Nerd Journey Podcast

Oct 27 2020 44 mins 8

John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_) are two IT Pros turned VMware Solutions Engineers. Each week, they identify and bring you the best career advice they wish they'd been given, with some general IT discussion is sprinkled in as well.











Reddit Question Roundup – 2020 Week 37
Sep 15 2020 34 mins  
Welcome to episode 92 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss some Reddit threads from the IT Career Questions forum. Original Recording Date: 09-11-2020 Topics – Popular IT Career Questions from Reddit 1:05 – We’re Testing A New Format! * We’re trying a new format this week. It’s a round up of career advice threads from the Reddit forum IT Career Questions. * We’ll be taking some of the top posts from the past week and will give a brief synopsis of the threads, categorize the post, and share our reactions. 1:47 – Keep not getting entry level jobs due to "lack of experience" * Synopsis * The poster claims little to no experience and that he / she keeps getting turned down in interviews due to lack of experience. They have an A+ certification, 6 months of IT experience, and want to change the experience. * Categories * Resume writing * Interviewing * Reactions * Nick points out that commenters on this thread draw out the fact that the poster had an internship in addition to their 6 months experience. This speaks to the fact that we need to be mindful of what can be used as experience when writing a resume and interviewing. * For example, a home lab is experience you can use! Listen to this episode with Cody de Arkland’s tips for leveraging experience with home labs on your resume / in an interview. * John says we need to ensure we talk about everything that is relevant. Go into the interview with some goals (solid idea of what you have accomplished, how you measured it, make sure you are able to work in main talking points, etc.). * The resume is an attention getter. It is a springboard for further dialogue in an interview to give more detail. 5:35 – Landed a job with no degree and experience * Synopsis * The poster landed an IT job without experience (only troubleshooting knowledge from home) and also without an IT related degree. They currently work as a junior engineer fixing computers and laptops. This poster was previously rejected for other jobs due to not meeting the requirements. * John drops a reference to the Geek Squad. Nick shares a fun anecdote. * Categories * Encouragement * Advice * Reactions * This post shows what someone did to achieve success and is sort of the opposite of the first post we mentioned. * John harasses Nick for buying a new desktop PC. * We’re truly happy for the poster. It’s nice to see someone achieving their goal after struggling. * If all jobs require experience, how do you get hired with no experience? * Building PCs as a hobby is practical experience that can be leveraged in ...

















Burnout and Recovery with Josh Fidel
May 26 2020 49 mins  
Welcome to episode 78 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss burnout and recovery with Josh Fidel @jcfidel. Original Recording Date: 04-23-2020 Topic – Burnout and Recovery 2:14 – Burn Out and Bail Out * Josh loved the job and the work he did within the Globals segment at VMware. * The pressure put on Josh and his teammates was immense. Each was responsible for $15M in sales for the year. * The sales cycles in large organizations are lengthy, and planning has to happen in advance (possibly years in advance of when a purchase may be made). * Josh was thinking about what would happen in the next 1-2 years with these customers and not what would happen in the next two weeks to close a deal. * Everything was more visible to leadership. * The traveling was so much that Josh would get home on Friday and have to get back on a plane by Monday morning. It was detrimental to his family life. * One day he woke up in a hotel room, did not remember where he was, who he was supposed to meet with, and what the meeting was about. * "This is insane." – Josh Fidel * He sat on the edge of the bed in frustration and realized he was destroying his physical and emotional health as well as the relationship with his family. * "This company won’t look after me when I am old." – Josh Fidel * "I needed to take a step back." – Josh Fidel * Josh scheduled back surgery soon after this. * "I’m building these crystal palaces at the cost of what really matters." – Josh Fidel * After 3 months home with the family, Josh did not want to go back. * He got to do something awesome that few people will get to do but needed to take care of what was important. 9:52 – A Look at Josh’s Current State * The pressure is much less, and all the tools are in his toolbox now. * He is happier now and gets to spend more time with his family. * Looking back, Josh said his temper grew shorter before reaching the breaking point. * He would tolerate poor decision making less and would be more vocal about it. * Other people commented on him being "wound up." * People don’t see these things while caught up in them. He had a goal and became so focused that the signs were missed. * Josh thinks he may not have practiced mindfulness at the time. He may not have come to such abrupt decisions. * It’s much easier to stay up late working now and only lose 30 minutes of sleep compared to having to fly back home from another country. * John makes an interesting point about western culture and the expected role and perception of men. * Josh has learned to overcome toxic masculinity by being comfortable with him self and what he is doing. * Many people have a hard time being honest with themselves. * Some of the most competent people in technology Josh knows are a little quirky. * Maybe establishing the brand first allows you to be yourself later? * Josh is confident he won’t have to worry about the next job because he is good what he does, and other people know it.

Global Accounts, Job Searches During Recessions, and Organizational Silos with Josh Fidel
May 20 2020 33 mins  
Welcome to episode 77 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss covering global accounts, job searches during recessions, and organizational silos with Josh Fidel @jcfidel. Original Recording Date: 04-23-2020 Topic – Global Accounts, Job Searches During Recessions, and Organizational Silos 02:47 – The Move to Globals at VMware * Josh loved working with the people at VMware. * He left the vendor side because the "this hammer will solve all your problems" mentality can be a challenge. * In his current role, he has more tools in the tool belt to present as options to customers. You can still be consultative while working for a vendor, but it can be a challenge. * Josh started at VMware after leaving an implementation job. He started as a regional SE specializing in vSAN and was really excited. * It wasn’t long before he was at the top of regional sales for VMware. * John gives listeners some background on solution engineering and how segments are different as it relates to customers and coverage. * Josh liked the regional specialist role because he interacted with customers in Healthcare, SLED, Enterprise, and SMB. * As a vendor, any partner Josh could train was boots on the ground for him. * His success came from teaching others. "If you share money, you run out of money. If you share knowledge, it just gets bigger." * Josh’s territory spanned Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Northern Kentucky, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania. He supported over 40 core sales teams. * Josh loved driving and could easily take calls while on the road. * He got to meet so many people in this role. * A position came up in the Globals segment, but Josh was nervous about it, wondering if he could do it. * Josh gives credit to Noel Nguyen as being probably the best boss he’s ever had and had trouble breaking the news about a move to Globals to her. * "I wanted to throw my hat in the ring, but we’re talking the biggest of the big." * Josh expected the customers to be the biggest of the big and the brightest of the bright, but that was not always the case. * Even in the messy customer environments there were still bright spots (the engineers). * The culture of some organizations was oppressive. People were afraid to make a change and afraid to lose their job. * Josh cites The Improvement Kata as a willingness to conduct experiments and fail. The large companies did not want to fail and did not in many cases have test environments. * Most any engineer would love to have a lab / test environment, but this can be seen as "just another cost" to executives. Every engineer should be able to make the argument to financially justify one. 14:15 – Advocating for Yourself * Don’t be afraid to be an advocate for yourself. * Once you get to a certain point in your career, you lose the fear. You get good enough at something in your community / area to not need to worry about a job because you have built your brand. * Prior to the virus, people were very geographically centered.




Journey to Presenting at Conventions with Al Rasheed
Apr 14 2020 34 mins  
Welcome to episode 73 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss the journey to presenting at conventions with Al Rasheed. Original Recording Date: 03-29-2020 Topics – The Journey to Presenting at Conventions 01:54 – Al’s Contact Info and Background * Al is a Systems Administrator for a federal contractor in the Washington, D.C. area. * He has been recognized as a VMware vExpert, a Nutanix Technology Champion, a Cisco Champion, and a Veeam Vanguard. * Al volunteers in his local community to give back to those in need. * You can interact with Al on Twitter (@al_rasheed) or check out his personal blog here. 02:48 – A Brief Career History * About 15 years ago, Al stepped down from a management position at a local grocery chain. * The hours were brutal, and he had small children. * Working weekends was required. * Al decided to take a risk after getting support from his wife. * He remained with the grocery chain part time while adapting to his new career in IT. This helped supplement the difference in pay of his new role and enabled him to get a severance after a few years. * Al has no regrets on the decision now, but at the time (late 90s / early 2000s), he was desperate for something else (regardless of cost and sacrifice). * The adjustment to IT from retail was certainly challenging. * His first role was in phone support working the help desk. Al had little experience and happened to find an employer who was willing to take a chance on him. * Al mentioned it was not hard to move from manager back to individual contributor. * Even while being a manager, he liked working with others toward a common goal and did not feel he had all the answers. Because of this, the transition back to individual contributor was easy. * Al remained in the help desk position for about 2 years. When he left that company, his retail role had come to an end. The next role was working for a federal contractor at the Department of State. * This is the one Al feels he enjoyed the most and where he was able to learn the most. The team culture was one of support and encouragement, and it was a place where folks were not penalized for mistakes. * In hindsight, Al regrets leaving this organization. * Interesting fact – Al was with this employer on 9/11. His security clearance was being processed but did not go through during his time there. * Al’s next role was for a local university that was closer to home. He was there about 10 years. * At some point the role began to lack challenge. * About 7 years ago, Al made a change to work for a federal contractor (his current employer). His commute is still very short (15 minutes each way). * Al received a security clearance within one year of being hired. * There were very few technology changes at the university.


Board and Executive Relationships with Brad Tompkins of VMUG
Apr 07 2020 39 mins  
Welcome to episode 72 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss Board and Executive relationships in the second part of our discussion with VMUG Executive Director Brad Tompkins. Original Recording Date: 03-16-2020 02:35 – Thinking at The Board Level * Brad has heard it said "prepare for / do the job you want next." * Preparation for this likely started around the Seibels time frame with access to VPs (his boss was VP level). * He specifically remembers meeting the chairman of the board at one point. * At Immedion, the board of directors would visit different datacenters. Brad would get to sit in on some of those meetings. * He would observe the meetings and think about how he might contribute / take part in a meeting like this at some point. * It was interesting to see what questions were asked and how the CEO would answer. * Sometimes Brad had to research a specific item to prepare the CEO or his other leaders for a board meeting. * Boards are very high level and don’t get into the weeds much. * They want to focus on next year and beyond. Once a year’s budget is approved, the board start to focus on the next year. * Once the execution plan is set, the board does want updates but would rather talk about what will happen in the future (sticking to strategy talk). * This can be both fun and scary. It is about having the right data to back up your decisions. * Since the board of VMUG is a volunteer board, it is likely different than the board of an established company. * In VMUG’s case, the diversity is based on company size, industry, etc. The organization is much smaller than larger organizations. * How does interaction and reporting to a board compare to a front line / middle manager’s lens? * The front line / middle manager would focus on the here and now (maybe next few months or next quarter). * The board is thinking of the next few years. Communication with them is more to determine if we are on track or off track to hit revenue targets. * We have to get out of reporting back numbers only. * Steve Athanas is VMUG President and has coached Brad on how to approach and present to the board. The President’s role is to serve the board and ensure they get what they need, helps develop content and agenda for meetings. * Brad is on the board (non-voting member) but is also on the team. He has to bridge both worlds. 14:22 – Understanding and Aligning with C-levels * In VMUG, they want to ensure everyone on the team (down to lowest level) understands how what they do to contribute to the organization’s mission. * It is the job of managers to help team members understand this. Brad gives some nice examples of explaining more detail about the connection of an employee to the organization’s mission. * Brad has to remind himself that he is not working with IT people. The person could be an events person or a community person. * Much of his job is not IT, and he relies heavily on the rest of the team to execute. * Brad’s interaction with employees that have different backgrounds from his allow...





Three-Month Check-In as a Google Cloud Customer Engineer with John White, Part 2
Feb 11 2020 31 mins  
Welcome to episode 67 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we have the second half of our discussion with John on his move from VMware to Google Cloud. The first half was Episode 66 if you’d like to listen to it first (or if you missed it last week). Original Recording Date: 2020-01-25 Topics – Checking in with John White on Life at Google (Part 2) 2:11 – Changes to John’s Professional Development Strategy? * Many of the skills we’ve discussed on Nerd Journey previously like HR screening calls, etc. * Google does a multi-step onsite interview process and gave John some advice on how to prepare for them. * John knew who he is and what he brought to the table, taking every opportunity to prepare. * There was a great deal of room for advancement at VMware, but Google as an organization is pretty young with ambitious growth goals and funding from the parent company. It feels like working for a startup. * For example, folks wanting to move into management were encouraged to start having those conversations with their managers since the organization knows more managers will be needed as the company grows. 8:01 – Changes to Family Life? * John wishes he had heard Mike Burkart’s advice before making this move (see Part 1 and Part 2 of that discussion). * John did not anticipate how much of a change consistently going into the office would be versus working from home. * The office hours are not set specifically. Getting work finished and being present for meetings is more the emphasis. John has seen people at the office at 6 AM. * John plans his schedule around the food served in the office (sometimes). * A benefit of being at the office daily is the proximity to coworkers for bouncing ideas, asking questions, etc. * For the first year, John plans to be in the office 5 days per week to build relationships with colleagues. This was the recommended approach from others who were seasoned Google employees. * Building as many relationships in person as possible is important to John. * Sometimes John’s wife would work from home, and he used to be able to take a short break to catch up with her. Being in an office every day takes this perk of working from home away. * Remember there is a cost of giving up time to commute and be at an office all day. Consider this when taking a new role. 15:06 – Proximity to Management * John’s manager works in the same office as he does. Google seems to be organizing teams this way when possible based on geography. * John has met colleagues who were completely field facing due to no local office. 16:57 – What John Misses at VMware * That is easy…the people. He had great colleagues, management, and enjoyed interacting with his customers.

Three-Month Check-In as a Google Cloud Customer Engineer with John White, Part 1
Feb 06 2020 33 mins  
Welcome to episode 66 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode Nick checks in with John three months after his move to Google Cloud. Original Recording Date: 2020-01-25 Topics – Checking in with John White on Life at Google 2:10 – The New Gig and Making a Move * What does John actually do at Google? * John is a Customer Engineer, which is still a pre-Sales technical role. He talks with customers, understands their business, and aligns solutions to help solve technical problems that map to business problems. * What would make John want to pursue the SE role at a different company? * There were some challenges with the Sales territory John covered at VMware despite him loving his colleagues. * In some ways the change was unexpected, but he enjoyed the SE role enough to consider pursuing it somewhere else. * What other roles had John considered as being a logical next step after getting great experience as a SE? * He considered Technical Marketing and Management but had not put a lot of professional development time into it. * John took time to look around for internal openings at VMware from time to time. There was nothing that jumped out as an attractive next step. * A recruiter from Google had reached out to John a while before despite him not looking at the time. This got John’s attention enough for him to consider it for a call back. * How does John feel about moving to a competitor? * At first, John was concerned about this. After the move, he is not as worried. * As part of the interview process, John did deep dives into the Google Cloud portfolio as much as he could. Virtual machines and virtual infrastructure were a small portion of the portfolio. * In John’s opinion, there is some overlap in VMware and Google offerings, but Google seems to be targeting a different audience. There are likely more opportunities to partner than opportunities to compete. 11:31 – How is Life Different Now? * John works with "enterprise" customers (which is defined differently by different vendors). At Google, more of the portfolio is attractive to companies who have never purchased their own servers (i.e. smaller companies with large technology spend). As a result, "Cloud Native" customers are more represented in Google’s "enterprise" segment. * John was in a field resource at VMware (lived in geographic region he was serving but worked mostly from home when not visiting customers). At Google, because of the numerous office locations, employees are asked to spend time in the office multiple days per week. * He had to get used to going in to the Google office in San Francisco. Commuting every day was a big change (45-50 minute commute). * John had to change his sleep and wake times to adjust. * John prefers to use public transit and take it during times when it is not extremely congested. * The Google offices provide meals for employees as well. 17:05 – Product Portfolio and Team Dynamic * John is responsible for everything at level 100. He is asked to have a major in one technology and minor in something else.

Your Position Has Been Eliminated with Mike Burkhart Part 2
Jan 28 2020 43 mins  
Welcome to episode 65 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss the interview and evaluation process with Mike Burkhart in the second half of our interview with him about and unexpected job search. Original Recording Date: 12-03-2019 Topics – Mike Burkhart 03:00 – The First Interview Happened When? * Mike reached out on LinkedIn to the person he knew had an opening to get an idea of the role. * This time around in the job search, Mike looked really hard at company culture. * When asking about culture, choose your questions carefully to penetrate the rose-colored glasses effect. * Ask about performance interviews, how they operate, potential for upward mobility, etc. * Ask about whether people have been able to successfully take leave / vacation. What exactly is the process of taking PTO? * One of the reasons Mike wanted out of the architecture space was because of organizational politics. He does not enjoy navigating the political waters. * Look for how you want your life to look (traveling, coding, speaking at conferences, break stuff as part of a security team, etc.). Translate that into current skills and the type of work you can do. * Consider the simple questions about your career / current role such as "what do you like most about your job?" * John shares a great story about an interaction with a recruiter. * Much of Mike’s journey was finding the right questions to ask. * It’s easy to ask about yourself about now. What about yourself in a year or several years? * Mike shares an interesting story about leaving an employer that did not value him. * What do you value when you’re working? * John reiterates finding out if a new job is a culture fit is crucial. * One of Mike’s questions was "how do you celebrate as a workforce?" This could be holiday parties, births of children, or celebration of success. * Are you willing to trade your life for whatever gain you’re getting / whatever you are willing to build with another company? * Many of the things done in IT are not celebrated like we might want them to be. * The value of IT is not easily quantified by business people. They don’t quantify it in terms of time you did not get to spend with your family. * You should care an extreme amount about how you spend your time. * Is this type of thinking the equivalent of a systems thinking mindset? * We should make tips for determining cultural fit an ongoing conversation. 22:20 – How to Examine Culture before You’re in Crisis Mode * How do we get started when we’re semi-comfortable? * Comfortable is not complacent. * Understanding what your goals are is important. * We don’t always think of ourselves as a person in our own lives. * If thinking about a job change / role change that involves going elsewhere, examine whether it is the employer you work for now or the job you are currently doing. * Mike’s transition to his current role has been the first time he has felt real joy from work in about 10 years.


Your Position Has Been Eliminated with Mike Burkhart
Jan 14 2020 47 mins  
Welcome to episode 64 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss navigating unexpected career pressure with Mike Burkhart. Original Recording Date: 12-03-2019 Topics – Your Posiiton Has Been Eliminated with Mike Burkhart 03:21 – Mike’s Career Overview * Mike recently took a position as a curriculum developer of instructor led courseware at Nutanix but followed an interesting path to get there. * He started off with IT help desk work, which often involved testing DSL lines. * This led to a systems and networking background. He also did software testing. * He stumbled upon ESX 2.0 at some point and got an introduction to virtualization, which was extremely interesting. * Mike’s journey involved him following his passion / interests and making some bets on following them. * He became a consultant around the ESX 4.0 days. This involved heavy travel…but not to places you might envision. * The consulting firm was a VMware training partner, and Mike was asked to be an instructor. * He said yes and decided to try it. * "If given an opportunity, take the opportunity if it is something you can imagine yourself doing." * Mike is an extrovert and stage musician. * Mike believes we are all here for the purpose of love. To love someone is to share experiences, impart knowledge, and have them impart knowledge on you. * Education is the pursuit of this connection and pursuit of growing as an adult. * Pursuing this instructor role opened his eyes to a completely different passion. Ever since becoming an instructor for a brief stint, Mike has focused (as time allowed even after he became a Solutions Architect) on many different things in the education space. * At one point in the last several months, one of Mike’s friends suggested he talk to someone who had an opening in an education related role. * The person who referred him was a fellow instructor and VCDX candidate with Mike. * Mike has been a VMUG leader for several years and an avid public speaker. His current role is a mixture of all the experience he’s had to this point. 14:23 – Necessity of Career Analysis * "I wasn’t looking for an employer. I wasn’t looking for a role. I was looking at how I want my life to operate for me, what skills I want to flex, what skills I want to learn, and what I want to leave behind." * Mike was in field Pre-Sales as an Architect before taking his current role. * He did a current vs. future state analysis on his career. * This process was something Mike needed to do because of circumstances with his employer. * This is the second time in his career he was being "made redundant in the field." * In this instance, Mike was given the job of applying for the same / other roles within the company as a result. * For the architects out there, be wary of the changes you help make within a company having ramifications you may not like. * Mike believes he took the right role to support what he wants at this point in his life. * The first time this situation happened to Mike was when he worked for an aircraft manufacturer and was o...

Managing Online Communities and Career Path Pt. 2 with Nic Tolstoshev
Jan 07 2020 37 mins  
Welcome to episode 63 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss online community management and career paths with community manager Nic Tolstoshev. Once again, here’s the Nic Tolstoshev fan art Flickr feed we mentioned. Original Recording Date: 10-26-2019 Topics – Community Management and Career with Nick Tolstoshev 02:35 Community Manager Career Path and Time Commitment * Do community managers get actively recruited for roles at other places? * That is exactly how Nic ended up at Automox. * The career path is all over the place. Some people burn out after a few years in the role, while others get into community management as a stepping stone (i.e. considering it entry level before making a lateral move). * For those in it for the long haul, your skills will eventually be required / wanted elsewhere. * There is not a great path to climb the corporate ladder from the community manager position, but this is starting to change with some companies making a whole department for it. * A company’s having an online community is a differentiator which could potentially decrease the need for head count. * Nic talks to some things that come out of communities that you never expected. * Examples – SpiceRex, a special community award * 08:38 – What about the time commitment for this role? * Don’t make it an hourly position. There is more that goes into it. * Nic likes to keep an eye out after hours since online communities aren’t just in use during vendor business hours. * As a solo community manager, you can leverage power users of the community as moderators to help. * Nic likes to select an informal backup within the company that is passionate about community so he can take vacations, sick days, etc. * There is a certain social contract that applies to online community participation. * Getting additional funding / resources requires showing proof of added value to the bottom line. * Look at things like number of engaged users, page views, traffic, if questions are getting answered (reply %), etc. as key performance indicators. * Product feedback can be requested and given within the online community through feature requests, focus groups, beta tests, etc. * Nic shares a story from Intuit in the QuickBooks for Mac forum when he helped the product team uncover a bug and had to act as the DeFacto PR person in this situation. * Community managers have to help keep the public informed in a corporate disaster. 22:47 – Advice for the Would Be Community Manager and Closing Thoughts * Technical skills won’t stay as sharp. Nic mentions missing out on getting his hands dirty in the virtualization movement. * He worked on the community team at a company outside the technology space but found himself doing a great deal of technical work (back end maintenance on the community platform). * Nic recommends getting very hands on with the products a vendor sells and shares examples of what he has done since joining Automox. This helps members of the community and also allows for very direct feedback to internal...

