The Day IBM Killed Me.




If I knew then what I know now, things would have been different….


How many times have you heard, said or thought something like that?


Early in my professional software development career a few events shaped me far more than I realized at the time.  The impact of events in our life is almost always easier to understand when we have a new and different perspective; very often, the perspective of experience, sometimes, the perspective that comes from other traumas in our life.

Maybe you can relate to this or have a similar experience you can share.

I was a recent college graduate with family obligations and responsibilities.  We relocated to Minnesota where I accepted a job with IBM.  When renting turned out to be more expensive than I expected, we bought a small house and then a brand new car, pretty standard for someone trying to live the American Dream.

My first project at IBM was working with a friend from college who helped develop a software program written in a proprietary IBM language.  I vowed to myself that every future project I worked on would use skills and technologies that could be taken to another company if needed.   That decision turned out to be a good one.

I excitedly looked around my new company and discovered something that grabbed my attention.  There was a division of IBM that focused on “Advanced Technology” located in the same plant where I worked.  When we moved to Minnesota I made the commitment to not relocate my family because it was so difficult and slow for my wife to connect with other people.  Because of this, I had to look at the local community for career options.  At that time, IBM was the biggest local employer with over four thousand employees at that location.  The thought of working on “Advanced Technologies” excited me.  It captured my imagination.  I set a goal and intention to be working in the “Advanced Technology” area within five years.  As often happens with goals and intentions, once we focus on a purpose, it doesn’t take very long for things to start happening.  I was given the opportunity to join a project in “Advanced Technology” division in only two years!

Then I discovered the shocking truth.  IBM didn’t really do advanced technology in my plant and had already renamed the division, “Application Technology.”

Not to worry.  I still had a pretty cool and challenging project to work on.  I dug in to do a good job and spent many extra hours at work making sure I met both deadlines and expectations.  If you’ve ever worked in Corporate America and especially in a Fortune 5 company, you know it can get pretty stressful at times.  I spent many extra hours at work.  During this project our team even received customer satisfaction awards.  It was a pretty big deal.  I got very good at dealing with remote computer problems.  I especially enjoyed solving problems on the phone with Denmark on one occasion.

It was one of the awards that brought trouble.  I worked huge amounts of extra hours.  As a salaried employee, my pay did not change if I worked more hours.  I knew the amount of value I contributed to the project was worth far more to the company than overtime would have been.  I also knew the project was done on time and within budget.  Something IBM valued very much.  I looked forward to the award check I would be receiving knowing it would help to make up for the hours I had given to the company and been away from my family.

After taxes, the check barely paid for dinner and was at least 15 times smaller than overtime pay would have been.  I was crushed.  My hopes to do something nice for my family vanished.  Then, my team leader who I had respected very much walked into my office and shut the door.  He made a little speech and told me how little my contribution really mattered to him.  He said everyone else made a more important contribution than I did, “I had the gravy job.”  From his perspective, my value and contribution was irrelevant.  For someone who was trying to make a difference, his news was very disheartening.

I died that day.

If I knew then what I know now, my response would have been very different.  Instead of working on my next option or creating my own adventure.  I settled.  I already made the commitment to not relocate.  I already had family obligations, bills, house payments and car payments.  My family thought I hit the jackpot with my corporate job with IBM.  They didn’t understand what was happening on the inside, both inside me, and inside IBM.  They did not understand my discomfort with settling for what I had.  I was not bringing my gift to the world.  They didn’t feel the yearning in my soul for something else.  They did not support me when I talked about it.  So, I settled and continued to struggle with going to work day after day.  I now understood that the corporation would take everything I had if I let it.  I stopped working so many hours.

I looked around the IBM plant I worked in trying to find something worth pursuing.  A new goal and target for my career.  I couldn’t find anything to capture my imagination.  I went to one of my managers who I considered a mentor.  I asked her for input and advice.  Her response, “I can’t help you.”, as she excused herself from any further conversation.  I continued to struggle day after day living the rat race; trying to find a way out.  Not feeling support at home made the struggle almost unbearable.  I kept asking myself, “Is this all there is?”

No one had my back.

I continued to work in the same soulless environment for fifteen more years.

Is this anything like you’re experience?

Is going to work every day something you enjoy and look forward to, or is there something Bigger and Better, a dream you were made to accomplish?

Have you brought your gift to the world?

Do you have the encouragement and support you need to Take The Next Big Step in your life?

Invest in a system that helps you deal with important things in your life.  Discovering Blind Spots, getting past Denial and having a MindShift Team™ who shares your Vission can really help get past overwhelm and other Road Blocks you are experiencing now.

Someone who’s got your back.

Do you understand how important this is?

Start Today!

It is not too late to Invest In You!  Your relationships and commitments will benefit from a healthier you!

Do you see how important this is?

You are worth it!

  • You are good enough.
  • You are strong enough.
  • You are beautiful enough.
  • You are smart enough.
  • You ARE enough to do what you were created to do.
  • I believe in you.

I strongly believe that you and I were created for a special purpose and we are here for a very special reason.

Thank you for being there my friend.

Byron – The Bigger and Better Guy™


P.S.  Do you have a system that helps you work through issues in your life?

Stay tuned for more systems that you can use to get to Bigger and Better!


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