m proud to say that I was hired on to help with documentation – I was to work under Mike, the documentation department’s only staff.  I think that I would have learned a lot under Mike’s tutelage and hopefully I would have become a master writer, documentation expert and been able to create documentation you’d want to use.  Except that only a few weeks in after digging into the RelayFax help file I was tasked with a side project to help manage changes to the new company website.  And as that went well I was asked to help work on another project – WorldClient Pro.  This was an application that could be installed on a computer that would allow you to access your email, contacts, calendar events and tasks all in one place over the Internet.  Of course, it wasn’t documentation.  It was actually a very cool evolution of my development skills because my prior HTML and very, very basic JavaScript skills were challenged and I had to learn.  But I liked learning.

Every task that was put before me that required learning meant I was studying and sharpening my skills at home.  It cut into homework time for seminary.  It cut into time for lots of things.  But I loved it.  I ate it up.  It became a driving passion: if the web can be used to show and input data then I want to make that web a better, more powerful place that does things that people have never thought of before.  For Alt-N I have learned Perl, Java (Thanks, Tony Nuzzi!), C++ (Thanks, Craig K., Jon, and Matt for hours of help), ASP (VBScript – Thanks, Dave O’Hara for walking through this with me), C# and even a tiny bit of Windows Scripting Host.  In the process I also learned PHP and how to use MySQL, SQLite and SQL databases. If I were to list all who helped or became my friends-in-code along the way this would be a crazy, crazy long post.  A task unto itself.

I have been challenged, stretched, bruised (and that’s a good thing), frustrated, built up, loved and trusted.  I’ve gotten to make friends from all over the world due to our sales channel/partners with the company.  I’ve traveled internationally twice.  I’ve been supported through two miscarriages and two beautiful daughters.  I have stories that I can share, stories I shouldn’t share, and stories that are too long to tell here.  I suppose that’s normal, but the events have always come with lessons.

Starting my tenth year with the company is an honor.  I hope to see the challenges we face today turned into monuments of success tomorrow, I want to see my friends at the company succeed and push awesome new features into email so that a world that thinks its ordinary can learn that it doesn’t have to be.

I’m not ginger about going to the front door of the office any more (even if it is ~1,000 miles away).  Jerry’s face is one that I look forward to seeing instead of being nervous.  Mike still does documentation alone since I was called out of his department just shy of 9 years ago.  I have a million more things I want to learn.  And I’m grateful for the opportunities I have before me.  This series of posts which was supposed to be more complete just didn’t fit into my busy schedule, but I’m glad to have that busy schedule, too.  Its usually a sign that I’m alive.  And working.

Three Years Ago

Three Years Ago I was working on SecurityGateway and WorldClient – two web based, mail focused applications. MDaemon 9 was coming out soon with some good performance enhancements. I was becoming a speed-freak for the Internet. The Evie girl was almost one and Abby was just turning 4. Good golly times were changing.