When accepting the offer from George Mason University, I thought I would only stay for a year or two. Eight years later, I am still with the Law School. It has been a long, challenging, rewarding journey for both my professional career and personal life.
I joined the Law School after leaving a stressful job. At first, I hesitated to take on a new role as Web Services Developer, which included server administration as part of the job. I didn’t know anything about Linux. I had never used the command line. I never heard of the content management system called MODX. I spent my first week googling how to set up RSA and SSH to access the servers. I read online documentation just to add my own admin account in MODX. It was a huge hurdle to get through in the first six months. I almost quit.
While the technical challenges stressed me out, the people I worked with were awesome, especially my kind, understanding supervisor. I simply could not let her down. She gave me the support and the flexibility I needed to balance my work and life. It is extremely important to me to have the flexible schedule because I young kids. I cannot put all the burden on my wife. Getting them to daycare and school in the morning is a challenge. Taking days off when they got sick is a must. Chaperoning them to field trips is part of being a parent. In eight years, my boss never expressed any negative vibe when I requested time off, came to work a bit late, or left a bit early. To reciprocate her generosity, I never hesitated to work on weekends or late-hours when I had to.
What has been so great about this job is the trust she placed in me. Without micro-management, I thrived on my own. She didn’t have to tell me what needed to be done. I took on projects that needed attention and look for projects that would benefit the school. In the past eight years, I expanded from three sites to thirty sites. In addition to MODX, I implemented WordPress Multisites to offer anyone in the Law School a web presence and still manageable. Even though my responsibilities were strictly web services, I offered graphic design solutions and created a unified brand for the school. It saved the school tons of money from hiring outside design agencies.
Several years ago, I was promoted to Director of Design and Web Services. In the new role, I am supervising a junior web developer to help me out with daily requests and web support for the thirty sites we’re maintaining. I am giving him the flexible and the trust that my boss has given me. At the moment, everything seems to go well.
I don’t know what the future will be like as we’re the process of hiring a new President for the University and a new Dean for the Law School. I am not sure how the new changes will have an effect on me. I do not want to think too much about things that I cannot control. I do hope that my supervisor won’t be retiring anytime soon. That will change everything.