Thursday, June 12, 2014

VMUG Leadership and me

I have the honor of being a newly inducted VMUG leader!  Now before you start throwing gifts my way, let me tell you what VMUG means.  This is a user group (UG) of VMware folks or people who enjoy using the products that VMware have. From the highest level of Enterprise support down to the free products that they offer to lowly ole me.  But what is VMUG?  Here is a brief description from their website.

Officially launched in August of 2010, the VMware User Group (VMUG) is an independent, global, customer-led organization, created to maximize members’ use of VMware and partner solutions through knowledge sharing, training, collaboration, and events. With over 90,000 members worldwide, we are the largest organization for virtualization users.

So, what do I do as a leader? We are responsible for getting information out to the rest of our group.  For the most part that includes all of Arizona.  Part of this responsibility is connecting and networking with those around me who use these products.  My "trial by fire" last year, was speaking in front of a group of about 55 people, no one got up and left during my presentation that I co-presented with another leader.  I've had a chance to meet most of the regulars that come to the meetings, but we don't wear name tags and there's no way people would remember me.  (Actually, I think that day we did)  Part of our quarterly process is lining up speakers and companies to come and speak to our group. There are people out there that do this for a living, so hopefully I can do that for this group.  I suppose I should close with talking about giving back to the community.

It is true, I'm very grateful for this opportunity.  So often I meet people who "play" with VMware or vSphere or ESX or whatever term they use.  The main thing is to help this group grow and to include those that want to learn more to be able to get the information they're looking for and in a timely manner.  More than twice I've had discussions about a lack of help or documentation in a particular field within this realm.  Hopefully, I can assist those people.

Let's do this!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

How similar I am to my dad

Over the past few months, I've had some time to think about my family.  Some actions that I've recently taken have reminded me how close that I really am to the way my dad always seemed to me growing up.  While I mostly lived on the weekend at his house with the weekdays being at my mom's, I certainly did learn quite a bit from him.  He taught me to be kind and the consider others' needs before mine.  He taught me to do a good job and always put my best foot forward at work.  He taught me to always take care of family first and always remember where you came from. 

He was actually kind enough to allow me to stay with him when I was a smart-mouthed 18 year old. Clearly I knew everything and didn't mind telling him how awesome I was.  Yes, he even allowed me to continue to breathe afterward.  Even when I left on terrible terms and acted like a complete jerk to him, he still cared enough to love me through it. He even waited patiently for me to come around and apologize.  No, he didn't do anything wrong and he said he never held a grudge the entire time.  He felt disappointed in the way I acted and he had every reason to. 

My dad is awesome, he has always been awesome and he will always be awesome. On this father's day, I salute him.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Eye Contact

It dawned on me the other day, as I was walking between the cube farm at work, that people just don't look at you anymore.  Most likely they will give a cursory glance your way or even look up at the last second to pacify their own guilt in not making eye contact sooner, hoping that you've done the same or looked away already.  My grandfather taught me that when you shake someones hand, you look them in the eye until the greeting is complete.  I wonder if I've held true to that teaching over the years?  I know I've caught myself not looking at someone when they are speaking to me.  Whether I'm being or corrected or praised, I need to pay attention to the individual speaking to me and give them the proper respect of eye contact.

Perhaps all we need sometimes is a firm handshake, a smile and eye contact to make someone feel like we're really listening? To that end, I will continue to work on my own eye contact.  Hopefully I won't come across as starring, but rather making a statement of attention and caring.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Working in a new environment.

One of the most challenging roles as a System Engineer/Administrator, is when you switch to a new company.  Things (RE:processes) that seemed obvious before are not so obvious at the new place.  Here's an analogy for you.  You walk into your favorite local grocery store (Fry's, Kroger, Albertsons, Bashas-or any other place to purchase food).  You get used to where things sit on a shelf and where they belong in the grocery store world. Typically the fresh fruits and veggies are there in the front when you walk in.  

