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3/4/2003
02:07 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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IT Confidential: It's Getting Ugly Out There -- For Some

Her name is Regina Pilkington, and she has two master's degrees: an MBA in computer information systems and an MS in mathematics. She has worked in IT for 20 years, managing multimillion-dollar IT projects, supervising hundreds of IT workers, overseeing every technology platform from mainframe to client-server to Web-based environments, and she's out of a job. She was laid off from her VP position in IT at a New York insurance company in March 2001, because of a "management restructuring." She took some time off to care for her ailing mother, who died last year of colon cancer, but she has been looking for an IT management position in the New York area since August. And she's getting discouraged. "I just didn't think the marketplace would be this difficult," Pilkington says. She spends her time networking and is in touch with a support group of out-of-work IT executives in the Connecticut-New York-northern New Jersey area (numbering some 300). "I spend some time on the job boards, though they aren't very helpful, and I've spent some time with executive recruiters," she says. Mostly she pounds the pavement and shakes the hands of prospective employers, but so far without luck. "It's pretty ugly out there," she says. Pilkington has even thought of abandoning the IT field. "I'm at the point where I'm considering that," she says. With her background, she doesn't think it would be difficult for her to find a job in some other line of business. But then again, "I didn't think this [job search] would be as difficult as it is."

Speaking of growth markets, the Senate last week approved the appointment of Maj. Gen. Steven Boutelle as the Army's new CIO. Boutelle will replace Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello, who's retiring. Cuviello was key to the creation last year of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command, a nerve center that manages the service's IT resources and networks. Before that, Cuviello spearheaded the development of the Army Knowledge Online Web portal, which provides 1.2 million users with training information and personnel-development resources. Currently, Boutelle is the director of information operations for networks and space in the CIO's office.

IRS CFO Todd Grams shifts to the CIO post this week, taking over supervision of the tax agency's modernization of its IT infrastructure. Grams replaces John Reece, who left the IRS in February after two years supervising the agency's IT renovation. Grams' experience as CFO "has afforded him a unique understanding of the challenges" (read: funding) "facing the IRS in the modernization arena," IRS commissioner Mark Everson said in a statement. In testimony before Congress, Everson has designated IT modernization one of his chief priorities.

What I want to know is, did they characterize it as a promotion or one of those "lateral move" things? Or maybe they just said, "We think you need a change..." I need an industry tip, which you can send to jsoat@cmp.com or phone 516-562-5326. If you know of openings in the New York area, send them to me and I'll forward them to Ms. Pilkington. If you want to talk about the brutal IT job market, meet me at InformationWeek.com's Listening Post: informationweek.com/forum/johnsoat.


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

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