October 20, 1999, was an important date for me.
That's the day I entered the American workforce after living overseas for most of the 1990s. My new employer was Network World, a technology trade publication owned by IDG Communications.
Ten years later, I can say that I made a great choice. That's not just because of what happened to the alternatives (after returning to the states, I had briefly considered going to NYC to work for an Internet startup, and also interviewed at a large metro daily). I quickly learned that IDG had a great work culture, and there were some incredible learning and career development opportunities as well. Besides Network World, I've been employed at Computerworld and now The Industry Standard, and have had the pleasure of working with some super colleagues at all three. Of course, there have been some rough spots, and I didn't stay at IDG the whole time (I spent three years in higher education from 2002-2005), but overall it's been a great experience which has enabled me to take my career into new media areas.
I also appreciate the fact that IDG took a chance on me. When I came back to the states in 1999, I didn't have any local media connections or recent U.S. work experience, but a few people at NW saw some potential, and gave me the green light. I'm grateful to them, as well as to "Uncle Pat," the man who founded IDG in the 1960s, took the organization global (he was one of the first American businesses to go into China following the thawing of bilateral relations in the late 1970s), and still makes a point of personally visiting and thanking thousands of employees in dozens of countries every year before the holidays. There aren't many leaders like that in corporate U.S.A.