“I am a simple man. My complexity evolves from multitudes.” – anon
What is knowledge? What is wisdom?
It is said that knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, but wisdom is knowing that a tomato should never be used in a fruit salad. In that regard, it is safe to say that you can have the former without the latter, but the latter always requires the former. To that end, I have always been in pursuit of the latter by expanding my stock in the former.
This is why I have an interest in nearly all subjects and have a deep fascination with a great number of those. This is why I have adopted the mantra of continual learning; to never rest on my laurels. This is why you will find my bookshelves groaning with the weight of not only fiction, but also thick tomes on horticulture, philosophy, architecture, mathematics, physics, finance, management, programming and innumerable other technology-based subjects.
With that said, my experiences are certainly extensive and well-rounded. Throughout my youth to my late 20s, I was a hand on my parent’s orchard. I helped out with operating the heavy machinery, pruning fruit trees and doing all nature of repairs and maintenance. I was in the Cadet system throughout my teens. From there I learned the finer points of weapons usage, aircraft piloting & maintenance, wilderness survival and leadership. And in my early to mid 20s I took a variety of jobs ranging from the food service industry, over landscaping and greenhouse horticulture, to security and a brief stint at the British Columbia Ministry of Environment as a GIS field analyst.
My first significant career, however, was in the Information Technology field. And perhaps it is not surprising that I ended up there. I have been working with computers since 1982 (Commodore Vic-20), been on the Internet since 1988 (courtesy of BBS systems), on the Web since 1992 (thanks to a College VMS VAX account) and in the I.T. industry since 1998.
To a certain extent, I kind of “fell into” the I.T. field. I was taking a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree at Okanagan University-College (“OUC”) in the 90s with the intent of becoming a high school science teacher. I started making personal web pages in the mid-90s for my own amusement. By late 1997 the quality of my work had reached professional levels, so I dropped out of my final year to become a freelance web developer. It did not take long before a client asked me to look at their malfunctioning computer. Things kind of spiralled out of control from there. In the last decade and a half, I have done pretty well every I.T. job under the sun, short of 3D animation and developing programs for the desktop.
Fast-forward about ten years and one marriage to 2007, and I decided that the life of a freelancer wasn’t stable enough for me. Yes, the returns could be good, but you only ate what you killed. Freelancing is usually a feast-or-famine cycle, and can be hostile to matrimony (or is it the other way around?). When I tried to resume my BSc, I was told that many of my courses would have to be re-taken to be applicable to becoming a teacher. Well, I had enjoyed my BSc immensely the first time I went through it… but I wasn’t prepared to re-do a good chunk of it all over again.
When I investigated my options, I realized that I shared a shortcoming common to many others in the I.T. industry – business sense. Yes, it is not a cliché that many people in I.T. have difficulty with social skills. This includes business skills such as leadership, management and knowledge of business processes. My own business skills reflected this. Even after a decade freelancing I simply wasn’t greedy enough, ruthless enough or duplicitous enough to be my own boss. While I might have been great at what I did, I was not efficient at how I did it. So I decided to correct my shortcomings with a degree in Business.
To be specific, I decided to go after something a little more focused that just a general BBA, so I decided to become an Accountant. It was a logical choice. In many medium to large businesses there is a “glass ceiling” in I.T. that those without business skills cannot move beyond. As an accountant, I could be that CFO that not only did the books, but was also in charge of the I.T. department (as many of them are). Not only would I be able to guide the company, but I could talk to the propeller heads and have an excellent chance of comprehending them. I could take their great ideas, translate it from geek speak into corporate speak, add financial data to back it up, and present it to whomever needed to see it in such a way that they were not left drooling on the boardroom table in abject bemusement.
I completed my BBA in the fall of 2011. I did this by powering through six classes a term, three terms a year, along with extra courses in Management, Leadership and Strategic Management. I graduated in the Spring of 2012. Since then, I have been acquiring experience in the Accounting field at the same time as I have been continuing my freelance I.T. work.