Ive often told people that if I ever had an "American Beauty" moment—that is, a midlife crisis like the kind Kevin Spacey had in his Oscar-winning movie, in which he ditches his dead-end job for one flipping burgers—I think I know what Id want to try as an alternative career. I always thought it would be fun to be one of those guys who collects the shopping carts from supermarket parking lots. Think of all the fun they have: They can race around on them and, best of all, bash the hell out of them. Theres also something very Zen about keeping the lot clean of obstacles and always having a dry cart ready for the next customer.
But lately Ive been thinking about another possibility: a career in IT services. Ive had some experience, though no training. Ive learned to be sort of a mini-IT person here in my office, fixing my own or others computer problems because, as at most companies, IT help is always in short supply.
At home, Ive become something of a computer junkie, a geek even. We now have three-and-a-half computers; the one-half is a Linux work in progress. Ive built my own machines, set up cable Internet access and networked multiple machines. Parts and software everywhere.
The hum of the boxes and the glow of bootup screens may have altered me somehow because its almost as if I adopt another persona up in my computer workshop—someone not unlike the "Middle-Aged Man" of Saturday Night Lives Mike Myers a few years back. Ill be officially middle-aged (40) later this year, and so I might fit the bill as "Middle-Aged IT Guy."
But would it really work? At home, I can run a tight IT shop. But the enterprise would be a nightmare in comparison. Mergers and acquisition-inspired integration, denial-of-service and virus attacks, unlicensed software, then outsourcing, layoffs. ... Oh, the horror, the horror! On second thought, I think Im more suited to tinkering in the workshop. Or maybe I can somehow build a computer out of a shopping cart.