Have you ever had to go backwards in IT before going forward?

N2ITN2IT Senior MemberInactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
I'm sure it is well documented but I jumped out of a management position about 7 months ago to move up to Rochester MN so my wife could get some excellent experience at the Mayo Clinic. (I use the analogy of a CS major graduating from XYZ University and getting an offer as a DBA at MS. It was that big of a deal and no way I could hold her back nor want to. Well obviously in a relationship it's give and take and I gave. I was forced to take a application/system support position. Well the time has finally come and I am going back into management (technically team lead). Instead of being over a deployment team I will be a team lead on a help desk and will be implementing a problem management system.

I'm curious to see how life has dealt the members on this forum. I wait anxiously to see the replies.


  • RouteThisWayRouteThisWay Senior Member Member Posts: 514
    Good luck man. I've been following your progress for a couple years now and things seem to always work out- glad to hear you are getting back into management (something I know you worked hard for). Your wife really appreciates your sacrifice I'm sure. Hopefully she makes it up to you often!

    Fortunately, I haven't had to really take a step back- yet. I'm not that naive to believe it won't happen. I am progressing pretty quickly in my career, now reaching the Engineer level doing design. In my current geo location, these jobs aren't open very often. If something were to happen- I would more than likely have to go back to a JAOT Sys Admin position just due to lack of enterprise systems in my area and primarily small/medium business.

    Good luck and keep on rockin!
    "Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture." ~ Vaclav Havel
  • NetworkVeteranNetworkVeteran Senior Member Member Posts: 2,338 ■■■■■■■■□□
    No, I've never taken a step I considered backwards. I have taken steps that others consider backwards. Once, I left a job that offered more money, but less growth opportunities. I try to avoid jobs where I'm the top dog and I make all the big decisions myself.
  • shodownshodown Senior Member Member Posts: 2,271
    Yes I had a nice Sr Network Engineer job for a 500+ node wan. I was doing OSPF, BGP designs day in and day out, but had a huge passion for voice. I wasn't qualified for a Sr Voice Engineer job and a regular voip job paid too little. I did find a job as a Senior Voice Support engineer. I pretty much did nothing, but 2nd/3rd level VOIP cases for 18 months. I got my CCNP V in that time and my next job was a Lead Voice Engineer making more than I made at my last 2 jobs.
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  • paul78paul78 Senior Member Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I have to first admit that I have admiration for anyone that is willing to make a sacrifice for their significant other. I believe that character trait in itself will ensure success.

    I did once take a step back in my own career. About 12 years ago, I had a very well paying position as the CTO of a very small internet startup around 100 employees. I resigned over a management dispute without really having another job. But I was reasonably well connected that I was able to start a consulting practice. While it was a big departure from what I was doing, I learned a lot about business management from the groundfloor. From consulting, I started another small venture business developing security services. I had a few different business opportunities but eventually joined another small startup which we were able to sell to a Fortune 500 company. Although, my intention was to leave after the acquisition, I was made an offer which was too hard to pass up so I am still here. Although, I often get the itch to start another venture.

    You never really know where life will take you. icon_wink.gif
  • jmritenourjmritenour You are already dead Member Posts: 565
    Yeah, I did. Once, I was a systems/network admin at a small corporation. I hated it and was severely burned out. I took a job as a desktop support tech at a public school system, and enjoyed it, then gradually moved back into an admin position there over the years. I don't regret it at all.
    "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible; suddenly, you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi
  • N2ITN2IT Senior Member Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. They have been very encouraging and insightful.
  • DevilryDevilry Senior Member Member Posts: 668
    Yes, it happens to a lot of people I think at points in their career.

    I was a systems admin, jack of all trades in a small company for a long time. In order to advance my career and knowledge and move into enterprise I had to take a Help Desk III (Jr. Admin type) position so I could get hands on enterprise knowledge on a resume and get back to the server side of things. I was nervous about the move at first but it is paying off bigtime for me personally in my own growth.
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Senior Member Member Posts: 4,024
    I've never had to take a step back, but there have been occasions where I've taken steps sideways into jobs where networking was only a small portion of my job. While they were annoying at the time, looking back, I think it helped. Broadening my skillset and learning all about all the crap that actually uses the network has made me a better network engineer
  • dave330idave330i Not IT n00b Member Posts: 2,091 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Haven't stepped back in IT. I have taken major step back in my overall career. Still not quite where I used to be, but getting there.
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  • eansdadeansdad Senior Member Member Posts: 775 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Not backwards but I stepped into a job knowing that it had ZERO growth potential. I took it because it was 5min instead of an hour away, was about as guarenteed as you can get (public sector) and good hours and benifits. After 6.5 yrs I'm pulling my hair out fom being so bored but I am finding it hard to give up this job for a private sector job that pays more but might decide to lay-off/fire at any moment. I left a job that had gotten me my clearence and was working on a TS, pay was better but the job was a series of 6 month contracts.
  • the_Grinchthe_Grinch Stayed at a Holiday Inn.. Member Posts: 4,165 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I took a step back with my current position. At the MSP I was at, I was a JOAT, but most of my tasks were more system administration and engineering related. I would often be solving complex problems involving multiple systems and various teams. That's not to say I didn't also deal with my fair share of "my printer won't print", but most of my tickets required hours of work. Fast forward to now and I basically have no system administration duties. Pure desktop support role and probably nothing beyond that. But I don't look at it so much as a backwards move, but more of a building for the future. My old company didn't not pay for training or college, new one gives $8000 a year in tuition reimbursement and if I can justify the training they will cover it.

