At Exel Logistics, when new software products were introduced – or changes needed to an older system last maintained by a person no longer there – the established staff deferred, saying they were too busy to pick up on the process. “I’ll do it,” I volunteered, regarding this as an opportunity to learn, “To me, everything here is equally new. Give it to me.”
I’ve worked in manufacturing, repair, warehousing, distribution, retail, mail order, health care, accounting, invoicing, accruals, inspections, import/export, sales, taxation, and more. I’ve acted in Project Manager & Team Leader roles much of my career, supervising as many as a dozen programmers on multiple platforms while continuing to design and program myself. I’ve worked at shops with entirely custom-built programs, and those with ERP’s. Every shop customizes their system, rendering each one unique. To me, an ERP I’ve not yet seen is just another custom system. In programming, the flexibility to adjust is far more important than the hypothetical value placed on working in the same industry or same enterprise software.
My most extreme instance of tackling something new under pressure, was my assignment to be the sole programmer at the San Francisco Music Box Company, a firm my employer had just purchased. SFMB’s system was coded in RPG, a language I’d not encountered. Their prior programmer was to train me in both that language and their systems, but when I arrived she instead gave me a one-hour overview and walked out the door, leaving no documentation, no RPG manual, nothing. I taught myself RPG on the spot, by controlling the data going into programs and observing the results, to deduce each RPG command’s function. A more recent example occurred at Contec, when the programmer who manually ran their Invoicing for twenty years, and resisted documenting or sharing it, suffered a severe accident. I had three days to figure out what to run in what sequence, mitigating bad data sent from outside sources. I documented as I went, assumed control moving forward, and cross-trained others afterwards.
At Woolworth, I was repeatedly chosen to learn new software first, such as SQL, XPEDITER, and iSeries, then create classes, teaching it to others. At Rite Aid, after the head of I.T. randomly selected my code to review our team’s documentation, she told me how pleasantly surprised she was. I’m very diligent at documenting, and had to honestly suggest she look at another person’s program for a proper group assessment. At Toys ‘R’ Us, which had an entire department devoted to creating test plans, by the time that group gave me their plan, I’d not only performed every test they’d thought of, but some they hadn’t, discovering bugs hidden in their programs for years.
Throughout my career I’ve flipped between languages and platforms demonstrating my ability to learn, adapt to, and improve the systems I’m assigned. Every employer has remarked on my attention to detail, thorough testing, comprehensive documentation, and frequent reporting. I’ve worked extensively with corporate and outside users, gathering specs, designing solutions, and prioritizing projects. Multiple former employers have attempted to hire me back (in better times).
So why am I now in search of employment? The platform I worked on was eliminated in a planned system conversion I helped shepherd to the end. That the project’s completion would occur in the midst of a Pandemic Depression, I’d not foreseen. Thus here I am. I hope you may find in the experiences I’ve listed, qualities valuable in the position you are seeking to fill.