1. What is your current occupation? Is this what you chose to be doing at this point in your life? Why or why not?
I'm a 'Professional Services Engineer', or, er, maybe 'Technical Services Engineer' (depends on who you ask), for Cyphermint, Inc., an online payments company.
In the big picture, yeah, this is what I chose to be doing - being a geek, working with technology, and learning new things. More specifically, no, it isn't like I set out to work for Cyphermint. I'd never heard of them before I saw their job posting. I'd been out of work for 16 months and had applied to countless openings in that time. The job sounded interesting and I was fortunate enough to get it. I enjoy the job, the work I do is interesting and enjoyable overall, and I like the people I work with.
My plans from a few years ago included buying a home by now, living in a nicer place, and making a little more than I am now. But I'm good at rolling with things as they come, I made it through being laid off and I'm rebuilding again. It set me back probably a few years, but I'm sure I can make it back to where I'd like to be.
2. If time/talent/money were no object, what would your dream occupation be?
If I didn't have to worry about money, then I'd probably go back to school for a while. Maybe go for a Masters in CS, learn some of the techniques I've seen but haven't really grasped. I'd want to be involved in standards bodies again - get back into the W3C to work on new web standards, maybe the IETF to work on something like DIAMETER. I liked editing the HTML book for Osborne/McGraw-Hill, so I wouldn't mind doing that kind of work. Working on some open source projects, personal coding projects, spending more time writing. I'd like to do these things because I could take time to travel when I want to.
3. What did/do your parents do for a living? Has this had any influence on your career choices?
My entire life my parents have owned and run Appolo Heating, Inc., (no idea who does their website now) which is a fairly large heating company in upstate NY. Several years ago they moved to Florida and are now full time residents there. My father still commutes back to NY for a week or two each month. One of my older cousins also ran a heating company in Florida (ok, so there it is mostly a cooling company) called Bikowicz Heating. My father bought into it since my cousin isn't the best at running a business, and he's building that up now. My dad doesn't know how to retire - he's tried.
I don't think my parents' careers have really influenced mine, the work I do is rather unlike what they've done.
4. Have you ever had to choose between having a career and having a family?
Nope. Though I think my workaholic nature has harmed past relationships.
5. In your opinion, what is the easiest job in the world? What is the hardest? Why?
I don't know, sitting at home and collecting lottery payouts? :-) Hardest - it depends on the criteria and the person. Some jobs are physically taxing, others are stressful, etc.