Network Implementation Manager
Toll Free Cellular, Inc.
Electrical/Computer Engineering, Oregon State University
Implementation Manager, working with carriers to sell them
services and network solutions.
"You need to be able
to work with other people. Different people have different ideas
on how to do something. You need to bring your own idea across
in such a way that you're not imposing your ideas on other
people, but sharing ideas."
"A lot of students don't do enough research and, and that doesn't look
very well during the interview process. Try to find out a lot about the
company. You know, try and find out what are some of the positions that
are available, some of the positions that you think you might be in a good
fit for you. So when the interviewer, you know, interviewed me during my
time slot, the interview went really well, I had a good dialog with, with
the interviewer, we, you know, I had some questions for the interviewer
which is very good because normally it's a one-way street and that speaks
well because it's, it's shows that you have done your research and you are
interested in the company."
As a network implementation manager at Toll Free Cellular, Wilfred James
gets to wear many hats. He spends about two-thirds of his time on
technical issues and one-third on project management. Among other tasks,
his work entails marketing, design, scheduling, and testing of the service
they provide to cellular phone companies. Because cellular technology is
constantly changing, he must also stay ahead of the improvements customers
are likely to make in order to have at hand applications that will
interface with them. "It's intense, but it's pretty exciting. It gets you
there you know, on the cutting edge of technology which is what I like."
James' initiative and assertiveness come in handy at a start-up company
like Toll Free Cellular. There are several qualities that James considers
indispensable to work at a new venture. "Definitely, you need to be able
to work with other people. Different people have different ideas on how to
do something. You need to bring your own idea across in such a way that
you're not imposing your ideas on other people, but sharing ideas."
Another crucial quality is the ability to take a lot of risk. James
explains, "I think one of the problems with companies today is that they
don't have people who want to make a decision - because, if it's a wrong
decision, they're going to be accountable for it. Well, in this day and
age, with things changing dynamically, you really have to make a decision
based on the information you have when a decision has to be made." As a
result, the next quality necessary to work successfully at a start-up is
flexibility. James points out that the engineer has to be able to accept
that false starts are inevitable and "change in the direction where the
industry is moving. Change in the direction where your customer is going."
The final quality that James considers essential is the ability to manage
one's time and put in long hours. "There are going to be times when you
don't work 8 to 5, you don't work forty hours a week. You might have to
work sixty hours a week; you might have to come in on weekends because you
just have to get the job done. And being part of a start-up company,
you're on venture capital which means you have a certain pot of money that
you have to work with." Consequently, the minimum number of people are
hired, which can result in long hours for everyone when a job has to get
Start-ups have drawbacks, but they also offer opportunities that
established companies do not offer. The key is to know what one is willing
to compromise before negotiating one's compensation package and to be
assertive enough to express what one wants. "Can you compromise on salary?
Can you compromise of stock options? Do you compromise on vacation time?
Do you compromise on medical, dental, vision benefits?" James points out
that "most start-up companies will negotiate with you" and adds that "when
you're in the process of interviewing and negotiating your position,
that's when you have to present to the interviewer and your supervisor
what you are willing to compromise on" because everyone has different
needs and wants.