Most Influential Books On My Thinking – Nick Korte
Dec 31 2019 46 mins  
Welcome to Bonus Episode 09 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we have the second of two bonus episodes about the books that shaped our thinking. This week, Nick talks about his book list. Original Recording Date: 12-21-2019 Topics – Books that shaped our thinking – Nick Korte 1:33 – Hope and Help for Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes * Go back and listen to Bonus Episode 08 for the books that shaped John’s thinking. * Sometimes Nick gets nervous and anxious about things. Someone he went to church with gave him a copy of this book after recognizing these qualities. * The book talks about the mind / body connection when it comes to nervous illness. * One specific idea is the temptation to choose the nearest confidant when you need advice, can’t make a decision, or are too overwhelmed. * Wait, and go to a close friend (someone who knows you need advice) who can listen and talk you through the situation. * John says this temptation is likely there for anyone who likes to work things out by talking through it. * This one is a short, easy read. 4:23 – The Real-Life MBA by Jack and Suzie Welch * This book was mentioned in Episode 20 to frame the area of destiny concept. * Nick got this book at a conference, and it has a career section. In that specific section is where the area of destiny concept was explained and explored. Here are some nuggets from that section: * Is it work-life balance or work-life choice? The distribution of work time vs. personal time is different based on the individual. * The book cites reasons that careers stall (attitude, nowhere to go within the company, etc.). * The book emphasizes retention of top talent even through times that require a reduction in force to the point of offering top talent more money. * Top performers have the ability to leave by way of the fact that they are top performers. * Loving people on the way out just as you loved them on the way in is important regardless of circumstance. 7:34 – Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein * The book starts with an interesting comparison between Tiger Woods and Roger Federer and how each became a specialist in their respective sports. * A late blooming generalist can eventually become an excellent specialist despite the lack of a head start. * Epstein compares kind learning environments vs. wicked learning environments. * There are multiple examples in the book about expertise from one domain being applied into a different domain. * This reminds Nick of previous episodes like the one with Jimmy T. (Episode 35) about experience from the Minec...

Most Influential Books On My Thinking – John White
Dec 24 2019 54 mins  
Welcome to Bonus Episode 08 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we have the first of two bonus episodes about the books that shaped our thinking. This week, John talks about his book list. Original Recording Date: 12-18-2019 Topics – Books that shaped our thinking 1:40 Future Plan – Page of Book Recommendations * We’re going to try to get a page of all the books which we or our guests have reccomended * The episode(s) they were mentioned on * Maybe the time codes? 3:24 Connections – James Burke * Thesis: Technological progress is about the combination of incremental advances from different industries. An unstated reaction against the Great Man theory of history * Human progress is incremental * What seems like giant leaps forward are often the collision and integration of many incremental advances * YouTube Video: Faith in Numbers – From the cam to the automated loom to the census to the computer * Nick points out that career progression can look like giant leaps forward which hide small incremental improvements over time * Connections on DVD 14:11 Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell * The Story of Success * The Matthew Effect (Matthew 25:29) * What looks like innate success can often times be attributed to early advantages which are maximized over time * The 10,000 Hour Rule * Ultimately, the myths we have about success should be questioned 25:19 The Talent Code – Daniel Coyle – Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. * Based on same research that Gladwell used to discuss the 10,000 hour rule * Deep Practice * When you make a mistake during practice, identify it immediately * Fix it * Ignition * The fire that keeps us practicing * Birth order of fast runners hypothesis * Social effect – South Korean WPGA Tour * Master Coaching * 3rd party identification of mistakes * Keep the ignition fire burning * Communicate effectively using the communication style the student needs 31:24 Your Brain At Work – David Rock – Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long * Thinking takes blood sugar, so do tough knowledge work earlier * Prioritizing tasks is one of the most difficult things to do. Do it early. 33:56 Pragmatic Thinking and Learning – Andy Hunt – Refactor Your Wetware * The Story-Telling and Experiential modes of the brain are mutually exclusive * The brain keeps working on problems even in experiential mode * Insights in the shower * Insights while exercising

Managing Online Communities Pt. 1 with Nic Tolstoshev
Dec 17 2019 49 mins  
Welcome to episode 62 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss online community management and its role within an organization with community manager Nic Tolstoshev. Here’s the Nic Tolstoshev fan art Flickr feed we mentioned. Original Recording Date: 10-26-2019 Topics – Community Management and the Community Management Role 3:20 Online Communities and Community Management * Nic is currently a community manager at Automox. * He has been working as an online community manager for 15 years and worked in IT as a systems administrator before that. * What does a community manager do? * They manage an online community, ensure it is thriving, make sure people are getting along, and serve as a conduit for information between community participants and employees of the company who sponsors the community. * Think providing feedback to product teams, helping engage customers for beta testing, helping with announcements, etc. * Why do companies invest in having an online community? * This provides an additional channel to interact with customers online but also a peer-to-peer interaction opportunity for customers. * Some companies separate online community from a formal advocacy program, while others do not. * Many companies do not know where to put the community management discipline inside the organization (Development / Engineering, Marketing, Support, etc.) because the discipline is still fairly new. * Depending on where the role falls within an organization, it can affect perceived internal value of this role, resources and headcount available, etc. * When an online community grows up with a company, it seems to be seen as more valuable than a community started by a well-established company (might be more challenge to get buy in). * At Automox, Nic has executive level support for establishment and growth of the online community. * Do community managers have social media functions also? * The roles between community managers and social media functions have mostly diverged with the social media responsibilities being a branch of Marketing. * While there is some overlap between social media management (i.e. interactions on Twitter, etc.) and online community management, the skillsets needed are different. * John gives the example of the VMware community and how this comes out heavily on Twitter. Individual contributors spend time building brand by expanding reach on social media. * Social media platforms do not support having a good conversation* Social media platforms do not support having a good conversation like a discussion thread in an online community does. 15:37 Learning about the Community Management Role * The transition happened while Nic was at Intuit supporting Quickbooks Enterprise. * He did phone support, trained front line engineers, and covered tier 2 support. * An opening came up in the community department and seemed interesting. * Nic took an internship at NIH while in high school to write code. During this time is when he got his first

Blogging and the Subtleties of Self-Marketing with Amy Hervey, Pt. 2
Dec 12 2019 30 mins  
Welcome to episode 61 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss blogging and self-marketing in the second part of our interview with Amy Hervey, a marketing professional. Original Recording Date: 10-23-2019 Topics – Amy Hervey On Blogging and Self-Marketing 03:03 – Thoughts on Blogging * People want to want to blog. It is hard to write something and put it out on the web for all to see. The fears are real. * What if no one notices or reads it? * What if I am misunderstood? * Amy has supported numerous people that have written for the corporate blog by offering editing, proofreading, and help with search engine optimization. Sometimes that is the push they need. * For those who do not have a blog, LinkedIn is a free platform for publishing articles tied to your profile. * This creates a body of work you can point others to later. * Don’t overcommit to blogging too frequently. * Try finding someone / multiple people to hold you accountable for publishing something once per month as a starting point. * Tag those accountability partners when you publish and ask for feedback. * You can comment on someone else’s post at any time. * Sharing an article on LinkedIn is good, but write a few sentences to frame your perspective for sharing. * John mentions blog posts he has read that are an aggregation of helpful posts and why they were helpful. This gives insight into how a person thinks, which is really a reflection of their brand. * You’re not doing this for the kudos. 11:31 – Recommended Reading on Marketing * Evaluate your own presence on social media. Where do you want to be, and why did you choose that platform? Each one is different, so choose wisely. * Seth Godin * What to Do When It’s Your Turn * Purple Cow * Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? * Seth Godin’s Blog – publishes daily! * Bernadette Jiwa * Marketing: A Love Story * The Fortune Cookie Principle * Her blog – The Story of Telling 14:08 – Self Promotion Gone Overboard * If you’re not having the interactions you want and are not growing your following, something is off. * Don’t shout a message without engaging with your audience. * Some people just repost what their company has posted without ever commenting. That gives no insight into what the person thinks and why it matters to them. * Listen to Amy’s analogy on reposting exactly what someone else or a company posted. * Use your own expertise and comments to add value when posting something. Make it an opportunity to start a conversation.

Career from a Marketing Perspective with Amy Hervey Pt. 1
Dec 03 2019 31 mins  
Welcome to episode 60 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss career management from a marketing perspective . Original Recording Date: 10-23-2019 Topics – Amy Hervey Interview 04:17 – Background on Amy * Amy is a Marketing Manager for an HR Outsourcing company and has been in the field for over 20 years. Her background is journalism and marketing. * The role of a Marketing Manager varies a lot based on the size of the company, industry, and what is being marketed. * In Amy’s case, this includes everything from social media platform management, website management, press releases, e-mail campaigns, promotional print items, online learning platforms, Sales support, etc. She is a one person Marketing department and loves her job immensely. 5:30 – Marketing, Influence, and Staying on Brand * What is the difference between product marketing and influence marketing? * Product marketing is promoting a product or service by increasing brand awareness. * There is a strong trend in the industry to lean on "influencers" to promote a product. This can be paid or unpaid. An example would be someone wearing a popular clothing line and giving feedback on positive and negative attributes to others. * People would rather hear about a product or service from someone they can relate to than to hear from a company talk about its own products and services. The influence gained from this can often penetrate new markets the company could not on its own. * This made John think of social media influencers. We’ve talked about peer to peer influencing (i.e. users of a business product), but there is also the mass retail influencer. * Many people are waiting to get the proper amount of information before making a decision. They want it from someone with which they can identify. * Word of mouth is not new, but that’s what social media influence is. It is one step away from customer testimonials but not looked at in the same light. * Go back and listen to Episode 36 on customer advocacy programs as a compliment to this episode. * Employee advocacy programs and user advocacy programs * Employee advocacy programs empower employees to share messages that the employees choose. It is a nice way to provide guardrails for content and branding. * Employee advocacy programs really do make a difference in getting the message of the company out to others but with a personal spin. * A curated message is one thing, but it is important to cultivate a socially active workforce to activate this kind of effort. 12:14 – What is a Marketing Culture? * Check out an article Amy wrote on this topic. * We are all Marketers. It is only a matter of what we are marketing. * Onboarding a new hire is a chance to give new employees the tools to succeed and is an opportunity for the employer to make the employee feel welcome. Providing information about the company voice (fonts, voicemails, e-mail signatures, design guidelines, etc.) is important to keep the brand strong and consistent.

Thanksgiving (USA) 2019 Bonus Episode
Nov 26 2019 51 mins  
Welcome to Bonus Episode 07 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss the influence of family on career and the influence of career on family. Original Recording Date: 11-13-2019 * Note that John sneaks in his top 5 delivery pizza places at the beginning (mentioned in Bonus Episode 2 from last Thanksgiving). Topics – Thanksgiving, Family, and Career 2:05 – Influence of Family on Career * Who in your family can be an influence on career? * These are the people in our lives that model career, how they balance, work, life, and family. * Sometimes it is chosen family and not birth family. * The level of influence depends on the amount of time spent with the person. * 5:12 – What specific kinds of influence does family have on career? * Family businesses are often passed down for multiple generations to keep it going. Nick gives a specific example here. * Growing up in and around a family business can soak in, making it feel normal. Some will love this, while some will not. * Not everyone is qualified to take over a family business, but being exposed to it may influence a person to work in that specific type of industry. * Sometimes everyone in a family works in the same field (i.e. a family of teachers, a family of doctors, etc.). John shares an example from his wife’s family. * The career field can become ingrained in children in this type of environment. * John shares a realization about his current career field. * Behaviors * What if family members appear to constantly work or work takes them away from important events and special family time? * 10:34 – John White School of Mentoring Plug * Nick shares his daughter’s perception of his work. * Avoidance of work is something that can also be modeled. * Work / life balance * If family members have a poor work / life balance, it could cause resentment of a specific job or job field. * We react to what is modeled around us, regardless of what it is. * Kids socialize about what their parents do and how present they are. * Nick got some feedback on time spent working from his brother-in-law. He did not realize at the time that things were out of balance. * Being on call is a part of some jobs. It just is. * Shift work * Nick shares a story about his aunt that worked 2nd shift and the effort she made to spend time with family. * Shift work can lead to the perception of an absentee parent. * These types of jobs need to be staffed by someone, and it has an impact on that person’s family. * Pressure to perform * Do you put pressure on yourself to perform in your career that started with academic pressures when you were younger? It can happen. * John shares a story of his parents modeling the importance of education. * Academic excellence and trying to beat everyone else are two different things. * Sometimes we don’t realize the influence of past experiences on our current attitudes and behaviors until reflecting carefully upon it.


Management Career Observations, Lessons, and Advice with Kelly Schroeder Pt. 2
Nov 19 2019 31 mins  
Welcome to episode 59 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we have part 2 of an interview with Kelly Schroeder about the technical management career and advice for the would-be manager. Original Recording Date: 10-15-2019 Topics – Kelly Schroeder Interview 02:19 – Kelly’s Current Role as a Manager – Observations and Lessons * How is this role different than his previous positions? * The organization is a different scale with over 2000 employees. The IT Department is 80 people, and Kelly has 15 people under him (2 supervisors and 4 direct reports). * This is wildly different than what he has done in the past. With a team this large, he cannot do anything technical (no room to fit into his day). * Kelly was hired into this job to replace someone on the way out. He replaced a quality person who had built a great team and considers himself of a maintainer than a builder. * Kelly realized the person he was replacing had truly cared about the wellbeing of her team. She understood them, knew them on a personal level, and helped shape them to be better people. * John mentioned some of the great managers he’s had exhibited the same qualities. * At Kelly’s level, he can know all the people on his team and interact with everyone. * Even though he manages managers today, the fundamental principle of caring for his people does not change. * If he was a level or two higher and over a larger team the connection with each person would not be feasible. * We’re not sure how more senior level leaders handle this, but maybe we need to have one on the show. * When managing managers, Kelly can set an expectation / vision and ask managers to communicate to their teams, but it’s extremely difficult to step back and avoid micromanagement. * John shares a fun anecdote about how to properly raise a flag in the military. * 12:44 – John White School of Mentoring Plug * Pulling back from micromanagement comes down to respect. * It feels disrespectful for him to do someone else’s job. When he gets the urge, he thinks about the way he would want to be treated and changes course. * Is managing like parenting? Listen to Kelly give some great advice here. 16:02 – Advice for the Would Be Manager * Know what your leadership looks like. * Some feel leadership looks like a charismatic leader of a large organization (Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, etc.). Because of this misconception, Kelly originally doubted his ability to be a leader. * Kelly took a StrengthsFinder training and realized he could leverage his relational strengths to lead instead of trying to be like someone who he thinks is a leader. * The StrengthsFinder assessment is just another personality assessment that focuses specifically on your strengths rather than on what you lack. * The episodes on management with Charlie Nichol inspired Kelly to share his perspective with our listeners of coming from the SMB world. * Episode 51 *

The Path to Management and Hard Resume Lessons with Kelly Schroeder Pt. 1
Nov 12 2019 50 mins  
Welcome to episode 58 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we have part 1 of an interview with Kelly Schroeder about the path to management and some hard-won resume advice. Original Recording Date: 10-15-2019 Topics – Kelly Schroeder Interview 03:09 – Kelly’s Background * Kelly works for a city government as manager of help desk and all things end user related, overseeing a team of 15 people. * He came from the small business world where one must wear all the hats. * Kelly has experience working in a number of industries including a government contractor, a 2-year college, a web development firm, and has even owned his own business. * Nick and John met Kelly through the Spiceworks community. * After getting married, Kelly found a job through a friend. He got started installing network wiring. * This was interesting (being a part of the technology industry) but not a job he specifically wanted to keep doing. * Kelly started at a 2-year college with a very technical focus and later went to a 4-year college, landing on a degree in business. * When people ask Kelly about the value of a 4-year degree, he says it depends. The recommendation for most people if they have no career path in their current field is to get a degree in an area they care about or that really interests them. * If you don’t know what you want to do, spend some time thinking about it. * Most employers just look to see if you have a degree. The place it comes from is not as important. * Take some classes in business so you understand it and can communicate ideas well to other business leaders and professionals. Many IT professionals do not understand business. * It is challenging for technical people to communicate effectively with executive leaders. * John cites Sales training as opening his eyes to how business leaders think about technology. * Do people in technical Sales have a better chance at getting what they want accomplished? * Maybe the gap in IT is effective communication with upstream management. 14:14 – Paths to Management * Does training in business / Sales naturally lead to being a manager? * Kelly had no desire to go into management. It just so happens that the technology curriculum at his college was inside the business realm. He later realized the value of having all the business classes (Marketing, Sales, Accounting, etc.) in addition to pure IT curricula before starting in the workforce. * Managing people is an entirely different skill than business management. * Kelly’s original perception of people in management was tainted. He viewed manager as a dirty word and people in management roles as sell outs. * He never wanted to be like popular portrayals of terrible managers (i.e. something you would see in a Dilbert comic strip). * Kelly discovered at a previous job how much he loved being a manager. * He was hired into a small business IT manager role. * The things he loved most were connecting people within the organization with ideas and solutions as well as developing the team (which sounds like...

Preparing for Unexpected Opportunities Part 5 – Personal Finance
Nov 06 2019 52 mins  
Welcome to episode 57 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss how to prepare for unanticipated career opportunities, part 5, Lessons in Personal Finance. Original Recording Date: 10-27-2019 Topics – Preparing for Unexpected Career Opportunities, Part 5 A Review of the Series to Date * Go back and listen if you missed these episodes… * Part 1 – Preparation * Part 2 – Contact * Part 3 – Agreeing to a Discussion * Part 4 – Decision Time 1:27 – Update on John’s Employment * John is officially employed now and is a Customer Engineer at Google representing the Google Cloud portfolio of products. 2:54 – Personal Finance * We realized a lot of the advice we gave in previous episodes centered around being in a financially health place and wanted to dig into that a bit further. * Financial struggles are an emotional strain whether you are employed or unemployed. Debt applies pressure and drains mental energy from people. * John cites lack of debt as a way to provide freedom during a job search. 6:08 – Advice from Manager Tools * Check out the following episodes from Manager Tools: * Getting Laid Off – Finances Rule * Their main advice in the event of a layoff is control expenses event before applying for other jobs. * They recommend a 6 month emergency fund to cover expenses in case this happens to you. * Annual Layoff Immunization * They advise have a number of items readily available at home… * Printed personal contacts list * This is not something proprietary from your last company…don’t be that person. * Printed recruiter list * Access to business reviews * Current resume 9:54 – Sharing Our Favorite Sources * John * Personal Finance for Dummies Cheat Sheet * Bogleheads Personal Finance Planning Start-Up Kit * Inspired by John Bogle * There are articles on a number of immediate actions one can take to change personal finance situations. * Nick * Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps * Advice from The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach * The advice given here helps enable behavioral change...

Preparing for Unexpected Opportunities Part 4 – Decision Time!
Oct 29 2019 36 mins  
Welcome to episode 56 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss how to prepare for unanticipated career opportunities, part 4, Decision Time! Original Recording Date: 10-03-2019 Topics – Preparing for Unexpected Career Opportunities, Part 4 1:53 – A Review of the Series to Date * Go back and listen if you missed these episodes… * Part 1 – Preparation * Part 2 – Contact * Part 3 – Agreeing to a Discussion 2:20 – Decision Time * An offer letter is an official document describing terms of employment (with compensation package) for the potential employee to sign. * Likely you do not want to make a company put this together unless you’re considering taking the offer. * John mentions the decision point should likely come before you receive an offer letter. * 4:20 Review of questions to ask yourself during the process * Is this opportunity interesting enough to keep pursuing? * Am I interested in what the company is doing / the products it has, etc.? * Have I become more interested as a result of going through the process? * If at any point during the interview process you became disinterested, politely end the process. * Did you rank your priorities (money, travel, flexible schedule, area, support for family life, etc.)? * What is most important to you that would motivate you to make a change? * What tradeoffs would you be willing to make? * Review podcasts on reasons not to pursue an opportunity * Episode 16 – Before Applying * Episode 17 – During Interviews or After the Offer * 11:58 The company making you an offer has to sell you on making the change. It should be a better match to your priorities than you have today. * Don’t forget to consider how the change will affect your family (spouse, children, etc.). * Nick and John share anecdotes on being in close proximity to family. * 16:22 Should you leverage the offer for a raise at your current company, even if you are thinking about taking the job? * Again, the answer is likely no. * If this offer has exposed gaps at your current company, ask your employer to address them without posing the threat of leaving. * A perception of one foot out the door could be created. * 18:19 What if you turn down the offer? * Maintain professionalism no matter what. * Maybe the company making the offer just cannot meet your needs. * The art of saying no requires practice and can be difficult. * 20:29 What if you take the offer?

Preparing for Unexpected Opportunities Part 3 – Agreeing to Discuss Opportunities
Oct 22 2019 42 mins  
Welcome to episode 55 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss how to prepare for unanticipated career opportunities, part 3, Agreeing to Discuss Opportunities. Original Recording Date: 10-03-2019 Topics – Preparing for Unexpected Career Opportunities, Part 3 Agreeing to Discuss Opportunities 01:57 – A Review of Earlier Series Episodes * Go back and listen to part 1 and part 2 of this series if you missed them! * John gives a brief overview of what we covered in those episodes 03:23 – The Desire to Have a Conversation…Expressing Interest after Initial Contact * Scenario – Unsolicited contact / voluntary contact * What would it take to get you to make a change? * John reminds us that we should know the answer to this already. Revisit this frequently. * What do I like / not like, and what is the dream scenario? * Consider also… * Personal value * Satisfaction with compensation * Amount of travel * Different, interesting role (perhaps in a different industry) * A specific company of interest * Remember to Dream in Bands * 6:34 What questions should you ask during this first conversation? * Find out exactly what the hiring process looks like. Get all of the details from first contact to offer letter. * Highlight your relevant experiences through the lens of what this new company is looking for in candidates. Does your LinkedIn profile reflect this? It should. * What does the company want in an ideal candidate? Understand exactly what the position is. Figure it out now to avoid later surprises. * What is the timeline to fill this position? * How many others have been screened for this and presented to the hiring manager? Know where you are in the pool (if possible) to set proper expectations. * Recruiters may not be extremely honest about this to cast a wider net. John shares his experiences here. * The goal is to get past this gatekeeper to talk to the next person in line (likely the hiring manager). * As much as we’d like to, don’t hold the company responsible for how timely the recruiter is in getting back to you. On the other hand, if the hiring manager isn’t timely, you have no reason to believe they’d treat you any differently if you’re hired. Weigh that in your decision to move forward. * Keep in mind the recruiter’s job is to make a placement. Their job is to get qualified candidates into the funnel. * Go back and listen to Episode 2 on early process interviews * 15:07 Why should you move forward in the process after this first conversation if you’re still not looking for a job? * It’s good to keep practice interviewing. Most of us do not do this as part of our jobs.

Preparing for Unexpected Opportunities Part 2 – Contact
Oct 15 2019 32 mins  
Welcome to episode 54 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss how to prepare for unanticipated career opportunities, part 2. Original Recording Date: 09-30-2019 * John’s last day at VMware was 10/4/2019. Listen carefully to his reasons for making a change. Do they sound like advice you’ve heard before? Topics – Preparing for Unexpected Career Opportunities, Part 2 04:10 – After Initial Contact, A Methodology * Go back to part 1 of this series if you missed it. * Some basic assumptions * A great job at a great company won’t last forever. * Most people don’t work for the same company for many years / retire from the company where they started in the work force. * Companies get acquired, make acquisitions, and go out of business. * Contact was unsolicited * Should you respond to every unsolicited request from a recruiter? * If you aren’t interested, be honest. * John recommends communicating the mismatch, the reasoning behind it, and being polite. Feel free to borrow his script. * Offering to pass along solid candidates to the recruiter is a great way to build rapport and will help your network. * Politely saying no to someone can actually benefit you in the long run. This could be a chance for the recruiter to recognize talent and dig into what you really want in a new opportunity (at some point). It’s probably best not to offer this information unless you get asked. * Should you accept a LinkedIn request from a recruiter, or is that a red flag that you might be looking for work elsewhere? Nick and John weigh in. * Is not looking for a new job an advantage when speaking with a recruiter? * Absolutely – if you don’t need a job, you begin in a power position and can entertain only things that are interesting. * What if you are interested? * Things recruiters say to hook you… * Perhaps there is a mismatch (a position level seems wildly out of step with where you are now even though the industry may be similar). This could be an opportunity to get feedback on how you’re marketing yourself and how it is perceived by others. John has an interesting example to share. * I noticed you’re showing "not interested." Can you share 3 things that would cause you to rethink that and pursue an opportunity elsewhere? * This is a blatant Sales tactic. But it’s effective and really makes you think. Would you be able to answer these? * Similar industry, similar position, all the right trigger words * Each of these scenarios make for an interesting next conversation. * Evaluate your own situation so you are ready for these conversations. No one can answer the questions for you. * What if you’re looking to do more or less travel? * What if you want to move to a different industry? * You never know what is possible until you think about it. * Maybe it’s a list of 5 things you like about what you do / where you are, 5 things you dislike, and 5 things that are stretch goals.

Preparing for Unexpected Opportunities Part 1 – Preparation
Oct 01 2019 42 mins  
Welcome to episode 53 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss keeping prepared in anticipation of unanticipated career opportunities. Adrian Cockcroft’s Reading List Original Recording Date: 09-30-2019 Topics – Keeping Your Resume Updated, Update What You Want In A Work Environment, Keeping a Healthy Network, Handling Unsolicited Opportunities 03:46 Keeping Your Resume Updated * Get in the routine of keeping your resume current * Kitchen sink resume * Milestones and Awards * Do goal-setting exercises regularly and do updates based on those goals * Hold us accountable to do an episode about how to do professional goal-setting * Goals should be measurable * Impacts of progressing on your goals should be measurable * Checking-in with your manager on goals is also a great process * Frequency of updates * Check activities against goals * Add or remove goals? * You don’t need to edit to resume language more than monthly or quarterly * Translating to LinkedIn regularly * Private mode or not? * Routine updates vs major changes in jobs 13:28 Think about what you want in a work environment and company * John’s example * Smart people who think differently from me * A continuing focus on long-term best interests of the employee * A learning environment * Healthy career trajectory * Compelling solutions to business problems * So decide what you’re looking for * As a start, you can define your target environment in comparison and contrast with your current and past jobs * Then decide whether the new position meets those needs. * See Nerd Journey Episode 16 and Nerd Journey Episode 17 on when to walk away from an offer and Nerd Journey Episode 20 on Area of Destiny * This can help you evaluate opportunities 19:13 Keep your network healthy * These are the people who can help when you need help * Manager Tools has great ideas about this * Grow, grow, grow * Check in with LinkedIn contacts * Keep up to date with people you meet in person * What can you do to help them? ("Give to your network" – Manager Tools) * It can be difficult to keep in touch with everyone as your network grows * Look to grow beyond just people in your specific industry, your title, and your level 23:55 Types of unexpected "opportunities" * Involuntary Separation * Your preparation gives you a head start on getting your resume out there * Your prep helps reduce the stress of the situation * Your prep helps you to focus on the best opportunities for you

Considering a Management Career and Learning to Develop Teams with Charlie Nichol Pt 2
Sep 24 2019 51 mins  
Welcome to episode 52 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In the second half of our discussion with Charlie Nichol, we talk about his advice for those considering management as a career, as well as the ins and outs of team development. Original Recording Date: 07-28-2019 * Charlie is currently a Senior Solution Engineering Manager for VMware’s Central US region (focusing on Enterprise) and has been with the company for 8 years. He manages a team of field pre-Sales SEs spanning Texas to Wisconsin. Topics – Considering Management Careers and Developing Teams with Charlie Nichol 03:51 – Advice for Those Thinking about Becoming a Manager * Charlie recommends Ben Bergeron’s Chasing Excellence Podcast * Questions to consider * What is important to you? * Where do you want to be when you retire? * What do you like about your current job? * What skills are needed to get to where you would like to be, and how do you get experience with those skills? * What skills do you have now that are already a good fit? * Charlie gives the example of eventually running a company and what could be done to master the financial side of that. * Ideas… * Read leadership books * Listen to leadership podcasts * Ask for a 1-1 with a leader to get feedback on awkward situations. Most managers are willing to have this kind of meeting with you. * How do you know if you want to be a manager? * Do the things discussed in our previous episode sound exciting? * Are you ready to step away even further from the keyboard? You are not an expert on the technology any longer. * Are you ready to focus more on the people and helping them succeed? * The best way to find out is to go do it! You won’t know for sure until you try it. * Have career conversations with your manager like we discussed in Episode 45. * Go find someone who has something you want, and interview that person. * Don’t rule it out as an option automatically. Maintain a growth mindset. * If you are good at it, great! * If you don’t like it, identify the reasons for this. Is it company culture, lack of a mentor, a dislike for dealing with people, etc.? * Being a manager does not have to be forever. * If people are telling you to pursue it, they may be right about your potential. * Keep in mind individual contributors may already be acting as leaders. 10:50 – Developing a Team * This was something Charlie had to learn. * A really good SE (or other individual contributor) may not make the best manager. * Helping a struggling employee is not just telling them the answer / pointing them to how you would do it. * People have to fail. * Sometimes not stepping in when people are headed down the wrong path is the right thing to do. Providing coaching later allows them to learn. * Charlie has been in a number of leadership trainings since joining VMware.


Individual Contributor to Manager with Charlie Nichol Pt 1
Sep 17 2019 56 mins  
Welcome to episode 51 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In the first half of our discussion with Charlie Nichol, we talk about his early career and his transition to management. Original Recording Date: 07-28-2019 * Charlie is currently a Senior Solution Engineering Manager for VMware’s Central US region (focusing on Enterprise) and has been with the company for 8 years. He manages a team of field pre-Sales SEs spanning Texas to Wisconsin. Topics – Transition to Management with Charlie Nichol 2:40 Intro and Early Career * Career history * Charlie started in IT in high school and worked at a number of places after that. * He cut his teeth at Almost Media Games while setting up globally available and highly redundant bingo and lottery systems. * He later worked for Sequel Data Systems in Austin doing some pre-Sales and some post-Sales work related to networking, storage, and virtualization. This also involved training customers to operate the systems he installed. * Charlie also did work for Home Depot on the Windows Engineering team and as part of the storage team. * He later went to Dell and worked on a product team called Virtualization Solutions Engineering, writing performance white papers for hardware vendors. * There was no Googling. He helped write the performance whitepapers people would later Google. * After giving a number of demos to technical people and high level executives, Charlie found he enjoyed explaining technology to people. * A friend encouraged him to interview for an Inside Solution Engineer position with VMware. The rest is history. * Charlie comments on why he feels the SE job is the best job. 8:48 – Transition from Individual Contributor to Manager * When Charlie first joined VMware, he felt like being a SE was his career path. * Being an Inside SE involved doing many demos and working with customers from different parts of the country. * Charlie’s boss kept asking what was next in his career path. * At first, Charlie was thinking a CTO type role or an architect could make sense. * His boss encouraged him to pursue leadership (not something Charlie wanted). * The two paths within the SE space were to climb the individual contributor ladder to Principal or to move to leadership. * Charlie’s desire was to stay close to the technology and maintain technical credibility. * His manager had an uncanny knack for knowing when to throw an interesting project Charlie’s way. * Since Charlie trusted his manager to help him succeed, he decided to take the manager’s advice to pursue leadership. * Charlie’s manager began to groom him so we would be ready when a manager position opened. * Charlie would sit in on meetings, take care of reports, or run a team meeting now and again. * After the bug was put in Charlie’s ear, he started looking for opportunities to take on leadership tasks. Was it the frequency illusion? * Charlie shares the story of meeting a new VP and how he took the opportunity to educate his VP. * This led to the VP wanting a SE presence in future decision making meetings,

Bonus: VMworld 2019 US Discussion
Sep 10 2019 54 mins  
Welcome to bonus episode 06 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we have a contemporaneous discussion of our experiences at VMworld 2019 in San Francisco. Original Recording Date: 08-29-2019 John mentions the post-VMworld interview he did with Ramzi Marjaba of We the Sales Engineers YouTube video or audio. Topics – Sharing Experiences at VMworld US 2019 4:20 Opening Banter * John comments on this being our second take on recording. 5:55 How has the show been? * Nick didn’t go to many evening events, especially those where it is too loud to have a conversation. * Nick and John were at the vExpert party on one of the events (a quieter event) and had some great conversations. * Neither of us has reached Al Rasheed‘s level of professional networking capabilities. * We met Brian Trainor and Chris Schott and had some great conversations. * Most of the people we met at the conference were there to… * Attend keynotes, some sessions, and check out the solutions exchange * The people in the vCommunity / vBrownBag area placed a much higher priority on networking than the average attendee. This kind of priority is a career accelerator. * Nick thinks many people come to conferences to look for jobs (even though you may not know it). * Once you have career advancement on your mind, it never really leaves your mind. John makes it a point to visit with other people inside his own company he might not otherwise meet. * 11:43 Vendor Expo * Nick spent the better part of an afternoon walking around the solutions exchange. He enjoys learning about new vendors, the markets in which they play, and the problems they solve. * If you are part of a VMUG, point your local VMUG leaders to interesting vendors for potential meeting sponsorship. * Nick’s pitch to new, interesting vendors is to sell them on SpiceCorps sponsorship. * Nick ran into Ian Eyberg, CEO of NanoVMs. Nick had heard him on Datanauts Podcast # 54 discussing Unikernels. * Are you talking with vendors when attending a conference? If not, you may handicapping yourself at a later time. * John doesn’t take much vendor swag at trade shows these days. * Nick carried his full laptop around the show but would set it down on the ground when talking with someone in the solutions exchange. Many people go tablet or with just their phone to lighten the load on their back. 17:26 Sessions * Nick and John were only able to attend 2 sessions each on the final day. When you work for the vendor putting on the conference, your time is not your own. * The recorder battery ran out. 19:25 Presentations – following up on

HR and Company Culture – Marisa Eckberg Pt 2
Sep 03 2019 32 mins  
Welcome to episode 50 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we have part 2 of our discussion with Marisa Eckberg. We discuss how the Human Resources department affects company culture, evaluating company culture from the outside, and when to go to HR with issues. Original Recording Date: 07-17-2019 Topics – Part 2 with Marisa Eckberg – Human Resources and Company Culture 03:01 – Human Resources and Company Culture * Senior leadership has different perceptions of HR. This limits the overall impact. * Keeping them out of legal trouble * Champions of culture who offer management strategies, help encourage productivity, etc. * Help make this "a cool place to work" * Kill off the annual performance review * Need HR to be the police * There is a transition in HR in relation to titles * Chief People Officer * Human Capital Management * People Operations * Chief People Strategist * Note: Over the years this industry has changed from Personnel to Human Resources to People-centric 08:12 – Detecting How a Company Values Culture * Check the company’s social media pages as well as Glassdoor. Are employees posting about what is happening at the company? * Marisa does "sleuth work" on new clients in this way. * Search for people who currently work for the company or some who have worked there in the past in similar roles. * Culture is organic. HR is a facilitator of culture. * Maybe they facilitate a costume contest for Halloween or approach management with the idea to do it. * Marisa gives the example of Zappos. * The company allows employees to do things they want to do to keep the environment fun. * Zappos looks for cultural fit in interviews and turns people away who are not a fit. * Book recommendation – Built on Value by Ann Rhoades * Do companies "culture wash" their speak to attract talent? * Company culture is definitely a buzz phrase, but it comes down to employee engagement (connection between the employee and the work they are doing for the company, feeling of constributing to something bigger). * Cool amenities are nice but do not promote employee engagement. * What do employees doing the work need to stay engaged? * Before you start looking for companies and applying for jobs, find out what you value. Likely you want a company with similar values to get a good fit. * See Episode 17 on the idea of value match. * Who can help an employee change company culture? * If you have a good relationship with your manager, start there. Ask if you should talk to HR. * You can certainly still talk to HR, but bring ideas (positive suggestions) and not complaints. * Come with suggestions to solve problems / improve the culture.

Paid Time Off and Company Culture – Marisa Eckberg Pt 1
Aug 27 2019 36 mins  
Welcome to episode 49 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss Paid Time Off with the first part of our interview with Marisa Eckberg. Original Recording Date: 07-17-2019 Topics – Part 1 with Marisa Eckberg – Paid Time Off and Company Culture * We wanted to talk about PTO with an HR professional to shine a light on one way to avoid burnout in IT. We did previously talk to Keiran Shelden about IT burnout in Episode 46 and Episode 47 6:10 – What Do Human Resources People Do? * Our guest this week is Marisa Eckberg, an HR Consultant with over 40 clients of various sizes and in various industries. * She helps companies with strategy and compliance, helps with audits, builds compensation structures, conducts salary surveys, and works on performance management. It depends on the company as to which of these they need or want. * Companies don’t always realize the responsibilities that come with hiring and onboarding employees. * Outsourcing HR allows businesses to focus on the business and not on having Human Resources expertise (similar to outsourcing accounting, web design, or other things). 10:03 – Frameworks for Evaluating Paid Time Off (PTO) Policies * There are no federal laws requiring PTO be given to employees. It is a benefit. * There are states and cities requiring paid sick time for employees, however. * Ask potential employers about their benefit plans holistically before accepting an offer (not just PTO). * PTO in an offer is negotiable. Remember that! * At the time of this recording, unemployment was very low. High quality candidates will likely already have jobs. * One way employees try to retain and attract talent is offering unlimited PTO (seems to be a trend). * Unlimited PTO saves the employer from needing to pay out any unused hours when an employee leaves the company. * Some states do not have to pay out unused PTO (if there is a cap) when an employee leaves. Marisa provides specific examples. * Keep an eye on your PTO balance, and please take it! * Studies show employees take about the same number of days off when at companies with unlimited PTO vs. those who have specific allotments per year. * The average is 12-14 days plus 8 holidays. * Does organizational size matter for those offering unlimited PTO? * The company’s industry and workforce makeup are more important to consider here instead of company size. Listen to Marisa’s examples of where this may / may not fit. * Marisa mentioned for companies giving a specific PTO allotments, tenure is usually the separator between lower and higher PTO allotments rather than employee classification (salary vs. hourly). * Management and above may get more PTO by default. 20:21 – Benefits as an Expression of Company Culture * Companies must create their own brand when recruiting.

Amanda Blevins’s Career Happiness VMworld Session
Aug 20 2019 35 mins  
Welcome to episode 48 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss career happiness, as covered by Amanda Blevins in some past VMworld sessions. Original Recording Date: 07-13-2019 Topics – Amanda Blevins and Career Happiness, VMworld 2018 Throwback 0:55 – Background on Our Topic Selection * This is a follow up discussion from something we mentioned in Bonus 01. * This week we’re sharing some nuggets from a VMworld US 2018 session Amanda Blevins did on career happiness. You can view the presentation from VMworld US 2018 on-demand here and the one she did with Joe Baguley from VMworld 2018 Europe here. * If you happen to be at VMworld 2019 this year, you can see the session live. Achieving Happiness: Building Your Brand and Your Career. See the content catalog link for the US Session and the EU Session to add it to your personalized agenda. * The Nerd Journey crew (John and Nick) will be at VMworld US 2019 this year. Come chat with us! * John is doing a VMware {code} session entitled "Save the IT Department: Add the Development Platform to Your Portfolio". The content catalog link to it can be found here. * Nick is doing a vBrownBag session entitled "Pi in the Sky: Using Wavefront to Analyze Pi-hole Data". See the content catalog link here. 4:37 – Diving into the Session * 5:27 Happiness in your career * Aligning goals, desires, employer, and career path was something John learned from discussions with a career coach. * The distinction between role responsibilities and role requirements are important to identify. Know what you’ve agreed to do. * Often times we lose track of personal requirements and weighting them over professional requirements. * Time with family and friends and on hobbies is important too. * Go back and listen to the episodes with Keiran Shelden on this: * Episode 46 * Episode 47 * Think about project work associated with any job and the distinction between those you have to work on and those you get to work on from flexibility of the role or a need that arises. Is that type of flexibilit important to you? * 9:59 Personal brand * It might be better to call it professional reputation since personal brand is a little bit of a buzz word these days.

