Here at the Rack, we look to hire those who are the best and brightest in the industry. However, looking at only raw talent does not make the person; their personality and their “life story” is important to us as well. We want to know what motivates you as a person, as an employee, and as a potential new “family member” here at Rackspace. (We really do practice the Core Values here!)
My story is an unusual one. And my pathway to Texas and reasons for my move certainly made me stand out among all the other candidates.
I graduated from the University in Virginia with a degree in Computer Engineering. During my summers before that, I held internships at Sprint Nextel in Northern Virginia and Bombardier Transportation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I wanted to enter the network operations field, but never really found a good point-of-entry for my first job after school. I ended up being employed at a major mortgage broker located in the Northern Virginia/DC Area because they claimed to offer a rotation program that would give me a wide range of experience. I was even promised that I would get a rotation with the network operations team. At first, I enjoyed my time there, but once the second rotation came around, I didn’t get the network operations position. The same happened again with the third.
I also had my qualms about living in the DC Area. Aside from things like the worst traffic in the nation, rent as high as Manhattan, a terrible and expensive mass transit system, and a very closed, quiet, and not-too-friendly culture of people, I finally realized that I would never be happy there. Worse, I knew that I would never be able to get ahead in the area because of the very political and bureaucratic nature of pretty much all the businesses there. I knew that I would never be able to afford my own home because the real estate was too expensive. I was living paycheck-to-paycheck on a very generous salary for an entering engineer into the IT industry.
After I got word that I was not going to be permanently placed in the network operations group at my then-current employer and six months of searching for a new job elsewhere, that tore it. I was ready to start over. I gave my two week’s notice with no clear future in sight, but I knew with my qualifications that I’d be able to find something in another city. The question was where did I want to move?
Lucky for me, traveling is one of my hobbies. In fact, within the last four years, I’ve flown to 40 different cities located in North America and Europe for business and/or pleasure. And I knew with 100% certainty that my next home would be in Austin, Texas.
I had been there before and had so much fun every time. Austin is a burgeoning capital of technology, and I was so impressed by the huge amount of state pride that everyone had in Texas. Lone Stars EVERYWHERE! There always seemed to be a special event or festival every weekend in Austin, and people who lived there were very physically active, really friendly, and welcoming. The community fosters a unique “Keep Austin Weird” culture, making it a very exciting and dynamic place to live. Best of all, it was a lot more affordable to live there than the DC Area, and I could actually afford to get my own apartment close to Downtown Austin.
With that, I packed my bags and threw the rest of my worldly possessions in a U-Haul attached to my Nissan Altima. (Texans still like to make jokes about my little car towing that much stuff 1400 miles. About ten seconds after crossing the Texas/Arkansas border, I learned that they love their pick-up trucks.) I got oriented a lot faster than I thought; I got three job offers at three stellar technology companies in Austin and settled into an apartment after only ten days of arriving. After that, I knew I had made the right decision. Sure, I still do miss my friends and family in the DC Area, but I really have no regrets at all and even pat myself on the back for making such a big, positive change in my life.
With three job offers that were extended simultaneously, I had a lot of options. However, out of all of them, Rackspace Hosting seemed to have the best culture fit for me personally. On top of a competitive salary and great benefits, Rackspace has a work-life balance and adheres to its core values. This is not a place that has core values for the sake of impressing customers or fulfilling a fake public image. These values are what have defined us as an industry leader, and I was so happy to find a place that is focused more on performance than bureaucracy and paperwork. Since joining Rackspace, I’ve been more than just a Network Security Administrator. I’ve helped with recruiting, happy hours, special events, and even big industry events like SXSW. I’m great friends with all my coworkers, and I’m happy to be part of a company that has helped me adjust so quickly to a city where I had no friends or family when I first arrived. I’m thrilled that I chose to become a Racker.
Category: Rackers Tags: Austin, Core Values, NetSec, Network Security, Work Life Balance