    In your case, it's like riding a bike, you don't forget how. Might take a bit to get back to doing tricks, but the basics never left you. It is a safe assumption that you still have those skills since they promoted you from the position that you have.

    “Sometimes it's necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly” - Edward Albee

    Good luck, you'll do great!
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  • HypntickHypntick Custom User Title Member Posts: 1,451 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I get the feeling that with my desire to move into a more security-centric role i'm going to need to take a step backwards. Obviously with little security experience, they're not going to stick me at the very top, they'd be silly to do so. I'm still waiting to see what materializes here as far as a security role however, but with some of the recent signs, outlook isn't good.
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  • RomBUSRomBUS Senior Member Member Posts: 699 ■■■■□□□□□□
    Yes I did take a step back as well in my experiences...it was right after my first IT position. At the time I didn't consider it a step back because I was in desperate need of steady income. My first IT position I had a lot more responsibilities and it was pretty much JOAT field tech and I was learning a ton. It sped up my learning in that I worked all times of the day/night and got to experience a lot in a short period of time. The business soon became slow and I was only paid for the days I was assigned to work (sometimes one day, two days, and other times NONE)...this was when the economy took a toll and the company I was part of was small (2-3 technician team including the owner of the company getting his hands dirty). I found a job taking a big paycut and only doing PC installations and simple troubleshooting for the Department of Education...didnt last long because it was only contract. These were the hard times for me
  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    N2IT wrote:
    Have you ever had to go backwards in IT before going forward?

    No. There must be something wrong with you.

    IT guy since 12/00

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  • N2ITN2IT Senior Member Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■


    Wife just received an interview at BJC hospital in St. Louis for cardio something or another ICU/critical care. She is in the liver transplant floor now so it will be a different set of skills but she is going from the number 3 hospital in the United States to the 6th at BJC according to US News.

    Expectations to the recruiter have been set and they understand she is here till the 10th of October (1 year). They are seriously interested in her for that position, which is extremely exciting. She is happy and this is taking a large load of stress. She has to interview still but they wanted to do it today. Sounds rather aggressive but what the hay!

    Anyway I just wanted to keep my TE family updated on the situation.
  • TLeTourneauTLeTourneau Well ain't that shiny! Member Posts: 616 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Great news, I hope she gets it! icon_cheers.gif
    Thanks, Tom

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  • N2ITN2IT Senior Member Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    T thanks a lot man!
  • jdballingerjdballinger Senior Member Member Posts: 252
    The possibility of this happening to me has been plaguing my mind lately. A little background first...

    My first 'real' job I ever had was working for the Air Force. I separated from active duty in 2003, bummed around at the local Community College for two years (it's rough trying to finish any kind of degree when you don't actually know what you want to be when you grow up!) and eventually ended up falling into a position at the local Air Force Reserve base. I had been a Traditional Reservist there since I had left active duty, and had made friends with my new boss, hence how I found out the job was even available. It wasn't necessarily what I wanted to be doing, but it was great pay (GS-09, about $47k a year in my area) and since it was a public sector job, about as secure as jobs can be. So I spend my days doing database administration on our Oracle based HRIS.

    After two years and change, I coudln't take it any more. Luckily, by this point I had discovered that what I REALLY wanted to do was work across the street in the Communications Squadron. Try as I might, I couldn't get my foot in that door, but I did manage to get a job as the Client Systems Administrator for the Mission Support Group. This effectively made me the sole client support guy for more than half of the base's users and systems. I was in heaven, fixing computers and gaining invaluable experience and client side expertise. But as it has been said, all good things eventually come to an end.

    They eliminated my position. New manning requirements came down from headquarters, and they had decided, in their infinite wisdom, that my job was no longer necessary. The two remaining CSA positions on the base would be consolidated into the Comm Squadron, and they would provide base wide support instead of being farmed out to the separate organizations. This would have left me high and dry, except for what seems to be incredible luck on my part. A position in the Comm unit had recently been vacated, and the base's Director of Communications took pity on my situation and hired me. I'd love to think that it was because I was wicked savvy with computers, but I had been applying for various positions in the unit for more than three years and had yet to even get an interview, so I have to believe that my job being eliminated was what put me over the top.

    So for the last year and change I have been the "Assistant Network Manager" for the base, which really sounds a lot more impressive than it actually is. My job consists of a hodge podge of responsibilities, ranging from creating endless amounts of documentation (network diagrams, disaster response plans, continuity of ops, technical documentation, user instructions, training plans, blah blah blah) to performing in depth troubleshooting on access layer devices.

