Why Next Century Corporation?

The answer to the question of “Why Next Century Corporation,” is a simple but lengthy one.  The very simple answer is, “Because I found a company that would offer me a way to help change the direction in which the world began to spin on 9/11.”   Now – the lengthy part.

I am a New Yorker.  My first memory of the Twin Towers was from the movie King Kong in 1976.  I was 6 years old, and the sheer enormity of those towers stuck in my brain until an elementary school field trip at the age of 8 brought me to the top and made them real. That single trip ruined the wonder that I should have gotten at amusement parks, or at Disney.  From those towers, I could see what seemed like the world. It was amazing. Now for the next part, fast-forward 20-something years.

My mom passed away shortly before 9/11.  She had been sick for about a year, and I was lucky enough to be able to make trips back and forth from CA (where I lived at the time) to NY, every other weekend, or at least once a month, in order to be with her as she engaged in a battle with cancer that we all knew she no chance of winning.  When she lost her battle in late August, I was still in NY, and I was broken to the point that on 9/11, when I watched planes get swallowed by two massive buildings, I felt nothing. I’m not proud of that feeling, and I’m less proud now that I actually wrote it, but it’s the truth. I felt absolutely nothing.  But writing a bit of the truth is what this page is about.

Two days after 9/11, my father and I decided to take a drive to a local NY beach, and I saw my new (and still smoldering) NYC skyline for the first time.  It was empty, save for some smoke and lingering ash that hovered for days.  I had to pull the car over so that I could openly weep for the first time since the nightmare unfolded.  My father and I sat there, on the side of Ocean Parkway, crying…breaking down, really, because everything that had always been there for us was suddenly missing.

Early September in NY can be hot and humid; stiflingly so.  When my father and I returned from the beach, our open windows (18 miles from the towers, if you travelled in a straight line,) had let in smoke, dust and ash into the house.  ASH!  My fellow New Yorker’s who had been turned to dust, were now in my living room.  I will never be rid of that memory, or the sensory overload that came with it.  And I’m not proud of writing that either, but it’s the truth, and that, once more, is what this page is about.  My father and I sat down, and cried again, in a house that would (and could) never be the same.

The events of 9/11 and my mother’s death simply broke me. I spent years trying to find a place that felt like home.  Different states, different companies, different friends – none of it worked.  I was lost, and I was wandering.  And then, I found Next Century Corporation.  I was a technical writer, a marketer, and had written some radio, magazine, and print work over the previous 20ish years, and certainly knew that I was a long shot, for technical company this technical, but I sent a resume and was granted – if that’s the right word – an interview.

I met with the man who ran the project I was interviewing to be a part of.  Based solely on my resume and my skill set, he had absolutely NO reason to hire me, but he actually took the time to look beyond the page and see if I was a fit for the team and for the company.  He decided to give me a shot, and with that, I was told I’d be interviewing with the some founders and some senior staff members.

I’m here, and I’m writing this – so you know how that interview worked out.  And after seven years with this company I can tell you the following about working here:

  • You WILL do important work that saves lives and helps keep America safe. Even when you don’t feel like it does.
  • Attitude is absolutely everything – you will keep learning, reading, stretching, and growing. Every day.
  • Know that the skill set that gets you to the door might not be the one that you use the most.
  • This is a company that is filled with good people who consistently do exactly what they say they will do. It is a rare trait and this company is steeped in it. Steeped!
  • You will be treated like family, if you earn it, and if you allow it.
  • You will be surrounded by brilliance – artists, writers, developers, admins and project managers; from the founders of the company, to the most recent people through the door. And thus far, every single one of them is generous beyond my wildest expectations. If you’re capable of learning it – there will be someone who is willing to help you start down the path.
  • And if you let it – this company can change your life. And that’s a good thing; perhaps it is the best thing.

Prior to my interview at Next Century Corporation, my legacy had been in writing sweepstakes for a direct mail company, technical writing and software testing at a financial software company and tossing malware (which is oddly legal) into email content via JavaScript injection (yes, spam).  But during a lengthy interview process, a VP who would later become my work coach asked me, “Why Next Century?”  Seven years later – I still remember my exact answer.  “Because I’ve had some unsavory (I really used that word) jobs in my past, and I need an opportunity to do good work that makes a difference. Helping to save lives is really the only legacy I need. Frankly, I really need a job, but I really want this one.”

This job and the people of Next Century Corporation have changed my life. And that’s a good thing; but it’s not the best thing.

I no longer cry when looking at the NYC skyline – if anything, I know that I’m working to help ensure its safety and the safety of other skylines around the world.  And that’s not just a good thing; that IS the best thing.

I am Seth Cooper, Technical Writer. I am Next Century – and that is my story.

If you’d like to know more about my experience with this incredible company – please get in touch.
If you have an interview scheduled and would like to meet or chat – please let your contact know.