November 29, 2007

Workin’ for the Man – Part 12

Posted in memories, personal, workin' at 10:24 pm by jimazing

Working Two Jobs


dead-tired-with-baritone.jpg You know it is funny. Working in IT, I was earning a pretty good wage, but four teenaged daughters can be expensive! At the same time that I was doing the IT gigs, I was also resurrecting Anderson’s Music as a home based business. Mostly, I did work for other music stores, but I also had a few customers who came to the house. I actually had more business as a home based business than I did when I had the full service shop. As the business became more successful, it began taking over my life. Jeanie handled the pickups and deliveries to schools. Kat helped disassemble and reassemble instruments, but I was the technician, and I was tired. The business didn’t produce enough money by itself to support us, but it was producing more work than I could keep up with.

pb-convention.jpgIn 1998, I went on an IT business trip to Charlotte, NC for a PowerBuilder programmers convention (a real geek-fest). There were a few vendors in the hall giving away information (along with the silly squeeze toys that we really wanted) and settled amongst these vendors was a conservatively decorated booth sponsored by by First Union National Bank. I wandered over to the First Union booth and inauspiciously asked the lady behind the table, “Why does a bank have a booth at a Nerd Convention?” Yes, I really did ask that! She replied that they were recruiting for PowerBuilder programmers. While I thought the idea was interesting, I wasn’t actively in the job market, so I stayed long enough to hear her pitch and then politely excused myself for the next presentation.

During the presentation, I couldn’t stop thinking about her description of the job. It sounded really good to me. It would pay as much as I was making with both jobs in Charleston! Like I said, I was tired and the thought of having some free time sounded too good to be true. I went back to the table and got some information to take home. Over the next couple of months we worked out the details. One beautiful spring day, I walked out of the SPA office and down the sidewalk. I wondered to myself if I had lost my mind. I was leaving this location and a job where I had an office with a door to go to work in cubicleville. However, the prospect of making enough money to support my familiy with only one job was singing very loudly and clearly to me. I resigned from the State Ports Authority (SPA) and made plans to move to Charlotte.

Move to Charlotte & First Union

charlotte-skyline.jpg When I took the job at First Union, our oldest daughter had only one year to go in high school, so we agreed to let her finish there. During that year, I would stay in Charlotte during the week and come home to Charleston every weekend for the first year. Even with that concession, the decision was far from a family concensus. Jeanie and I were not winning any popularity contests. The thought of moving was much harder for the girls than I imagined it would be. They were upset that we were taking them away from their friends. The younger ones weren’t as upset, but saw it more as an adventure. (I’ll let them comment with the details that they really felt).

It was a particularly difficult year for the girls and I hated placing so much of the burden on Jeanie. We had some real crises to deal with and I spent a lot of my evenings talking on a pay phone with Jeanie. We didn’t have cell phones and I didn’t have a phone in my apartment. In June of 1999 the family joined me in Charlotte where we still live in the same house.

I will have been with the bank for ten years in May, 2008. This is the longest I have ever been with a single company. During that time, First Union merged with Wachovia and took its name. I have changed roles a little over the years and I do not do as much programming. However, I still support the programs and frameworks that I helped write when I first joined the bank. The way technology changes, it is remarkable that they are still around at all. The life expectancy of a computer program is not very long, if it even makes it into production. I am proud to say that one of the programs that I helped write has been in production (with hundreds of users each day) for over five years… unchanged! It has passed audits and reviews that were not even in existence at the time it was written.

Wrap Up

Writing these posts about my job history has been cathartic for me. I expected it to just be fun to recall some silliness and some thoughts and feelings about my jobs. I didn’t expect to feel some of those feelings as deeply as I did. There were so many more stories than the ones I told. (I think I got all the jobs though). I tried to stick to the ones that were more important to defining who I am today. My jobs don’t define me, but the things that happen at my jobs (and everywhere else) are part of my journey.

I have received a few encouraging posts, emails and phone calls along the way and I want you to know how much I appreciate them. Hearing that my words matter helps keep me writing. Who knows what topic will be next?

Workin’ for the Man Series


  1. erin said,

    Commenting on my move to Charlotte: I was really sad to leave my friends (especially Becky 🙂 ), but I was excited about starting over because my 8th and 9th grade years were pretty miserable. In retrospect, they were probably mostly miserable because 13 and 14 is a pretty miserable and awkward time of life.

    I do think that I blossomed in Charlotte, and I also met a pretty sweet dude. So, thanks dad for moving me up here to find the love of my life :), even if you didn’t know that was what you were doing.

  2. ded said,

    Isn’t it interesting, Jim, when our emotions hijack us?

    Our feelings will not be denied, though they are hard to trust sometimes. ;^)

  3. Cathryn said,

    I just sat here and read all of your job posts! It was interesting for me to read this -I was on the periphery of your life for a number of these jobs but never had your perspective. We didn’t talk about “perspectives” back then 8-). All of this reminds me of an old ad slogan – you’ve come a long way, baby! How much you’ve grown and learned! Thanks for sharing all of this!

  4. jimazing said,

    Cathryn, Wow–All 12 in one sitting! I’m impressed. You are right that we didn’t talk about perspectives. Didn’t think about them either. I wish there were another way to get perspective besides living life over time. Thanks for being interested enough to read them.

    ded-I believe that our feelings are so closely tied to what we believe and what we desire that they cannot be denied. To deny them would be to kill ourselves… if not physically, certainly emotionally and physically. Thanks for your encouragement

  5. ded said,

    I absolutely agree with your view of our feelings. Which is among the reasons I have determined a walk with God must be an experience of His Spirit enabling us to see of ourselves as alive in Him. Our feelings can become ordered, even a source of strength, when we embrace our new creature through being one with the Father.

  6. Mom said,

    Jim, as I have read about your life experiences and your feelings, it has awakened feelings in me that I can’t describe. I don’t have your gift for expressing feelings. Even though I was kind of aware of the things that were going on in your life, I didn’t really experience them with you. As much as I wanted to BE there with you, I really wasn’t. I suppose we all have to go through our experiences and learn from them with HIS help. I’m thankful that HE has given you the ability to express yourself so well and that you are willing to share that gift. I’m very happy to be your Mama.

  7. Mike L. said,

    I just clicked on your site from an emergent discussion group. I use to be a Powerbuilder consultant but I hadn’t thought about it in years. Nice story. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Fernando said,

    I really enjoyed reading all “Workin’ for the Man” posts. Thank you very much for sharing. The stories were insightful.

  9. Mary Quinn said,

    Hey Jim,

    My dad ran a furniture store and did interior decorating for 30 years. After his store went out of business, he had to beat his clients off with a large stick. I guess there is something about a store front that turns people away…he makes more now than ever.

    Thanks for sharing!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: