Computer Geek at Heart

computersWhen I was a little kid, I always wanted to be a teacher.  I loved the idea of imparting my wisdom to others and knowing more about things than my students did.  I always looked up to my teachers and wanted that admiration as well.  As I got older, I decided there was no way I was going to be able to teach little kids.  I love little kids, but their goofiness can get tiresome.  Middle school kids are too hormone riddled to handle and high school kids are too close to adults and many show teachers no respect.  So where did that leave me?

By the time I entered college, I had completely abandoned the idea of being a teacher.  I knew that was not the path I wanted to go down.  So my first thought was to become an accountant.  Afterall – I was good at math.  I proceeded to take an Accounting 101 class and barely passed with a D+.  I was horrified. I had never received such a low grade in a class before.  I retook the same class the next semester in the hopes of improving my grade and only received a C+.  Ok – lesson learned.  Time to think again and abandon accounting.

The next career path I decided on was to become an actuary.  Afterall – I loved statistics.  Then I found out that you had to take a series of 10 exams.  Hmm – ok – I can do that.  I took the first one and to be honest, I don’t even remember if I passed or not, but I do remember that it was one of the hardest exams I’d ever taken.

By this time, it was my last semester in college and I started to think I should’ve done a Computer Science major with a Math minor instead of my Statistics major and Computer Science minor, but it was time to be done.

I graduated and moved back home while I looked for a job.  I worked at the warehouse for our family furniture store doing construction (of all things).  I sent out a bunch of resumes to anyone and everyone I could think of and didn’t receive much response back for anything actuarial-related.

computersOn a complete fluke, I responded to an ad for a computer trainer.  I thought in my head, “I know computers and I always said I wanted to be a teacher.” and I was actually called in for an interview.  Turns out that the secretary where my ex-husband worked was roommates with the girl doing the interviews.  The secretary asked her roommate if she had seen my resume.  She had to pull it out of the reject pile to call me in.

I went in for the interview and surprise, surprise, I was offered a job!!  I was told later by a co-worker, that they weren’t expecting much when they called me in.  

After about 3 months at ExecuTrain, the network administrator left and my boss said “You said you like technical stuff…  Here – take care of our network!”  Wow!  I had no idea where to start, but that was the beginning of my computer career.  From there I then became the first technical instructor for ExecuTrain in Wisconsin.  I became certified by both Novell and Microsoft to teach people how to set up networks.

I worked at ExecuTrain for 3 years, functioning as their network administrator, teaching networking classes, and setting up classrooms for other trainers.  I eventually became the Director of Technical Training. 

I was getting tired of doing it all at ExecuTrain.  I was responsible for training classes, keeping the network running, and setting up classes for other trainers. I remember one time I was setting up a class for another trainer in downtown Milwaukee and things were not working right.  I had my baby boy sleeping in his car seat on the concrete floor while I worked all night long. The fact that I was there setting things up for someone else’s class and no one else was there to help me was one of deciding factors that made me start to look for another job.

I left ExecuTrain to work for Three Pillars as the MIS Director.  As the MIS Director, I was in charge of setting up the entire campus with a network and train all the employees on how to use their new systems.  I procured all the computers and guided the rest of the management team on what we needed and how it should be implemented.  I created the curriculum and did all the training myself.  After 7 months, the network was implemented and all the employees were trained and there was nothing left for me to do, so I went back to ExecuTrain.  Although, this time, I went back as just a Technical Trainer.  I no longer had to do it all, I only had to worry about my own classes for a change.

Another 6 moths went by and I remembered why I left training in the first place.  Being 25 years old and having to train a class of 50 year old men who had been working on networks for as long as I’d been alive was stressful!  These men would ask questions and you could tell by the way they were asking, that they already knew the answer.  

So, it was time to find something different.  I decided to go to work for ExecuTrain’s sister company, Consultis, a computer consulting company.  I began doing network consulting for companies across south eastern Wisconsin.  In addition to being a consultant for Consultis, I was also their network administrator.

During this time, I became pregnant with our second child and we decided to move back to Beaver Dam.  I continued consulting, but more around the Madison area.  After having Nathan, I was still consulting in Madison and having to commute an hour one way.  I asked if they could find any consulting jobs closer to Beaver Dam, but they couldn’t, so I decided to find something myself.

Around this time, my then husband found a job at Horicon Bank and during his interview, they asked what his wife did.  When he told them, they asked him to bring in my resume.  One month later, I also began working at the same bank!  I worked there for the next 8 years as the network administrator taking care of their 9 locations myself.  I was the only member of the IT department for most of those 8 years.  Toward the end of those 8 years, the Senior VP of Operations told me that I should get out while I could.  She was my boss and she was planning on leaving and felt the bank wasn’t doing me any favors. Ok – time for another change.

I decided to apply to to Kiriworks, an ECM (Electronic Content Management) company.  I had known this company since working at the bank and had been dealing with them for the past eight years.  When I applied, they told me that they didn’t have a position for me, but they also didn’t want me going anywhere else, so they were going to make me a position!  I’ve now been at Kiriworks for the past 15 years and still enjoy my job!

So throughout my career, I’ve built computers, trained adults how to use computers, trained adults how to setup networks, taken care of multiple networks and setup ECM solutions for companies.  Looking back at all of it, I can’t image doing anything else.  I love computers (most of the time)!

Who is 'Chelle

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