11. Becoming a Real-Life PMI had the opportunity to run some "real" projects with American Specialty Health's IT Operations as a PM. It was a little déjà vu working on a WFM (not WCM) purchase with a similar scope, budget, and the fun challenge of balancing IT, business, and project needs. I feel I did well in the vendor-facing PM role, but I tease my consulting peers that I "got tired of vendors... so I joined you guys."
If you're a mid-to-senior knowledge worker that gets a chance to work for American Specialty Health, go for it. Try to get into a position that involves projects and/or writing within any of the departments that interest you. Positions open on their corporate site. Tell them I sent you (no actually tell them Christy, the proposal manager (RFPs) sent you, yes she'll split any referral bonus with you).
10. Winning 3rd-Place in a I Love Work Video ContestHere's my finalist video at my last job.
9. Winning an SDL Tridion MVPWow. I tell everyone contributing works. Seth Godin was right.
Don't mind the cute toddler. I'm sure she'll ask me to take this down when Google bot or its equivalent in 2020 keeps bringing up my old award in searches for her.
8. March "Bootcamp" in San JoseA benefit of the MVP program is a test software license and occasional invites to partner training events. I had to pass up the no-expenses-paid invite to the Amsterdam Bootcamp, but instead went to San Jose to meet my unknown-at-the-time future coworkers, learn about extensions and the revised event system, and enjoy a few days of Tridion geekery.
My toddler won't be able to grow up and have an excuse to skip college, well at least not the one that goes "Daddy didn't so I don't have to."University of Phoenix may not be the most prestigious school, but it's a legitimate program that gave me a chance to run 20 ad hoc 5-person teams through one (or more) 5-week projects with 2 to 3 electronic deliverables (assignment, requirements, etc) and presentations in front of a live audience, complete with last-minute meetings, project changes, and the occasional slacker (or cheater).
Hey that's actually pretty good training for IT or consulting work. The chance to meet other professionals in the industry and make a few friends was worth the student loans.