Nerd Journey Bonus Episode #05: VMworld US 2019 and Choosing an IT Conference to Attend
Aug 15 2019 50 mins  
Welcome to Bonus Episode #05 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we briefly discuss our plans for VMworld 2019 in San Francisco, then focus on the more general case of attending IT conferences. Original Recording Date: 08-11-2019 Topics – VMworld 2019 Plans and Attending IT Conferences 1:03 Attending VMworld 2019 in San Francisco * John and Nick both first attended VMworld before becoming employees * John and Nick both have short sessions. Come check them out! * John’s – Save the IT Department: Add the Development Platform to Your Portfolio [CODE3333U] * Nick’s – Pi in the Sky: Using Wavefront to Analyze Pi-Hole Data [VMTN5013U] * We’ll have Nerd Journey Stickers! * Tweet @ us for a chat or a meal! * We’ll bring recording gear if you’re interested in recording a brief discussion about your VMworld show or career journey 5:17 Choosing the Right IT Conference to Attend * Types of Conference * Vendor Specific * Sponsored and dominated by one vendor * VMware VMworld * Microsoft Ignite * Oracle Openworld * Kubecon * Dockercon * AWS Re:Invent * Apple WWDC * Google [Cloud] Next * Salesforce * etc * EDIT: Some we forgot: * Cisco Live * Nutanix .NEXT * Google I/O * SAP Sapphire * VeeamON * Dell Technologies World * Puppetize (Puppet) * AnsibleFest (Ansible) * ChefConf (Chef) * HashiConf (Terraform) * ServiceNow Knowledge * Others? Let us know and we’ll add them here * Vendor tech sphere and adjacencies conference, but now it’s a general security conference * Vendor announcements * Review Bonus Ep #1‘s discussion of career implications on paying attention to announcements * Industry Specific * Spiceworld * BlackHat * Human Resources * Modern Arts * Manufacturing * John points out that RSA used to be a vendor show, but is now a general technology security industry show * EDIT: Omissions * DEFCON * Topic / Thought Area Specific * Leadership * Monitorama * DevOps Days * 9:42 Things to consider when making a decision * What interests you? * Specific technology area * Branching out into coding, containers, cloud, etc * Specific vendor’s brand / product * Who do you love? * Cross-show exposure – vendors showcase at each other’s show – * Industry exposure * Trends and hot topics * 12:38 What are the reasons to attend? * Nerd vacation * Party * Professional Networking * Industry peers * Job seeking * Vendor face time * Friends and associates who you only get to see at conferences * Shout out to Al Rasheed‘s

Nerd Journey 047: You, Your Health, and the Datacenter With Keiran Shelden Pt. 2
Aug 04 2019 57 mins  
Welcome to episode 47 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss Keiran Shelden’s article, "You, Your Health, and the Datacenter". Original Recording Date: 07-05-2019 This discussion is partly a follow up to Keiran’s blog on You, Your Health, and the Datacenter. Topic – Keiran Shelden’s Blog Post on Experiencing Burnout 01:46 – Context of the Blog post * The article was a brain dump from the day after he finished a massive project. * The business needed to downsize its infrastructure by the end of the month to save money, and Keiran was in charge of the decommissioning. * He managed the list of customers affected and communicating the maintenance window to them, how the servers were wired and configured, and took on the role of actually doing the decommissioning (required he visit the datacenter). * In the last week of the project he had to go out to the datacenter every night (60 hours in 4 days). * The entire process was extremely draining physically and mentally. * He still tried to carry his normal workload during all of this, would not take breaks, and just kept going. * Keiran finally realized "I can’t do that. I have stretched myself to my limits." * On the final night, he asked someone to come and help instead of carrying the burden alone, and he has not forgotten the lesson that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. 08:58 Project Failure vs. Personal Health Failure * The project was not a disaster but just very fragile (i.e. caused Keiran to push himself to the limits). * Keiran got sick after the project was finished and considers this a failure. * We as employees want to go beyond at times and do our very best, but putting yourself at risk is never a good idea. 11:56 Personal Risk Factors for Burnout * Keiran’s story resonates with a number of us in the technology space. * In a previous role, Keiran’s technical mistakes began to haunt him. * When presented with this particular project, Keiran felt the need to prove to himself and others that he could see it through successfully. * Experiences in our past have the potential to haunt us later in life. * Keiran cites a book by Osher Gunsberg, which you can find here, that resonated with him on this topic. * In the real world, having the realization of a problem is the first step to solving it (unlike in the movies). * Keiran mentions the fears and nervousness that come in regard to public speaking (as well as being on this podcast). It’s something many of us can understand. * John cites two modes of thought…storytelling mode and experiential mode…and the inability to be in both simultaneously. Can you relate? Source:Pragmatic Thinking and Learning – Refactor Your Wetware by Andy Hunt Section 3.1 – Your Dual-CPU Modes

Nerd Journey 046: Career Advancement – Keiran Shelden Pt. 1
Jul 30 2019 32 mins  
Welcome to episode 46 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss Keiran Shelden’s battle with career advancement in the first of two episodes with him. Original Recording Date: 07-05-2019 This discussion is partly a follow up to Keiran’s blog on You, Your Health, and the Datacenter. Topic – Keiran Shelden, Career Advancement, and Unexpected Feedback 3:15 – Career Journey * This episode gets off to a rocket start based on Keiran’s first comment! He is our first international guest on the show and definitely a humble guy. * Keiran started playing with computers at 9 or 10 and eventually did computer support for his school here and there. * In high school, had the opportunity to do a coop program that gave him experience in the workplace. * This is an optional extracurricular type of activity in Austrailia. * School is an option, but the school based training that Keiran did is an option as well. It involves a day out of school (which students have to make up) that students use to immerse in a real work environment (industry of your choice). * He chose to work in the IT industry through this program. * After finishing school, he worked at a computer store. Customers fom the store recommended him for a new job, and a manager came in to interview Kieran on the spot. * Kieran took a new role based on that interview managing technology for a high school. It was more responsibility (owning things cradle to grave) than while he was in school * Keiran learned a number of different technologies here including Novell. * A key project was unifying the networks of a number of different schools (each very similar), which allowed Keiran to move around a bit. * Keiran was not making much money at the time and leveraged an IT mailing list to find his replacement and to make his goals of getting a new job clear. He wanted out of education. * A very large school in Brisbane ended up calling him about a job. * The school was not yet virtualized. * Keiran learned about a number of different certification options (CCNA, MCITP). * He failed the MCITP twice due to lack of review. This was a humbling experience. * At this point he started learning about VMware products and involved himself in community. * He started to see where he wanted to progress (into the VMware space). The school’s small environment made it challenging to move to companies with larger environments and more feature usage. * He ended up being too focused on this specific technology area (but did not realize it yet). * Listen to Keiran’s stories from multiple interviews with a particular CEO. * The CEO did something very unexpected, and Keiran has never forgotten it. * Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback in / after an interview. * Despite not getting the job, Keiran still received feedback. What was the impact of the feedback? * Keiran’s current company took a chance on him despite thinking his focus was still a bit narrow. * The range of technologies he gets to touch in this role h...


Nerd Journey 045: Career Conversations With Your Manager
Jul 23 2019 41 mins  
Welcome to episode 45 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss how to prepare for a career conversation with your manager. Original Recording Date: 06-29-2019 Topic – Preparing for a Career Conversation with Your Manager 1:03 – The Genesis of This Idea * We touched on the idea of a career 1-1 with your manager in Episode 12. * Nick recently needed to prepare for this type of conversation and thought he and John should share the methodology. 2:48 – If You’re not Having Career Conversations… * Not everyone has a regular career check-in with their manager. Some people may not even have regular 1-1 meetings. * Why not? * Is this a cultural aspect of the organization you’re in within the company or the company itself? * Is it the size of the company or related to your manager having too many direct reports? * Is your manager ineffective, or is it possible that he / she has an ineffective manager? * Make a guess as to why this may not be happening for you. * Can you start? * Are there any barriers? Do you have a good relationship with your manager? * Ask to have career added to the agenda of normal 1-1s as a starting point. If that goes well, you can branch out to asking for dedicated career discussions. * What if there are barriers? * Aside from making the ask feeling awkward, you may be butting up against a cultural norm that does not support career conversations. * If you are not comfortable enough with your manager to ask the question, it may indicate an issue between you and your manager (something to explore and figure out). * If you cannot ask, knowing why is at least helpful. * If it’s not ok to have these conversations, can you accept it? * You may not need to have these specifically with your manager. Perhaps outside peers and mentors would be a better option. * Is this something you actually need, is it a priority, and is this the right organization / department for you (might not be that the company is not right)? * John asked about the aspects of career conversations before taking his current job. Be sure to ask what career conversations / career progression looks like within the company during the interview process if this is important to you. * If changes occur within the company / organization and career conversations no longer happen, maybe it is time to make a change (job or company). * Are you interested in stimulating positive organizational change? * This takes time, effort, and political capital to do. * Get advice from others for help (inside or outside the company). Not everything that happens is a reason to change jobs. 12:02 – Preparing to Have the Conversation * Think about where you want to be in the next 2 – 5 years. * Nick didn’t think much about this after landing his current job, while John had thought about it during the interview process. * It requires dedicated brainstorming time outside of the normal daily / weekly set of tasks.

Nerd Journey 044: The Nerd Journey First Anniversary Review
Jul 16 2019 60 mins  
Welcome to episode 44 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss the one year anniversary of our podcast launch, a review of topics we have covered, and where we plan to go from here. * Check out Nick’s one year reflection post for more insight on what the past year co-hosting a podcast has been like. * Check out John’s one year reflection post for his additional thoughts on the origins and evolution of the podcast. Original Recording Date: 06-01-2019 Topics – The First Anniversary Review 1:33 – One Year Since Launch! * Did you notice the change to the intro? * Reflecting on the launch * John tells the story of how the podcast came to fruition and how it morphed into having a career-centric focus. * This was an attempt to give advice and speak to some of the things we heard others in the industry saying about the need to progress but feeling like they have reached a dead end. * Until we stepped out of IT operations, neither of us understood all career path options for those in IT operations. * As John says, when you start doing something, you will definitely be bad at it. We decided to just start podcasting. Listen to how many episodes we needed for practice before releasing. * Can you find the episode Nick mentioned having "release candidate" mentioned in the intro? * The opening has evolved from its humble beginnings. John discusses specific changes and the reasons for them. * Fun Facts * The Nerd Journey logo was created by Nick’s wife. What two cities form the skyline in our logo? Tweet us the answer for a chance to be on the show! * The intro and transition music was created by John’s wife (who happens to be a musician). * In the beginning, we had some concerns. * Could we sustain a weekly cadence? * John went to local podcast meetup groups for ideas on this. Would it have been best to release a season at a time? * Many of our ideas were the result of life experience and continuing to doing the podcast regularly. 13:56 Episode Retrospectives * Our most popular episodes by topic * Interview topics seemed to resonate with listeners. * The generalist / specialist episode Episode 26 caused a lot of interaction on social media. * We’re not always sure how episodes will be received by our audience. * Managing current job career focused tasks * Episode 28 – Asking for more Money * Episode 12 – Effective 1-on-1s with Your Manager * Episode 5 – Sales Skills for IT *

Nerd Journey 043: Ethan Banks on Podcasting and Turning a Hobby into the Packet Pushers
Jul 09 2019 56 mins  
Welcome to episode 43 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we talk to Ethan Banks, co-founder of the Packet Pushers technical podcast network about becoming a podcaster and turning that hobby into a business. Original Recording Date: 05-28-2019 Topics – Beginning to Podcast and Turning Hobby into Business 1:47 – Getting into Podcasting * Podcasting for Ethan was an evolution of blogging. * He started a CCIE blog in 2007 as a study guide while he was working through the certification. * There were not many networking podcasts out there, so Ethan thought it would be good topic. * At the same time Greg Farrow was looking to recruit writers for his blog. Ethan didn’t want to write but wanted someone to help host the podcast. Coincidentally, Greg had been talking to someone named Dan Hughes about recording a podcast. * The trio started recording together as a result. * Ethan had done some audio work for the church he attended and even mixed an album for a friend of his. He had enough experience to put a good product out the door from an audio standpoint. * Early on, Dan had to leave the podcast due to his role, leaving Ethan and Greg to move forward together. * Fun fact – Ethan took a brief break from co-hosting the podcast to take Divinity classes but decided it was not for him. A friend that filled in for Ethan on the podcast stepped aside when Ethan was ready to return. * Managing work, blogging, and podcasting was brutal. * "Committing to a weekly show means you need to have a show every week." * Coordinating schedules with guests can be challenging. * Shows have to be recorded and then edited before released. An edit can take time depending on how comfortable the guest is on the air. * Ethan had a long commute on top of all of this (more than 2 hours per day). * Ethan was doing contract blogs for extra money as well as maintaining personal blogs. * The podcast numbers took off, taking the subscribers from hundreds to thousands. They felt pressure to get good guests and good content to avoid disappointing listeners. * People may not consider the burden to listeners before starting something that has potential to be very successful. * Being married with children on top of all of this made for a VERY busy week. * Missing the cadence with a podcast has a different impact than missing the cadence with a blog. * People who like a show like it because they bond to the personality of the hosts. It’s more personal than writing. "People feel like they know you." * Ethan gives the example of Network Break missing its scheduled release and the impact. * Check out the Heavy Networking Weekly Show # 200 Ethan references. * In this episode, Greg and Ethan had an open conversation about the struggle to keep up what they were doing. * This resulted in community feedback telling Greg and Ethan how valuable their content has been to others.

Nerd Journey 042: Ethan Banks and the Journey to Career Self-Awareness
Jul 02 2019 51 mins  
Welcome to episode 42 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we talk to Ethan Banks, co-founder of the Packet Pushers technical podcast network about his early career path and journey to career self-awareness. Original Recording Date: 05-28-2019 Topics – Ethan Banks and the Journey to Early Career Self-Awareness 2:11 – Ethan’s Early Career Path * Ethan Banks is co-owner and operator of the Packet Pushers Network with Greg Farrow * Disclaimer: this interview kept Ethan up past his bedtime. * Ethan was in Network Operations before making the move to doing Packet Pushers full time. * His father gave him some helpful advice about “getting into computers” to go wherever he wanted, and Ethan ended up majoring in Computer Science (programming, algorithms, etc.). The program basically prepped students to be developers. * Ethan gained experience as a classroom instructor and in the banking industry (electronic funds transfer, automated clearing house, bank teller) after college before going to Novell school. * He moved to a new area with his family but could not find openings in the banking industry. * Ethan saw an ad for Novell school which gave him a new career path. * The company that put on the Novell school also did consulting and hired Ethan part-time, which eventually led to being Microcomputer Support Specialist for the City of Manchester, New Hampshire. * Despite his background, he did not get to use his new knowledge and certification on the job as co-workers saw him as a threat. * Ethan returned to consulting after a few months but left the City of Manchester job in a blaze of fire. He wrote the employer a letter telling them exactly what he thought of the experience. * The work environment was not professional, but he did not handle the exit well as a young man. * At one particular employer (a banking job before Novell school), Ethan’s manager cried in frustrated because of some of his actions. He made an offhand comment to the wrong person and nearly got fired (to a VP, actually). * Ethan thought technical knowledge should trump all when it came to career advancement but quickly learned that was not the only requirement. * John mentions the Dunning Krueger Effect to describe this type of behavior. * People may not realize this until after being bitten a few times. * Ethan speaks to the confidence element needed to be a consultant. * While customer situations and problems may be similar, each one is unique in its own way. * Sometimes you may not know exactly what you’re doing but hope you have the ability to pull it off. 19:16 – People Management and the Journey to Self-Awareness * As you work with enough people, the brakes get put on naturally. * Ethan had enough run-ins with managers who wanted to channel his energy in a different way than he was doing it. * Having kids also helped. * Ethan was hired as a manager for the New Hampshire government and was over employees with many years of experience and vast knowledge. * Ethan realized there was no way to know everything in ...

Nerd Journey 041: Presentations
Jun 25 2019 48 mins  
Welcome to episode 41 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss tips for constructing and giving presentations. Original Recording Date: 05-25-2019 Topic – Presentations 2:56 Reasons People Present * Some people do it for the glory (i.e. to be nerd famous, get attention, etc.). * Educating or informing an audience is John’s favorite reason. This requires people to be very good at digesting information and then present it to others in a way that they understand. * Maybe you’re making a pitch to sell a product, a project, or an idea. 5:36 Stages on which presentations can happen * In person * Internal training (1-many) * 1-1 meeting * User group * Conference (small or large) * The ability to interact will depend on the size of your audience. * Remote * Live – could be 1-1 or 1-many * Some interaction is possible but challenging with large groups * Recorded * Recorded live or solely recorded so others can watch later * No interaction between presenter and audience * The way to get started with public speaking is to get started regardless of the stage. Start small and informal, and move to large and formal. There is a progression to everything. 8:43 Career benefits of presentations * Experience public speaking can be great preparation for a field facing role. * Giving a good presentation on a subject makes you stand out in a crowd and showcases your experience to others. This type pf experience should definitely go on your resume! * If you have a skill that is difficult for most people (i.e. public speaking), it could give you an edge over other candidates. * Exposure to the greater technical or industry community can be helpful to anyone at any level * See Seth Godin’s TED Talk on ideas that spread. * This is an exercise in organizing your thoughts. Can you organize the content so others can follow and learn from you? * A presentation can also be a learning exercise. Trying to teach something to someone else can expose holes in your thinking and give you the chance to learn the subject matter at a deeper level. * Communicating the subject matter well to the audience is part of your mission. John cites a video on explaining Quantum Theory in 5 levels of difficulty (mistakenly remembering it as Chaos Theory to a 5-year-old) as a great example of removing jargon from your thinking. Here’s the entire 5 Levels playlist 15:46 Presentation topic ideas * It should be something that interests you, even if you don’t know too much about it. * Something you have a strong opinion on can be a good topic. * You don’t have to be an expert. Listen to Nick’s recruiting pitch to people at SpiceCorps meetings. * Realize that you have something valuable to share with others. * What would my audience want to hear? * Fit your talk into the proper categories if submi...

Nerd Journey 040: Enterprise Architect Mindset – Paul Woodward Jr and A.J. Kuftic Part 2
Jun 19 2019 41 mins  
Welcome to episode 40 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we chat with Paul Woodward Jr. and A.J. Kuftic about the Enterprise Architect mindset and career paths. Original Recording Date: 05-14-2019 This podcast is a follow up to Episode 14 of the ExploreVM Podcast on Making the Move to Enterprise. 1:51 Business vs Technology Goals * John points out the difference in thinking about business metrics versus technology specifications. * Major software version changes can present a valid reason to make a change (i.e. to move away from a version that is no longer supported, move to a version that is more secure and decreases risk, etc.). * Remember that software interoperability is important. A change to one software may require a change to one or more other products. * Paul cites understanding the presence of change control as a difference when working with larger shops compared to smaller shops. * He points out the organizations he works with as good at detecting risk and his role as an advisor to help mitigate the risk. * A.J. had to learn to talk with people about the reasons they want to make changes within the technology environment. 11:56 – The Enterprise Architect Mindset * Would it be more difficult for someone who started in enterprise IT working in a specific administration role to get into the architect mindset than someone who worked in the SMB who planned, implemented, and supported a specific technology? * It depends on the person and how much they want to make the shift. Likely the person from SMB can make the transition easier. * It comes back to whether you can understand the questions being asked from the business side. * An administrator in a large enterprise who takes the time to be curious, interacts with personnel in other departments, and gets to the root of problems can move into the architect role. * It can’t always be fix and forget. * The person who started in enterprise has a better understanding of how an enterprise business operates than someone moving up from the SMB would regardless of technology exposure. * Some factors that determine success here have to do with organizational culture and adapting to it. * Give back to your team and to other teams in the organization. Seek to interact with people on other teams in an intentional way. * If the organization is setup in an antagonistic way, it can affect your ability to succeed. * Culture doesn’t come from a committee. Changes to it come from the top. 25:04 – Possible Career Paths for the Enterprise Architect * An architect from a customer may want to move to a partner to provide this role "as a service." * Once you hit a certain peak within an organization, moving out into the consulting world can make a great deal of sense to gain exposure to other environments. * Another option is to work over to VP, Director, or CIO levels. This change is more about how you manage people than how you manage technology. Already being able to speak the business / solution language really helps.

Nerd Journey 039: The Transition to Enterprise with Paul Woodward Jr and A.J. Kuftic Part 1
Jun 11 2019 40 mins  
Welcome to episode 39 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we chat with Paul Woodward Jr. and A.J. Kuftic about the transition from smaller organizations to the Enterprise. Original Recording Date: 05-14-2019 This podcast is a follow up to Episode 14 of the ExploreVM Podcaston Making the Move to Enterprise. Topics – Paul Woodward Jr. aka @ExploreVM and @AJKuftic on the transition to Enterprise 2:43 – Background on the ExploreVM Podcast * Paul had been blogging for a couple of years and thought podcasting would be easier than writing. Boy was he wrong about the level of effort involved! * Paul mentioned podcasting has been a great experience. He wanted to give back to the community that helped him grow. * Paul has sound proofing foam in his office to make things sound better. * Changes in Paul’s career trajectory due to starting the podcast… * Paul made the move from delivery engineer in the SMB to large business. He’s now a Pre-Sales Engineer for SHI. * His perception is the podcast has not hurt his career but feels like it has indirectly influenced it. * Paul mentioned people have been pretty open to being guests on his podcast, even in the early days. * Some people were hesitant at first, but they eventually get over the fear, relax, and can have a great conversation (that the rest of the internet gets to hear). * It is not exactly the same as speaking to someone at a user group event or conference (i.e. think phone call vs. in-person interaction). * John speaks to the logistics and challenges of booking podcast guests. 8:55 Paul’s Experience with a Move to Enterprise * Each step has been interesting. * Paul’s first IT job was very siloed and was in identity and access management, but he’s liking the MSP and the VAR world. * The challenges in smaller environment are different than those in larger environments. * The best part for him through this process was continuing to evolve and learn, which was a direct result of making the moves. * Working at one company as a customer may not expose you to the same number of problems and different environments working for a MSP or VAR might. Online community participation is also helpful to gain exposure to a wide variety of scenarios. 11:58 – Silos and Interface Areas * A.J. got silo’d only when he moved to a large enterprise and has spent a large amount of time being a translator who could talk to multiple teams intelligently to promote wider systems level thinking. * For example, understanding public cloud requires knowledge of a number of areas. * Having the generalist mindset coming from SMB really helps build rapport with different teams. * If your Twitter timeline is excited about some new technology, give it 5 years before you’ll see it in proper enterprise. * When these technologies get to large enterprise, there are more standards and best practices developed. * If you’re comfortable in interface areas (where technologies interact),

Nerd Journey 038: Jon Hildebrand and Recovering From a Layoff
Jun 04 2019 48 mins  
Welcome to episode 38 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we have part two of our interview with Jon Hildebrand, where we get to hear the story of his layoff and recovery from being laid off. Original Recording Date: 05-06-2019 Topics – Jon Hildebrand Part 2 – Layoff and Recovery 1:55 LightEdge Layoff * During year 4 at LightEdge, things were on the uptick like implementing new technologies, bringing in public cloud, etc. * Azure was a preferred partner, and they were looking heavily at Azure Stack. * They also looked at network virtualization and other technologies specific to service providers that could add greater value / provide additional services to customers. * There were internal rumblings about acquiring another company. * Borrowing money for an endeavor like this often leads to trimming high salaried positions. * On the morning of April 16th, 2018 Jon was asked to come into his manager’s office and was let go. * The experience was surreal. He had heard of others experiencing this but had never experienced it himself. * They gave him no time to box anything up (told he could come do that in a week) to prevent others at the company from seeing what was happening. * Jon told his wife "I guess I get to go look for a new job." * Jon was supposed to present at a VMUG UserCon in St. Louis the next day and no longer had a laptop to use. He was more worried about this at the time than the fact that he had just lost his job. * There was a feeling of a weight being lifted off his shoulders. * During the last couple of years with LightEdge, Jon had been blogging and attended analyst type events like Tech Field Day. * Jon’s manager encouraged him to attend these events as a personal benefit and a benefit to the organization. * While Jon was at these events, he realized there was something else he was looking for but couldn’t specifically identify it. * Losing his job allowed him to focus on finding what he really wanted to do. * Jon’s best job search advice is to expand the personal network. Always be in communication with even the farthest fringes of your network. * He ran into end of fiscal quarters with different companies when applying. * Jon ran into Andrew Miller of Rubrik (at the time) and ended up starting the interview process with that company, but their timeline did not align with his. * One of the folks at Rubrik encouraged him to look at Cohesity as an option. * Jon found an open position for a Technical Marketer role and applied. * Howard Marks happened to drop Jon’s name as a potential candidate for the same role. * Shortly thereafter, a whirlwind Friday consisting of 4 back-to-back interviews transpired. Jon had an offer by the following Wednesday. * He did not know how much of a pay bump the job would offer, but it turned out to be around 33%. * The personal network helped him land that specific position. * In a roundabout way, starting his career as a consultant put Jon on the pa...


