Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Price of Shovels

Many years ago a good friend of mine used to tell me the story of the price of shovels. He said you could tell some people there is a huge pile of gold out in the parking lot and it's free for the taking. All you have to do is buy a shovel and take all of the gold you want. Some people will then promptly complain about, "Don't you know the price of shovels!"

I hear a lot from people things to the effect of, "Hey Burkey, I'm looking at getting into I.T. what do I need to do to get some of that sweet money you make and work 4 hours a day?!" In most cases I tell them how to do what I did. Then they tell me that either they are GOING TO DO IT!!! or that they'll "need to think on it."  I never hear from them again in either instance.

Here is what I tell them: (and if you are not in I.T. and want to get into I.T. here is what I would tell you too)

1. I didn't just fall a$$-backwards into a job making six figures that affords me the opportunity to write snarky blog posts all day. : ) I had to follow some steps. (2-7 below)

2. Pick what you want to do in I.T. (graphic design, computer networking, programming, security, etc..) It helps if you make a wise choice here. Use a mentor that is already in I.T.

3. Work at it in your free time for a long time. "I don't have any free time Scott!" Yes you do. You're going to have to be honest with yourself or you're wasting your time already.

4. Get a certification if you can. MCP, CSM, MCSD, CCNE something........

5. Get a part-time job doing what your certification is in.

6. Get a better, full-time job.

7. Keep doing #6 until you are satisfied. Note: Happiness is an inside job. Your profession won't take care of that.

If you want to discuss this and talk about how you can do this and what decisions to make in steps 2-5 I can help. sburkey1@gmail.com  I'm serious. I will absolutely help anyone that wants to get into I.T. Somebody did it for me and I'll do it for you. 

If you want to try to find the trick to getting to step 6 without doing the four steps before it.....don't waste either one of our time. Time is the one thing I am in shortest supply of and I don't waste it hardly at all these days.

Now I go on this rant as a "qualified rant" meaning I have actually lived this.....several times. I was having lunch with a friend of mine today and we were talking about how he used to wash windows by day and build software at night until he could build software in the day and watch tv while eating ice cream bars at night. I worked on a loading dock all day and learned how to build websites at night until I could build websites all day and watch tv while eating Moon Pies at night.

There is a pile of gold in the parking lot. It's in parking lots all over Atlanta and San Francisco and New York and DC. It's in Raleigh and Charlotte and Austin and Chicago. But......you gotta get a shovel and roll your sleeves up and harvest it. It's not easy. But the payoff is there. Trust me or not. Your call. But you can't borrow my shovel.


  1. Fantastic post and well said my friend!

  2. I love it! I think I am going to start a blog because the stories I can tell about human behavior are so funny. I often times have people think that owning your I own business is so easy but I have worked my tail off for 23 years and I have followed God's path for me. You are so funny and I enjoy your posts.