The words below are from my About-me page of Nov. 2007, the year I started to blog. It was updated in 2013 and replaced by the present About page.
However, since some visitors might continue to land on posts written before the site morphed into an author’s outpost for my fiction writing, this original About page remains as a pointer to where I’ve come from since leaving the corporate IT world in mid-2007.
Before you read on, here’s a post written in 2012 (I think) that explains the three sides of my writing triangle at that time; commercial, personal development and fiction.
OK. Off we go to revisit the 2007 About page’s contents.
Hello (or ‘bout ye) as we say in Norn Iron, I mean, in Northern Ireland).
My name’s Mark McClure and I’ve loosely followed a career themed around a love of learning and earning.
Started out as a science teacher way back in 1982.
(Hello RHS in Newtownards!)
However, I must admit that a desire for more dosh also featured prominently in my 20-something mind once it dawned on me that skills in the classroom had little to do with how salary was calculated.
So, in 1987 I left school teaching and moved to England as a technical instructor in one of the ‘hot’ IT technologies at the time; minicomputer systems.
NO WEB + NO HOME COMPUTERS + NO MOBILE PHONES + NO EMAIL = BLISS?
More career change was in the air however, because the personal computer (PC) networking revolution was gathering pace.
A ‘chance’ encounter in the spring of 1989 with a small ‘black box’ that some R&D engineer had brazenly hooked up to the back of a minicomputer I was responsible for, led me to get curious about what it was doing there.
And this curiousity led to being headhunted into the very same fast growing Local Area Networking (LAN) company that had designed it.
Those were heady and fun days.
Business air travel was actually pleasant(!) and I had lots of opportunities to teach computer networking courses all over the globe.
And on one such trip to Japan I found that my personal and professional lives suddenly and beautifully intersected.
This would eventually result in a move to Japan on a permanent basis, and I transferred here in the early 1990s by planning for and then trusting in this unwritten vision statement:
“MOVE TO JAPAN; BUILD A CAREER; START A FAMILY.“
Aside from the ever present risk of the “Big one” (earthquake) my experience of living and working in Tokyo has been enjoyable, although it’s a very busy, expensive and overcrowded city!
(January 2013 Update: Of course, Japan’s 3/11 quake/tsunami was quite a shock to many Tokyoites and a blunt reminder of what geophysics and time have in store.)
It’s sometimes said that we teach most what we need to learn.
In my case I figured that I’d taught for long enough and it was time to put the learning into practice.
To do that, I changed roles from IT educator to IT engineer in 1997.
Still based in Tokyo but traveling throughout the Asia-Pacific Rim countries, I got to grips with various computer networking projects for a US multinational electronics components manufacturer.
A 1998 trip to China was my first exposure to how fast cities like Shanghai were expanding.
There then followed a surprise layoff (Japanese-style) in the summer of 1999.
‘Fortunately’, the Y2K and Nasdaq Tech stock manias intervened to keep me in Japan, and I got hired by a Wall Street Investment bank three months later.
Lots of high pressure projects, tight deadlines, late nights and weekends. These people paid the big bucks and expected that pound of flesh.
While at the bank the student in me came to the fore again.
And so, with great support from my family and employer, I finally, at the 4th attempt, earned my Cisco CCIE certification (#10814) in Dec 2002; the “IT equivalent of the MBA” (that’s the only way I can explain it to non-IT folks.)
It took a ton of money, sweat and tears, but I wouldn’t have missed that number for the world.
As my 40s marched on, an interest in “personal development” deepened and led me to study life, career and business coaching with the wonderful folks at the International Coaching Academy (ICA).
After graduating from ICA’s certified professional coach program in mid-2006, I had thought of pursuing a coaching career within the bank.
However, the arrival of a global IT outsourcing project became the trigger for dramatically changing my career game, and I finally left in early 2007 “to pursue other interests”.
SO, WHAT’S NEXT?
Well, this career transition is perhaps the most challenging, since it takes me from the familiar roles and habits expected of an effective corporate employee to the “uncharted waters” of what I have generically termed as an “Internet Business Owner”.
This blog is one part of that Internet business and initially acted as a spotlight for the coaching and mentoring products, services and knowledge that I believed would help others embarking on their own career change paths.
NOVEMBER 2012 UPDATE
This blog post, Are Three Blogging Silos Enough?, explains what I see as the path ahead.
For readers interested in career change, over 200 posts dating from Nov. 2007 will remain here to document that stage of my life’s journey. See my 2016 non-fiction book on the self-coached career change as a summary of what I learned.
And as for markmccluretoday.com?
While a freelance commercial writer’s work is both interesting and profitable - see samuraiwriter.com/blog (Feb. 2020: I closed this site to concentrate on my fiction writing) for that path - here is where I’ll explore my creative interests in reading, writing and publishing science fiction.
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