Nerd Journey 037: Jon Hildebrand and the Journey to Architectural Thinking
May 28 2019 30 mins  
Welcome to episode 37 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss. Original Recording Date: 05-06-2019 Topics – Jon Hildebrand 2:26 – Jon’s Background and Career Journey, The Cerner Years * Today Jon is a Principal Technologist at Cohesity and is located in Kansas City. * He spent 14 years with a specific company and moved to a service provider for around 4 years before getting "axed." * Jon realized early on that networking would be very important in his career. * Jon was part of the IT staff at the college he attended and landed a job at Cerner along with several classmates. His first role was that of a consultant. * How is working with college professors similar to working with seasoned IT professionals? List to Jon’s take on that. * One of Jon’s major projects was tackling a Citrix environment in the early 2000s. This was a 6-year endeavor and required heavy travel. * Jon then moved over to managing internal systems (VMware and others) to broaden the technology focus. * By the time he was close to finishing up at Cerner, he was part of a 4-5 person team that managed 80,000 to 100,000 virtual machines and 2500 – 3000 hosts. * The scale of the environment required learning automation skills, and Jon started exploring PowerShell and PowerCLI, drawing on a background in software engineering. * Jon speaks to his discontent with sitting in the middle. He began to get involved in user groups like VMUG. * He started to really enjoy presenting and realized he did not enjoy what he was doing at his day job. * Someone he knew from school let him know about a new opening at a service provider. 12:46 – Moving to LightEdge Solutions * This role would expose Jon to learning networking, storage, and managing multiple global datacenters (not just a single datacenter). * He spent 4 years here and did some great work in process standardization. * Something as simple as building a server could change hands 8 times. Jon was able to trim some of these processes like building a virtual machine down from weeks to just a few minutes. * The automation bug never really left Jon, and even now, he’s still into PowerShell. * At Cerner he was hyper-focused on virtualization, but the role at LightEdge allowed him to touch and gain insight into other areas (or silos). * Jon speaks to other reasons for leaving Cerner in this light. * Jon transitioned to more of an architect than an engineer after being exposed to the pain points of the system as a whole. * One of the reasons this transition was easy for him to make was his ability to improve processes. * When you begin to analyze departmental silos, this is an analysis of environmental culture. Jon speaks to the different mentalities on the organizational structure of technology departments. * John White weighs in on his experience with organizational structure.

Nerd Journey 036: Customer Advocacy Programs
May 22 2019 39 mins  
Welcome to episode 36 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss the pros and cons of customer advocacy programs. Original Recording Date: 04-23-2019 * This episode naturally follows our episodes with Tony Reeves. * Tony Reeves Interview, Part 1 * Tony Reeves Interview, Part 2 Topics – Customer Advocacy Programs 2:43 What are customer advocacy programs and their benefits? * What are they, exactly? * The idea is a vendor has created a program that incentivizes customer to be highly engaged advocates of the solution. * This is not to be confused with customer advocate roles within a vendor. * This is part of the arm of a vendor’s marketing organization. * John never thought of customer advocacy programs as advocacy programs. * What is the benefit to the vendor? * Customers become advocates for the product / solution. * The vendor is promoting and gets valuable thought leadership. * People are way more influenced by their peers than by any other avenue. * Social media widens the reach of the vendor. * Advocates can re-broadcast company content. * Vendors can get qualified feedback on things not working well as it relates to the product. * What are the benefits to the participant? * The participant’s employer gets free marketing exposure out of it (speaking at conferences, etc.). * The employer has industry thought leadership because the participant is on staff. * Free software is often a benefit. * Access to technical vendor resources is more intimate to allow feedback / a greater influence on product features. * Special briefing programs / advanced information / beta program * Nick tells the story of beta testing Arctic Wolf and later becoming an early adopter. 14:33 Downsides to Participation * Being a member of a vendor’s customer advocacy program may be perceived as being biased by the vendor’s technology vision. * Isn’t making a recommendation to someone else about a product the same as being an advocate? * There may be a perceived pressure to contribute in the program. * Is feedback on products or a certain time commitment expected? * Lack of participation in some form will likely lead to not being part of the program in the future. * It’s free sales and marketing for the vendor, and people may want to shy away from that. * John weighs in on IT professionals and popular opinions on interacting with sales and marketing organizations. * Are we (John and Nick) biased toward advocacy programs because we work for a vendor? 19:34 Qualification Process and Popular Programs * Normally people have to apply to be a part of the program and show evidence of technical prowess and participation in the proper areas. * Blogging, podcasting, and community participation (speaking engagement, online forums) are seen as helpful evidences.

Nerd Journey 035: Jimmy Tassin – Minecraft and Building Community
May 14 2019 55 mins  
Welcome to episode 35 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss how Minecraft influenced Jimmy Tassin’s career in the second of our two part discussion. Original Recording Date: 04-16-2019 Topics – Part 2 of Our Discussion with Jimmy Tassin – Minecraft and Building Community The articles of Jimmy’s we reference * How Minecraft Made Me a Better IT Pro * Why I Put Minecraft on My Resume: Crafting a Better IT Career Block by Block 1:46 – Gaming Community Participation and Relatable Experience * Jimmy’s articles in the Spiceworks community mentioned being a part of the Minecraft community. * He was first introduced into the Minecraft community while at his job with the healthcare company. A co-worker got him hooked. * It’s important to choose the right Minecraft server. * Within a year, Jimmy transitioned from player to moderator to admin to co-owner of the Minecraft server. * After a Mincraft server was shut down, Jimmy and other co-owners launched OmniKraft. * From the beginning, administering the server was basically a full time job. It was essentially like running his own company. * As soon as he got home from work, he would begin work on supporting the server. This was 4-5 hours per day on average. * John points out what running a Minecraft server entails to clarify and why this is like running a business. * Jimmy had employees, had to manage expenses, do taxes, setting up the shop for players to spend money, figure out marketing, provided customer service, etc. * The average player age was probably 13. * Managing users was like herding kittens. * Almost everything for Minecraft was Linux-based to make hosting cheaper. * Finding a hosting provider, doing backups, and configuring firewall rules were all part of the administration. * At one point Jimmy’s co-owner suggested they purchase a physical server and co-locate. * Jimmy realized this experience was translatable and could help his career. * During an interview with his current employer, Jimmy was able to provide evidence of his management experience to a C-level audience. * It’s difficult to get a job in management with no experience. Jimmy wrote the articles in Spiceworks to help others realize the experience may not come from your day job. * "I was a gaming service provider / small business owner" vs. "I’m super into Minecraft" * "It’s all the same stuff…just a different wrapping." * The Spiceworks articles received a lot of comments and replies. 23:22 – Putting Something Down to Pick Up Something Else * Jimmy eventually shut OmniKraft down after working on it for 4 year...

Nerd Journey 034: Jimmy Tassin – Career Path
May 07 2019 44 mins  
Welcome to episode 34 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss career paths in the first part of our discussion with Jimmy Tassin. Original Recording Date: 04-16-2019 Topics – Part 1 of Our Discussion with Jimmy Tassin * Nick and John know Jimmy through the Spiceworks community, and Nick had the opportunity to meet Jimmy in person at Spiceworld. * Jimmy is currently the IT Director for a bank near St. Louis and has been with the company for about 5 years. * His focus is mostly on security, reporting, and keeping management happy. 3:14 – Career History * Jimmy got into computers in middle school when Macs started showing up in classrooms. * The librarian noticed he was savvy on the computer and solicited Jimmy’s help with computer support. * Jimmy started taking computer classes in high school and ended up joining the Navy (worked with radar systems and combat control). * After that he went to college and majored in computer science. * In high school he wanted to be a video game developer and at one point got into DigiPen Academy. * He got a bachelor’s and master’s degree in 4 years. * Jimmy came to the realization in college that programming was not for him. * The life of a developer wasn’t what he had originally thought. * To Jimmy, programming was solving a puzzle and very enjoyable. But doing this 8-10 hours per day seemed like a road to burnout. * He worked tier 1 / tier 2 help desk for a health group while going to school. * Listen to his interview story and the perception of being "dressed up." Has this ever happened to you? * John gets on the soap box about company culture and appropriate dress. See Episode 9 for more how to dress for an interview. * After a year, Jimmy switched to night classes and transitioned to full time with this employer. * His approach to the role was to learn everything he could while supporting a user base of 2500 people. * See Episode 31 on scaling for a new endeavor. * Jimmy gives some great advice on making the jump from hobbyist to professional. * Jimmy’s colleagues had experience he could draw from while he gained experience. Google was also a great source of knowledge. * Many people in a help desk role got there because they enjoy helping people, but this role affords a great deal of problem solving opportunities. * The career path within the organization was unstructured. * At one point Jimmy took on PBX administration with a Mitel system (because he was thrown into it by the boss) and later learned VOIP technologies on a Cisco system. * He was also responsible for all audio visual support for staff training meetings. * Jimmy volunteered to help with this effort and even led some staff training.

Nerd Journey 033: Tony Reeves Part 2- User and Advocacy Groups
Apr 30 2019 33 mins  
Welcome to episode 33 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss user groups and advocacy groups in the second part of our conversation with Tony Reeves. Original Recording Date: 04-15-2019 Topics – Tony Reeves of Gigacast on User Groups and Advocacy Groups 02:03 User Group Involvement * Tony got involved in VMUG after a friend told him about VMware technologies in 2008. It was interesting at the time but above his head. * After he got the job as a VMware administrator, he started attending VMUGs close to home. * The community talks were so valuable he started wanting to visit VMUGs in other areas. * Just going to meetings gets you involved in the community. * Tony got to know the leadership of his local group and wanted to start giving back in other ways. * When one of the Wisconsin VMUG leaders got a job at VMware, Tony joined the steering committee and was eventually promoted to leader in October 2018. * As part of the steering committee, Tony was on weekly staff calls and helped find venues for meetings. The time commitment was not as much as he thought. * Being a leader added additional planning responsibilities and required leadership training. * Tony speaks to the customer / vendor / VMware employee ratio on the steering committee and leadership group of a VMUG. 12:07 Advocacy Groups * Tony first applied for the vExpert program at the end of 2016. * He was encouraged to apply by a mentor. * The applications are reviewed, and getting into the program is based on community contribution and participation. * Perks of the program involve free software licenses, sneak peaks at new products, and other special events. * Getting into the program is one thing. Staying in is another. You must maintain contributions (blogging podcasts, etc.). 18:11 Blogging * Tony is also a blogger. * He was recently recognized as the Favorite New Blog for 2018 on vsphere-land.com. 23:03 Podcasting * Tony weighs in on the effects of being on the Gigacast. * Once they shifted the format of the show to a guest format, it seemed to really take off. * Tony may not have been exposed to some of the topics if he did not have this chance to get outside the VMware bubble. * If you like the show, be sure to tell the guys who make it…and don’t forget to ask for a sticker! 26:58 Mentorship * You can contact Tony for help any time. * Tony gives John an on-air "thank you" for a previous mentoring session. * "Now it’s your turn." Contact us if you need help on the journey.

Nerd Journey 032: Tony Reeves Part 1- Career Path
Apr 23 2019 62 mins  
Welcome to episode 32 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss career paths in the first part of our discussion with Tony Reeves. Original Recording Date: 04-15-2019 Topics – Tony Reeves of Gigacast on Career Path 02:37 – The Gigacast * Tony is the co-host of the Gigacast podcast * In 2017, Britton Johnson approached him about starting a podcast. * They wanted to get more of the SMB voice out there. There were too many enterprise scale products out there that did not apply to the SMB, and they wanted to talk through the products. * They eventually began expanding to add guests. * Be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, or their website. 4:27 – Tony’s Career Journey * Tony has always been a gadget guy, taking all the computer classes he could in middle school / high school. * He ended up repairing a friend’s computer at one point and ended up starting his own PC repair business in Wisconsin. * After a technology hiatus, he worked for a telecommunications company on their help desk (in the dial-up days). He later moved over to DSL support and into the web hosting division. * John and Tony speak to the similarities between mechanics and PC builders. * Only John could work in the mention of an article about building your own AR-15 and relate it to PC building. * Wired:THE AR-15 IS MORE THAN A GUN. IT’S A GADGET * Tony used to work on cars for a living before getting involved in technology. * What is dirtier, working on cars or opening up old PCs? Tony shares a story to help you decide. * John throws in another story about his Intel NUC. * Tony left the job at the telecommunications company for personal reasons and moved to a customer service role at an outsourcer. * This company needed a new Network Technician and was encouraged to apply for the role by a peer. Tony got the job. * Tony’s friend and peer ended up leaving the company after about a year for a Network Administrator role. * This friend was the one who told Tony about VMware (around 2008). * Tony stayed at this company for about 7 years and was involved in a number of projects, but it was apparent he would not be able to move up within the company without relocating to a major city. * Tony wanted to get into servers and architecture and away from desktop support. * Tony then made the decision to get certified on VMware technologies, but the cost of classroom training was a barrier. * Someone he met encouraged him to sign up for the course through a local college at a discounted rate. Tony felt people with certifications seemed to have a leg up when it came to interviews. * Tony took the class (on-demand videos plus homework), invested in a home lab (started with a Dell R610),

Nerd Journey 031: Scaling for a New Endeavor
Apr 16 2019 44 mins  
Welcome to episode 31 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss scaling for a new endeavor. Original Recording Date: 04-06-2019 * This episode is a natural extension of Episode 30 on adapting to a new team. Topics – Scaling for a New Endeavor 2:11 Examples of Differences in Scale When Moving up / Moving on * Moving from a team of 4 to a team of 40 * A few remote offices to support vs. 20-30 * 2 Datacenters to 10 * 50 users to 5000 * Jack of all trades at a previous company but hired for new role as a specialist * Smaller companies might not have more opportunities for the highly skilled individual contributor. 5:04 Intellectual / Technical Challenges * The level of knowledge is about the same, but the scale is different. * Examples – web server farm, DR plan per geographic location, geographically dispersed user base, large scale line of business applications, increase in applications to support, internal software development * Prepare ahead of time * How would the systems you’re building scale to support future growth? * Thinking about the challenges / changes that scaling presents will expose gaps in knowledge. * Test environments / formalized test plans may be hard to come by in the SMB. * You may be joining a larger team. * This is an opportunity for collaboration since you may not be the sole owner of an application or area. * Peers may have some overlap in skills and responsibility for cross training purposes. * Change management may not be something present in smaller environments. The approval chains for changes are important and could cause delays in implementing changes. * Large organizations have to think about risk differently. * The guardrails (like change management) exist for a reason. Try not to get frustrated. * Mistakes can cost more money in larger organizations. * Web-scale organizations think about risk differently than large enterprises. * See The SRE Handbook. * The Cloudcast – Episode 392 – Real-World SRE Perspectives * See also Datanauts Episode 89 for more information on SRE. * If you have an error budget and are under budget, it means you are not breaking things often enough. * Tom Limoncelli said "if a process or procedure seems risky, do it often." * Nick gives an example of a system upgrade related to this. * Downtime has to be negotiated with the service or application owner. * This goes along with a different style of application design. John gives a nice example from Netflix and speaks to the blue green deployment methodologies. 22:46 Emotional Challenges

Nerd Journey 030: Adapting to a New Team
Apr 09 2019 49 mins  
Welcome to episode 30 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss adapting to a new team. Original Recording Date: 03-19-2019 Topics – Adapting to a New Team 4:02 Joining a New Team at the Same Company * Your old position is going to be backfilled (taking a new opportunity) * Transition period * Who will carry your former responsibilities while someone new is hired? * This will likely be you for a time. * Who will train the new hire? * There’s excellent documentation to train the new hire, right? * Some training may fall to you (i.e. new person will need guidance), but hopefully some of this falls on the team and the manager. * Hopefully there was some cross training, but it is highly likely you will have tribal knowledge of the role and responsibilities that is not captured anywhere. * Hopefully you got a raise by making the move. See episode 28 for tips on asking for more money. * You may already know new teammates. Foster those relationships, but it is not appropriate to make an announcement about your role change. Let the new manager do that. * Hopefully you leveraged potential future teammates to get information about the manager and the role as part of the interview process. * How will communication of the change to external customers / internal customers be handled? * Someone has to be in charge of this transition. * John has transitioned on and off certain customers in his time at VMware. * A handoff meeting can be very helpful. * Who trains you in your new role, how will it be conducted, and when does it begin? * How do you fit this into new job responsibilities? * Hopefully you addressed this during the interview process for the new role. If the company’s training plan for this kind of change is not ideal, maybe it’s time to rethink joining this new internal organization / team. * Post-transition * At this point, you are working with the new team and assuming full responsibility in the new role. * Meet / built rapport with new teammates * Proximity will determine the way you interact (in-person, phone, video, e-mail, etc.). * Listen to John’s story about a great transition scenario and how he used that opportunity to learn as much as possible. * Reach out to other team members even if they do not reach out to you. * Your position is eliminated (still other opportunities within the same company * Try to check your attitude. * Be logical, and prepare for every scenario (employment elsewhere is possible). * Be careful in the way you communicate the situation to co-workers / former teammates (not a grip session). * Leverage all the positive energy you can muster, and leverage connections to help you toward a new position (guidance, recommendations, etc.). 23:18 Joining a New Company * During the interview process * Early / late exposure to future teammates, possibly not at all depending on the size of organization and what the process involves


Nerd Journey 029: Internal Conferences
Apr 02 2019 48 mins  
Welcome to episode 29 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss organizational benefits of company meetings. Original Recording Date: 03-06-2019 Topics – Organizational Benefits to a Company Kickoff 3:53 Why have a company meeting / kickoff? * It could be for an internal talent showcase. * Take VMware’s RADIO conference for example, which acts as a catalyst for innovation. * Getting great people together can inspire new innovation through collaboration. * The process of pitching an idea helps people formalize their own thoughts into a concrete advancement (i.e. new products or enhancements to existing products). * Company meetings can help communicate vision. * We heard top-level executives articulate goals for the company and their high-level strategy to achieve the goals. * We then heard regional leaders articulate their values and their strategic vision. * These discussions help the front line employees understand where we are going as a company and how to help the company get there. * Company meetings are an opportunity to communicate and educate employees on the technical vision. * In our case, the technical vision was communicated by a variety of classroom-style enablement sessions. Having these sessions in person was a nice change from remote / recorded training. * John chose his enablement sessions with current "big, hairy problems" in mind. * Nick had trouble imagining being tasked with coming up with the vision and strategy for an entire company / business unit. This likely comes with a lot of pressure and a lot of work. * Company meetings can be a celebration of performance…and an incentive to perform. * We were able to see how the top achievers were celebrated. * This anchors in people’s minds the desire to be top achievers and to set high goals. * We saw incentives declared for teams who achieve big, hairy goals. * A great mindset to have is…what can you learn from the top performers to improve yourself? * Company meetings can be a way to express and enforce company values. * Move from the statement of values to application of values. * In our case, it was interesting how often those values were mentioned. * In-person company meetings present an opportunity for informal networking. * Informal networks are powerful. * In a large organization, this is an opportunity for remote teams to come together. * This includes managers and could open some doors. * John has been interested in management as a career path and had the chance to interview people who have made the decision to be a people manager. * In small organizations, executives are more accessible and have more time to develop a personal relationship. * Getting everyone together promotes cross-collaboration. Are there ways you could work with people from other teams to make processes better? * How much time did John and Nick spend networking this week? * John kept his eyes open for future podcast guests, of course.

