Nearly 13 years ago Merrill Corporation hired me for a temporary position working second shift Mac support during one of their peak seasons. After this gig I went on to work at a couple of other companies but kept in touch with the folks back at Merrill. When a permanent position opened a manager called me back and I worked there eight more years until I moved into consulting with 318, Inc.
Sixteen months later, Merrill is hiring to fill my old role. Just heard from a buddy of mine in the Desktop Architecture group they’re planning to replace me. I’m not sure if I’m flattered or worried things have run without me for that long. The position, based in Saint Paul, isn’t posted yet but should be listed soon.
This probably won’t be my old position, which was supporting a specific business unit with the majority of Macs in the company. Instead, it will be a new role in the Desktop Architecture group, which is part of corporate IT. While I’m sure supporting the Mac platform throughout the company will be key, the job may very well include supporting the Windows desktop platform too in some small or large way.
What do I think the new “me” can expect?
The new me should expect to own the role of architect for the Mac platform and the various groups using Macs. These groups are mostly design groups for print and online media. While the final product of these groups may not be stimulating reading (SEC filings, anyone?) the technology behind it includes lots of custom software and very detailed workflows. The Mac architect’s responsibility will be to make much of this work using Mac management tools, scripting and chewing gum, if necessary.
“The Mac architect’s responsibility will be to make much of this work using Mac management tools, scripting and chewing gum, if necessary.”
Every few years the new me will need to renew Mac toolsets. My most challenging project was completing an operating system and software upgrade for nearly 100 Macs in five sites (three international) over a single weekend. Remote management and planning are important.
Merrill’s Windows desktop support group loves Macs—many are Mac users at home! They’re eager to learn to help support Macs and learn about something new. The new me should get to know these guys.
For a while we had a few Mac OS X servers. They may still be there. With the discontinuation of Xserves and the ability of Linux and Windows to run other services such as NetBoot and directory services, I worked to move away from using Mac OS X Server altogether. This is a Windows environment and the Macs work really well in it. Mac and Windows integration is important in this world. A little knowledge of technologies such as Group Logic’s ExtremeZ-IP may come in handy.
Why did I leave Merrill? Simply put, I decided to try something different. Many folks have been with Merrill 15, 20, 25 years and longer. Even with nearly 10 years in my group I was still a pup. But I was ready for a change when an opportunity availed itself.
Merrill gave me plenty of leeway to pursure what I thought was important for my job and I was able to grow and learn a lot about Mac administration because of it. Looking for a new job? Good luck, new me, whoever you are.