Realized that I never made a post per my successes in finding work.
It took a bit longer than I had expected.
I had a fairly involved interview process with Google, including a face to face, which ultimately didn't pan out, but allowed me to make some great contacts, and led to another phone interview, for a position I told them I didn't believe I was qualified for, but they decided they wanted to phone interview anyway. That didn't evolve into anything, either. I worked for a short time as a Project manager for a local inside plant special systems company which ended up being a REALLY bad idea. Although I was listed as a Director of operations, I wasn't anything more than a glorified cabling lead most of the time.
After that, I became a bit more picky and decided Project Management isn't what I want to do right now, especially with a new CCNP cert sitting on my desk, and started applying for solely Network Engineering positions. During that time, Google called back, on an App that I had submitted for a position located in Mountain view. I got all the way to scheduling the mountain view interview, and talking about relocation process. I think I probably would have received an offer for that position, but it was in their NOC, and I wasn't sure I wanted back into the always-putting-out-fires type of work after 8 years of it previously, especially in a NOC that was probably in the midst of developing their processes. Frankly, I was a bit tired.
That leads me to why I didn't take the Google interview. I had already had an offer for a Network Engineer position with a public entity, and the start date conflicted with when I could interview with Google, and after a lot of soul searching, turned down the flight to MV. I'm sure it would have been cool, but for the type of work it would be and the amount of hassle involved in relocating (I have a house here, kids in school, etc.) It just didn't seem like the best path forward. So I started the Public entity job, after also interviewing with another public entity for a network architect position. About a week into the new position, I was informed that I was the runner-up for the other job, but that they would keep me in mind.
The job I initially accepted had great benefits, good retirement, strangely, somewhat expensive insurance though. Pay-wise, it wasn't much of a step forward, in that respect. All I was going to get to do there, for the most part, was to do some slight break-fix, VPN adds, manage ISE, Solarwinds, and some interfacing to cloud services with AWS. The second job I interviewed with, for the Architect position, called back about a month into the job I accepted, and made an offer that I simply couldn't refuse for exactly the type of work that I wanted to do, and that pretty much any Network Engineer should want to do. After three months there, I have to say, I'm pretty much ecstatically happy.
The funny thing is the place that I'm working at was employing the guy, (who I used to work with at another company) that got the initial job that I interviewed with Google for. And now I'm doing some of his work.
My first project, a month in, was configuration of Dual Core 6807XL's in VSS, 10gig uplinks to each telecom room, with VRF separated networks, and Meraki guest wireless. One of the 2 largest Campus upgrades they had done in ten years. Talk about trial by fire. It worked out, 36 devices replaced with new, 15 hours on a Saturday, and zero trouble tickets put in by users on Monday. I did a pretty decent job, and am fairly proud of my work. I might almost call myself a network engineer now.
Anyway, I hope this may be inspirational to someone as I've spent quite a while working on becoming a network engineer, fairly late in my career, and hopefully it shows what can happen when you keep plugging away.
Good luck to all of you, and this blog will now focus on my new path, which will be CCDA-CCDP-CCIE R&S.
Stay tuned. I don't know that there will be much configuration posting while working on CCDA-CCDP, which I'm giving myself until the summer to complete. The way it's designed it's just two tests to get there due to CCDP using two of the CCNP tests as part of the cert path.