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Ah, the professional life of champions. Here is some background information about my illustrious career.
Are you ready? It's rather quite interesting.
The High School Years
I had a few interesting jobs growing up. While at Clarkstown High School North, I tried for jobs at Burger King and Waldbaum's in 1992, but I...wasn't qualified? Who knows. I couldn't get a job. Then finally, that summer in high school (between Sophomore and Junior years), I worked for an SAT exam prep small business owner, putting together mailings for their prep courses. I hated working there, because the husband-wife owners were always fighting, and their two bratty spoiled kids were always running around being brats. My dad drove me back and forth, since I couldn't drive.
The next summer (before Senior year) in 1993, I got my fateful job with a local publishing company, owned by another small business owner. I worked directly for a seemingly nice fellow (during the interview), then I worked one day for him, and realized what a piece of work he was. I worked in his mailroom, making mailing packets, putting postage together, keeping inventory, dropping mail off at the Post Office, general gofer stuff.
There are two people that I have hated working for. He was the first, and possibly worst. I can't get into it, but he yelled all the time. For everything. At everyone. People were hired and quit all the time. All the time. Lots of stories too. If you're reading this, ask me next time about working in his attic one day. I was glad to be gone when Senior year started. I didn't work after graduation. Hey, a guy's got to relax once.
The College Years - SUNY U @ A.
Did you ever really need money? That was basically me in college while at the University @ Albany. You make whatever you can during the summer, and you live off of it during the school year.
After Freshman year, like I said, I spent another summer (1995) and then 3 days winter (early Jan 1996) with the publishing company owner again. That was enough, before my pride had taken enough abuse. I never went back there again. Actually, he stopped calling me back to work there, and I didn't want to go back anyway. Mutually assured destruction, I guess.
My major was a B.S. in Medical Technology (working in a Bio lab, maybe doing research.) I didn't work during the school, except for working with the Student Association clubs, with one exception. I worked one Saturday for the SA Cultural Officer to help set up for their Cultural Carnivale. Doug and I got up at 5AM to help build the stage and canopy (out of a tractor trailer), I worked a dunk booth for the entire day, then helped break everything down around 9PM. It was cool to build a stage, but I don't think I'd do all that again for just $75.
That's right, $75. I told you, I was broke in college. Probably one of the reasons I never went drinking.
After my 2nd year at Albany, I spent one summer month in 1996 selling Cutco knives for Vector Marketing Corp. I hated spending my evenings calling people, begging them to let me come and do a demonstration. Still, at least I learned early on that I don't enjoy doing saleswork. Another effect it had on me is, whenever a telemarketer calls, I'm always courteous when getting rid of them. Hey, everyone has a shitty job now and then. No need to be rude though. People used to be so rude to me when I'd call them up.
After that miserable month, I got an interesting job through a temp agency. I spent the rest of the 1996 summer working in the Planning & Design Dept at A&P (The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company...didn't know that, did ya'?) making copies of prints for them. Yup, that's it. They'd make the floorplans, and I'd make copies for them with these huge copying machines. HUGE! The copies would come out on more of that type of floorplan-type sheets. I battled those stupid machines to get the right contrast, and I'd make awesome sepias too. I was only a temp, but the guys treated me great, and we ate lunch all the time. They were all much older, but really personable and interesting. They were a great bunch of guys.
Junior year in the Fall semester 1996, I took a class on how to work in computer lab at the school. We spent a semester quarter in the class, and the 2nd quarter working in the lab. No pay. After another miserable academic semester with my Chemistry classload, I was out the door at Albany.
What to do!?!
The College Years - STAC and Pace University
I started taking classes at St. Thomas Aquinas College Spring 1997 until I could figure out what I wanted to do. Obviously, the world of Chemistry wasn't it. (You need Chem for research in Bio, which was what I wanted to do.) Thankfully, from that little bit of computer lab experience I had at Albany, I got a job at the STAC computer lab while I took a few classes there waiting to get into Pace University.
After a summer of taking classes (15 credits at Westchester Community College and Pace University) in 1997, and working at Geoffrey Beene up at a strip mall in Mount Kisco, I matriculated at Pace University. Yeah! My new career plan? A Bachelor of Science in Information Systems. One benefit of working at GB was that I got some new clothes at discount, and I learned how to fold clothes, plus I know how a clothing store kinda operates now.
During that summer, I had also been in close contact with the Pace Univ. Co-Op Services dept. It was very important to get an internship if I was going to get anywhere. As soon as September started, and I had matriculated, I was able to start submitting resumes through them. A couple of interviews (IBM and Avon), and I selected Reader's Digest Association in Pleasantville.
How did I get this job? The interviewer told me she liked my experience at the STAC computer lab. I worked at the Help Desk for one year (1997-1998), doing about 30 hours a week, plus taking about 16 credits each semester. The money was good, and the people I worked with were absolutely great. Every so often, we get together for dinner, actually. I miss my friends like Molly, Nick, Carol, Andrew, Sarah, and my buddy Frank. Man, too many stories. I worked on special projects in the beginning, but when one person quit, I volunteered to work the phones. After some adjustment, and building some nerves of steel, I got the hang of it.
