Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A brief history of time

(some version of my toastmaster's speech)

As you may know, the title of my speech is also the title of a Stephen Hawking book about quantum physics, the origins of time and the universe. I'm not going to get that detailed today, but I did want to give you a brief history of me.

I grew up on a farm outside a small town in saskatchewan. My brother, my parents and I - so a small family. We had horses, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, grain and a greenhouse.

When it came time for me to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I had it all figured out. Greenhouse management, landscape design or landscape architecture. My dad had other ideas. He was a DeVry grad and figured it was something I should consider. So consider I did. The recruiter talked about job opportunities after graduation, a 3 year degree and the big seller - scholarship opportunities. So I applied. And I applied for the scholarship. Wrote the exam. Wrote the essay.

And I still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Until the day I got the letter - I'd earned a 1/2 scholarship. Still unsure, Dad sat me down and we talked. It's probably better to take the IT path and get a good job. If I still wanted to change careers later, I'd be able to afford retraining. So at 17, I moved to Calgary and started a degree in computer information systems.

Three years later, I had my degree and a job offer from an agriculture company. It was a great start for me. I knew the industry so I only had to get familiar with a business environment. After 2 years there, I was bored and moved on to a consulting company downtown Calgary. That's where I started my Notes career. I spent a year there before getting bored once again and moving on to TransAlta Utilities.

A year later, I had itchy feet again, only this time I wanted out of Calgary. Time to see something else. I ended up with a job here in Edmonton writing software for ambulances. A small start-up company, there were 5 of us when I started. Gave us all an opportunity to be involved in everything. Training, ride-alongs, development, equipment setup, requirements gathering. I even got to travel. One of my first trips to do user training was to Peoria, Illinois during the 4th of July. It was a great trip.

Two years into that job, they moved the office to Calgary, ironically enough. I wasn't ready to go back to Calgary so I stayed here and worked at home. I eventually tired of my own company and needed to find work with people again. I ended up at Athabasca University working with course delivery and stuff like that. It was short on programming opportunities and I quickly grew bored there as well. In December, I was offered a position here at Enbridge on the Notes team. Six months later, I'm still here and I'm not bored yet.

The best part about the career path I chose has been teh learning opportunities. I 've always worked in IT, but I've had the opportunity to learn about the agriculture, power, Emergency services, and education industries. I"ve worked with all kinds of people and been able to travel a fair bit. Some day I may return to greenhouses and landscaping, but I'm pretty happy being a geek for now.

So there ya go. A preview of my speech for tomorrow. Eek. Tomorrow. Noon. I need to go practice some more!


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