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HP support veteran joins workforce for hire

In 2012, it's a tougher world out there for an IT pro. We’ve heard from business analysts that the best thing for any of us over 50, upon getting furloughed, laid off, or Work Force Reduced, is to open our own business. For some, it's a better chance to work than to be hired again. 

HP’s cutting 27,000 jobs over the next two years. Some extraordinary skill in HP enterprise business servers is leaving the company.

Bob Chase started with MPE in 1987 and came to HP in 1996. He extended his skills to land a place as an HP Business Recovery Specialist, part of HP’s support group out of the Atlanta area. “In 2010 I was offered a position as a hardware BRS for Superdomes, blades, and all the Integrity and PA-RISC platforms,” he says. “It was quite a challenge, as I took 35 internal HP hardware courses over four months and began working calls." But after making a transition to Superdome and HP-UX support, he’s had to leave his employer.

After 16 years at HP, I was Work Force Reduced in early June. I loved supporting the 3000, as my first computer job was as a Computer Operator making $4 per hour at my dad's employer. I was 19 years old. It was a Series 68. 

Considering the IT world of today compared to the late 80's, I have great doubt that my career path could be realized today. Off-shoring, consolidation and mergers make it a greater challenge than ever before.

Chase has opened up Chase for Hire, an independent consultancy. He believes that MPE “was an OS that left the enterprise too early.” And regarding prospects for Itanium and HP-UX, an industry-standard path to the future, away from Integrity, seems clear. There's an echo of MPE's later lifespan in the future for Unix. HP has spread more talk of Linux for the enterprise now.

Industry Standard Servers are the future as of 2012. Commonality for the enterprise seems to be paramount, more than a vendor specific/proprietary OS solution. Linux flavors will be the benefactor from this. 

Chase believes that "Oracle drives the database enterprise just as well as Microsoft SQL Server, "but I think Oracle is in a better position than most realize. Engineered systems, incorporating Oracle 11g with Oracle "Sun" hardware and their own Linux flavor, makes Oracle in my opinion the dominant player moving forward." 

He's been in IT long enough to mix modern Unix and blade experience with acoustic coupler use.

I was learning MPE V in the summer of 87, and had an acoustic-coupler for Predictive Support and a giant line printer for nightly reports and a single-spool tape device. I used four gigantic disk drives whose legs I'd have to anchor down prior to weekly batch processing. I would read the industry trade magazines in our small four-person IT department. I was fascinated with the technology and its cool-sounding names. Offsite backups in this era meant I took the 2400-foot magnetic tapes home in a tape case, all three of them! I'm still in touch via LinkedIn and phone with my original MPE manager, Larry Works, some 25 years later.  

He’s also a writer, a practice that for him is “tranquil, never a task to disdain. I write about my youngest son Patrick, age 10, who’s on the Autism Spectrum." 

I keep a blog about him. He's an incredible young boy. The site was set up initially to help other parents of Special Needs children with resources and to share our story. I founded some LinkedIn Groups in this area, and also some Facebook groups focusing on county-based Special Needs stories.  

At HP I was able to set up a site for other employees who care for Special Needs individuals. An HP ERG (Employee Resource Group) was being formed to further awareness of internal/external resources. With Autism being so prevalent in society today, I knew there were other HP employees facing similar situations that might benefit from this.