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.
Certification and Mentoring with Manny Sidhu
Nick and John discuss how technical certifications can advance a career and the satisfaction of teaching and mentoring with independent consultant Manny Sidhu.
Changing Your Career Trajectory with Yadin Porter de León
In episode 89, we discuss changing your career trajectory with Yadin Porter de León.
Applying the Beginner Mindset in Major Job Transitions – Steven Murawski Part 3
Episode 107 - The third and final part of Nick and John's conversation with Steven Murawski, Principal Cloud Advocate at Microsoft. We see how Steven applies the beginner mindset in major job transitions.
Something to Offer, Something to Share with Don Jones (1/2)
Welcome to episode 137 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 share part 1 of our interview with Don Jones. Don will share his origin story in IT and the traversal through individual contributor, management, writing, being independent, and teaching.
Original Recording Date: 07-14-2021
Topics – Don’s Origin Story, Manager and Individual Contributor, Hard Experience and Career Mistakes, Writing Skills and Seeing Blind Spots, Something to Offer, Losing Tech Chops
3:38 – Introducing Don Jones
* Don Jones (find him on LinkedIn and Twitter) started in the tech industry in the 1990s as an Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE).
* He has been a conference speaker and author of around 60 technical books.
* Don is currently Head of Developer Skills for Pluralsight, determining the topics needed and how deep to go in terms of developer content.
* He currently authors fiction books to scratch the writing itch.
* Check out Don’s career project Ampere Club and an upcoming career focused virtual event called AmpNavigator happening October 7-8 2021.
4:49 – Don’s Origin Story
* In childhood Don had a Commodore 64 and liked to work on it while other kids were outside playing.
* The school guidance counselor said lack of patience with math meant Don couldn’t pursue computers. This was the 80s (so whatever that meant).
* Don switched out of an honors track in high school to a vocational school to study electronics and computer repair.
* Don was recruited by the Navy to be an civilian aircraft engineering mechanic apprentice
* He worked on the F14 Tomcat and A6 Intruder platforms.
* After doing a presentation on repairing/upgrading computers, a co-worker urged him to pursue it as a career and get out of the Navy.
* After a base re-org, he left to work for Electronics Boutique (EB Games, purchased by GameStop many years ago)
* Don went from Sales Associate to Assistant Manager to Store Manager very quickly.
* Then he got a job at the home office working the evening shift point-of-sale system helpdesk.
* Don then moved to working on an AS400 platform.
* He wrote a new Visual Basic POS system
* Don left the company to be a network engineer and had no exposure to it, learning via books until he snagged a MCSE.
* The company gave a bonus for each certification so he collected several.
* He went to work for Bell Atlantic as a network administrator.
* Don got connected with the vendor used for Instructor Led Training (ILT) and was interested in becoming a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT).
* Don started teaching night courses at Penn State University to former aircraft mechanics from Boeing.
* He loved it and hired on at the training company.
* Don eventually ran their training and courseware group and later ran the software consulting business there.
No Comfort in the Growth Zone with Blake Johnson (2/2)
Welcome to episode 136 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 share part 2 of our interview with Blake Johnson. We discuss ways to get started with fitness and stay the course, dealing with accountability and shame, what we can learn from the life of a car salesman, and thoughts on finding your why.
Original Recording Date: 07-08-2021
Blake Johnson (find him on LinkedIn or Twitter) is a simple salesman who is passionate about people. He is also the owner of Manifest Fit. Catch part 1 of our interview with Blake in Episode 135.
Topics – Getting Started with Fitness and Staying the Course, Accountability and Shame, Human Improvement, Life of a Car Salesman, Finding Your Why and Closing Thoughts
3:18 – Getting Started with Fitness and Staying the Course
* Blake has a client with bad knees who reached out to him asking to feel better.
* This person noticed they had to tighten their watch band and was able to play with his kids all day without getting tired.
* The way this person quantifies success is playing with his kids all day.
* Blake has a client who used to be diabetic because of soda consumption.
* They dialed back the consumption, and this person drank more water and was able to push harder at the gym.
* Some people don’t want to go to the gym because "that’s where fit people are."
* We self-sabotage quite a bit with preconceived assumptions about the places we go (like gyms).
* Step back. Are all gyms bad? If you feel they are, what can be done within those limits (playground, park, at home, etc.)?
