I'm back in IT now, working for a local troubleshooter shop called CNE. It's a *very* small shop consisting of a total of 7 full time people (5 techs, including myself, 1 office manager and 1... well I don't really know what Lilli does.) and a few people that they contract for specific things like phone/PBX stuff and wire pulls. The primary focus is setting up, maintaining, and troubleshooting problems with customer's PCs and networks on their site.
The boss is good. The job is a job. Windows only (currently. The boss has considered looking into deploying Linux in specific situations), unfortunately, but at least I don't come to the same office every day. I am getting a lot of exposure to Windows servers, however, so I'm learning something that may be useful if I move to another job, which is kind of nice.
Another unfortunate turn is that I can't ride my motorcycle full time anymore. I have to carry too much stuff, and may have to bring back more from any site that I visit, so I'm back to a car. I've sold both of my Escorts (which would have been an ideal vehicle for this job), so I'm currently driving a 1985 Nissan Maxima that was lurking in my great-grandmother's yard unused for 2 years. Before that, I was also the last person to use it for a few weeks when Michelle was in town visiting my family (I wanted to make shure she had something reliable to drive, so I loaned her my car and drove the Nissan). It had been sitting for some years before *that* point as well, so it's basically been unused for a really long time.
It's a fun car, but it needs a lot of work. I have a fuel leak that I haven't been able to identify yet. Fortunately, it only happens when the tank is full, so I just don't completely fill it up. It also needs springs and struts, CV Axles, and tires. For a car with 180,000 miles, tho, it runs like a top. The 3.0 litre v6 (same unit as the 300z of the same time had, btw) has a lot of power, I just wish the automatic transmission that is attached to it was better. It's kind of a gas hog, but fixing the aforementioned fuel leak might help that a bit. Small enough to park, big enough to seat 5 for short trips. I wouldn't want to subject 3 of my friends to the back seat for more than an hour, though, as I'd like to keep them as friends.
While I was working contract, I seriously considered just leaving the IT industry permanently. Perhaps find a shop to train me to turn wrenches full time, or get back into pro Audio/Video. IT is a very fickle thing. When it works, no one cares, or wants to spend any coin on it. When it breaks, it's your ass in the sling, even though you've been warning them for months that you'd like to have some sort of recovery mechanism. Kind of a lose-lose proposition.
Many businesses don't understand that you need to run IT like a business within your business: It needs employees (Techs, or if you're small someone like CNE that you can trust and call to have them look at your problem) and a budget for growth and maintenance. Many businesses that I go to now haven't completely grasped this idea yet, but it's getting there. The people that run things are starting to understand that if the machine doesn't work, they don't make money, so they're thinking "what can I do to minimize my downtime.". I'm starting to hear this question more and more, and I believe it's a good trend that I hope to see more of. There will always be cheapskates, as there are in any industry, but it seems to be getting better.
Part of the problem with me writing in a blog is that I don't organize my thoughts very well. So for now, I'll just shut up and say that I'm thankful for many things (since this is thanksgiving), the greatest of which are the following:
The fact that I'm fed.
The fact that I can have all of these things, and that others have died that I might have them. Our armed forces (no matter what you think of the current situation) have kept us from speaking German, Japanese, Italian, or Russian as opposed to the mangled European English that we speak now. Thanks to them, past, present, and future.