My career began in disaster recovery BEFORE it was called disaster recovery. In 1999, I was back from my yearlong MBA program in Rome, Italy and I was still dreaming in Italian and wondering if I should have stayed – I know it was not my path to have stayed there though for many reasons but man, do I still miss it. I always say it is like I am married to NYC but my mistress is Roma – so hard to be away and it is now 10 years since my last visit when I used to go every 6 months (purtroppo…) but life and family and work definitely put a damper on the long weekends I used to spend in Italy – yes, when I was young and crazy, I would fly to Rome on a Thursday and come back to NYC on a Monday and working again on Tuesday…
Ok, enough of my rambling – so I came back from Italy with an MBA and not real full time work experience and no matter how I packaged my time as a GA it was still only a 20-hour position and so I was over educated for more entry level positions but underqualified for the other positions. I was in a quandary and really wanted to have a real paycheck now that I was 22 and a MBA grad.
I had applied to positions from Rome but it was nascent days of email and Monster.com and I would get lots of postcards sent to my mailbox at Via Santa Maria Mediatrice, 24 with a polite thanks but no thanks sticker on it. There was no technology to do Skype interviews or to really promote myself via any social media so I had to wait until I returned home. As the first kid in my family to get a college degree and by default a lot of blue collar workers in my family, I also did not have contacts or networking people to rely on from my family or their friends.
I found my first role via a head hunter – she was a nice woman and I really had no idea what I was doing so within a month of returning home, I had my first full time job at Merrill Lynch. My department was called, “Policies and Procedures” and our task was to create training manuals that could be used if the employees that ran various trading desks and other functions for Merrill either could not come in or got fired so that someone else could step in and run the functions. It also made reference to the potential for power outages and how to manage the trades via back up power generators and small references to back up locations, as they existed.
Whenever I have talked about this position on interviews for my first step and after 9/11, I have always said that I was doing disaster recovery work before it was considered disaster recovery. I was at Standard & Poor’s during and after 9/11 and that was when I realized that wow our planning was so futile because you can have back up power generators and other policies and procedures but when the destruction and terror occurs, it a) does not really matter compared to what was lost in human life and b) you cannot plan for being able to access your other offices, etc if they are near where the destruction hits. SO now, disaster recovery was about finding non-descript office space in Kansas or Ohio and putting back up operations there…
For me as a small business owner, I to think about disaster recovery. I make backups of my online courses I set up with Wagner College and save the content to the “cloud” via DropBox. I make copies of my website sporadically and archive it as I can. I also backup my “The Next Step” folder that I work out of on my laptop to DropBox and I do this both in case my laptop is destroyed in some way (hello, two kids, lots of potential for laptop destruction) and also so I can access and work on files on the go from my iPad or iPhone.
What do you do for disaster recovery for your business? Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen