You’d think a high school flunky would be your last choice for IT, but apparently everyone was amazed that I could fix their computers and I was given a fair amount of undeserved respect. I liked that quite a bit, and I found these computer thingies rather convenient. It was the 80’s, and computers were like wizardry to the average Luddite. I learned about spreadsheets and how to automate them using macros. This was next level wizardry, and once I got a working spreadsheet to entirely do my job as an ammo tech, I became quite interesting to the G4 commanding officer. He decided to bring me to G4, which is the division level, and I stayed there through the remainder of my enlistment. At G4, I was trained properly to do satellite computing (WWMCCS on the ARPANET) and worked with the division wide IT services, which I typically didn’t do much of because my experience was more software than hardware. It was so incredibly boring, but it was a far cry better than being in a battalion.
Long story short, met and chose to follow Christ, met my wife, and started a career that took me places I had never dreamed possible. I got sent to Desert Shield/Storm, and summarily booted out of the Corps for Narcolepsy upon return to the US. Before you ask… No, I didn’t shoot anyone. Yes, I did see combat, though I did not participate beyond hiding for a little while. I watched. Other people participated. Enough said.
When I got home, I got kicked out (honorable mind you) for medical reasons (Narcolepsy) and decided to go to bible college to see where this whole life thing would take us. I was married and we both had the opportunity to go to college. It was a nice change of pace, and I loved spending every waking moment with my wife. Can’t recommend it enough… No kids, just the two of us, what could be better.
I got a job at 7-11, and it was as bad as you imagine. But my rent was ridiculously low, and we thrived. not too long after that, I got a job at a computer manufacturer and worked my way up through the IT department. It was fun.
But then my wife went and got pregnant. Suddenly I realized that my low-key lifestyle had to change. Pretty soon a little child would be looking at me and I would need to provide for them and my wife. So, I decided to apply for a job as an intern at the biggest employer in the area within the field I had chosen. I applied for a job at Microsoft.
Look, I knew I was completely out of my depth. I had no formal training, was recently discharged from the Corps for medical reasons, and remembered deep down that I hadn’t even actually graduated high school. But I had nothing to lose.
I still remember the interview as if it were yesterday. The interviewer asked me a bunch of boring technical questions that I fumbled through. Then she asked me “If your significant other were here, how would you introduce them to me?” Without batting an eye, I said, “This is Stephanie”. I could see she was not impressed, so I added, “She’s shy.” My interviewer said something about me being a smart ass, as I was giggling myself silly. I left feeling pretty good about the interview, and sure enough a few days passed when this person, whose name is Debbie, called me to let me know that I got the job. She said that I wasn’t as strong technically as some of the candidates, but that I had made her laugh and that’s why I was getting it. Good enough for me!
I had such a great time at Microsoft. It’s amazing to me to think I spent some 13 years working there. Eventually Narcolepsy became too severe to continue down that road, but I often think back with wonder at the things that I experienced all because of my stupid sense of humor.
You’d think there were some deep life lessons here, but really there isn’t. Life is difficult for everyone. I’m grateful for the good parts when things seem to go perfectly because when life doesn’t go that way it helps to remember the good times.