Nerd Journey 028: Asking For More Money
Mar 12 2019 57 mins  
Welcome to episode 28 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss asking for more money! Original Recording Date: 2019-02-26 Topics – Asking for more money as a raise and when you’re being hired 4:52 Asking for a Raise * Source: 4 Tips For Snagging More Than A Cost-of-Living Raise * Stand Up And Stand Out * Do the job that the next level deserves * How do you know about whether there are different levels of seniority when you’re interviewing? * Balance against exploitation * Make sure you’re taking on work that matters to your management team * Measurable accomplishments * Solicit feedback on tracking towards review/raise periods * This requires planning over the year running up to a review period * Be Assertive * Some managers will only give higher raises when it’s asked for – John’s reaction: Yikes! * Back Up Your Claims * Track your performance to measurable things * Have it a regular topic in your 1-on-1s, so it’s not a surprise * Manager Tools: Professional Success Section * Prepare Answers To Possible Questions * Document and have it ready * Go over accomplishments before the review period to arm your manager * Include money you made or saved the company to combat "We just don’t have the budget" excuse * Nick points out that documenting extra responsibilities also serves as resume points if the company thinks that your awesome extra effort doesn’t deserve a raise 30:42 Negotiating a Starting Salary * Source: How Much Salary Negotiation Is Too Much? * Respect the Line * Set a Target Range * Do Your Research * Your relevant experience, education, and success stories * Market rate: Glassdoor or other sites * Cost of living * Pay band should have been discussed earlier with the recruiter * Is the negotiation with the recruiter or the hiring manager * When dealing directly with an org * Initial qualification with the recruiter * Final negotiation with the hiring manger * When recruited by a 3rd-party recruiting company * That person is like an agent interested in placement * Then they’re interested in placing at the highest salary possible * Don’t disclose your minimum; They’re not an impartial party in the negotiation * Geek Whisperers Episode 137 – Advice for the Job Hunt with Recruiter Liz Bronson * Be sensitive to making the hiring manager use a lot of political capital to get you your max salary * Should be about your requirements and needs, not ego * John’s anecdote * Can mean your expectations are to out-perform from the beginning

Nerd Journey 027: Ramzi Marjaba Interview
Mar 05 2019 68 mins  
Welcome to episode 27 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we interview Ramzi Marjaba of the "We the Sales Engineers" podcast. Original Recording Date: 2019-02-22 Topics – Ramzi Marjaba of the "We The Sales Engineers" podcast * Nick and John were on We The Sales Engineers Episode 41: New and Experienced Perspective of Sales Engineering * Ramzi might be doing the podcast that John wish he had the courage to do 6:54 Introductions 7:28 Why did Ramzi start the podcast? * To study the job * He’s gotten to talk to some of the thought-leaders in the field * John Care * Brian Geery 9:21 How has your understanding of the role evolved over the course of the podcast? * Peter Cohan * Upcoming recording of a demo as a YouTube video 12:37 How does the SE role fit in with the sales organization? 14:29 Any way to shorten the learning cycle? * Avoid spray-and-pray * Should’ve asked manager to shadow good SEs * Forgot the SE skills for the product skills 16:09 What did Ramzi’s career journey look like? 17:05 Transitioning to the SE role; Did you feel yourself losing your technical hand? How about losing technical credibility? * Didn’t know the title acronyms * Relationship credibility vs technical credibility 20:36 Ever miss support role? * No * Paid on performance * Learning from variety of different customers 23:44 Advice for people who are thinking about changing role due to being under-appreciated * Start looking before you’re extremely unhappy with your current one * Finding a new job takes time; Learn new job skills while on your current job * Get better at presenting by presenting to informal lunch groups * Or do demos * Practice interviewing * Apply before you feel qualified 27:16 How do you distinguish between companies you do and don’t want to work for? * Tech might not be interesting, though people being interesting might change your mind * Bad communication during interview process 28:40 Is it fair to judge a company by how they treat you during the hiring process? * Yes, it’s fair * Speed of responses shows how interested they are * Remember you have the power not to take the offer 31:40 Ever seen the stall or delay during the process? * Could be a committee process * Could be some other internal process * Perhaps they didn’t see your value; OR you didn’t show your value * They might just be slow; Follow up with the hiring manager * You’re just interviewing, not hired; Keep looking until you accept an offer 34:54 What does your view of the SE career path look like? * SE coach, mentor, manager * Most SEs stay SEs forever * SE Management is an option * Product management seems like an option, but they also seem to be paid less than SEs

Nerd Journey 026: The Generalist/Specialist Divide
Feb 26 2019 60 mins  
Welcome to episode 26 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss the generalist vs. specialist divide. Original Recording Date: 2019-02-16 Topics – The Generalist vs. Specialist Divide * We’re recording this in sickness because we’re both under the weather this week. This episode is brought to you by the letters DM and PE. * How does John like the NUC he purchased a while back? 4:10 General Podcast Outline for This Episode 4:51 What is a Generalist? * Someone with an exposure to working a number of different technologies (a "jack / jill" of all trades), likely not an expert in any specific area * Examples: Help Desk Technician, Systems Administrator * These examples require exposure to a number of areas, and the overarching reach of the role may prevent 400 – 500 level depth of knowledge. * Generalists may need an escalation point when something goes beyond their reach (i.e. a specialist). 8:25 What is a Specialist? * Someone with a deep knowledge of a specific area under the IT umbrella (400 – 500 level knowledge) * Area of focus is a primary responsibility * Examples: Network Engineer, Database Administrator, .NET Developer * Does working for a vendor make someone a specialist? 11:34 Can a generalist be a specialist? * Yes – it is likely a specialty for a generalist is deeper than the average generalist but not as deep as a dedicated specialist. * There is probably an overlap between the pure generalist and pure specialist (think Venn Diagram here). * Listen to John’s examples of this from the Help Desk Technician role and Network Engineer role. * Specialties may be determined by the Area of Destiny model we discussed in a previous episode. * Nick cites learning ERP system tricks from Tom Delicati as his way of developing a specialty while working as a Systems Administrator. * A generalist working with specialist resources can help the generalist go deeper (i.e. working with support). * The industry in which you work and understanding business goals within that industry may be the specialty rather than a specific technology. 21:47 Can a specialist be a generalist? * Yes – what if the specialty area is pretty broad? Go back to the Network Engineer example. * Is being a specialist all about how you’re perceived? * Are Nick and John VMware specialists? You decide. 26:04 Mythbusters, Nerd Journey Edition * Being a generalist gives you more opportunity and less risk than being a specialist. * There may be a corresponding lower compensation band for generalists because they are easier to find. * Many stay generalists to ensure exposure to many technologies.

Nerd Journey 025: Adapting to a New Manager
Feb 19 2019 44 mins  
Welcome to episode 25 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss tips for adapting to a new manager. Original Recording Date: 2019-02-07 Topics – Adapting to a New Manager (The Silver Episode) * Check out our Nerd Journey Coffee Experiment video. This was recorded while John was visiting Fort Worth, TX. 2:50 Scenarios that could lead to working under a new manager * Scenario # 1: Current manager promoted / terminated / leaves the company * The new manager could come from within or come from outside the company. * Is John the manager killer? * It’s possible you could take over as manager. * Scenario # 2: The reporting structure changes. * Nick shares an example of this happening multiple times at a previous employer. * It’s possible you could work for someone who used to be your peer even though your role did not change. * Scenario # 3: Taking a new job at your current employer * It could be a new role under a different manager. * Scenario # 4: Taking a new job at a different company * New manager, new team, new culture to adjust to * Scenario # 5: Your manager leaves the company, and you follow the manager to a new company * This will require some adjustments regardless. * See Following Your Boss to a New Job Part 1 and Part 2 from Manager Tools. 9:18 How can you adapt to a manager change? * Keep being yourself. * You are in your position for a reason. * Know yourself, and be honest about your capabilities. * Making big, sudden changes could affect job performance. * Get to know the new manager, and allow him / her to get to know you. * It’s ok to talk about personal details to find a common interest. * Your proximity to the manager will determine how the first few interactions happen. * Managers need to get to know how you do things (processes, etc.). * Be positive, and have a helpful attitude. * Guard against letting fear poison everything. * If you are asked to change something, try to change it without fear. * Keep your previous ideas for improvement in mind, but don’t expect things to change immediately. * It’s ok to plant a seed for change, but use caution. Listen to John’s example. * This is a clean slate. * What if you loved / disliked the previous manager? * Be fair to the new manager, and don’t compare him / her to the previous manager. * Acknowledge the change, and roll with it. Give him / her an honest shot. * Listen to our scenario about change control processes to illustrate. * This is not a time to air all grievances. * Think about how you will be perceived if you focus on the negative. * Attach a metric if you’re suggesting a change.

Nerd Journey 024: John’s 3-Year Check-In at VMware Part 2
Feb 12 2019 74 mins  
Welcome to episode 24 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss John’s 3 Year Check-in at VMware, Part 2. Original Recording Date: 2019-02-02 Topics – John’s 3 Year Check-in at VMware, Nick’s Questions 1:55 Topics Begin * Check out part 1 of John’s 3 Year check-in if you missed it last week. * John mentions sports research. Was he prepared for what came next? 2:54 What has Made John stay with the company? * John considered this a medium to long-term job once he joined. * He loves the technology VMware has and the innovations as well as the overall technology space. * John has enjoyed exposure to new customer problems and situations (technical, political, etc.). * The constant change keeps it interesting. * Building good relationships with customers is part of the job and a nice perk. * The overall experience has been enjoyable. John describes this as a process of continual improvement (always considering ways to get better), which has involved self-study as well as collaboration with others. * The goal is to always do the right thing for the customer to maintain a long-term good relationship, even if it means advising them not to buy something. * Everyone has more expertise than someone else and less than others. John is a relative Yoda rather than an absolute Yoda 10:32 Is John where he thought he might be after 3 years at the company? * John applied a number of times before getting into the company. He had applied for a technical marketing role around the same time as applying for the SE role. * He had to sell the company on the fact that his career progression was not tied to a specific position or role. * Mentoring was something he wanted – to be a mentor and to be mentored. * He’s been able to be more active in social media, attend events, podcast, etc. * A specific title was not part of the goal. He focused more on the controllable steps to achieve what was needed to accomplish a promotion. * Nick’s book recommendation – Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron * Check out our episode on Process over Outcomes as well. * Figure out the process. Do the things you can control. If your measure of success is promotion to a specific title, you will be disappointed. * John has been iterating. * If there’s nowhere for you to go at your current employer, you may not get recognized as you think you should be. Maybe the goal should be to get a better job elsewhere. Being excellent at what you do will always be in demand. 21:45 Favorite memory from the time at VMware * John tells a story about being nerd famous. * Giving someone else a tour of the VMware Palo Alto campus for the first time was a great experience. 24:42 How does John stay relevant while working for a vendor? * Relevance can be measured in different ways.

Nerd Journey 023: John’s 3-Year Check-In at VMware Part 1
Feb 05 2019 61 mins  
Welcome to episode 23 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss John’s 3 Year Check-in at VMware, Part 1. Original Recording Date: 2019-1-26 Topics – John’s 3 Year Check-in at VMware, John’s Observations 1:30 Topics Begin * How did John fare at Michael Jordan trivia since this is episode 23? * John and Nick have hire dates that are roughly 2 years apart. 4:31 What Has John Learned? * 4:31 Core job functions * Reached competence in year 1 * Explaining the portfolio * Virtual desktop was a blind spot * Portfolio much larger than it once was * Understanding where these products have relevance to customer business problems * Coming up with a good company elevator pitch was important. John gives the example of having to do this at a career fair. * Understanding customer business issues was new to John. * Building relationships within customer organizations and being relevant * How close does John see the role of the SE to the account representative? * We have to know where our solutions will definitely and when to rule them out based on the situation (first level technical qualification). * John supports two account reps. * An account rep will be focused on higher level relationships within the organization that a SE may not have. * 14:20 Extended job functions * Built up to competence in year two * Extending relationships with the VMware business units to product team members, technical support team members, etc. * Using large events like VMworld / others to build better relationships with customers * 18:16 Building an internal network / determining career trajectory * Competency in year three * Build stronger relationships with the partner ecosystem * John had to learn the value to the company from going through a partner / reseller. * Sometimes deals are better taken directly than through a reseller. * Partners may need to help with implementation or help customers manage support contracts. John gives a nice example of when he leaned on a partner for help as a customer. * John cites participation in communities such as Spiceworks as a way to get some information on how the ecosystem works. * Other organizations within the company like OCTO (Office of the CTO) * Relationships with tech marketing folks 25:02 – What is the Job? * 25:02 Customer focus * It’s very important to understand what the customer does on a very basic level (their product, how they sell, what their value is in the market, who their competition is, how they view themselves, etc.). * Customers need to know you’re willing to help before sharing certain information with you. It comes down to the types of relationships one has within the organization. * Understanding customer organizational structure and how they measure success is important before proposing any solutions. * Overcoming internal challenges like politics and personnel takes time. * John didn’t see the big picture of making the organization / department successful as a customer and had to learn it after lea...

Nerd Journey 022: Nick’s First Year at VMware Part 2
Jan 29 2019 41 mins  
Welcome to episode 22 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss Nick’s 1 Year Check-in at VMware, Part 2. Original Recording Date: 2019-1-19 Topics – Nick’s 1 Year Check-in at VMware, Part 2, John’s Questions 4:04 Extracurricular activities * How has the new role affected the frequency of and type of engagement in community groups? * Nick is still the co-leader of the DFW SpiceCorps, a group that has no affiliation with VMware. * Attending VMUGs when possible * Presented on vSAN in October 2018 in Dallas (video is here) * Posting in Spiceworks and MangoLassi when possible 6:55 Transitioning from IT operations to Sales * Nick was nervous about losing technical skills coming into the role. * There are some aspects of IT operations he misses. * Meeting with and learning from customers is fun! * Are you technical enough? It depends. * Tailoring the technical level of the conversation to the audience is very important. * How has carrying a quota affected Nick’s honest opinion? You decide. 13:44 Company culture check * In past roles… * Most folks in same department in same office * Worked with folks in other offices and saw them now and then * Current Role * First conversations with people (everyone but manager) were via phone / e-mail / chat * Face-to-face interaction creates a deeper rapport with co-workers * John’s aside on Matrix organizations * Frequent communication is important when working with remote peers * Some people may work better when in a face-to-face environment 18:19 Training Pace * Nick’s previous employer had a learning platform Lesson.ly, but it was not as regimented as the quarterly training plans. * Some of the training must be done on your own to ensure effectiveness. * Online communities can help you stay relevant as can learning from other customers. 20:44 Management * Nick wasn’t sure what to expect here and had to get past the “walking into the principal’s office” feeling when a manager calls unexpectedly. * The management style is different than it was when Nick was in an operations role. * It’s been more like having a coach. * Listen to our episode on effective 1-1s with your manager * Managers can give feedback on things you don’t notice. * John describes a manager as someone to guide you on your journey. * This was Nick’s first time to work for a manager in a different city. Consistent 1-1s are key. * Still adjusting to the flexibility 25:02 Skills Nick Wishes He Had Coming into the Role


Nerd Journey 021: Nick’s First Year at VMware Part 1
Jan 22 2019 41 mins  
Welcome to episode 21 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss Nick’s 1 Year Check-in at VMware, Part 1. Original Recording Date: 2019-1-19 Intro * John couldn’t remember the name of the AeroPress coffee maker. * Nerd Journey 001: Career Advancement and Nick’s First Week at VMware * Nerd Journey 010: Seven Month Check-In and Impostor Syndrome Topics – Nick’s 1 Year Check-in at VMware, Part 1 – Nick’s Observations 5:06 – Context And Working From Home * Nick went from math teacher to business analyst to IT operations to pre-Sales Engineer. The observations are meant to be about the transition from operations to pre-Sales more so than to be an advertisement for VMware * Adjusting to working from home instead of going to an office every day * Coordinating lunch with a homemaker spouse * Training children to adjust to a parent working from home can be challenging. * Being present at "home" during the day is for work. * Listen to Nick’s daily routine. If you work from home, what is yours like? * John mentions pre-planning meals as a pro tip. * Don’t work through lunch. Put it down while you eat (away from your desk) to have a mental break. * Working from home lends itself to working more. Can it wait until tomorrow? * Should the daily routine be strict or flexible? * Nick cites exercise classes as a forced work stoppage 14:57 Adjusting to travel * Local, out of state, special functions) * Expense reports were new to this role. It took practice to make them routine. * John mentions that he uses Automatic to track business mileage * Have a system, and stick to it * Consider the aggregation of marginal gains from Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron * Travel to special trainings events can be voluntary * Planning meals and customer visits takes time and effort * Administrative catch up is necessary after travel days 21:36 Expectations coming into the role * Read Nick’s blog post about the process involved in getting the job at VMware * Nick was so focused on getting in the door he essentially had no expectations for day 1 * You can’t know all the questions to ask if you have never done the job * John and Nick work in different segments and regions even though they have the same title, and their day-to-day experiences are different as a result * Control what you can; be prepared for what you cannot control * Nick was initially concerned about his product knowledge coming into the role (i.e. not knowing enough to be effective) * "Everyone here is as good as or better than you."

Episode 020: Reasons to Quit, Area of Destiny, and Finding Your Area of Destiny
Jan 15 2019 47 mins  
Welcome to episode 20 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss "Four Reasons to Quit Your Job", "What Is Your Area of Destiny", and "Can You Find Your Area of Destiny". Original Recording Date: 2018-11-27 Topics – Four Reasons to Quit Your Job, What is Your Area of Destiny, Can You Find Your Area of Destiny 3:00 Four Reasons to Quit Your Job * Career Clickbait – Four Reasons to Quit Your Job by Jack Welch * Nick saw Jack Welch at Epicor Insights in 2015 * It’s never a bad thing to reflect on current role / employer / environment * Here are some questions to ask to determine if you have been with the company too long. Answering them in the positive provides strong evidence to stay, but at the same time, use these questions when looking for other opportunities (I.e. imagining yourself in the new role) * Do you want to go to work every morning? * Excitement vs. Dread * Interesting / meaningful work * Learning and growing? * Do you enjoy spending time with your coworkers? * Bad team culture will eventually be a reason to exit * Check out episodes 16 and 17 on reasons not to pursue a career opportunity * Does your company help you fulfill your personal mission? * Personal / professional value match * Can you picture yourself at your company in a year? * Do we all think about this? * The article points out one year time frame usually needed to find a new, better job once you decide to move on * John thinks futures before joining a company but was fortunate to not need to take a job just to pay the bills. * Anything short of excitement = spinning your wheels * Disclaimer * Not suggesting quit at first inkling of discontent * There is no perfect job / environment * Do you feel trapped in your current role? * Change the "quit" to "get motivated to seek a change." * Is this article click bait or actually helpful? * John and Nick weigh in 12:59 Area of Destiny * What is an area of destiny? * Jack and Suzy Welch borrowed the phrase and applied it to career * A career assessment process that focuses on a passion that could become a career * Visualize the Venn Diagram of overlapping skills, interests, and opportunities * Are you suspicious of the word "destiny" like John is? * Nuggets from The Real-Life MBA by Jack and Suzy Welch * What should I do with my life? * Too many people stay in jobs they really want to leave...

Nerd Journey Bonus 04: New Year’s Resolutions
Jan 08 2019 39 mins  
Welcome to the fourth Bonus Episode of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we talk about community resolutions, an annual career checkup framework, and our personal resolutions. Original Recording Date: 2018-12-10 Topics – Community Resolutions, Annual Career Checkup, Our Resolutions 2:59 Community Resolutions – collected from Twitter, Slack, and other online communities * Responses * Certifications * Looking at these as a way to increase potential opportunities * Goal Setting a la Joseph Griffiths episode 18a * Skills development * Focus on specific products (VMware, Kubernetes), scripting skills, etc. * Career advancement/refinement * Be more effective in your current role * Make a move to an area with overlapping skills * Revisit episode 7 on training adjacencies * Health and personal issues * Getting more sleep can solve a number of problems * Working on family issues * Non-conformist responses * Warning – a very broad goal like just continuing to grow professionally makes it difficult to show progress toward the goal * John and Nick dig into the semantics of terminology (resolution vs. goal) 10:35 Annual Career Checkup * Source: Manager Tools Annual Checkup * Endorsed by John as an amazing 3-part podcast * Analyze Yourself – Focus on the Present Situation * Questions * First – Understanding Your Talents * What am I good at? * What activities come easily to me? * What things do people say that I’m good at? * What easy things do I think other people make big deal of? * Next * What do I enjoy doing? * What things could I do that all day every day? * What things do I look forward to doing? * Alternately * What things do I hate doing? * What things do I put off? * What things do I avoid doing entirely? * Reactions * John Troyer: Eat the frog first * John gives tips for avoiding procrastination * Listen to Datanauts 144: Managing Work Stress and Cognitive Biases * Take DiSC to see where you fall * Dominance * Influence * Steadiness * Conscientiousness * Update Your Career Management Document * “Kitchen sink resume” as opposed to one targeted at specific job * Natural language * Lots more detail * Responsibilities and projects * Skill acquisition * Maintain and add to it continuously * Backup this document in multiple places!!! * Talk to your boss about your aspirations and intentions

Nerd Journey Bonus 03: Holiday!
Dec 28 2018 34 mins  
Welcome to the third Bonus Episode of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we talk about the effects of work on holidays and what we collectively do to unplug during the season.   Original recording date: 2018-12-03 Topics 2:55 What has the effect of your job been on your holiday experiences? • Audience Responses • Working (Business as usual) • Busier than usual • Holiday actually is vacation time • Nick’s experiences • Making the call on physical security episodes • Backup tapes still needed to be swapped • Upgrade of a lifetime • – Epicor upgrade over Thanksgiving ○ “We’re upgrading over Thanksgiving. Line in the sand.” – Tom Delicati • Large blended family experiences • John’s experiences • Blended family • Y2K ERP test ○ John jokes about doing it in a parallel vSphere environment w/NSX (in 1999) ○ Prince’s 1999 • Leftover holiday pie for breakfast ○ 14 respondents 57% Yes 7% No, but I’ve heard of it 36% No, I’ve never heard of this 19:14 How did you allow/force yourself to unplug during the holiday season? • Audience Responses • Huge challenges to actually unplug • Easy to unplug with a conscious decision • Lots of management support to unplug • Funny response ○ Cutting troublesome family from one’s life • Self-improvement • John’s experience • Wholesale distributor made up holidays with extra shifts later • Gave gift cards around Thanksgiving and Christmas • Lessons learned ○ Ask for protected time, or clearly defined benefit like time-and-a-half comp time for holiday on-call ○ No? Ok, that’s a strike against the employer ○ Those employers who prioritize holiday time with the families are looking pretty good • Nick • Difficult to fully detach (even without push notifications) • Kids’ school schedule vs. parental work schedule • Keep busy with family activities (completely full schedule) • Read a book / blog / post in the community July 2018 vacation – Podcast launch

Episode 019: “Process Over Outcomes” and “Dreaming in Bands”
Dec 18 2018 39 mins  
Welcome to episode 19 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we have a discussion about Process-oriented thinking over Outcomes-oriented thinking and dreaming in bands of possibilities instead of being hyper-specific. Original recording date: 2018-11-25 Topics 2:00 Process over outcomes * Cultivate an attitude that rewards or chastises yourself for your process rather than your outcomes. * You control your process, while your outcomes have influences you can’t control. * Alan Schoonmaker * The Psychology of Poker * https://www.twoplustwo.com/books/poker/psychology-of-poker/ * Annie Duke * Thinking in Bets * https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/552885/thinking-in-bets-by-annie-duke/9780735216358/ * Why Uncertainty Isn’t a Barrier to Success * https://www.signature-reads.com/2018/02/why-uncertainty-isnt-a-barrier-to-success/ * Background: Poker boom of the 2000s * Preface on the morality of gambling * Important parable about odds * Annie Duke – “Resulting” * Best decision you made last year * Worst decision you made last year * Probably the first was a good outcome and the second was a bad outcome * Tom Vanderbilt * Traffic * http://tomvanderbilt.com/books/traffic/ * At-fault accidents usually sit at the tip of a pyramid of bad behaviors which we don’t remember * Applying this to career management * Reward yourself for good process * Re-enforce your good processes * Correct your faulty processes * Be brutally honest in your self-assessment * Alan Schoonmaker – Principle No 1: Your greatest enemy is denial * Examples * Tardiness * Calendar mis-management * Chronic procrastination * Disorganization * Correct, don’t engage in negative self-talk * Seek outside opinions * Reward your good processes even when there are bad outcomes * Scenario: Didn’t get the job * Asked for coaching during the process * Did a great edit on your resume * Great prep for screening and early hiring-manager interviews * Great mid- and late-process interviews * Reward yourself for great process * The outcome was ultimately outside of your control * It was always about probability, not certainty * Did you do everything your reasonable, ethical power to tip the odds in your favor? * Practice, take notes along the way, self-assess 22:05 Dreaming in Bands * “Bands of possibility” * “Working at Company X is my dream job.” * There’s no single dream position and no singularly wonderful company to work for. * There are lots of great companies out there who share similar e...

