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Gen300 Career Paper Week 5

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Essay title: Gen300 Career Paper Week 5

Current Career, Goals & Aspirations 1

Present Career, a Career Interest, and the Value of a College Education

By Laurie Cook

BSIT Gen300

May 30, 2006

Dr. Fife

Current Career, Goals & Aspirations 2


In this paper I will describe my current career, my career plans for the future and the educational requirements of my plans. I will explain how I arrived at my current position and how I plan to get to my ultimate goal.

Current Career, Goals & Aspirations 3

How I arrived at my current career

Back in 1980, when I left the Army, I went with my husband to Dayton, OH where we planned to go back to school. He went for his MBA at Miami University of Ohio and I attended what I recently found out is the largest community college in the country, Sinclair Community College. My major was Electronic Data Processing, now known as Information Technology. This was “before” what I lovingly call “The PC Revolution”. Had I opted to go for my Bachelors Degree at that time, I might very well have ridden the tide of that revolution to a very lucrative career. Well, you know what they say about hindsight. It was less than 2 years before the PC started making mainframes and mainframe programming, obsolete.

Upon graduation, we moved to Pittsburgh, PA where my husband landed his first job. I found work teaching programming languages to college age students at a private business school. It helped me solidify what I had learned in school, but because their equipment was horribly outdated, it also held me back. I worked there taking two classes through the completion of their courses, approximately a year and a half.

Again, my husband was transferred, this time to Chicago, IL. When we arrived in Chicago, initially, I was unable to get work as a programmer. I was hired as an “Operations Administrator”, which was a fancy name for secretary to the Vice President and Sales Manager. I continued my job search while there and eventually landed a position as a Junior Programmer with the local school

Current Career, Goals & Aspirations 4

District, this was a very nice job. I had a great boss who nurtured me and bolstered my confidence. My best day there was when my boss had worked on the attendance program, which was written in COBOL, earlier that morning. My boss had gone to a meeting and the Computer Operator was running the attendance programs and realized he had an infinite loop going on. He came to me, looking less than confident that I could fix the problem. He explained that Dale had been working on the program that morning and that he was in a meeting. I went to Dale’s office and was glad to see the program still open to the page he had worked on. I immediately saw that he had left off a period. Anyone who has ever programmed in COBOL knows that a missing period will almost certainly cause an infinite loop. I quickly added the period and became “hero for the day”.

If it hadn’t been for teaching and getting my eye trained to look for a missing period, I might not have solved the problem so quickly. That was the last really good raise that I remember in my career as a COBOL Programmer. About a year and a half into my job I was contacted by a head hunter. He helped me get a job in a large financial services company. I went from being a big fish in a small pond to being a little fish in a big pond. Still, I managed to hold my own.

It was during that time that we decided to have children. The plan was that my husband would support us and that I would stay home to raise the kids, at least until they were spending full days in school. That all changed when my husband was transferred to Boston. At the time, it seemed like a dream come

Current Career, Goals & Aspirations 5

True; I was going home. Our daughter was 8 months old and my entire family lived on the North Shore in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the timing was a little

off as Massachusetts

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