Phoning It In: Telecommuting Systems and Networks Engineer

It’s late one night in August 2007, and Cassidy Kern is in a back alley in Chicago, setting off fireworks with two editors of this magazine. This isn’t exactly the type of environment in which one imagines “work” occurring.

But suddenly, he steps away from the explosions to take a call on his cell phone.
“Hey, what’s up?” he says. “Oh. Well, just download an open-source pop-up blocker; that should fix it.”

Kern later explained that this call came from a lower-level tech support person at Positive Networks, a software company that enables remote access in the workforce.

“That goes along with providing Level 3 support,” Kern said. “It was a Level 2 support person calling because they were having a problem with one of our larger customers.”
Kern is a senior systems engineer at Positive Networks, based in Kansas City, Mo. He signed on with the company in August 2001.

“When I started, I was in the office,” said Kern, adding that he was initially hired to be a network operations center manager (basically tech support). “Once we started to actually have a product and get customers, I started doing a lot of the server builds, maintaining the servers and doing software releases. I was also doing quality assurance.”

Kern, at this point, was getting a little overextended. “I was doing support from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. for a while, because we just didn’t have enough people,” he said. “Then we hired some other people to start…

Daniel Margolis


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