Former IBM worker finds new career

Posted March 26, 2009 10:24 p.m. EDT
Updated March 27, 2009 4:11 p.m. EDT

— Hundreds of IBM employees in Research Triangle Park were laid off Thursday and Megan Kirkpatrick can understand what they are going through.

Kirkpatrick worked for the company for 25 years, when she was laid off in 2002. She was based in Pennsylvania when the company moved her to RTP in 1991.

Kirkpatrick said there were layoffs during 12 of her years with IBM.

“Every year you wondered, ‘Is this the year?’” Kirkpatrick said.

When she was let go, Kirkpatrick was a single mother raising two children. Her son, David, was in high school and her daughter, Amy, was enrolled in college.

At the time it was a major setback, but Kirkpatrick said she saw an opportunity to market those same skills that helped make her successful at IBM.

“I had started out as a teacher directly out of college and I thought what are my skills, what do I love?” Kirkpatrick said. “I actually found a job that married my two careers.”

Kirkpatrick is now the business alliance coordinator for Wake County Schools.

“I’m working with business people. I still have the marketing and business connection. I work with students using my teaching background and I’m making a difference,” she said.

Kirkpatrick encourages those recently let go from IBM to use her strategy.

The most recent layoffs come as IBM announced profits increased in the latest quarter by 12 percent, which exceeded Wall Street's expectations.