By the end of the 1998 summer, Reader's Digest offered me any group I wanted if I'd stay another year for them. I really wanted to stay, because they were absolutely awesome, but I thought it'd be best to keep expanding my horizon. It was a tough decision for me. Working for Molly was fantastic, since she was such a good manager. Love ya', Mother Hen!
I interviewed, and took a job at Gevalia Kaffe in Tarrytown. I was a System Co-op, but was basically a System Admin for the Window NT network. That was an interesting year, since I was learning a lot of Tier 2 support. That included setting up new computers, helping presentations, fixing problems, setting up new users on the network, yada yada. At the same time, I was wrapping my senior year (5th college year really) at Pace Univ, and was interviewing that Fall. Gevalia Kaffe is part of Philip Morris (now called Altria Group.) Here's how it works: Philip Morris -> Kraft Foods -> Coffees & Cereals (Post, etc.) -> Maxwell House -> Gevalia Kaffe. Crazy, no? Check out your next can of Maxwell House, and you'll see a mailing address in Tarrytown NY. That's their Technical Center. Little campus, but plenty of deer frolicking around after 5pm.
I will always be amazed how so many companies and products we buy are all really part of just a few companies. For instance, Philip Morris used to own Miller Brewing Company. Or, geez, just check out just the list of Kraft Foods' North American brands.
The Big 5
After a million interviews, I selected a Big 5 accounting/consulting firm. I was torn between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, but then the merged, so that ended that big decision! I continued working at Gevalia so I could wrap up all the loose ends, including my inventory database, and hiring and training my replacement. Very cute, btw. I should have stayed another year!
Anyway, after a week off, I spent September 1999 in Pasedena for their training program. That's right, an entire month of training. I would have had a better time out there if I hadn't been dating this girl back in Queens, and wasn't such a wet blanket. If I could go back, I would have had a LOT more fun after 5PM. One can only imagine. At the end of training, they put me into the Technology Risk Services group, where we did fraud investigations, server audits, security policies and procedures, etc. We were the super techie hacker group, so I liked that reputation!
Anyway, as soon as I got back, I did a week of nothing in the office in NY, and then they sent me off to Washington last minute for this Fraud investigation. I did about 40+ hours of work in 3 days. I still remember coming back from dinner Sat nite, and seeing one of the team members passed out on the floor of the office we were in at 3AM. I had a lot of good clients after that, like Dow Jones, Goldman Sachs, and a bunch of others.
After about a year, in 2000, I was offered a position in this new group doing System Integrator work. We'd be implementing web security software for clients, tied to applications servers, LDAP directory servers, and just plain old web servers. Implementation work? Oooh, that had promotion written all over it. Plus, I'd be travelling around the country.
A few good clients, like American Airlines (Dallas, Texas), ADP (NJ), a demo for BellSouth (Atlanta, Georgia), and my longest-- DaimlerChrysler (Auburn Hills, Michigan) are on my resume. At DC, I spent 5 days a week in Michigan from June 2001 to January 2002. I racked up a lot of Marriott, Hilton, Continental, and Budget Rent-a-Car points in 8 months on that engagement.
Once the market turned bad, and I had rolled off DC in Jan 2002, I got laid off. The one nice thing my company did was cover the cost of sending me to Drake-Beam-Morin for career counseling, where they get you over the "I lost my job" hump, and get you into the swing of things. While checking out ads on Monster, Dice, etc, I'd see all these ads saying "CISA a plus."
At this point, I became Mr. Networking, courtesy of the DBM people. I was contacting everyone I knew. Molly (used to be at Reader's, remember?) got me in touch with her boss, and I got a lot of advice from him. I spoke to so many different people that I knew, and people that they knew. I signed up to take the June 2002 Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and studied like crazy in April and May. And I passed!
Auditing in the Life Insurance World
After 3 months of sending plenty of resumes, and working with 9+ recruiters, and watching a lot of stupid daytime television, I started getting interviews. In May 2002, I started working for a life insurance company in their audit department. Yes, that's right, I'm back in the audit world. I reviewed the various IT functions, like the datacenter, the IT group as a whole, and other areas. I liked being their techie guy too.
Life was good, but busy. I was promoted in 2004 to Senior Auditor, so you can imagine that I had a big stupid grin on for a few weeks after that. Besides the friends I made, I learned a lot, and even travelled internationally on business for them. In 2003, I travelled for 2+ weeks to Mexico City to audit a subsidiary. In 2004, I was part of the audit team that went to New Delhi India for 3 weeks. In 2005, I went to Hong Kong for 2 weeks.
I'm a member of the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and the Information Systems Audit and Control Association & Foundation (ISACA). I'm now also a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors. Actually, I manage the website for the New York Chapter too.
The Big Scary World of Banking
Looking to make the big bucks, focus on the financial industry, and wanting to play with the big boys and girls, I joined the world's premier corporate and investment banking firm, because I've decided that I really should settle down in one industry. I wanted a firm that had many options within, in case I ever wanted to move around. Joining a great organization doesn't hurt the old resume either. It's been 2.5 years now, it's definitely taught me a lot, and I've been making a decent name for myself. I don't nearly have enough name recognition yet, but I'm working on it. :)
All this started with a 3-credit class at SUNY Albany on working in a computer lab, on a lark!