My boss told me that despite my weaker resume, he chose me over20 other candidates. He said I stood out because the questions Iasked in the interview process were very different from those askedby other candidates. I recall those interviews clearly. I asked mypotential new boss to explain how the Information Technology groupfit in the overall organization. I asked where and to whom ITreported. I wanted to know the strategic importance of IT to thecompany's infrastructure--after all this was an oil company, not atechnology company. I spent considerably less time in the interviewasking about the specifics of the job itself. What I needed todetermine for myself was whether the job was going to provide me afeeling of significance. After all, I was looking at IT as astarting point for my career, not a destination.

I actually took the job because the answers my future boss gaveme stood out as well. First of all, I was encouraged that ITreported up to a leader that was well-respected and ultimately tothe CFO. My boss was a new MBA and his way of thinking was broaderthan the usual technical managers I had come across. He spoke aboutstrategy and politics of countries in which the company operated.We talked about negative press, of corporate raiders and thecompany's rich 100-year history. Through the interview process, Ialso determined that the company was lagging behind its competitionin technology so the early years of my career were a time of greatsecurity, activity and opportunity.

As the technology infrastructure stabilized, the company beganto shift its thinking and large functions with IT began to beoutsourced. Because my role was never relegated to purelyday-to-day programming work, I wasn't stuck in a dead-end job orpushed out with the various outsourcing initiatives. Instead,significance in the workplace empowered me to build deeprelationships within the company. When the time was right, I hadseveral opportunities to move from IT to other areas within thecompany. I chose corporate real estate and I've been in thecorporate real estate field in one form or another ever since.

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