When you come to a fork in the road…take it!

“Someone may pull you aside and ask you about your interest in the open SA position.”  My boss quietly dropped that bomb on me during a team dinner one night after an AWS training event.  Up until that point, I had been enjoying my time outside of work hanging out and joking around with my colleagues.  All of a sudden, I felt like everything around me came to a grinding halt, even though everyone else was still unwinding from a long day’s worth of PowerPoint presentations.  To that point, I had been pretty comfortable in my role and wasn’t thinking about making any big changes.  I had already changed roles once within the company, and had finally felt like I had reached a point where I wasn’t the low guy on the totem pole any more.  I knew the ins and outs of the processes, I had come up to speed on the technology, and I was finally able to spend more time being involved in discussions around new vendors, products and the overall direction of our practice. 

I didn’t want to make it seem like this potential opportunity had put a dent in me, but it certainly hit the stop button on the cruise control that had been engaged for a little while.  All of a sudden, I had to sit back and really think about how far I had come and where I wanted to go.  I’m not typically the type of person that has a definitive five year plan.  I have a good idea of where I want to go and what I want to be capable of in the short term, and usually just feel out where that will take me as I go along.  The current path at that moment basically involved getting even deeper into the technology and being promoted within my group.  As anyone who works in tech knows, there is always something to learn, and even the most talented/experienced professionals get outpaced in some facet of technology.  I’m not saying I’m afraid of that, but at the same time I realized that I was by no means an “expert” to this point and could forever be striving to reach that level.  I was also becoming more interested in the big picture…how does all this stuff fit together and what types of problems do customers need to solve?  Even in a delivery role, there is plenty of opportunity to engage a customer outside of your particular SOW.  I enjoyed talking to customers about what they were considering beyond the thing I happened to be deploying that day.  At the same time, I always fight with the ever popular “impostor syndrome,” and many times questioned if I was even ready for this type of move.  That being said, I knew that some of my colleagues had spoken highly of me, and figured I at least had to hear things out and see where they may lead.

seuss

Ok, so I know that image is a ridiculously cheesy way to segue into this next part, but I promised my buddy Jim Jones (@k00laidIT) I would somehow manage to drop it into a blog post.  Needless to say, after everything played out, another change was in the cards for me.  I accepted the Solution Architect position and am now moving on to the pre-sales side of things.  I have basically been in some form of service delivery for basically my entire career (bagels -> websites -> desktops -> servers -> data center) so I’m excited, nervous, and many of the other feels all at once.  I have TONS of new stuff to learn, but also get to stay on top of the latest and greatest when it comes to data center.  I just won’t be plugging stuff in, doing the clicks and documenting it all as much as I used to.  The vExpert community has already pointed me to the IT Architect Journey by Melissa Palmer (@vmiss33), which I hope to get through soon.  That being said, I will still be finding ways to get new content out on the blog, although it may just be through a different lens.  Thankfully we still have the incredible David Ball (@davidjasonball) contributing and may even be adding another author in the future. 

Speaking of David and the other guys on my previous team, I’ve been extremely lucky and am incredibly grateful for the help that they gave me during the early years (heck even to this day!) in my previous role.  They have been amazing mentors, and I can certainly say I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without their guidance and support.  One thing that made this move easier is that I will still get to work closely with them moving forward as we continue to grow our data center practice.  I know I will need a bit more of that support as I learn the ropes in this new role, and the help that has been given to me in the past will certainly not be forgotten.  There will always be room for growth, and with that also comes opportunity to give back and help pass on our knowledge to others who are coming up in the ranks.  I look forward to that opportunity when the time comes, but for now am ready to embrace the full potential of this new journey that I am taking.

**Jim’s original idea was for me to throw that picture into a presentation that says “Oh the places you (r data) will go!”  I figured this a bit more reasonable.

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