The Only Constant In IT Is Change
A blog post about deliberations and decisions for my career move from 13+ years as a customer to working for a vendor.
Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change -Jim Rohn.
Flashback to 9-12 months ago: I’ve started to realize that working on customer infrastructure was becoming less interesting by the day. Regardless to the fact that I was forcing myself to learn new things, daily tasks and work started to feel mundane. The challenges ceased to exist; this is not what I envisioned. I tried to overcome this feeling by persuading management to allow me to lead larger projects and found myself very successful at this level. However, we were simply too small of a team, and company, to dedicate an infrastructure resource solely to projects. Even one of the more talented IT project managers knew of my boredom by stating “You’re way too underutilized here.”
Although it sounds like an opposing idea, I knew that in order to stand out from the crowd I needed to surround myself with folks better than myself. However, I typically found myself in a position where I was taking lead, where I was the one teaching. How does one learn as a pupil when you’re always the teacher?
Sigh…I push on.
Fast forward to mid ’15: An opportunity to leave the customer space has arisen from the depths of Twitter. It’s quite the conundrum; it’s nothing like I’ve ever done in the past…..yet requires the knowledge from everything I’ve done in the past. I needed a transformation, a second revision of my career if you will. Taking this in stride, I pursue it with the assumption that it’s not for me…that I’m not a sound fit. I interview.
As I zoom past skyscrapers and commuters on Chicago’s Orange Line, I nervously accept a call from HR who was extending an offer for this new opportunity. I cover one ear and focus on the conversation at hand as I attempt to drown out train speakers blaring announcements. Excitement sets in. After the first 30 seconds of concentrating on the offer, I quickly transition to a completely different state of mind. Is this even for me? Am I good enough, talented enough, to take this new career path? Something random pops in my head….Richard Branson.
What the hell, Richard Branson? For some reason, this picture and quote stuck in my head years ago but it was finally applicable; at this very moment it felt like it was written just for me.
For days, I deliberate on my own. Looking for a second opinion, I reach out to my personal community for some confirmation. Tell me about your experience with this company. What’s it like on the so-called ‘dark side’ of IT? Would I be successful? Opinions are given and answers provided. Positive vibes and tons of support but I still hadn’t made my decision. I think back to my thoughts and mindset over the past year: boredom, unchallenged, tired.
Back to present day: Four months into my new role, life is good. I feel challenged and I’m learning new things everyday. Feedback from peers has been amazing and I’m quickly gaining confidence talking to customers about solutions. I’m able to use my knowledge I’ve obtained over the last 13+ years to help customers in a variety of different ways. I’ve even had the opportunity to speak to a customer who has yet to virtualize any of their workloads, offering advise from my 8+ years experience with managing VMware environments. As a VMware vExpert, I have a natural tendency to help, teach, and share knowledge with others…an attribute I believe plays very well in a pre-sales role.
All that said, the new role isn’t without its downfalls. When it comes to my career, I’m still a technologist at heart. I need the opportunity to be hands on to learn, something this position doesn’t necessarily incorporate. Sure, we’re offered many training videos and attend the occasional boot camp but it’s not the same as flipping switches and turning knobs. I need an environment to play around, explore, test, and potentially even demo. In short, I need to stay relevant in an ever changing world.