This reasonates with me, because I too have decided to look for work again. I started in my current position in the Human Resources department at Ryerson University about 18 months ago. How on earth did a user experience designer end up working in Human Resources? It’s not earth it’s Canada. We left Austin in mid-2001 and returned to Toronto. My wife is an optometrist. She decided to open her own family practice in Toronto. And that meant that someone (me) had to find stable employment to support the family.
I currently serve as the Assistant Manager of HR Systems Development. This means that I do some development (ColdFusion on Oracle 8i, 9i, 10g), some design (CSS, taxonomies, intranets, internal tools), some project management (managing internal IT projects), some user testing and focus groups (you need to determine the state of the faculty and staff), some requirements gathering (what the hell should we build or buy), and lots of mentoring and vision setting. It is a very challenging position. I am responsible to the business (which means that I have to justify both value and leadership) for any project. I often fight with IT because they see the world as static (we’d still be using punch cards if some people had their way).
Why a new position?
Ryerson offers me a large number of challenges. My role is to be an agent of change, i.e., to wake up and see if I can piss people off. I am challenged with finding and extracting efficiencies from our technology and business processes. This is all great in principle. But it what it amounts to is fighting against the current in an organization that doesn’t have the budget, the governance, the executive level support, the culture, or the people necessary to do this.
(There are some excellent people at Ryerson, even on the administrative side, it is an up-and-coming academic institution that is in the process of developing leading edge Scholarly, Reserach and Creative (SRC) activities. It would be a great place to be a part of the faculty, you have the opportunity to define the university and its newly forming graduate programs.)
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I had a job interview with PeopleSoft‘s Advanced Planning group in Toronto. It was the first time I had met with a software development team since returning to Canada (my fault, I seem to be looking in the wrong spots). I felt like I had returned home, a team of individuals working together to build software products. It struck a nerve. It reminded me of being at Trilogy or Reactivity. I was excited. I was challenged. I was surrounded by others who were different than me, but we would all be trying to implement the same vision.
I guess I need to write up post summarizing what I can and can’t do. And why a startup should hire me. But the first step (like in so many 12 step programs) is admitting you have a problem. My problem is that I want to join an early stage startup building software products.
If you are an early-stage software company in Toronto and need a user experience designer, front-end developer, or information architect let me know at web at davidcrow.ca.