I started my professional life in the tourism industry. After around 10 years of work in that field at different positions, restaurants, hotels, with different levels of management all throughout, I was ready for a change.
I always considered myself good at caring for customer needs, and I also happened to be that guy everybody calls for help at home or work to solve basic computer problems.
This kind of work included a lot of stress, and boredom in waves, and eventually I got completely tired of that rythm. I was certain there was more interesting stuff I could do with my time, and getting back control of my sleep schedule was becoming a necessity.
This is the main reason why I decided to look for a starter job in IT, and found out aiming for a support position was a common entry-level job to start with. Eventually I stumbled upon the most appealing and perks related job offer I had ever seen (coming from the tourism industry). Perks such as more vacations, fix timetables, free week-ends, very good retreat planning, etc, all spoke to me so I applied!
A couple weeks go by and to my surprise, I get a call. This highly technical company called me in for an interview! I thought "wow, I have no idea how all those services work, but I can definitely learn it! I wasn't so bad at school after all."
Little did I know, I was totally not ready for learning so much so quickly, and using computers was not something I was doing outside of work. It was like a very basic, user/customer, with no code comprehension.
But I guess my thoroughly trained customer smile had value to them, because I got the job, even if I could not answer a single question correctly during the interview with the suport lead and support manager.
Failing at the job
My first day of work starts, I get supervised in calls for a couple days and then I start answering by myself. The company was selling their own ecosystem of services and products and I was not even aware I didn't understand them properly.
Unfortunately, my qualitative approach was taking way too much time on the phone, and I had a lot of trouble snapping out of that travel customer centric focus trying to take time to listen to every customer and the full extent of their lives. (lol)
With that problem, I then had a few cases of fake domain registration attempts, which we were tasked to review everyday or so, as well as suspected account takeovers.
All of this largely contributed in making me totally confused as why I even applied there in the first place and question all of my life choices, the more mistakes I was making and the more I was struggling to learn or understand what I was even supporting people with.
With paranoïa setting in from previous mistakes in accepting totally scammy websites to register a domain, I then started denying domains to legit customers out of scare, and more money was lost.
At this point, I was getting ultimatums for bettering my work, and I already knew I was missing something major and couldn't meet requirements.
What I enjoyed
Having a chance to see professionals at work really made me want to learn about all this esoteric terminal stuff I couldn't even read.
Obviously, my empty head didn't really fit with the company culture either, we all know how painful it is to try and explain something to someone who thinks he already knows what you're talking about.
It's only much later I realized that only hard work, time, trials, and errors would actually teach me something, and even become a hobby.
One of my collegue was this great guy from a certain age, which actually inspired me the hacker mentality, by simply sharing stories of his past and epic stuff he did with computers.
The cherry on top is, just before I got fired, the company suffered a heavy DDOS attack.
I was completely unable to comprehend anything that was happening, but everyone seemed very worried and jumpy that particular day.
Apparently the hackers had managed to get a foothold from the HR department, which had all my details readily accesible on the machine since I was just given work stuff and such, then I assume my weak password was cracked and used to pivot with administrative rights.
It seemed at the time, from what I can recall and piece out with today's knowledge, they were probably mainly after the domain registration service. There were thousands of domain registration attempts to look through, and everything was similar looking.
These events took place in a timeframe of 2 months and a half. My last day, I got the "you are immediately fired" treatment and could experience how it feels to get out of a workspace with a box full of your belongings.
I can only assume I was too bad at my job, but I also suspect I have been fired for my own negligence.
- Untrained employees will slow business down.
- Employees with no previous IT training will make mistakes and fail to do what we expect of them with a computer.
- Employees with no previous IT security training will open venues of attack and weaken your company's security posture.
- Putting those untrained employees facing customers is gonna make your support quality go down.
- Training should include every tool you put in your employee's hands, including the phone.
- Training someone with 0 prior experience requires more than a couple days or a local knowledge base.
As bad as this story may feel, I think the saying "Start with a support job" is still valuable advice for beginners. It showed me a starting path.
If you want to break in IT because it's what you wanna do, just don't jump in raw like I did. The best way to start is to try doing the stuff you think looks cool and pro on your own devices. Ask for pointers only if you are sure you absolutely can't ever find it yourself. Exchanging with professionals, keeping an eye on what companies you think are cool are doing and trying to understand and research what's going on.
The challenges you'll face, and solve when you have this kind of objective, is the best way to move forward, build your professional value and knowledge.
I wish you don't have to learn the hard way like I did.
Good luck out there, applicants!
by starrylord 25.07.22