Retrospective: 13 Years in the Valley, Part 1


A lot of life has been happening, and it seems maybe I need a little perspective - and so this “retrospective”.

Why Part 1?

Well, I haven’t quite gotten into the habit of regular blogging yet, so whatever is done by the time my lunch break is over is what’s getting posted. I’d say lunch hour, but some of that time was taken getting some essentials:

Essential Asset
Essential Asset

13 Years? In the Valley?

I started working for Cape Fear Valley Health System back in December 2003, and it’s been quite the wild ride. When I started in 2003 there were two campuses, a few outpatient clinics, and a grand total of 2500 employees. Now? There’s 5-ish campuses, I’ve lost track of how many outpatient clinics, and somewhere in the ballpark of 7000 employees.

Over that time my roles and responsibilities have grown, creating a somewhat less than tenable position and the aforementioned burnout. I may write about that separately…

But First…

Before I start going through my time at Cape Fear Valley (henceforth, CFV), I want to make a very important note and a small sidebar on how I even got to CFV since it plays a part in the rest of the story.

Before I go all-in on my experiences, opinions, and whatnot, I want to make clear you shouldn’t put too much stock in the “13 years” part. I know a lot of people will automatically attribute some weight to such lengthy experience - and they shouldn’t.

I’ve seen people with 10 years experience, and I’ve seen people with 1 year experience repeated 10 years in a row - when the big dinner came around they all sat at the same table and got the same cheap pin.

Which am I? I don’t know any more, probably a mix of the two. As we’ll see, I’ve had periods of growth and periods of stagnation. I’ll leave the ultimate conclusion for the end.

How’d I Even get here?

In 1999 I graduated high school and went to the local community college - it was all I could afford. (There’s a story there too, maybe another time.) I started in the mistaken assumption that since I enjoyed physics and all my science classes, and that since I enjoyed building and fixing things I should get into Engineering. Let’s just say that second semester Calculus class made me re-think things.

After a series of … events … I took a semester off. And a year later I started back up again. (Story there too, omitted to cut down on the rabbit trails.)

I started in the Network Management program, and mostly enjoyed it. I didn’t really get into computers until late-ish in high school. I was (and still am) acutely sensitive to the fact that much of what I learned was whatever I could pick up from whatever was around.

About half-way through the program I took the one mandatory “Intro to Programming” course, and it changed things. I was good at it, I loved it, and it fit my desire to build/fix things. I switched majors and finished an Associates degree in Computer Programming.

In my last semester, one of my Prof’s former students was leaving her position at the hospital. She asked him if he had any promising students in mind, and a couple of us went there to interview. Long story short, I interviewed and got the job - starting right after I graduated.

Final thoughts for Part 1

My hour is almost up, so I’ll close it off here. This has been mostly a as-I-think-of-it deal, and I’m not sure how I feel about working that way. I’m more than a little bit of a perfectionist, but I’ve also gone far too long since the last post - so if this is how it has to happen to get it done, so be it.

I’ll probably skip the over-gratuitous headers next time. See you then.