Confidence and Preparation Trump Recession

Sales engineer leaves Microsoft rather than relocate.

Hands

Michael Numa is a confident guy.

He’s not cocky, not arrogant — just confident.

He has worked in Information Technology for more than 25 years and was considered a rising star at Microsoft for the past 14 years.

But by 2010, it seemed to Numa that he had hit a ceiling within the software giant’s hierarchy. To progress, he felt he would have to move from New York to the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

Though the country was still reeling from its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Numa decided to leave the secure world of Microsoft so he wouldn’t have to relocate to secure another career opportunity.

“It doesn’t make sense to uproot my family,” Numa said. “In this job market anybody would be nervous, (but) you have to have confidence in yourself.”

So Numa opted to spend time with his family and regroup. He also went back to school. Several months later, Numa landed a job with the help of an external recruiter as a sales engineer for Citrix Systems.

He said that having a positive mind-set was a major factor in his success. Some with decades of experience might have been intimidated about moving around within the higher levels of IT, especially in the virtualization space, where Citrix holds a large presence, and which tends to favor younger talent. Numa doesn’t buy into that. “I think it comes down to what the position is and who the company is,” he said. “You can’t trump experience.”

But as confident as he was in his skills and experience, he was equally confident in his network, which he built over the years in a personal and business nature.

Now that he’s with Citrix Systems, Numa said he is much happier — not just because he’s in New York, but he’s also enjoying the experience of a smaller company. “It’s vastly different from Microsoft,” he said. “You feel more entrepreneurial in Citrix. They’re a much more nimble company.”

Numa wouldn’t be having this opportunity if he didn’t believe in himself and his network to make it happen. However, he warns job seekers that they should not rely on confidence alone — preparing for the job search and building a network are extremely important factors as well.

“You can’t be overconfident,” he said.

Andrew Klappholz Andrew Klappholz is a general assignment reporter for Ladders.

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