DEADWOOD 2014-07-07 A day in the life of....
jshields12 270001K9V0 Tags:  ai new academic newhire student hire work initiative 1 Comment 1,487 Visits
It has been some time since my last entry, for a number of reasons, but mainly with regard to the topic of this post: holidays in the work force.
When it comes to life as an undergrad, there are too many positive aspects to list. But if you tried, the list would include beer, pizza, afternoon classes (or put a different way, sleeping in), pizza, campus activities, friends, beer, pizza, and of course student holidays.
Who can forget the month long Christmas / New Years holiday, in addition to the plethora of other holidays that you are given as a student (for example, at Washington & Lee University we were given a week off for George Washington's birthday). And what did we have to do over the holidays? Well..... NOTHING. Our only assignment was to go to sleep late and to wake up late. And boy could we ace that assignment (well at least I could).
Now for those of you about to graduate into the work force, here's a word of advice: forget you ever had those holidays. Certainly don't forget what happened over those holidays, but yes - forget the luxury of a month long holiday. This may sound a bit downtrodden, and maybe it shouldn't. You will (most likely) have work holidays, but the odds of you getting a month or more off at any time are slim.
But that's ok, right? Yes, for the most part it is ok. Now that you are working everyday, you will be able to appreciate your time off more. And as crazy as it sounds, you may even find yourself looking forward to continuing your work once you return to the office. I myself, after celebrating New Years eve in New Orleans Louisiana, actually did feel an unseen force pushing me back to my workstation. Maybe that's because New Orleans is just way too much fun? Maybe not...
One of the things that I enjoy about working is the thought of continuing my work. In undergraduate college, your work is more or less an accumulation of disjoint assignments across a large range of classes. But in the workplace, your work is continuous and always cumulative. You learn from the work you have done in the past, and you will often find yourself excited to use that knowledge in the future.
Thus don't get too upset when you realize that you won't be sleeping until 2 PM everyday for a month over your holiday break. You will miss the time when you could do that, but you probably won't miss it as much as you think you will.
So for those of you still at an undergraduate institution looking forward to a long holiday break, savor your breaks and the pizza and beer you consume during them. But for those of you leaving the wonderful life of a student, don't worry, work breaks aint that bad.
I am a student currently registered at the University of Toronto at the Mississauga Campus. I experienced a relatively boring summer considering I completed some training for financial advising and was not able to participate in any family vacations. I was excited about returning to school in September because I had just been offered entry into the Digital Enterprise Management Specialist program, but was very worried about not having experience in my field of study. I have completed my second year at UofT and plan to attend graduate school right after completing my undergraduate degree. Due to my strong ambitions and perseverance, I came back to the IBM Careers Canada website and decided to apply to more positions at the Toronto lab despite my failed attempts early on in the summer. I had learned better ways to present my skills and found a posting for a position that fit my qualifications perfectly. The interview was a great success and I switched my status at school to a part-time student. In late September, I came to the Toronto Lab for an orientation session for the first time and was very impressed with the work environment. Although it was quite surprising, I was very intimated at first. This is obviously expected of a new employee and as days passed, I became even more curious. The people at the lab were very friendly and made me feel very welcome. I though I could learn to tackle on challenges and become familiarized with the work environment in a matter of weeks but it was not the case at all. As time passed I understood that some of the processes you just can't rush at IBM Canada Ltd. Even if this may be the case, the learning process-although a slow one- is very self rewarding and satisfying! I am taking advantage of every opportunity and developing a consistent learning process in becoming an active community member as well as good team member here at IBM Canada Ltd.
jshields12 270001K9V0 Tags:  academic remote new ibm intern hire initiative 3 Comments 1,744 Visits
In my previous blog post I alluded to a common, internal practice in the technology industry: remote work.
At major technology firms, employees often have the opportunity to work from their home, or even their home away from home. Because of the evolution of technology, tech developments such as company-wide instant messaging, increased reliance on e-mail, and virtual meeting software, many companies not only allow remote work, some promote it. Reasons for promoting this sort of work environment include: decreases in company wide utility costs and increases in employee morale (hence increases in work quality). There are also valid reasons to oppose remote work, which we won't go into here, where as that discussion is a bit off topic.
What I am driving at, is that because of the technologies that allow us to work remotely, we now have the opportunity to team-up with other employees across the globe. We are no longer constrained to work only with those in the same office building. This new technology, relative to work environments, has essentially knocked down any barriers that prevented worker collaboration in the past, barriers resulting from a difference in geographical location. Sure I can still hop over to the next office to ask Mark for feedback on a report, but what if the person I really need feedback from isn't Mark? What if I need to talk to Manny, who lives in Brazil? Not a problem. Now I can just ping Manny and talk it out with him (given that Manny speaks English, because I certainly don't speak Portuguese).
