Exploring IT jobs in New Hampshire? It always helps to hear from those with professional IT experience. Welcome to the Mainstay Teammate Spotlight series. In this feature story, we’ll learn more about Systems Administrator Tim Flight and the path that brought him to Mainstay, his current job duties, advice for young people entering the workforce, and much more.
In 2017, I joined the Mainstay team as a Systems Administrator, and it’s been a rewarding experience, and I’m happy to share more about it with you! Equipped with a background in IT, business operations, and professional baseball, I bring a unique perspective to partnering with clients to plan and deliver on their proactive IT strategy.
Embracing change as a Systems Administrator
What is a systems administrator? Every day is different, but they’re filled with proactive technical projects, responding to change in order to best support client partners, and methodically planning for the future based on an organization’s needs. There’s the proactive side of things, where you audit information and make sure documentation is up to date. There’s also the reactive side for issues with applications, or even sometimes a change in business need. The beauty is that there is no “typical” day for a Systems Administrator. This will sound cheesy, but the only constant is change. The only thing you can rely on is that nothing will be the same as yesterday, especially in the realm of technology.
Control what you can control is some of the best advice I received from a coach in college. That’s been my thought process carrying me through my career to this day. Change is something I’m comfortable with and there’s a lot of good that comes from it. If there’s nothing I can do about a situation, it’s not under my control, then there’s no sense in worrying about it. Another byproduct of change, typically, is new experiences which allow me to learn and be exposed to more. The diversity that comes from change is also another draw for me in becoming a Systems Administrator.
A good day at work is very client-specific and will change from day-to-day. To me, the good days are when you see clients engaged in a planning meeting and they’re able to see the value in what you’re recommending or talking through. They ultimately know that you’re trying to lead them in a beneficial direction that aligns with their plans as well. When you’re able to see that involvement and understanding from a client, that’s always rewarding for me, and it’s also an assurance that I’m doing my job well. Being able to help solve problems through technology, not just for one person, but an entire company is fun. From the internal side of things, a good day could be helping a new teammate solve or work through a problem or just being able to reach out to teammates and say hi, and have a laugh or take your mind off work for a minute. Those things compound and make me feel fulfilled, which makes for a good day.
Outside of work? It’s all about my faith and my family. We have a one-and-a-half-year-old who makes life fun, crazy, and pretty unpredictable. We’re also homeowners, so we’re constantly doing work on the house, as any homeowner can attest to – again, more change.
Preparing for a career in IT
For me, everything started in high school. My senior project was to build a computer; it kind of came easy to me. It was fun, the process just made sense. Growing up I could often be found taking things apart and my mom’s comments were always the same, “Make sure you can put it back together before taking it apart….and that it will still work.” At one point, I had taken two broken phones and pieced together one working phone from the parts. Looking back, that was where it all started.
But the path to an IT career was not as linear as it might seem. In college, I graduated with a major in Business Management and a minor in Math. After that, I played professional baseball and did my best to avoid the traditional workforce. Through baseball, I was able to travel, lived in Australia for 6 months, and was introduced yet again, to more change. After a couple of years playing baseball, I decided to focus on building a career. With baseball out of focus, I started working in an operations role for a small IT company. With less than a dozen employees, I was thrown into a lot of interesting, difficult situations, and started to grow and learn more about IT issues and troubleshooting.
It was a great learning experience and allowed for me to start putting together the enjoyment of exploring technology I remember as a child along with the business development needs I learned about through college. Fast forward a few years, my wife transferred jobs leading us back to New Hampshire, where I had attended college. The experience I gained in operations and IT had me exploring more specific opportunities in the field. After some research, I came across a bible verse on the About Us section at Mainstay Technologies and thought that was pretty cool, so I applied. After interviewing and meeting the team, it was the clear choice to continue growing in my IT career.
If I were to give advice to my younger self, it would be to try to see every experience as a learning opportunity. I would start taking a look at certifications earlier as that’s a valuable way to demonstrate not only the knowledge you have in a field but also your ability to focus and desire to grow.
Some advice I’d share with someone early in their IT career: don’t shy away from change or challenges. Embrace it. Learn from it. The more you expose yourself to new things, and the more situations you are put in, the more you’ll learn – even if it’s learning what you never want to do again. There’s always an opportunity to learn from the situations you’re thrown in.
Learning on your Mainstay team
How would I describe Mainstay’s people? The first two words that come to mind are “approachable” and “knowledgeable”. It’s easy to talk to teammates and not only about IT, but about life and things going on. They’re people you want to talk to, learn from, and have conversations with every day. They show a genuine interest in you and your world. There is also a wealth of knowledge between all of the team members and a desire to help each other out.
I’ll never forget the first big mistake I made at Mainstay. The way a company responds to mistakes tells you quite a bit about the company’s philosophy. To clarify, we’re talking about an educated mistake with good intentions here, not a careless one. Mainstay made it into a growth opportunity. My team lead simply said, “Well, you can’t mess up if you’re not doing anything.” To me, this spoke volumes. From this, I took that you have to lean into action and in this field, inaction is oftentimes more of a vulnerability. You can act with the best intentions and experience you have and from there, sometimes you’ll learn what to do differently next time around. The key is being able to recognize what you’ve learned, share that wisdom with the team and grow from it.
Looking for IT jobs in New Hampshire (NH)? Learn more about open positions at Mainstay here.