Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Being Thankful

With Thanksgiving upon us, I wanted to take a few minutes to blog about what I am thankful for this year.

But first, let me give you a little background and set the stage for this past year. 

In August of 1990, fresh out of high school, I started at the Paul Revere Insurance Company in Worcester, Massachusetts. My first position was sorting mail for the customer service department. I decided to delay college (it has been delayed for 23 years now) and my starting salary in August of 1990 was a generous $14,000.00 a year.  That pretty much covered my car payment, car insurance, gas, and my weekend expenses.

I walked around in my dress shirt, dress pants, and tie (corporate policy even for mail clerks) with my standard issued mail cart delivering correspondence to customer service representatives, managers, and executives.

In a short period of time, I was promoted to an associate customer service position. The early 1990’s were an interesting time to be in corporate America. Individual contributors that were part of the day-to-day operations didn’t have cubicles, instead 6-foot high walls zoned off the department and all our desks were jammed together. There was no privacy, and even worse was the fact that smoking was allowed in the office. Every day I would come into the office and sit next to Liz and Holly; they were two pack a day chain smokers. My introduction to cloud computing was the cloud of cigarette smoke hovering over my dumb terminal. By the end of the day my eyes were watering and my cloths smelled like I had been at the Philip Morris convention.

This prompted me to seek other opportunities in the company. The first position I applied for was with the company help desk. Why you ask? The IT department had cubicles! Cubicles with FULL walls! It provided some level of privacy, nobody in the department smoked, and I was able to learn about computers. Score!

When I applied for our IT department’s help desk position, I had been with the company for 3 years, I relied heavily on my customer service background, and of course, I read Microsoft Windows for Dummies. Yeah! I had learned just enough about Microsoft Windows to land the job. Now I was making some real dough, $22,000.00 a year. I remember in those days, I was under the delusion that if I could make $25,000.00 dollars a year that I would be living the high-life. Oh how life has changed…

Thus began my exciting journey into infrastructure IT. 

I stayed with Unum Group from August 1990 to January 2013. Of course, over those years, I worked in many different roles at Unum Group. The roles ranged from starting out on the help desk to being in IT leadership managing the virtualization team. On January 18, 2013, I left my role at Unum Group and embarked on a new opportunity at AdvizeX Technologies as a Senior Technical Architect focused on VMware solutions.
That was the scariest thing I ever did in my life! I am not kidding, being with an organization for so long made it feel like it was my personal identity. I had participated in pouring the IT infrastructure foundation for Unum Group, and invested over half my life into the company. I was extremely proud of the work that my team did to push the company's virtualization and private cloud computing strategy.

The most difficult part was leaving behind the relationships that I had built over the past 23 years. In retrospect, we spend more time with our work colleagues than we do with our immediate family. The people we work with on a daily basis really become an extension of our family. We come to know their wives, kids, and life circumstances. Severing those relationships was very hard.
Starting at AdvizeX Technologies was an awakening. Being in pre-sales was considerably different compared to a corporate ecosystem; the sales driven mentality, the focus on technical expertise across a broad range of partner technologies, sizing out professional services, and meeting with different clients with a wide range of technical needs. In short order, I came to really enjoy working with different clients. Using my past experiences to help them with their strategic IT decisions. Leaving Unum Group ended up being one of the best decisions I made in my career; it provided a tremendous amount of personal and professional growth.

Being a part of a solution provider like Advizex Technologies really is a great experience. You get to work with some of the most talented people in the business, and you get to network with the technical experts of your core technology partners. This year, I have had the opportunity to meet Scott Lowe (VMware), Calvin Zito (HP), Mike Foley (VMware), David Bieneman (Liquidware Labs), Chad Sakac (EMC), and Ben Goodman (VMware) to name a few.

I have had an amazing amount of good fortune in 2013. I became a VMware vExpert for 2013, I won the vDestination trip to VMworld 2013 sponsored by Greg Stuart (my first time to attend VMworld), and I am starting a new job as a Senior Technical Account Manager for VMware; the company I have always wanted to work for.

Sometimes making a change and taking a risk is the best thing we can do for our career and our life.

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for reading my blog over the past year and for all the support.
News: Top vBlog 2016 Trending: DRS Advanced Settings