But how does this new set of technology translate into my life as a new-hire in the high-tech industry? Well this new technology enables people to work remotely (i.e. from home). And as a result, half of my team resides up and down the east coast. I live in Texas, so until recently I had not met most of my teammates face-to-face. Only through virtual work environments have I been able to communicate and collaborate with these individuals, so the experience of meeting and talking with my fellow teammates was in a way - quite surreal. Of course I have had many casual/business conversations with these co-workers, but because I work so closely with these people, my brain had begun to align their identities with our form of communication - in my brain these people had become just a voice on a phone.
Now - for those of you who have a sense of humor that has matured past middle school, you might want to skip to the next paragraph of this blog. But for those of you who still openly admit to being immature (like me), keep reading. Continuing on, a voice on the phone can be anything. So what if my co-worker, supposedly out of Massachusetts, is in fact a robot (out of, oh I don't know, Zanzabar?) that just really, really sounds like a human. Or what if I have just been talking to myself on the phone this whole time? Yeah these are pretty weird thoughts, but seriously, for all of you that took at least one philosophy class in college - THIS IS POSSIBLE RIGHT???
Yeah not really. And finally I can stop questioning my own sanity because my teammates came to Texas last week - and they are in fact real people. Great people, actually, and thankfully people that run on food and water versus gasoline and electricity. Anyways - enough - remote work is awesome and it has really opened up some doors in business, but really there is something to be said for face-to-face interaction. I mean, happy hour over the phone is just sort of awkward...
Thanks for reading & stay tuned!!!
jshields12 270001K9V0 Tags:  innovation technology hire new ibm initiative employee student college academic 1 Comment 2,150 Visits
So what’s it like moving from the office to the classroom?
Well for most it means a suit and tie. Nine to Five. Short hair (guys at least). No tennis shoes. And of course, do not be late into the office. Well guess what, that’s not entirely true.
On August 11th 2008, I woke up for my first day as a full-time employee at IBM. So without thinking twice about it, after a swift shower and shave, I walked into my closet to put on my suit and tie. I then sped off to the training classroom at our IBM Austin campus, nervously navigating myself through the maze-like hallways of building 45.
After finding the classroom and walking through the door, I received a rather… unexpected response. Everyone was staring at me (and I’m pretty sure I heard a couple muffled laughs). So I sat down, attempting to understand exactly why everyone was looking at me. Was there toilet paper caught on my shoe? Shaving cream on my face? Maybe even a stain on my nice, recently dry-cleaned suit? Nope....
While pondering this situation I found myself examining other people around the room, and being of an analytical nature, picked up a pretty clear trend. Nobody was wearing suits. No blazers, no ties, no leather shoes, and well for the most part - no perfectly groomed haircuts. I was sticking out like a sore thumb. Embarrassing nonetheless, I of course got over the situation. The class went on, and I took away some good IBM friendships. Be this as it may, on that first day of class I’m sure I was referred to at one point or another as a “newbie.” But that’s ok! I mean sometimes you have to learn the hard way right?
Anyways the point I am trying to make from this story is this:
CAREERS IN TECHNOLOGY ARE DIFFERENT
You don’t always have to wear a suit and tie to work. You don’t always have to go to the barber twice a month. And in some cases you don’t even need to go to work!! Well actually you do…. you can just work from home instead of going into the office. Still pretty cool though, right? The Technology Business is the Business of Innovation, so by aligning your career with this industry, you will find yourself a member of the most adaptive workforce in the world. Not only will your thinking continuously re-adapt to the industry, but so will your work environment. Many companies, such as IBM, have technology that allows us to work remotely. So no more chasing the cable guy around because he gave you an appointment that could fall within a 12 hour time frame. Just work from home that day and surprise him by answering the door. And if you do want to go into the office to work, but want to be prepared for a swift escape at 5 PM, just wear tennis shoes to work and Usain Bolt it out the door when the time comes.
These are just a few of many interesting facets tied to a career in technology. I’ll be back soon (bbs, acronyms- get used to them) to provide another embarrassing story of mine, strictly for your enjoyment of course.
jshields12 270001K9V0 Tags:  cutting hire student initiative new academic ribbon 2 Comments 1,358 Visits
So how long have I been a member of the IBM workforce? Fourteen months as of Oct 1st 2009. I'm technically still a newbie...
So what? Well for all of you veterans of the technology industry, you may not remember what it was like transitioning from the University setting into that of full-time employment. And if you do remember, you will recall that it was intimidating, un-familiar, and often exciting.
That's the point of this blog. I want to talk about what it is like moving from the campus to the office. I will be announcing my thoughts on this subject to the My dW community. Everything from what it's like incorporating high-level technology into the everyday work environment, to what I do on my lunch break, I won't leave anything out.
For those of you who have been around this industry for some time, I don't expect much interest (I mean duh we all know how sametime works). But for those of you who are recent or near future college graduates, I expect you might find some value in a new-hire's perspective on the brave new world you are about to embark on.
So all of you students and recent non-students - stayed tuned - you may enjoy what the future of "A day in the life of..." has to offer.