That is a great question. It goes back 20 years or so. When I went to college I majored in Visual Communications and Digital Design. I am very left-brained and creative. However, I am also very technical because that is what I have done since I was 19 years old in the Army. I didn’t go to college until 2002, I was 31 years old and had a very established career in technology. I could not replace my salary in technology with a decent salary in Marketing or Design.

As I progressed as a Sales Engineer, I found myself doing more design work. I designed almost all the marketing material for Cybersecurity in the Public Sector at AT&T. I enjoy doing that type of work, but I also enjoy customer-facing work, public speaking, customer calls, and evangelism-type work. I believe I can make a real impact, a landscape-changing difference for the right product and the right company.

So, I committed myself to pursue that type of work exclusively for a while. I had a good friend over at Alert Logic. They needed a Technical PMM, so I called up my friend and said “Hey, I want that job.” He put in a good word for me with the VP and I got the job.

A few things happened that I was unaware of and didn’t count on. First, I didn’t know that Alert Logic was up for sale. The hiring VP did not tell me upfront and I went down to the Houston office to check things out after I had been in the role for about a month and a half. Then I found out we were having a big meeting that day. The new ownership was there to make the announcement. The existing CEO stepped up and said he was leaving immediately and then Alert Logic was sold.

Alert Logic was taken over by a company called Help Systems, quite honestly, I had never heard of them before. They primarily operated in other areas of cybersecurity than what I had been focusing on. I asked my VP that day if this was going to create layoffs and he assured me that the layoffs would not affect the marketing teams. About 4 weeks later the VP announced he was leaving the company within about 2 weeks and that everything should be okay for the rest of us.

My biggest mistake was taking him at face value. I should have started looking for a new role right then, but I didn’t. A few months later, the announcements were made that the layoffs would be affecting the marketing department. So, the management team started sorting through the assorted employees. There were only two people in my role. An employee in London, UK, and me. Since the other guy had seven years with the company and I had less than a year, I got the layoff notice. They gave me something like five weeks’ notice. I almost had a new role secured before I left but some things fell through, and I left the company on Nov. 30, 2022.

I was not happy with this result, but I believe the company kept the better of the two of us. The UK-based employee knew so much more about the company and the product set. However, I still think I would have rocked it had they let me stay on board.  I am looking for a new company right now and when I find one, they will have on staff the hardest-working SE they have ever hired. I truly believe in the mantra, that hard work trumps talent every day of the week. I also consider myself to be talented and very humble simply because of the time I have missed in the workforce due to layoffs. I am excited, hungry, and humble to find my new home.