[WfhD] Work from home dad!

In a little over four weeks, I will have a new baby at home. She will be my first child, and as far as I can tell my only child. We shall see.

I’m introducing this blog as something I feel is a little unique, a little niche.  I am not a “stay at” home dad (parenting isn’t work, right?).  I am a “work from” home dad.  I pull down a damn decent salary in a realm best defined by a visit to my LinkedIn profile.  From it you should derive that I am a long-time technologist with a head full of different skills, and the greatest part of my professional career has been spent under the umbrella of medicine.  It is not my intent to discuss any specifics regarding my employer, ever. I’ll give them this much: they treat me well, they pay me well, I have only the standard, mercurial gripes of a salary-man, and yes I would encourage people I know and love to apply for work with this company. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t ask anything more of me. Also, I’m not in on any trade secrets, management, planning or strategy. I prefer it that way. Don’t contact me to ask about temporary staffing.

This all means that I will have a wife and child at home while I am working, and hijinks shall ensue.

It’s important to note, for the sake of context, that I am also a husband, a homeowner, and a landlord. My wife has been enjoying a pregnancy without the stresses of working. That sentence is misleading.  My wife hasn’t had to work, but she’s been pretty bored many days, and the physical predations of that little critter siphoning off her lunch and using her bladder as a Lay-Z-Boy has been ups and downs. My wife and I have a place to live in a city that is nice, and a skeleton of a plan for raising our daughter here. We also share the responsibility of maintaining a rental property, and from time to time we entertain investing more in that realm.

Working from home does mean I travel now and then. I’ve been a project manager in infrastructure for nearly five years; in that time I’ve gone all over the continental United States and built things. That’s a pretty cool experience to have in one’s personal history, I think. Now life is changing. I have a child on the way. My job is changing, I have a new title and job description, and it’s glorious. That’s right, my job is changing. No more project management for me, and I am inhaling long and deep of the wonderful roses sprouting up out of that fact. Not to disparage the profession, mind you. A good project manager is critical in the realm of health care technology. But management of any kind has never been my wheelhouse. I don’t care to take responsibility for the professional conduct and productivity of others. I do believe human beings are predictable and trainable and a good manager should be heaped in gold and jewels and romantic opportunities. It’s just not me. To my credit, I have a long litany of project successes, and few failures. I’m trading on that history to change my situation.

I’ve told the story of my job change a few times now, and I think I have it distilled to the parts that really matter. He it is, abridged:

Late last year I had an opportunity to invite myself to dinner with a Vice President in my department. Don’t ask, don’t get – so I asked. Dinner was a small group affair. This is also the first time I’ve met the VP – first time I’ve even seen him. As a full time teleworker, opportunities to meet people are rare. It’s important to grab them (lesson one). We hit it off. He’s conspiratorial and cosmopolitan, and I can get with that. I thrive on roundabout logic and creative explanations, and better still when the people around me aren’t tied up in cultural preconceptions. I have a few glasses of imported red, and become ‘brave’. I tell the entire table about my employment situation. I’m an engineer trapped by circumstances in a management function. VP admits he knows who I am and what I’ve done in the last few years – I have done some pretty high profile stuff, and I have a couple of powerful friends in our sector – the VP wants to help me get into something I want to do. If I want to craft a document management solution for our teams, fine; if I want to kick-start a proper knowledge sharing environment, fine. I’m floored. I’ve survived in a gravity-well created by my successes but been unhappy for so long its hard to remember what job satisfaction is. Sounds a little bit like having cake and eating it, eh? I get that.

Two months later I’m at corporate headquarters for a few days of meetings, and we run into each other in the hallway. Immediately we make plans for dinner that night.

He tells me about a position that’s opened up in Radiation and Diagnostics, doing exactly what I was trying to get into five years ago. Are you serious? In my head voices are screaming

take it! take it! rightgoddamnnow!

Outside I hear myself saying, “I’ll talk to the manager about it, but it sounds like a good move.”

That’s practical application of corporate survival wisdom (lesson two).

The manager is all open arms, come on in, have some money. Here’s the gig: and he lays out a year+ of implementations and a support cycle after. Its 100% PACS, but I’m sure RIS will sneak in too. The department also handles radiation treatment delivery, which is where I cut my teeth in healthcare IT. I can foresee a little carry-over there also, which is okay. From this place I can angle for architectural work, which would be a nice little niche – technology architecture and design is my holy grail, particularly in TxDI.

On top of all this, I get to play in the rebuilding of the helpdesk environment’s knowledgebase. If I meet my commitments, I qualify for an an annual bonus. Win!

So that’s my story.

From here it’s a 3-fold daily work:

1. Baby

2. Work

3. Write

Oh, did I mention I enjoy writing?