Earlier tonight, I was at RiverWalk Movies watching Short Peace, a compilation of four short anime films, and I started thinking about some aspects of my life. Granted, this was not the first time that I was thinking about these things, but this is the first time that I’m more or less letting my thoughts be known to the public. At the moment, I’m pondering about where I am in my life, where do I want to be with my life, and how do I get to the point where I want to be.

Since I anticipate that this will be a rather lengthy post, I will be utilizing a cut where people can click the Read More link to see the rest of the post.

Where I Am:

Currently, I’m working at Best Buy as a Geek Squad Consultation Agent. I wish I could say that I was paid anywhere near enough to get a return on my investment on how much I’ve spent working towards getting my college degrees over the past several years, but the reality is that I don’t make nearly enough. However, unlike many of the companies with IT-related positions that I’ve applied at since June 2011, Best Buy is currently the only company that has given me a chance. However, the few times in which I’ve been interviewed for IT positions since 2014 started, one of the things that is asked is what I do as a Consultation Agent. Unfortunately, unlike the Advanced Repair Agents, Consultation Agents aren’t as hands-on with clients’ computers beyond some computer setups and other things that are needed here and there, and the companies that I have interviewed with deemed that and other factors as the reasons why I’m not qualified for the positions I’ve sought.

Here is the official job description for a Geek Squad Consultation Agent:

Job Description:

What does a Geek Squad Consultation Agent do?

Do all things technology fire you up? Can you swap a motherboard or hook up a home theater system blindfolded? Does the thought of installing an LCD in an SUV, and getting paid for it, make you salivate? If you answered yes to any of these questions, congratulations, your dream career might be waiting for you at Geek Squad. We invite you to join our illustrious ranks.

A Geek Squad Consultation Agent is a brand ambassador for both the Geek Squad and Best Buy brands. As the solutions expert, the Consultation Agent manages the Geek Squad check-in and check-out experience for customers and helps them find the complete solution that works for them. They coach the sales team, building trust and explaining services and technology to help meet all customer needs. Their knowledge of services, technology and business group strategies in partnership with the sales team ensures no customer is ever left unserved or underserved.

70% of the time you will:

  • Engage customers using selling skills to provide solutions aligning with their “definition of fix.”

30% of your time you will:

  • Work with the sales team, explaining services and technology to help them achieve business goals.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

What are the Professional Requirements of a Geek Squad Consultation Agent?

Basic Requirements:

  • 3-6 months working experience

Preferred Requirements:

  • High School diploma or equivalent
  • Associate degree in general electronics or computer repair
  • 1+ years retail or customer service experience
  • 1+ years experience diagnosing or repairing PCs or consumer electronics

Currently, working at Geek Squad is the only form of IT-experience I have that could possibly be an application of using my Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems (however limited the application). Also, the creations of the Langston Business Association, Christopher Eastman.com, and Destroyer X Productions Websites are currently the only applications of using my Associate’s degree in Web Design.

Where Do I Want to Be With My Life:

This one is going to be pretty lengthy, but it basically boils down to a few things:

  • Become established in the IT-field
  • Eliminate all of my credit card debt
  • Move out of my mom’s house and into an apartment or house
  • Date
  • Get married
  • Have children
  • Have grandchildren (if I live long enough)

Become Established in the IT-Field:

I’ll be honest and admit that when I graduated from college, it would be incredibly easy for me to apply for a career, get hired by a company, and everything would fall into place after that. I cannot begin to say how wrong I was in assuming that things would be that simple. Unfortunately, I vastly underestimated that many of the employers that I’ve applied with are looking for experience as far as length of time and the technologies that they are wanting for a particular position. Additionally, it doesn’t help that I never centralized my career search upon a certain area that I’m wanting to pursue. Through some research, here are some of the occupations one can pursue with a degree in Management Information Systems:

  • Systems Analyst
  • Computer Programmer
  • Internet Developer
  • PC Support Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Webmaster
  • Technology Consultant
  • Information Systems Manager
  • Information Technology Asset Managers
  • Data Network Security Administrator
  • Project Manager
  • Network Administrator
  • Web Developer
  • Software Engineer

Now, when you look at that list, a person would be impressed that there are so many things that one can pursue with a degree in Management Information Systems. However, what I was trying to do (and somewhat still doing because I haven’t officially stopped) was apply for all of those positions that companies had regardless of whether or not I met the qualifications. Unfortunately, I’ve received very few interviews, and I haven’t helped my case in terms of getting my foot in the door. I suppose I should be asking myself the following question:

What do I honestly want to do with my life now that I have my Bachelor’s degree?

