Self Employed in I.T. isn’t what I thought

0
58

I had what i wanted. my own IT consulting firm and i had never been more miserable in my professional life

I think in everyone’s career, at one point or another, you dream of running your own business. What brings you to that dream varies. Is it a bad job? A bad boss? Is it a bad company that you work for? It all depends on your situation but one way or another through my IT career I always dreamed of the day where I had no boss (later on I find out how laughable that statement is).

I started my IT career at the age of 19, working for UPS as a field IT technician. And while my job was enjoyable and I was paid decent for my age and experience level, even at this stage of my career I wanted to be on my own. I imagined freedom and greater enjoyment when the work I was doing was for “ME”. I worked for UPS for a little over a year and I quit when my girlfriend’s (now wife’s) sister’s boyfriend offered me a job working at his computer store in Miami. My biggest reason for leaving UPS was the number of miles I was driving in my own car but the second reason was learning the ins and outs of a computer business that I wanted to have one day. That job was also enjoyable. I would mostly build PCs for the store’s customers as well as repair computers. The job change resulted in a slight pay bump and my new car was getting a well-deserved break from the exhausting drives that took me all around Fort Lauderdale. About a year after starting this job, the store closed, and I was out of a job.

After a few contract jobs and a 2-year stint at a satellite television provider in Miami Lakes, FL I landed one of the most impactful jobs in my now 20+ year career. I was hired by a European-based commodity trading firm. They doubled my salary from the satellite television provider and started me off leading the service desk for the Americas. Through the years I progressed through different roles, from Regional IT Operations Engineer all way to Regional Service Desk Manager for the entire Americas region. My responsibilities grew. I designed and lead a project to build a multi-million dollar data center. I lead teams across many countries. My point in all of this? I was progressing, I was making more and more money and having a larger impact and still, I wanted my own business. At this point we had two kids and quitting the stability of a full time job to chase a dream wasn’t possible.

My next job was “different”. It wasn’t a large enterprise nor have the structure I was used to. They were an organization set up for the purpose of paying out the claimants in a lawsuit. I say it was different because this organization was set up to “close” on a certain day. Even though it was 8 years in advance, it was still odd to take a job for a company that you know is set to close. The opportunity was intriguing because the organization had fundamental IT challenges and I knew that taking this job meant the chance to rebuild a data center, deploy an all-new IT environment, install a new network, new servers, and drastically improve the IT department as a whole. Over the next two years, I did just that. And as my wife got pregnant with our third, the decision to move back home was made. I told my director and they wanted me to stay on board as a full-time consultant. Just like that my chance to own my own business took a fast track from a pipe dream to reality.

I had a guaranteed customer with guaranteed income. I formed a corporation, got an office space, and we were open for business. Over the next two years we picked up customers, we had employees, everything was firing on all cylinders. Except I WAS MISERABLE. How can this be? Let me explain.

My passion was IT. That’s what I loved to do. When I was in Calgary, watching a generator be lifted with a massive crane to the top of our office building, or when I was standing up a new network, I was happy. I was using my skills to have a massive impact on the organization I worked for. As a business owner offering IT services, your clientele is normally small businesses. Instead of architecting out a new environment for a new office, my employer was building, I was managing a one-server network for a dentist office that refused to invest in proper IT infrastructure. I had customers yelling about a non-reliable wifi network when they were running an office of 25 desktops using a cheap made-for-home router that didn’t provide enough coverage.

Aside from that, when I wasn’t running new wires for a conference room TV for $75.00 an hour, I was selling, and billing, and taking customers out to lunch to make sure they are happy. And at the end of the day after trying t pick up a new business and meeting with my biggest customers, I would get home to all the work that was not done during the day because I was doing everything I sad.

Previous articleThe Evolution of the Smart Home
With an IT career spanning over 20 years, Noel Lacayo has a unique perspective on the technology field and has deep understanding of the complexities around enterprise technology. Starting as a Technology Support Group Associate (United Parcel Service) all the way to Regional IT Manager for a large multinational trading firm, he has had exposure to a diverse set of environments, managed multi-million dollar projects, and recruited and held top IT talent. The development side of his career took off during his tenure has Founder and President of classbyte.com, a course training software that he developed and later grew to be one of the largest CPR course management platforms in the world. Classbyte.com was acquired in 2014 by TrainingCenter911.com Today Noel is a Sr. Solutions Engineer, for VMWare (VMW), one of the most innovative companies in the technology sector today with nearly 10 billion dollars in revenue, where he uses his vast experience in IT as a way to assist customers on their digital transformation journeys on the VMware SDDC stack and it’s surrounding products.