A Fond Farewell

Venturing into the world of the incredibly tiny means packing up and moving to where the action is. With that Auntie Em closes shop on her opinion column.

Your faithful scribe came inside from the madness of the all-weekend garage sale ("No! You can’t have that couch for ten bucks! I won’t go below fifteen!") to survey the hundreds of carefully packed and more-or-less labeled cardboard boxes for a few moments. The faithful Fabio came over to hand me a ham and cheese sandwich on a paper plate, his culinary endeavors sadly limited by the fact that the movers were already loading his kitchen into the truck.

"You know," he said casually as we toasted the rapidly emptying house with our bottles of screw-cap wine, "you are going to have to say something to your readers."

True enough -- but every time I think about writing this, my final column for MCPmag.com, I just don’t know quite where to start. This column was born when the subscription list fit in a shoebox and the certification world was a much simpler place. Microsoft was learning how to write exams and we were learning how to take them when your dear Auntie was tapped to fill this space, and more of us were fixing computers than dealing with complex networks at the time (that was the province of those other certified guys from Novell). It’s certainly been an amazing decade-plus of growth for the industry as a whole and Microsoft’s position in particular. Now there are a whole raft of different Microsoft certifications, and Microsoft certified professionals of all stripes are more knowledgeable, more professional, more experienced, smarter and sexier than ever.

Along the way, I’ve had fun pointing out some of the sillier aspects of the certification game, as well as the associated parts of the computer industry. And I’ve certainly enjoyed all of the e-mail from you readers, even when you took the time to point out when I was making a darned fool of myself (this seemed to happen most often when I wrote about security issues). I wish it could go on forever, but alas, I’ll not have the chance to write about the new simulation questions, the next round of certification revisions, the release of Exchange 12, or the Longhorn exams. You see, Auntie is packing up and moving down the highway along with all of her worldly goods (and, of course, Fabio is coming along).

Oh, it’s not the first time that I’ve been offered the opportunity, but I’ve always resisted the temptation before. Like practically everyone else associated with Microsoft in any way, I’ve been offered jobs in Redmond a few times (this gets less attractive the closer you get to twice the age of the average Microsoft employee). During the dot-com boom I had my chance to join up with VC-funded sure-things that were going to sell galoshes, glue sticks or gum balls over the Internet. I still wake up each morning thankful that I didn’t sell my birthright for a mess of stock options. Then there were the various corporations who thought I’d love to come on board to run their in-house public relations efforts, as if training as a gastrointestinal physician qualified you for a career as a tapeworm.

Still, it’s been getting harder and harder to write about the foibles and follies of Microsoft and certification. There are only so many times even this ex-cheerleader can speculate about unlaunched Microsoft products, call the certification group to task for brain-dead decisions, or crow over the latest PR gaffe emanating from Redmond. Lately even Fabio has been reluctant to remind me of the monthly deadlines, since I’ve taken to slinging crockery at his head when he’s done so.

So, what’s the great new job opportunity that’s taking me away from this comfortable sinecure? Well, I hate to be the one to break this to all of you alpha geeks, but in fact there is a world beyond computers out there, and that’s where Auntie is going. After a bit of aggressive recruiting and a not-insignificant amount of wining and dining, I’ve become convinced that nanotechnology is poised for some really exciting breakthroughs in the next few years. So, now I’m taking the opportunity to get in writing an opinion column for a new magazine that will be launching in that field very shortly. Naturally, my nom de plume will be changing just a bit to fit in with the new field. But keep your eyes open; I may not be your dear Auntie in my next venture, but I think you’ll still recognize me.

So, let this be not "Good bye" but "Until we meet again!"

If you wrote to Auntie in the past, she thanks you! If not, well, she’ll be thinking of you anyhow. And perhaps she’ll see you again down the line.

About the Author

Em C. Pea, MCP, is a technology consultant, writer and now budding nanotechnologist who you can expect to turn up somewhere writing about technology once again.

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