I'd like to say a few words about team work before presenting you with my resume. On my programming and instructional design and other pages, you can get an idea of some of the projects I've been involved in and of my technical and project management skills and interests. You may notice that I often say 'we' when I write about those things. That's because almost any project of significance involves teamwork and contributions from other people - in my case, whether they sat across the aisle, across the campus (in a different department), or across the world, accessible only by the Internet.
Reflecting back on my life, it seems that I came by some of the qualities valued in team work honestly. Take the ability to communicate with and understand people who are different from me, for instance. I was born into a family of opposites. My mother was born in a rural Indiana farmhouse to "old settlers" and my father was born in a New York City hospital to Italian immigrants who came to this country in the early 1900's. My parents met at Columbia University after World War II, courtesy of the G.I. Bill. So early in life I was shuttled frequently between New York City, population 6 million, and Wallace, Indiana, population 300. They tell me that when I was very small I used to call the Atlantic Ocean the 'creek' (and vice versa, probably). And if that wasn't confusing enough, my Dad's geology career took us to South America just as I was learning to talk. My grandfather tells me that I would switch between Spanish and English when we returned to the States a year or so later - not realizing he didn't know a word of Spanish. :)
My father was a mining geologist and my mother was a paleontologist. We lived in married student housing at Berkeley and Indiana University while they earned their advanced degrees. Then Dad worked for mining companies in the U.S., Mexico, and South America (twice for a total of 4 years). During my childhood years, I lived in New York, Montana, Indiana, California, the deep South (where my classmates called me a 'yellow-belly yankee'), central Mexico (an isolated ranch), and in northern and central Chile. I went to big city schools, and little country schools, and private schools, and was even home schooled (in Mexico on the isolated ranch). I played with children of the well-to-do and children who lived in houses with dirt floors.
While I recall my parents' various work and study environments as very warm and friendly, where colleagues depended on one another, opened their homes, families, and hearts to one another, enjoyed one another's company, and in fact became life-long friends (my parents and I still hear from some of these people today), we didn't live in "transplanted U.S. communities" overseas. Dad, as well as others he worked with, firmly believed that "when in Rome, do as the Romans do," so wherever his job landed us, I would have to go out and find playmates and try to make friends in spite of the fact that sometimes I couldn't even speak the language. So would my parents. :) We also toughed it out and ate the food and drank the water and got our immunities in sync early on - so we could pretty much travel anywhere and do anything, unencumbered. We made friends among our neighbors and in fact also carried on long correspondences with people from the countries in which we lived.
As an adult, I continued the family tradition of diversity. I married into a southern farm family, a background different from my own. I lived and worked in the Philadelphia inner city for three and a half years just out of college. In fact through out my career I have lived and worked with people different than myself in cultural background, age, gender, and nationality - whether it's been in a restaurant, a factory, a warehouse, an office, an international research group, a medical clinic, or a high-powered computing center.
Now consider the abilities to give and take, to lead and to listen, to respect and value and implement the contributions of your co-workers. I believe that the infrastructure or foundation for my acceptance of those values in the work place lay in my religious faith and citizenship training in the public school. Growing up with documents like the Bible and the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights burned the value and the rights of each individual into my brain. At the same time, I was raised in an intensely individualistic fashion - taught very much to do my own work in an era where scholastic group work was not common in schools, but was taught in sports, and extra-curricular projects of "enormity" such as earning the money for, planning, and staging the Junior-Senior prom, putting out the high school yearbook, and doing community volunteer work in college.
By the time I entered post-college social, work and academic environments where teamwork was introduced, valued and encouraged, and where I was given numerous training opportunities in team-building, I was ready and in fact did embrace the concept. Indeed I did work and partner with people in projects where everyone was able to shape and to have a say, and to take ownership and feel pride, and to share in any credit given. Inevitable conflicts and differences in vision were resolved (for the most part) through positive and frank discussions conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect, resulting in final products that were greater (better) than the sum of their individual parts.
I worked several "stop-gap" jobs to help pay the bills while I searched for a position in my field. One of them was second shift at an auto plant. One of my greatest compliments was when a lady I work with and respect mentioned that she told my boss that I was a really nice person to work with. That's the bottom line, isn't it? That's what makes work "work" for everyone.
Here's my dual career resume.
Thanks for dropping in!
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