Personally, I would like to be hands on when it comes with working with computer hardware. I would like to setup and maintain networks and the hardware associated with them. I would like to design Websites on the front-end. I would like to be able to maintain databases.

In early 2005, I built my first Windows XP personal computer, and it was able to last until 2012 before I ended up buying to purchase a new computer to replace it. The reason why I ended up buying a new computer instead of repairing or building another one was because I lacked the funds to build a new computer from scratch with the specifications I was wanting, and it would have been too costly to obtain a third motherboard to repair the computer that I built. Fortunately, my decision was the correct one as many of the components and software I ended up buying for the new computer had limited compatibility with Windows XP. Nonetheless, even though I do not have a CompTIA A+ Certification, I’m fully aware of the basic facets when it comes to building and maintaining computers.

I understand the basics of object-oriented programming to be able to do certain things here and there, but in all honesty, I would not enjoy writing code in C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, and PHP for a living. I have written some programs in C++ and PHP, but those were either classroom assignments or following tutorials out of my books on how to program in C++, JavaScript, and PHP. I haven’t written any programs in those programming languages in years, and the only time I really touch PHP is to insert some code that I would need to enable or disable certain things for my Website.

As far as networking is concerned, the only network experience I have experience with is my mom’s wireless network and connecting devices to the Wi-Fi networks at work. The scope of my mom’s wireless network is fairly simplistic: all of the computers and a few other wireless devices in the house are able to access the Internet wirelessly. There are occasions in which I will utilize the PS3 Media Server software to serve certain folders on my computer to my Sony PlayStation 3, but beyond that, I don’t really do a lot with the home Wi-Fi network.

In regard to creating and maintaining databases, the only experiences I have with those are what I do on my Web server and some classroom assignments from college. I don’t have shell access with HostGator, so I create all of my databases either through cPanel or phpMyAdmin. The little administration I do regarding those databases are done through cPanel and phpMyAdmin as well because content management systems like WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal will automatically create the tables and populate the data upon installation. Backups of my Website are done via cPanel, and if I needed to backup a particular database, I do that with phpMyAdmin.

With Web Design, I think of myself as fairly decent when it comes to creating a design and coding it. Generally, I create graphics as I go, and I don’t use Adobe Illustrator nor Adobe Fireworks to create a design mock-up before going full scale. Depending upon the project, that could either be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s definitely a bad thing if a client wants to see some different designs before you go through with developing a Website. It’s a good thing if a client leaves everything up to the Web Designer in terms of creating a Website to suit the client’s needs. Eventually, I would like to learn how to do mock-up designs with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Fireworks so I’ll have something to show a client before proceeding with a project. Considering that I don’t write my own PHP and JavaScript coding for WordPress plugins (I do write all of my XHTML, HTML5, and CSS for the Websites that I design), I’m highly dependent on using WordPress plugins that others have created and adjust some settings here and there to suit the needs of the Websites I design. In fact, that’s why Christopher Eastman.com exists – to serve as a testing ground for future Websites that I design.

Two of my biggest mistakes that I made during my college career at Langston University – Tulsa was not networking with others in order to establish connections for when I would be on the career hunt and graduating too soon. In all honesty, I’m more comfortable around people around my age or younger. In most of the classes I took while at Langston-Tulsa, most of the students were in their mid-to-late 30s and older, and while I’m comfortable with people in that age bracket if I’ve known them personally for years or I’m around them at work, outside of those parameters, I’m not very comfortable around them. Unfortunately, that attitude came back to bite me hard when I realized that beyond the companies I saw that were hiring on Monster, LinkedIn, Indeed, Dice, Robert Half Technology, and Tulsa Help Wanted.com, I didn’t know what companies to apply with in the Tulsa area in the IT-field.