Episode 018b: Joseph Griffiths Interview Part 2
Dec 11 2018 37 mins  
Welcome to episode 18b of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we have Part 2 of a two-part interview with Joseph Griffiths, Staff Solution Architect with VMware. Part 1 was last week’s episode. Original recording date: 2018-11-12 Topic – Joseph Griffiths Interview Joseph goes back to the eye-opening VMworld story * People have a fear that they cannot change. * Have we become so driven by reactionary behavior that we can’t close our e-mail client and know what we should be doing? * Automation often starts with reactionary tasks. Joseph gives the example of a 17 nanosecond Google outage which was remediated automatically. John digs into the logistics of automation and “choke points” (or constraints) * There is only one constraint in any flow or optimization. Once you remove that constraint, there is still only one constraint. * Consider the value stream (i.e. what is valuable to the company) and their mapping to capabilities. * Recommended reading – The Goal, The Phoenix Project How can people iterate faster when it comes to career? * Social skills and emotional intelligence are important to work well with others, which disconnects us from defending technology. * Read some psychology books on why people think / behave the way they do. By trying to understand other people’s motivations, you will better be able understand your own motivations. * Listen for John’s book recommendation. Recommendations * Joseph recommended Toastmasters and learning about the people who attend to get past introversion. * John’s book recommendation – The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists by Neil Strauss * Warning – the book discusses a subculture which some may find offensive but does well in describing human behavior and reactions. * Don’t do anything fake. The process of learning and getting better over time is an iterative process and takes time. * Not everything is about winning. The best way to get things accomplished is about compromises. * Drop the Highlander mentality. * Joseph cites parental advice that there is always someone better than you. * Joseph cited pursuit of certifications as a way to make himself attractive to a potential employer. * Joseph has a mic drop moment about company culture. Do you agree? * Joseph’s Contacts * Joseph’s blog is https://blog.jgriffiths.org * Find him on Twitter @Gortees * Don’t get discouraged. * Take one step to grow (i.e. giving a presentation) that makes you uncomfortable, even if it isn’t career related. * Don’t tackle too many at once. * Joseph is more than happy to help or mentor people.

Episode 018a: Joseph Griffiths Interview Part 1
Dec 04 2018 39 mins  
Welcome to episode 18a of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we have Part 1 of a two-part interview with Joseph Griffiths, Staff Solution Architect with VMware. Original recording date: 2018-11-12 Topic – Joseph Griffiths Interview What does a Solution Architect do? * VMware structures it differently than other organizations. The primary role is to identify business problems and help come up with innovative solutions that solve these problems to ensure a desired outcome. * Example – solving provisioning vs. impact of provisioning on revenue How does Solution Architect contrast with the Solution Engineer role? * Architect tries to build a solution based on business outcomes * Engineer takes specifications from architect and builds them Time travel with us back to VMworld 2007 * Read more on this from Joseph’s Blog * The discussions on innovation (i.e. private clouds, etc.) opened Joseph’s eyes and encouraged him to get outside his comfort zone. * He chose to make a pivot to stand out to future employers and started him down a “hyper” path of certifications. * Mindset change depends on the person you are. * Everyone has different life experiences and a unique way of looking at the world. * We all need to realize how much we have to learn. * Not only were his thoughts about the organization challenged, but he pursued the challenge to make a change. * Joseph immediately became an advocate for implementing a private cloud and found other internal champions. * The efforts failed due to too much focus on technology and not enough focus on people and process, but this set him up for success at the next organization. Did certifications teach valuable career skills? * Yes – it started with VCP and proceeded to VCAP (separate design and deploy exams, with the design exam being most valuable in learning architectural concepts) * Certifications force you to learn new things and look good on resumes. * See Joseph’s blog post on whether IT certifications really matter. * Joseph is a double VCDX. * Joseph shares the story of someone intentionally working toward the role of CEO by holding various roles within the company. * Joseph switches jobs when he becomes comfortable. * Listen to Joseph’s taco shell story and its implications to your situation. * Guard against letting what you want becoming what other people want. * John draws a parallel between IT’s alignment with various internal organizations and its overall value to the company. * When looking at the value of IT, Joseph encourages us to think of this as a journey and stresses the importance of understanding how we got to where we are and how we can fix where we are. * The creation of multiple roles leads to better consistency, more efficiency, and a better product. * This has moved IT workers into siloed teams to the point where they lose touch with the priorities of the bus...

Nerd Journey 017: Reasons Not to Pursue a Career Opportunity Part 2/2 During Interviews and After the Offer
Nov 27 2018 43 mins  
Welcome to episode 17 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we have Part 2 of a two-part discussion on when to stop pursuing a career opportunity. Original recording date: 2018-11-10 Topic – Reasons not to Pursue a Career Opportunity (During the Interview Process and Post-Interview), Part 2 of 2 2:06 While in the Interview Process * We’re focusing on the Manager Tools Framework * Compensation * Values * Industry Stability * Reputation * Opportunities * Locations * Financials * Customer Base * Culture * Culture * Revisit Nerd Journey 013: The Sniper Approach to Job Hunting with Tom Delicati * Insights into an organization’s culture emerge from conversations with people * Consider the Team’s Culture * Expansive view of the definition of team * Stage-of-life match / mismatch with team members * Attitude * Personality * Energy * Perception of manager / company * Growth mindset * Meaningful answers to “What keeps you here?” * Focus on the team’s observed culture and values are vs. what is professed company-wide. * Leverage personal connections at the company for team insight (if applicable). * Expectations of teammates as well as team manager * Listen for John’s psychological real estate trick. * Proximity * Team * Proximity * In-office vs remote * Collaboration tools * Office space * Manager * Personality meshing * Value match * Skills match * Development and growth * Mentoring opportunities (check with team on this as well) * Ask the manager’s management style * What does good look like in this role? * Proximity is a consideration here too * What does a typical 1-1 look like? * Review Nerd Journey 012: Effective 1-on-1 Meetings with your Manager and Gracefully Leaving an Organziation * Manager * Frequency of 1-1s * Other episodes to review * Nerd Journey 011: Questions to Ask in an Interview and Hero Complex * Nerd Journey 002: HR and Hiring Manager Early Process Interviews * Logistics * No job will pay you to commute but may provide a stipend for public transit. This is a question that may be more appropriate after an offer is made. 23:52 – After the Offer * Focus on compensation, value match * Good time to look at the financials of the organization * Review of Washington Post article How to Decide Between Two Equally Great Job Offers


Nerd Journey Bonus 02: Thankful
Nov 20 2018 42 mins  
Welcome to the second Bonus Episode of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we talk about the community discussion we had about what we’re thankful for and have neglected being thankful for in our careers. Original recording date: 2018-11-17 We recently got our first review on Apple Podcasts! Remember to subscribe, rate, and review us. Topics Thanksgiving – Two Questions * What are you thankful for in your career / current job? * What are some career-related items you should be thankful for but have not been in the past? 3:24 Community Feedback – Thankful for in career / current job * Flexibility * Work from home when needed * Flexible schedule * Work / life balance encouraged * Encouraged to take PTO by management * Some companies offer floating holidays as an additional flexibility benefit. * Growth * Growth in knowledge, into a new position, in the number / type of people you get to interact with * Being in a specific field can provide more growth than other fields * Variety in day-to-day work * Revisit Nerd Journey 014: From IT Ops to Entrepreneur * Being supported by management / others who work with you * Job / Career * Benefits (days off, corporate emphasis on family, etc.) * Ability to use creativity in your role * Thankful for customers and their support * Excitement about the job * Ability to hire the people you work with * Thankful for a paycheck and benefits * John’s Answers * Jobs of the past * Doing this podcast and the mindfulness of problems * Positive customer interactions * Ability to give back * People in the industry doing cool things, writing about it, and allowing him to learn from it * Cody De Arkland’s posts about blogging in Hugo with ClarityUI * Migrating TheHumbleLab from WordPress to Hugo and AWS * Redesigning My Blog With ClarityUI * Hugo – Static web site generator * Previously mentioned Cody De Arkland in Episode 10, when discussing Imposter Syndrome * Mentors * Nick’s Answers * Great team (same desire / drive) * Dynamic environment * Being a part of the technology community * Previous employer activities * Office potlucks * Surprise early office shutdown on holidays * Nick gets on the soap box about thankfulness * Remember to take time often to reflect on the things you are thankful for * Learn to be content where you are * Don’t lose sight of the most important things * Be thankful for the smaller things like a child would * John encourages listeners to progress for the right reasons and to not get caught on the hamster wheel of acquisition

Nerd Journey 016: Reasons Not to Pursue a Career Opportunity Part 1/2 Before Applying
Nov 13 2018 46 mins  
Welcome to episode 16 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we have Part 1 of a two-part discussion on when to stop pursuing a career opportunity. Original recording date: 2018-11-03 Topic – Reasons not to Pursue a Career Opportunity (Pre-Application Stage), Part 1 of 2 We’re highlighting some content from a Manager Tools 10-part podcast series on choosing a company to work for 3:29 Choosing A Company To Work For – Chapter 1 – Factors To Consider Part 1 * Compensation * Dig into the entire compensation package (or as much as you can in this stage) * Consider the risks of combination stock / cash * Use tools like Glassdoor to help * Difficult to rule something out without looking at the numbers * People make assumptions on how much of a pay bump would merit leaving * Values * Deeper dive later * Industry Stability * We lack a crystal ball and can rely on educational guesses * Reputation * The company’s reputation affects your reputation, whether good or bad, so consider industry perception. * Validation by a well-known organization can be a “short cut” to be validated by other organizations * The “shine” and the “stink” can go with you to a new job * Opportunities * Deeper dive later * Locations * Review Tom Delicati’s strategy for choosing company location from Nerd Journey 013: The Sniper Approach to Job Hunting with Tom Delicati * Nick and John talk through strategies for analyzing commute times and weighing the cost * If you’re relocating for a job, is there financial assistance? * Financials * This can easily be an area of oversight for many candidates * Financials for public companies published quarterly * Learn to read a 10-K * Customer Base * Is the customer base growing / shrinking? * Additional Items * Some research before applying is helpful, but don’t go overboard. * Check the job postings on the company site * John gives an example of tracking changes in number of open positions at a company to get an idea of corporate health * John mentions his list of open VMware positions: http://bit.ly/vmware-all-positions 22:18 Choosing A Company To Work For – Chapter 3 – Values * Choose your Values * Do you know what your values are? Introspection is required before continuing. * Decide which ones apply to work * Companies publish their values online * Use those when considering companies * A value mismatch can rule out an opportunity on the spot * Is the company acting in line with its stated values?

Nerd Journey 015: Interview Myths and Boss Problems
Nov 06 2018 53 mins  
Welcome to episode 15 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss some Interview Myths and dealing with Boss Problems. Original recording date: 2018-10-04 Topics 1:55 Interview Myths 5 Myths About Interviews You’ll Want to Stop Believing 1) Your Interviewer Is Completely Prepared * They might not have read your resume * They might not have the job description * They might not have been trained how to interview * What to do if the interviewer is unprepared * Have an elevator pitch matching your skills and experience to the job description * Have a copy of the job description * Have a copy of your resume * Be ready to answer the questions you wish you were asked (i.e. run the interview) 2) Interview Questions Have Correct and Incorrect Answers * Good questions are designed to elicit more information about the candidate, not have right and wrong answers * Learn to tell your story in a way that’s relevant to the role and company you’re applying to * Listen to the Geek Whisperers Silicon Valley VMUG episodes (two of Nick’s favorite) * Geek Whispering at the Silicon Valley VMUG Tues Apr 12 * IT Pipeline and Hiring for Rapport with Frances Wong – Episode 112 * Investing in Career Insurance: VMware User Group recap – Episode 110 * Manager Tools / Career Tools (John’s recommendation) – Interview Podcast Episodes * Candidates need to prep for possible questions 3) Let the Interviewer Ask All the Questions * Check out these past episodes: * Nerd Journey 011: Questions to Ask in an Interview and Hero Complex * Nerd Journey 002: HR and Hiring Manager Early Process Interviews 4) The Most Qualified Candidate Gets The Job Every Time * “Most Qualified” is a subjective thing * There’s no one perfect job and one perfect opportunity * John might have applied to become a VMware SE 8 times * The organization weighs things differently than you might * It’s a hot job market in 2018, so stretch a little 5) Thank You Notes Are No Longer Required * It’s a differentiator * Consider a simple, brief, and polite note 24:02 Boss Problems * Dear SpiceRex: My boss is slacking * Letter writer perceives his boss as not doing his job over the past 3+ years * Averages 25 hours in the office a week

Nerd Journey 014: From IT Ops to Entrepreneur
Oct 30 2018 55 mins  
Welcome to episode 14 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we have part 2 of a 2-part interview with Tom Delicati, founder of Lead Technology Solutions. We’re focusing this week on Tom’s transition from his IT Operations career to starting his own consulting firm. Original recording date: 2018-10-03 Topics 3:21 What was the ramp-up to the decision to become an entrepreneur? * The E-Myth – Gerber * https://michaelegerbercompanies.com/web/the-e-myth-library/ * “The entrepreneurial seizure” * It happened at the end of summer 2016, “Could think about doing this” * Leadup was organic * User community involvement * Giving back to the community * Presentations and sessions * The high of helping other people * Tom gives the example of a Shipping & Receiving Project that made a real impact. * Nick shares his memory of the projects and how the volume continued to increase as the department added value. * The more successful projects they completed, the more Tom wanted to share it with the community. * Some current clients saw him do a user-group presentation 4 years earlier * Those presentations were focused on merely giving back. * Tom presented at Epicor’s national conference for 8 years straight. * From time to time, he got asked to moonlight. * Other consulting orgs tried to recruit him * Tom loved his organization and had no desire to work for someone else / start over at a different org * Tom knew there was no “next step” for him to take in the business * This realization was the entrepreneurial seizure * Input from friends / family / trusted advisors only confirmed going out on his own was the logical next step 13:07 John’s observation about IT Operations aligning with the business and articulating impacts * Selling the good ideas the right way * Tom emphasized the person who is often hardest to convince but perhaps the biggest decision maker is the CFO * John thought of IT as below the line as opposed to above the line dollars * Tom stressed the idea of thinking like a manufacturer because of his client base 18:29 What challenges were helped by IT skills * Tom stresses that technology isn’t always the answer. * Can the organization and the people involved handle the amount of change being proposed? * The 95% solution might be simpler than the 100% solution * Edge cases can be complex * A business focused on process orientation is better than relying on people as experts. * An analog process for an edge case can be better than a tech solution * At the core, how creatively can you solve this problem? * Tech solutions can be * Too expensive * Too time intensive to implement * Too much of a change in process for the people involved 24:06 Knowing what you know now, what skills were you missing? “What would you do differently?” * Better plan for mentorship in starting a business * Working in a business helped with understanding how businesses work, and it seemed like figuring things out along th...

Nerd Journey 013: The Sniper Approach to Job Hunting with Tom Delicati
Oct 23 2018 41 mins  
Welcome to episode 13 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we have part 1 of a 2-part interview with Tom Delicati, founder of Lead Technology Solutions. We’re focusing this week on Tom’s IT career before starting Lead. What emerges is a surprising job-search tactic which neither of us had heard before. Original recording date: 2018-10-03 Topics 1:15 – Tom Delicati Interview * Tom’s position today is Lead Technology Solutions Founder. The company began in 2016, and its primary focus is to help customers get the most of their ERP software investments. Some areas of customer success have come in the realm of: * Implementations & upgrades * Product development * Application customization * Tom on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/tdelicati * Tom on Twitter – @tomdelicati * Tom’s tech origins: He became interested in technology starting from a young age * Helped build their family’s first PC * In the late 1990s he dove into web development with Geocities * Attended college at Western Michigan for Information Systems with a focus in Telecom Management * Information Systems was in the College of Business, so he got some business background * He achieved a CCNA but was fascinated with server infrastructure as well * Systems and Sysadmin roles 7:35 – First Role managing an Enterprise App * Moved to Indiana and took a role overseeing Epicor Vantage (now Epicor ERP), first experience with an enterprise multi-tier app * Asked to become the expert at the back-end * Also needed to learn about business processes (manufacturing, QA, Pick/Pack/Ship, Invoicing) * Integration with physical manufacturing equipment * Troubleshooting not just the technology, but the business 13:35 – Tom weighs in on the move from Indiana to Texas * Marrying manufacturing theory and technology had become something he really enjoyed * He and his wife had a chance to make a career change. Characteristics of a new place were influenced by the desire to start a family, finding a position for his wife first, and finding a position for him as a secondary item. 15:56 – Tom recounts landing a new job in Texas * Wife accepted a job in Dallas-Fort Worth * Looked for Epicor users in DFW * Sent networking letters with resume * Got an interview * Grilled for 4 hours of interviews * Company extended an offer the next week * John labels Tom’s approach as unconventional. * Got in-depth knowledge into a specialized system * Got involved in the user community * Leveraged user community to send blind resumes 19:07 – Nick remembers BBigford’s Spiceworks post on searching door to door * John thinks that’s more a shotgun approach * John labels Tom as a job hunting sniper * Tom peels back the onion on his role in Indiana.

Nerd Journey 012: Effective 1-on-1 Meetings with your Manager and Gracefully Leaving an Organziation
Oct 16 2018 50 mins  
Welcome to episode 12 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss how to have effection 1-on-1 meetings with your manager and how to gracefully leave an organization. Original Recording Date 2018-09-23 Topics 2:47 – Effective 1-on-1 Meetings with Your Manager * John stresses the importance of an agenda (to be created 24 hours or more ahead of time) * Both parties can contribute to the meeting agenda (manager and employee) * Meeting structure suffers without an agenda * How many listeners out there have weekly 1-on-1 meetings with their manager? Let us know on social media! * A yearly performance review won’t be a surprise if effective weekly 1-on-1 meetings are happening * What constitutes giving your manager an action item? * Don’t just bring problems / complaints. Bring something you need help with and what you have already tried. * Helpful asks – leveraging a manager’s experience, leveraging a manager’s relationship with other department * Be prepared for feedback from your manager on any request * A 1-on-1 meeting is not the same as a project check-in meeting * The 1-on-1 is about your professional development / career journey (how to get better) * Keep project update meetings separate * Career path questions * What is the individual contributor career path or management career path for you? * How can you get better at what you are doing? * I have new interests / am requesting new challenges * Pay raises are a separate conversation from career conversations * Whose job is it to bring up career progression first (yours, your manager’s, both)? * In a good company culture, managers should be encouraged to have regular 1-on-1 meetings with direct reports * A manager not bringing this up may just be oversight on his / her part and not intentional * A lack of career progression conversations period could be a lack of organizational maturity * Development of employees could reflect well the manager * Cadence for a 1-on-1 should be weekly but bi-weekly at a minimum * Stick to the cadence! * What are organizational barriers that prevent regular 1-on-1 meetings? * Proximity * Manager and employee working in different locations * Manager may have less visibility into employee day-to-day work * Manager and employee working in the same location * More difficult to have a long-term strategy * Talking over the cube wall is usually a project update * Managers with large number of reports * Possible indication of lack of managers in the organization * Not scalable for the manager * Could cause infrequent conversations and feedback and frustration for both parties * Culture * Are 1-on-1s being encouraged from the top down? * Let us know if you want this topic revisited 26:19 – How to Leave Your Organization Gracefully * Nick’s blog – https://www.staffone.com/leaving-company-right-way

Nerd Journey 011: Questions to Ask in an Interview and Hero Complex
Oct 09 2018 33 mins  
Welcome to episode 11 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss and professional networking and revisit the topic of training. Original Recording Date: 2018-07-17 Topics 1:05 We launched! More contact information http://blog.thenetworknerd.com/2018/07/17/two-nerds-on-a-journey/ http://34.125.45.139 http://facebook.com/NerdJourneyPodcast Should we be on Instagram? 3:55 10 More Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview to Stand Out * 10 (More) Questions to Ask at the End of an Interview to Stand Out https://jobs.washingtonpost.com/article/10-more-questions-to-ask-at-the-end-of-an-interview-to-stand-out/ * What Qualities Would A Person Need To Succeed In This Position? * Can You Give Me An Example Of What I Would Be Working On If I Started Tomorrow? * Find out the information * Force the person you’re asking to imagine you in the position * Why Is This Position Currently Open? * Did the person get developed up? * Are they having problems keeping people in the position? * Can You Tell Me About The People I Would Be Working With Most Closely? * Demonstrate concern about teamwork * Find out about the team * Figure out if their culture fits your needs * What Challenges Are you Facing As A Company/Division Right Now? * Can the person articulate the team’s role within the company, not just the division or business unit? * Do they not know? Not care? Know but can’t articulate? Knows, Cares, and can Articulate? * How Often Do You Expect The Responsibilities For This Position To Change? * Speaks to stability in job description * Refinement: how often has it changed in the past? * Do You Expect To Make Additional Hires Over The Course Of The Next Few Months? * Is the department growing? * Just started? If so, what’s the path to success? * Or they’re super stable and you’re the rare hire * If the company is growing, is the department also growing? * Ideally, When Do You Need Someone In Place? * You should already know the answer when you get to the hiring manager * When did they identify the need? How long did it take to get funded? When do they want someone to start? * Either earlier or later * Where Do You See The Company Headed In The Near Future? Are There Any Major Changes On The Horizon? * Maybe have an idea heading into the question. Ask with your research as a context. * For smaller businesses, maybe research and ask about industry trends * Would John ask about chances of a near-future transaction? * Why Did You Decide To Work Here? * What they like * What keeps them there * Listener Feedback – What was your best question to a manager? 20:45 Does working in IT give you a hero complex? *

