by Gina Montague 

Gina Montague

I am proud to say I work in support, but that wasn’t always the case. When I began my career in the support industry in 1998 it wasn’t necessarily considered a career (at least by me). And I certainly didn’t go to school to work in support. Heck, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as the support industry. Like many people who work in support, I ended up here by happenstance. Unlike many people who start in support, I stayed.

A recruiter found me while I was attending a Windows 95 class. I was considering a career change, so I decided to interview for the help desk position they were looking to fill. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I enjoyed helping others and had an interest in teaching others about computers and software applications.

I accepted the offer and quickly learned that it takes a unique person to be a support professional. I needed to juggle a zillion things at the same time, be interrupted a lot, crawl under desks, fix things I didn’t yet understand, be expected to fix things that were not considered technical (coffee machine not working? no problem, call us and we will figure out what to do!), be the sounding board for everything that is going wrong (even if it is not work-related), learn something new every day, do something different every day, and top of all of that be approachable, dependable, helpful, confident, a self-learner, humble, and do it all with a smile! And I loved it!

I truly believe that you can teach people the technical part of the job (as long as they enjoy problem solving), but the stuff that I mentioned above? You can’t teach people how to be nice and have a strong work ethic and to do whatever it takes to support others. They either have it or they don’t.

Attending my first HDI Conference at the Gaylord Palms in 2004 was when it hit me: Working in support is a profession; a place where I could not only have a career but thrive and be proud to say that I work in support. There are thousands of individuals just like me. I left my first conference with pages full of notes, new connections, and an over-flowing bucket with a renewed enthusiasm to make myself and my team even better. I was hooked.

I immediately got involved with the Minnesota Local Chapter, which opened up another level of networking with my peers to get a deeper understanding of how other support teams operate. I have been an HDI Local Chapter Officer for the Minnesota chapter since 2005, which has given me the opportunity to network with individuals across the world.

I have been selected to speak at the HDI and at FUSION conferences and have truly enjoyed the opportunity to give back what I’ve learned throughout my support career. One of the most important lessons I have learned is that when you love what you do, who you do it with, and the company (or volunteer organization) that you work for great things happen.

Why do I love HDI? HDI highlights the fact that support is a more than job; it is a profession. HDI creates countless opportunities to learn from others. HDI has many platforms for members to give back to others in the support industry. Thank you HDI…for being my link for over 10 years to connect with peers, information, and innovative ideas in the support industry. Because of HDI I’ve made lifelong friends across the world.

What is HDI?

HDI is your support connection.

  • Connection to peers and your network
  • Connection to resources
  • Connection to professional development