* "The only reason I am not where I want to be in my life is because I stopped myself before I even started." – Blake Johnson
* Can you watch a video and follow it, take a walk in the neighborhood, or go somewhere you enjoy? Maybe that helps you build up to getting a coach or going to a gym (even if you just step in and watch). You have to start somewhere.
* Nick likes the idea of measuring what matters (feeling better) instead of focusing on the numbers of waistline and pounds.
* How about "I don’t have time to exercise?"
* We all have the same amount of time in a day.
* You will not have time for things that are not important to you. We make time for what matters.
* Blake hates waking up at 5 AM, but working out for him is more important than not working out. And he knows once he gets home from work he is not going to work out.
* If you only have 30 minutes, that is a ton of time. It doesn’t have to be 2 hours.
* There are many ways to get to where we want to be within time limits. Even if it’s 20 minutes, we can change our activities to allow ourselves to make progress even in short time periods.
* If you don’t have time, you may one day be sitting next to a doctor hearing "you should have found time."
* There’s always a reason to not do something. Figuring out that something is important to your success, understanding objections,
Fit to Be Changed with Blake Johnson (1/2)
Welcome to episode 135 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 share part 1 of our discussion with Blake Johnson in which we discuss Blake’s education, early career, how he became obsessed with fitness, and some incremental ways to become more fit.
Original Recording Date: 07-08-2021
Topics – Meet Blake Johnson, The Second Degree and Getting into Sales, Situational Pressures, Strength and Conditioning for Success
4:10 – Meet Blake Johnson
* Blake Johnson (find him on LinkedIn or Twitter) is a simple salesman who is passionate about people and has a background in a number of areas.
* Blake calls himself the perfect millennial who didn’t quite know what he wanted to do but wanted to do everything.
* He got a degree in English Rhetoric while pursing business studies. Blake is a big fan of having to explain your answers.
* Blake considered law school but decided he liked the people better than the profession.
* He played football and really enjoyed strength and conditioning, eventually leading to a Biology degree.
* He describes himself today as someone living the dream.
* Listen to the difference between rhetoric and English rhetoric.
6:07 – The Second Degree and Getting into Sales
* Blake moved to Texas after graduation since he has some family there, ending up at Baylor.
* Biology forced him to keep thinking and expand his comfort zone. He believed sitting in a lab or behind an operating table might not be best for him.
* In a sales role today, he gets to make an impact on people and meet people of all types.
* Blake was a strength and conditioning coach (not really sales). Your product is who you are, and who you are is your product. The focus is on taking care of clients and helping them reach the next level of success.
* Blake told his boss at the time that he wanted to learn the business side of things, seeking to understand it better.
* He later stepped into a General Manager role and understood how to sell strength and conditioning services.
* In the sports performance world he was in charge of books, staff, doing some coaching, and taking the facility from one point to another while ensuring the product and the community was well taken care of (owning profit and loss of a single facility).
* Does moving from someone who practices strength and conditioning coaching to someone who sells it make you removed from the practice of doing it?
* Blake said when he was just a coach he wanted nothing to do with the sales teams, wanting only to focus on his role.
* Once he was able to step back from the role and look at it from an outside perspective, he understood the sales side, making him a better salesman and ultimately a better coach.
* Blake understood the product and the value of it to the consumer (athletes). Putting those two together made things so much better.
* John makes the point that aligning the practice (i.e. what someone does as a practitioner) with the value received by people we are working with or for is a challenge for technology practitioners.
* This was a struggle for John and something he did not learn until moving into Sales Engineering.
Great podcast for anyone with a career in tech!
This podcast is one of my favorites as it talks about the intersection of technology, work, and people. As someone deeply interested in leadership, business, and technology, I like how John and Nick blend all the topics together to be relevant to today’s audience. Plus, they’re funny too. Thank you John and Nick!
I stumbled across this show, started listening just to see what it was about and found myself not wanting to hit the stop button. Why? Because it’s great information and I found benefit. And besides, these guys are fun to listen to with their "nerdy" personalities, along with their expertise. Give it a listen!
Accelerate your career journey...
John and Nick bring straightforward, practical, and informative information about career advancement that is relevant not just to technology professionals, but to anybody looking to improve or enhance their careering. It has been awesome having access to specific, focused conversations from both of the hosts, and informative guests from across the industry.
If you are looking for help in sharpening your skills, getting insight navigating career changes, or just want to know more about career advancement, take a trip with Nerd Journey.