Nerd Journey 010: Seven Month Check-In and Impostor Syndrome
Oct 02 2018 61 mins  
Welcome to episode 10 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss Nick’s first seven months at VMware and Impostor Syndrome. Original recording date: 2018-07-05 Topics 3:30 – 7 Month Check-In on Nick @ VMware * Nick describes the transition from IT Operations to the vendor side. * John and Nick talk about differences between being a generalist and specialist in VMware technologies. * What’s the biggest surprise? * Helpful co-workers * Emphasis on training * What’s better than you thought it would be? * Management style of leaders, interaction cadence, emphasis on employee growth * Manager 1-1s * How does it feel to be involved in the sales process? Many IT pros think it’s icky. * How is this job like working the help desk? * John shares experience in online forums and its relation to this role. * Emergencies still exist but are a little different. * What could Nick have done to better prepare / short-circuit the process of getting here? * More exposure to other technologies in personal time * Achieve certifications faster * Earlier community involvement – speaking sessions * Listen to John’s public speaking experience. * Everyone started somewhere. 34:19 – Impostor Syndrome * What is impostor syndrome, again? * John and Nick weigh in on what they think impostor syndrome is. * How can seeing what good looks like affect you negatively? * How have John and Nick experienced impostor syndrome? * Homework for the listener * Read Cody de Arkland’s post on the subject – https://www.thehumblelab.com/lets-talk-about-imposter-syndrome * Nick’s post that was inspired by Cody’s – http://blog.thenetworknerd.com/2018/06/30/fighting-the-impostor-within * Who feels / will feel impostor syndrome at some point? * John says being uncomfortable is the only way to grow. * Maybe setting expectations is the problem. * John admits he wants to be nerd famous. * Are we measuring success properly? * People in software support live with a different level of discomfort than other roles like Pre-Sales, etc. * Is John an ice man? * Nick talks about math and problem solving. * 55:20 Beginner’s Mind * John shares the birth of the journeyman mindset and then has a mic drop moment. * 57:20 Smart Kid Syndrome * Summary Talking Points * Growth only comes when you’re uncomfortable * Being bad at something is key to getting good at it * Avoiding the ego trap of the need to look good at things preventing you from trying new things


Nerd Journey Bonus 01: VMworld 2018 Experiences, Vendor Announcements, and More Professional Networking at Conferences
Sep 25 2018 36 mins  
Welcome to bonus episode 1 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss our recent experiences at VMware’s user conference (VMworld 2018), reasons to pay attention to vendor announcements at major conferences, and our observations of how the VMware community was executing professional networking at VMworld. Original recording date: 2018-09-07 Topics 2:10 VMworld 2018 Experiences * Customer experience vs Employee experience * Structure * You don’t own your schedule * Focus on customer time * John wrote a blog on packing for VMworld * http://vjourneyman.com/vmworld-prep-part-1 * Forgot to mention sunglasses and lip balm * Nick’s sessions * Troubleshooting Your Horizon 7 Deployment (WIN3523BU) * Advanced NSX Services in VMware Cloud on AWS: Use Cases and Best Practices (NET2409BU) * Video Library is up and free * https://videos.vmworld.com/searchsite/2018 * John’s sessions * Amanda Blevins – Achieving Happiness: Building Your Brand and Your Career (LDT1907BU) * @AmandaBlev * John is bad at networking with the nerd-famous * Michael White (@mwVme), accidental * John Arrasjid (@vcdx001), Michael White callout * Rebecca Fitzhugh (@RebeccaFitzhugh), just didn’t do it * Nick’s experience as a #vAllStar * Conflicting customer dinners * Prime Rib Loft @ The Orleans Casino, John and Nick’s Tradition * Solutions Exchange, the vendor showcase * Finding the vendors you’ve never heard of * Finding out the problems on the horizon * John in 2017, SD-WAN * Nick in 2018, Blockchain 17:10 Tracking Annoucements at Vendor Conferences – Why do you care? * My problems vs. all the problems that vendors see * See what the vendors see in industry trends * Pay attention to vendor vision statements * Example: Virtual Desktop vs. Digital Workspace * Staying relevant for future direction of technology for your current and next job * General industry conferences instead of IT conferences * Investigating where your training plan adjacencies might be * Nerd Journey 007: Professional Networking and Training Revisited 27:25 Observing How Others Leverage Conferences for Networking * Professional Networking Lists * Al Rasheed (@al_rasheed), 100 people on his list?!

Nerd Journey 009: Blowing an Interview and Dressing for an Interview
Sep 18 2018 40 mins  
Welcome to episode 9 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss a Career Clickbait article on blowing interviews and how to dress for an interview. Original recording date: 2018-03-20 Topics 03:03 – Career Clickbait or “Thanks for the Clickbait” * Here’s the #1 way people blow a job interview (Moneyish) * And the number one way is…arriving late. * John was late to his VMware interview. Listen to the story. * The moneyish.com article has a list of 10 things but was sourced from a much better article – Hiring Truths: Over 850 Managers Reveal Their Practices and Opinions (SimplyHired Blog). * Gems from the article… * Look at common things hiring managers don’t do. * What do hiring managers expect you to say when looking for another job? * What behaviors were viewed positively and negatively? * John references a careertools.com article that suggests arriving 8 minutes early. * What is the one positively viewed element of a resume that John says is easiest to control? * See Nerd Journey episode 4 for resume writing tips. * John and Nick debate whether interviewers will actually give candidates feedback if a candidate asks. * What one interview choice did hiring managers in their 20s have the biggest problem with? * How do you express a bad experience with a former employer or boss in a constructive way to an interviewer asking why you are looking to make a change? * Do you have a kitchen sink resume? 29:10 – How to dress for an Interview * Who should you ask about appropriate dress for the interview? * Does a male having facial hair affect professionalism? * John rants about cultural bias. * Would John wear jeans and a t-shirt to an interview?

Nerd Journey 008: Learn LinkedIn From MBA Students and Thought Leadership
Sep 11 2018 46 mins  
Welcome to episode 8 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss using MBA Students’ use of LinkedIn as a model and investing in thought leadership. Original recording date: 2018-02-11 Topics 3:00 – How MBA Students Make the Most of LinkedIn * Discussions based on https://www.ft.com/content/6b28564c-fa13-11e7-a492-2c9be7f3120a * This article seems to be behind a pay wall. Try a private browser window or a ft.com trial to read it. * John shares the article thesis before we dive into its content. MBA students have an urgent need to find a high-paying job * Should LinkedIn read like a resume? * Article highlights * Master the headline. * Who are you, and where do you want to go? * Think about search engine optimization (SEO) and make sure you use words in your headline and summary that will rank you highly in any search. * Use buzz words appropriately. * Customize your URL. You will be easier to find and you can use it on your email signature and business cards. * Customize professionally. * Aside: Slate’s Hit Parade coverage of UB40’s cover of “Red Red Wine” * A good quality professional picture is essential. Potential employers and headhunters are more likely to click on a profile with a photograph. * Does the picture reflect the type of position you want? * The picture should just be of you. * Shave or don’t shave for the picture? * Your summary should be about the future and make your ambitions clear. * Do you signal an ambition for a new role here if already gainfully employed? * Look at your privacy settings. Do you want everyone in your network alerted because of a change to this area? * Avoid using standard “resume” language. * The LinkedIn profile is a bit more personal. * Connect only to people you know and trust. Approach strangers with care. Do not spam. * What does “people you know” mean? * Beware of social engineering attempts. * If you post comment and analysis, ask an experienced and trusted advisor to read it first. * Is this recommendation legit? * Listen to John’s theory on the culture of LinkedIn and how to calibrate your comments. * Beware when providing a public critique.   31:28 – Raising your “impact radius” or investing in thought leadership * Why raise your impact radius? * Proof of extracurricular activities can go on a resume as experience (speaking, writing, etc.). * This can raise your profile in your industry / within your company to keep you top of mind as opportunities arise. * Simon Sinek – “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” * How * Engage in community discussions (ask, answer, share), and look to participate long term. * A different sense of accomplishment from daily...

Nerd Journey 007: Professional Networking and Training Revisited
Sep 04 2018 37 mins  
Welcome to episode 7 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss and professional networking and revisit the topic of training. Original Recording Date: 2018-08-06 Topics 2:30 – Professional Networking * Have you checked out The Tech Village Podcast? * Start with the first episode to hear their thesis. * This segment dives into Tech Village Podcast # 2 – Get Your Head out of Your Valley * We found a common theme on professional networking in this episode. * First guest – Adam Eckerle (@eck79) stressed the following: * Professional networking as a remote worker * Tough without regular on-site visits * Face-to-face meetings inspire better electronic responses. * Find out what you can do for your network. * Professional networking is a Journey and is not instantaneous. * The first step might not get you the dream job. * Working for a VAR helps you to meet people. * Networking within a company should go horizontal, vertical, and diagonally. * Second guest – Joep Piscaer (@jpiscaer, https://www.virtuallifestyle.nl) * The importance of in-person interaction merits 10-12 trips per year to US, 1-2 trips to London, and 1-2 trips to Barcelona. * Joep shares Alastair Cooke’s example of frequent contact with other community members (schedules in-network call every couple of weeks). * Alastair Cooke (@DemitasseNZ, demitasse.co.nz) * See also Geek Whisperers Episode 119 – Keep Learning and Keeping Connections after Changing Jobs * Organization is key to continuous networking and making connections. * John suggests a call with video rather than just an audio call to make a greater impact. * Third guest – Marie Mauer (@doxly_marie) * She experienced an acquisition and needed to connect with people in other geographic locations to synchronize office culture. * Washington Post Article – How to Network Within Your Company * The Washington Post’s jobs blog has solid career advice in general. * Key takeaways from the article: * Invest some personal time * Spend lunch with others, and attending social networking events outside of work. * Attend some personal events * Make the personal connection with others first. * Network at your level * John shares his networking strategy when attending conferences. * Network up * Move up and out

Nerd Journey 006: The Ins and Outs of Training: Why, How, What, and When
Aug 28 2018 41 mins  
Welcome to episode 6 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss the topic of skills and product training: Why, How, What, and When. Original recording date: 2018-01-18 Topics 2:20 – Why * Why you need it and should want it * Best practices consistently change as technology changes * Standing still in the technology industry is not an option * Completion and sense of accomplishment * Why the company needs you to have it * Technology outsourcers need new expertise to remain relevant to customers * You need it to support changing of internal software / hardware * Why the presence / lack of a training plan can affect job / company selection * Smaller companies may not have this * Regulatory compliance based on industry may require employee training plans * Do potential employers have training plans for employees? Ask during the interview process. * Are employee training plans important to management? 11:02 – How * How to deliver it * Find your learning style first. * Complexity of subject may require multiple delivery methods or different delivery methods to maximum effectiveness. * Listen to the parallel between solving Calculus problems and solving technology problems. * How to get it approved budgeted * Free training exists, but is it enough? * Classroom training and remote training have different costs. * Does training come up as part of the project plan, and if so, can you justify it? 22:30 – What * What you need training on * John’s recommendation is divide by requirements – past, present, future * Consider future needs of your current employer vs. future employer needs * Make it something interesting to you if possible * There are various depths of training * How deep do you need it? * How technical do you need to get? * Benefits of a training plan * Put it in writing * Outline of trainings to complete in order based on priority * Do you need an accountability partner? * What’s in John’s training plan? 35:00 – When * When do you start training? * Start Now? * When do you allocate time for training on a daily / weekly basis? * Using company time vs. personal time * Protecting your training time while at work * Dedicate your lunch hour to training?

Nerd Journey 005: Sales Skills for IT and Questionable LinkedIn Advice
Aug 21 2018 51 mins  
Welcome to episode 5 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss sales skills which IT Operations people can use to advance their careers and have the first appearance of “Questionable LinkedIn Advice”. Original recording date: 2018-01-03 We’re going to be at VMworld US next week; Get in touch with us if you’d like a career coaching session at the show. We’ll try to schedule as many as we can fit in, depending on everyone’s availability. Just be ready to bring us a resume, your goals, and some time to chat. If you’re interested in being an anonymous guest, let us know that too, but it’s not a requirement. Topics 3:35 – How to Improve Your Sales Skills, Even if You Are not a Salesperson * Discussions based on this article – https://hbr.org/2017/05/how-to-improve-your-sales-skills-even-if-youre-not-a-salesperson * Why did John decide to subscribe to Harvard Business Review? * Why do folks in IT need to know how to sell? * Working the help desk * Getting IT projects prioritized and funded * Isn’t Sales just persuasion? * Even outside of technology, a Sales perspective is useful (i.e. relationships, etc.). * Important points * Know the customer / audience * This requires getting outside your own bubble to understand other people and departments. * Ask questions. * Understand the priorities and concerns. * Choose the best communication method for the audience. * Listen to how John got experience here. * Practice * Enjoy story time with Nick. * Practice pitching an idea, and get feedback from your audience (i.e. a manager). * Understand the path forward * Path to close * What are the things that must be done for my idea / project to be approved and funded? * This includes approval people and spending limits, which may extend further than just your boss. * Adapt the pitch as needed for the next approval in the chain. * As John mentions, the path to close can differ based on company size and budget structure. * Numbers need the right context for your audience. * Don’t tense up * This is why you practice. * People are bad at things on their first attempt. Take the beginner mindset. * Practice doing what you need to do and relaxing. * Don’t talk too much * Beware of weak words. * Ask questions instead of filling silence. * Don’t let early failure be the end of the conversation. * Understand what no means. * Ask for a follow up conversation down the road. 35:20 – Questionable LinkedIn Advice * Discussions based on this article – https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamarruda/2018/01/03/three-things-you-must-do-on-linkedin-every-day/ * Do John and Nick get on LinkedIn every day? * Article recommends… * Update your status daily

Nerd Journey 004: Company Culture and Resume Writing
Aug 14 2018 50 mins  
Welcome to episode 4 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss company culture’s effect on career choices and resume writing. Original recording date: 2017-12-21 Topics 1:49 How does company culture affect your career choices? * Disclaimer: Our goal in this segment is not to be an infomercial for VMware. It is merely to share from our experiences as it relates company culture. * How do Nick and John define company culture? * Stated values vs. observed values * Relationship with immediate team * Overall office environment / mood, social activities outside of work, existence of a culture committee * Company culture as it relates to remote employees may include invitations back to corporate HQ, team building activities, etc.   * Joining * Some companies use culture to attract talent. * What is the purview of company culture through the eyes of an interviewer? * Current employees could give insight into culture. * Listen to John’s list of goals when joining a new company. * What aspects of company culture may exist that you haven’t considered?   * Staying * What if an aspect of company culture you want is missing from your employer? * Are you willing to accept the shortcoming in spite of other corporate strengths? * Advancing * Company culture can change as the company grows / shrinks. * Make suggestions to leadership for changes to culture. Are they receptive? * Is promoting from within encouraged by management? * Do managers make career advancement of employees a focus? * Are lateral moves / exposure to other roles at the company encouraged? * Leaving * Joining a larger organization may be the only way to get exposure to some of the offerings we have discussed. * Sometimes leaving is not a bad thing. Maybe you have outgrown the company and can only advance elsewhere. * Nick’s podcast for this situation – Datanauts Episode 101 – The Transformational CIO 27:30 Resume writing tips * The Framing… * Listen to John’s inspiration for this segment. * Writing / editing your resume can be difficult without help from others. * Check out the Career Tools / Manager Tools Podcast. * The hiring manager is trying to solve a problem, has budget approved for additional head count, goes to recruiter / HR rep, and must put together a job description. * Looking to address… * What’s the point of resumes? * Solving the problem * Answering recruiter / hiring manager questions   * The goal of a resume is to answer the questions of whether you can do the things required and whether you have relevant experience. * What skills are critical, learnable, and relatable? * Requirements in the job description may be listed in order of importance; do you need all of these? * See

Nerd Journey 003: Work/Life Balance and Hero Worship
Aug 07 2018 46 mins  
Welcome to episode 3 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss career advancement’s effect on work/life balance and hero-worship in IT. Original recording date: 2017-12-21 Topics 1:48 – How does career advancement affect work/life balance? * Listen to Packet Pushers Episode 369 – Work / Life Balance in IT * Does work / life balance exist? * How do John and Nick define the concept of work / life balance differently? * Departments operating shorthanded can cause imbalance. * See Scott Alan Miller’s article The Smallest IT Department. * In the podcast above, Greg Farrow says work / life balance of an individual could be a byproduct of the company using subpar products (software, hardware, etc.). * Low product cost does NOT equal fragile. * High product cost does NOT equal bulletproof. * Having overworked employees impacts business financials by contributing to turnover. * Do we properly track this and communicate it up the chain, especially for salaried employees? * Career advancement often means taking on more responsibility. * Does career advancement throw off work / life balance temporarily or indefinitely? * Be aware of the ramp up time in a new role. * Know the roles and responsibilities of your current job before taking on a promotion / change in role at the same company * Listen to Dom Delfino’s (@domdelfino) philosophy as a manager and how it changed when moving away from individual contributor. * Geek Whisperers Episode 121 – The Domolosophy of Leadership with Dom Delfino * What does Nick have to say about work / life balance after just a few weeks at VMware? * How does PTO plays into work / life balance? * Does loving what you do mean it’s ok to work all the time?   29:32 Tweetwatch * https://twitter.com/malhoit/status/939374550160216065 What do you guys think about getting away from the hero / rockstar worship in the tech industry? We’re all just people. * Who is Lauren Malhoit? * Cisco Blog Biography * Datanauts Episode 82 – The Path to Automation and Coding for Ops Teams * Co-host of the Tech Village Podcast * Update: Though at the time of recording, Lauren Malhoit (@malhoit‏) was at Cisco, she is now at Juniper. * Some folks are well-known / very successful in the technology field (blogging, podcasting, speaking at conferences, large impact radius, etc.). * Often we want to look smart when speaking to these people, but that may not be the best approach.


Nerd Journey 002: HR and Hiring Manager Early Process Interviews
Jul 31 2018 34 mins  
Welcome to episode 2 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss early process interviews, both screening interviews with HR / recruiters and initial calls with a hiring manager. Original recording date: 2017-12-16 Topics 1:40 – HR Screen with a recruiter * What is the purpose of this call? * Should you discuss salary during this call? * What would John do in this situation? * Listen to Geek Whisperers Episode 137 – Advice for the Job Hunt with Recruiter Liz Bronson * Asking about the benefits in addition to just the salary (i. e. total compensation package and structure). Company size may affect what this package looks like. 15:10 – First interview with hiring manager * Be prepared to address resume gaps. * John is a subscriber to Manager Tools, a great source of information on career. * Questions to anticipate… * Why are you looking for a job? Think carefully about your comments. * Listen to the Geek Whisperers Episodes from the Silicon Valley VMUG * Geek Whispering at the Silicon Valley VMUG * Geek Whisperers Episode 110 – Investing in Career Insurance: VMware User Group * Learn to tell that story of your achievements, find the relatable experience * Sales experience? * Every help desk ticket is a potential technical sale. * Looking for a job in technical marketing? * Blogs, public speaking experience at conferences, and videos are all things you can highlight. * IT Generalist wanting to become a specialist? * What have you done in the specialty area in your time as a generalist? * Ask questions! * Have some prepared BEFORE the interview. * What are good questions? * Indicate interest in the job and how to get better at the job * Team makeup * Conflict resolution * Mentoring / development opportunities * Watch DFW SpiceCorps Video – A Recruiter’s Advice to the IT Pro

Nerd Journey 001: Career Advancement and Nick’s First Week at VMware
Jul 24 2018 42 mins  
Welcome to episode 1 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. Today’s episode discusses career advancement (Committing to it and Evaluating Options) and Nick’s first week at VMware! Original recording date: 2017-12-10 Topics 2:41 – Committing to Career Advancement * Search for and find your local VMUG (VMware User Group) * Global VMUG UserCon Schedule * Before you commit… * Think about the current state of your role (the good, bad, and ugly) * Think of what your dream career might look like and consider the gaps between the dream and your current environment * How do you make the commitment to yourself? * Accountability required * Emotional commitment vs. time commitment * Start in small time increments * Do something regularly 16:36 – Evaluating Options for Advancement * Talk to others about career and background * Does advancement mean switching companies / switching jobs? * Dom Delfino says “be great right now.” Listen to the Geek Whisperers episode about this. * Is being overloaded at the office getting in the way? * Open SE positions at VMware 23:52 – Nick’s First Week at VMware * What is the difference between vendor life and SMB IT life? * Onboarding * Learning platform * Socialcast * Workspace ONE * Transition to SE from internal IT * Solving the problem vs. helping to get the problem solved * What will Nick change in his extracurricular activities because of the change in role? * Leveraging Spiceworks, MangoLassi * How did John approach online communities after coming to VMware?

Nerd Journey Podcast Trailer / Episode Zero
Jul 17 2018 29 mins  
Welcome to the trailer/pilot episode of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solutions Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. Original recording date: 2018-07-11 Topics * 01:05 – Why did we start this podcast? * We both came from IT Operations in the SMB space and realized our career progress was slower than it could have been (i.e. making career advancement more of a priority) * We’re sharing opinions and career advice we wish had been given to us along the way. * Career advancement does not necessarily mean moving to a different company. * Your career is a journey with many stops along the way. We hope something we’ve said will help you.   * 03:33 – IT Conferences as IT Career Catalysts * Each conference is different but can bring the same benefits. * Spiceworld * Epicor Insights * VMworld * What do you want to get out of the conference? * Learn new skills / technologies * Meet new people – at random or strategically * How many people does John stalk on Twitter / LinkedIn to meet at conferences?   * 11:10 – Surviving and Thriving at IT Conferences * What’s your plan to get plenty of sleep? * Proper footwear is a must! * How hard is it to stay hydrated? * What’s your packing strategy? * Planning your schedule at the conference each day is a balancing act between sessions and social activities. * Drinking is not required to enjoy the conference. Don’t let it be a detriment to your experience. * Nick’s blog posts about surviving/thriving * Podcasts about VMworld 2017 * Nick documented his first VMworld experience in a collection of articles here   * 24:45 – A Preview of Upcoming Podcast Topics * What is it like to work for VMware? * Prioritizing career advancement * Interviewing for new positions (at your current job or elsewhere) * Work / life balance * Resume writing tips * Company culture and the effects on career advancement * Questionable career advice

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