Three of us were sitting in the cafeteria after a meeting. It hadn’t gone well and we were a bit down. I asked the two younger fellows about their families, and they began to smile a bit. Then talk turned to ourselves. Someone watching would have assumed three senior IT staff might be brainstorming a problem or new project.

Denis was a medical student who came from Eastern Europe and washed dishes for two months. He became a server at the restaurant and for two years he waited tables. Somebody invited him to apply for an IT job and he worked his way up to a senior position as a storage administrator.

Naeem came from the Middle East as a child, and his family lived six to a tiny two bedroom apartment. He worked and put himself through college and got a master’s degree and multiple network certifications.

I thought back to my start as a small town boy who came to the city working for $2.50 per hour as tape librarian at a Cleveland IT shop, now a UNIX Administrator. How similar our stories and journeys, and how disparate our origins.