My advisor suggested to me that due to the job market being the way that it was, I should hold off on graduation so I can take some classes related to Cyber Security so that when I did graduate, I would look much better in the eyes of employers. Unfortunately, I didn’t take that piece of advice. In my later years of working for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., I became increasingly miserable with my job and dealing with customers. Since I thought that I would be able to get a job almost immediately after graduating from college and the fact that I met the degree requirements for my college degree (these days, the Cyber Security related courses are required for those who are wanting to obtain a Bachelor’s in MIS from Langston-Tulsa), I declined to take those additional courses.

I’ve had a few friends and family members suggest to me that I should look outside of Oklahoma as far as the career search goes. Unfortunately, with limited funds and the fact that the only realistic way that I can move out-of-state for a career would be to choose states that I have friends in, apply for careers relatively near where some of my friends live, and, more or less, beg some of my friends to let me room with them until I’ve accumulated enough funds to get my own place, I’m pretty much stuck looking for IT positions in Oklahoma.

All and all, there are so many things that I am capable of doing and many things that I am willing to learn if I was given the opportunity to do so.

Eliminate All of My Credit Card Debt:

This is really slow going because of the fact that I’ve accumulated so much, and unless I can get an IT-career started, it will literally take three years or more to pay off my credit card debt.

Move Out of My Mom’s House:

My mom is currently 70 years old and retired from working as a Registered Nurse. I’m 31 and still living with her. It’s long time that I had my own place to call home, but in order to do so, I need to make enough money to obtain that feat. With a lot of my funds tied up in bills and the fact that I’m only making $9.00 an hour working part-time at Best Buy, I don’t anticipate moving out anytime soon unless a great opportunity came along.

Date, Get Married, and Have Children:

When I dated my ex-girlfriend from October 11, 2008 to November 30, 2010, I had the luxury of dating while living at home and going to school because my debt load was reasonably small at the time, and she understood that I was paying my own way through school. Now that I’ve graduated from college and been single for almost three and-a-half years, I would like to start dating again and begin the next phase of my life. However, before I can even think about dating again, I need to make sure that everything else in my life falls into place first. Those things that I need to fall in place are those bullet points that are above. After all, I sincerely doubt a lot of ladies would be interested in dating (let alone, spending the rest of their life with someone) who doesn’t have everything in place with their life first (or, at the very least, are on the path to getting their life straightened out).

How Do I Get to the Point Where I Want to Be?

This is currently The $64,000 Question that I’m asking myself right now. Working for Geek Squad is a great start (it’s served to be much better than at Wal-Mart, Alorica Inc., and Target Corp.), but I need to find an IT position where an employer is willing to give me a shot. Unless I’m working at the corporate level, Geek Squad will only get me so far, and since I’m not an Advanced Repair Agent, I need to find something that will allow me to be more hands-on with IT. However, despite my best efforts, none of the other positions I’ve applied for at various companies have panned out into an IT-career. I don’t have the years of experience some positions require, and I don’t have the technology requirements that some of these companies are asking for as well. Of course, I can’t gain the experience that these companies are wanting if no one is willing to hire me for them, so at the moment, I’m stumped. I’m halfway tempted to call, write, or drive to some of these companies that I’ve applied for and they’ve rejected me and ask them what they suggest I should do to gain the IT experience they seek for these careers they’re trying to fill. With each year that passes, more students are graduating from colleges and vocational technology schools, and my degree is becoming less and less relevant since I earned mine back in 2012 and I’m starting to become “old news” as far as college graduates are concerned.

Where do I need to go from here?

Note: If anyone reading this has any ideas or leads as far as to what I can possibly do or where I could apply at so I can accomplish these goals, please feel free to E-Mail me at my personal E-Mail address or E-Mail me using my Contact Me form. I’m honestly reaching my wits end regarding trying to better my life professionally and striking out multiple times.