Posted On: February 14, 2020
It was summer in 1998 when I graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Business Administration – Information Systems. After a couple of months of job searching, I landed an entry-level temporary position at a company that grew into one of the largest employers in San Diego and a Fortune 100 company. It was a temp gig that I thought would last a few months. While I wasn’t actually in the mailroom, one of my first tasks was opening mail and scanning candidate resumes into an OCR reader that electronically stored resumes. A few months later, the company began accepting email resumes and I was responsible for opening each email, formatting the text, and getting it into the same system as scanned resumes. That was considered high-tech at the time!
It was a humble beginning to what ended up being a successful 20-year career designing and developing award-winning software (mostly HR-centric) for the company. Over the years, my job role progressed from mail opener to business analyst, developer, systems analyst, UX expert, project manager, and people manager. Often, I wore all of these hats at the same time. The size of the team varied, and at one point we had a team of more than 50 employees and consultants in San Diego and India that were under our management.
Throughout most of those 20 years, we had the freedom to design our product roadmap, taking into consideration what our customers (employees, HR, managers) and the company needed. No idea was off the table and we often heard requests that started with “wouldn’t it be cool if we could do…”. So, we did do just that and what we created time and time again was years ahead of any other HR system available on the market. Other companies and HR industry groups recognized our efforts, asked for demos and advice, and we even won numerous awards. The ideation and software development process were as exciting as our team was to work with. Our team collectively shared the same goals: to create the best software we knew how, have fun doing it, and deliver results no matter what it took. We always came together as a team and achieved these goals, week after week, month after month, year after year.
But the inevitable happened; the company evolved so change happened and “Change is the only constant.” Budgets were cut and executive management priorities shifted. New CIOs had different visions. During the last three years of my career, things had dramatically shifted, along with the work we did. Gone were most of the exciting design sessions, the freedom to create, and the fun parts of the job. We could no longer take a “dream it and build it” approach. We were implementing off-the-shelf products and our jobs became understanding those products so we could support them. Work felt more like being on a hamster wheel and I lost the excitement of going into work each day. Looking back, I think the biggest part of the loss was not only that our work had changed, but the fact that our team was no longer valued. We became another line item on a budget that needed to be reduced or cut.
In the spring of 2018, I had the opportunity to choose a severance package and leave the company. It was not my decision alone to make. I consulted with my wife, my family, and my friends and one thing became clear: There was only one very glaring choice. After leaving, I took some time off to reflect and figure out what I wanted to do during the next phase of my life and career. Leaving also allowed me to spend more quality time with my family which I had long wanted to do, especially since my son was growing up too quickly.
During my time off, my reflection had brought focus to what I really enjoy doing and that is working in a collaborative environment, helping people, building teams, continuing to learn new things, and creating really cool software. So, I founded Pixsan Solutions in order to get back to the type of work that I enjoy doing, and what I am really good at. Through Pixsan, I’m looking forward to meeting other individuals that have a dream or a vision and working hand in hand with them to help them realize their vision as it relates to web technology and marketing solutions. I welcome conversations from clients that start with “wouldn’t it be cool if we could do…” Those words are beautiful to hear as they signify the beginning of a process that gets me excited and my mind thinking creatively.
I will leave you with this: What I’ve learned in my 20-year corporate career is that helping people achieve their goals always equates to success for both parties. Success is not always measured in monetary terms, but in personal and team accomplishments; in turning a spark or an idea into a product. It’s not just about building a website, it’s more about a collaborative partnership and the feeling of accomplishment when we succeed together.
I am fortunate enough to have this opportunity to start over and I look forward to working with you to help you achieve your dreams.