    Somewhere along the way, I discovered Cisco. I love networking. LOVE networking. I really want nothing more right now than to be a network administrator, playing with infrastructure all day long. I also have a deep longing to be a system administrator, writing scripts and patching systems and playing with servers all day. The problem is that my job really doesn't fulfill me in either aspect. I'm not sure how familiar any of you are with military bases and their networks, but suffice it to say that a majority of them are run by civilian contractors, regardless of what government civilian employees are in place. At my base, any work I do outside of the 'management' side of the network (again, mostly endless reams of documentation and policy writing) is primarily staffed by the General Dynamics contractors who work alongside me. The Senior site engineer is really cool about letting me do whatever work I want to, but the problem is that it is all access layer. I don't ever touch routers, and aside from break-fix troubleshooting there is very little that I can actually put hands on with as far as the switches go.

    So all that being said, I have been considering very strongly lately that there is a distinct possibility that I may have to take a serious pay cut (and I mean big, like 50% big) in order to get into a network administration job where I can actually grow and progress past where I am at now. I haven't discussed this with the wife yet, but it really has me worried. I can't necessarily afford to take the kind of cut I suspect I'll need to take, but I'll also never grow professionally or financially where I am at now.

    Sorry it's so long, but an suggestions from the peanut gallery?
  • erpadminerpadmin PMP-Wannabe! Member Posts: 4,165
    The only time I ever went backwards was 11 years ago, when I took a desktop support position at a online brokerage. It was for more money, but I was a JOAT at my previous employer (I got to touch everything...networking, servers, DB work, desktop support...the whole 9s.) I then got laid off and was fortunate that I was able to get plugged in to my previous employer to begin ERP work...have been full steam ahead ever since. :D

    I had life lesson's on career management...that was one mistake I don't plan on repeating.
  • powerfoolpowerfool Senior Member Member Posts: 1,658 ■■■■■■■■□□
    During the recession around 2000-2002, I definitely stagnated and then had to go backwards. My first job was a consulting gig with great benefits and lots of learning opportunities; I was providing network support to clients and doing web development. My next job was the same for slightly better pay but slightly worse benefits. The next job was for the exact same pay and less benefits, only doing myopic web development. After this, I worked for a better company for a short amount of time that then went out of business. Then, I really fell back... essentially the same pay as my first IT job with less benefits doing telephone tech support. I then finally started moving forward and decided I wouldn't fall back like that again. So, I worked on certifications and then my undergrad degree. It has served me well.

    I was out of work for a month prior to my current job, but I had enough PTO and severance to cover it. That was a good wake up call for me. I decided to get my certifications current and to get the new required certifications that I needed. Now, I am finishing up my first graduate degree and some value-add certifications. Next up is get my certifications current again and working on my German fluency.
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  • ZorodzaiZorodzai Senior Member Member Posts: 357 ■■■■■■■□□□
    In my previous job I was the "Systems Administrator" at a large stock listed company. I reported directly to the IT Director and I had two "underlings" (techies) reporting to me. On paper it was a brilliant position but the company was in chaos, there was zero growth potential (basically the only position I could rise to was IT Director and I had no chance at that) and the salary was not that good - all I really had was a job title and the association to a large company.

    A former boss then head hunted me and I left the "large" company to join a small (~20 people in total) EFT (Electronic Financial Transactions) company as a trainee techie. This is my fifth year there...... though growth potential is not much (my current job title is "EFT Consultant") I have developed a solid network within the IT banking sector, have learnt tonnes of stuff, have basically moved from being a hardware techie to more of a dba\db developer role and am genuinely enjoying what I do. It was definitely a huge step going from being the guy people reported to (well, two people. Still, they did report to me lol), to being a trainee at the bottom of the pile but I'm really glad I made the move.
  • N2ITN2IT Senior Member Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Awesome feedback. Thanks for the participation.
  • eserfelizeserfeliz Mr. Poopy Pants Member Posts: 134
    I know I'm late to the game, but:

    My response is: kinda? I was working as a Systems Technician (read: do everything) for a medical practice management company. I worked there for approximately six months for 32k/year while stepping down to part time as a public safety dispatcher. When then big bonus check my buddy and I were promised turned out to be $100 (they took taxes out as well), I went back to full-time status as a dispatcher and left the technician gig behind. After a few weeks, a Help Desk gig opened up at the agency I was working for. I did that for five years, went to college, and got the certifications you see on the left. After five years, a network tech position opened up. I was the first person to jump from help desk over Tier II straight to the NOC. I worked on Blackberries and BES for a year, finished my degree and then went and got a real job, which I'm sitting at right now.

    Bottom line: just do what's best for your family. Do what you need to do to pay your bills, study if you have down time, and don't be afraid when it's time to pull the rip cord. :)

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  • RoguetadhgRoguetadhg Member Posts: 2,489 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Nope. I'm glad to say that this is my first IT position that's paying and doing something a little different than Tech Support.
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