But what happens if you walked into a store and the food was turned around! Who made that decision?  Why was that decision made?  Can I deal with this change or should I turn around and walk back out the same door I just came in?  Can I affect the change to put the fruits back up front or maybe just the veggies?  What if I get lost while trying to get to the fruit aisle?  Will there be someone to guide me if I can't find the section?  Why isn't there a sign or at least a list to look at to find the stupid aisle?  Am I the only one in the store wandering around looking lost or are there others and no one else is talking?  Why is anyone asking me where this or that is?  I can't even find a banana, let alone a specific loaf of bread, and you want to know if they have a butcher on staff?  

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How much social networking can you stand?

This entire post started when I had spent several hours trolling multiple social networking sites and came across this post from G+.

Are you a Facebook flunky, a LinkedIn loser (sorry +John Mark Troyer ), a Twitter twit, or a Google geek?  Or perhaps you're into one of the other seemingly 20 other apps, gadgets or web sites that NEED our attention.  I actually took a week off from what I'd call "active social time".  To understand what I did, we'd need to define such a feat.  I define "active social time" as sitting in front of my screen of my choice, whether that's a computer, tablet or phone. (let's not discuss a phablet at this time)  Of course I would have the occasional post from my wife or one of my children saying that they did this or liked this, and I would look at it, like it and move on.  I'm talking about actively engaging in watching the screen.  I actually spent some time earlier this year with Google+ and Tweetdeck (twitter) open all the time and "watched the streams".  But for that one week, I left both alone and sat in darkness.  Was it difficult?  At first it was.  I actually caught myself reaching for my phone and decided to put it back down even though it felt weird to do so.

After a week did I jump back on and go nuts trying to catch up on everything?  I think that would have been impossible at best.  Did I miss anything important?  I suppose I'll never really know.

What about you?  What feed source do you follow?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Do you have a unicorn in your midst?

Earlier today I finished up listening to yet another amazing podcast by the @geek_whisperers speaking on Unicorns.

A unicorn is a unique creature one that may not be tamed.  In the tech world, this can be the saving grace for your company.  When it comes to a coworker, can one work with a team?  Unicorns are those that can think outside of the box, pulling from resources that others may not even consider.  I remember one particular incident we had at work when all of the teams were scrambling trying to decide what the problem was and where was it coming from.  Remember, "It's never the network." and "It can't be a server issue, they're all running fine".  So maybe it was the user?  So after the finger pointing stopped, we were all called into the big meeting room so we could hash this out.  We weren't leaving until we had something to bring to management, we simply needed a solution or at least a path.  Well it took our unicorn to start asking if anything had been patched.  While it certainly wasn't out of the realm of possibilities, patches had been deployed weeks prior.  Turns out that a patch from two or three cycles before had been applied but the server never rebooted.  This server was requested to be rebooted and that's when the trouble happened. On that day we were happy the unicorn was paying attention.

Now I know that this wasn't the primary focus of the podcast, but this is how I can absolutely relate to having one on our team.  So are unicorns born or built?  Some people love being the hero and saving the day.  The accompanying article relates "The right kind of employee evangelist is like a Unicorn: very hard to find. ". I think when it comes to tech, or a product, you need a champion within your organization. Someone who will rise to the occasion and take on those that try to stifle the progress of the project or new beginning. I'm still not sure if I can answer how unicorns come about.  But I think we can all be unicorns if the need arises.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's not getting easier

I mistakenly thought that my phone would be flying off the hook.
But it has not.  I've had a few bites for sure and I'm super grateful for those phone calls.  Suffice it to say, that perfect job hasn't happened yet. I did have a phone interview last week and while it was both interesting and fascinating to have the conversation, I'm not the best candidate at all.  At least the guy was nice enough to continue the conversation until the end of an hour.  He certainly had tons of great questions, but he and I both realized that the position required more of an architect. (OK, he already knew it, but apparently I didn't get it the memo from the job description)   The last time I was laid off from a job, I took some training during the "severance" months.  Increasing my skills is a must for sure!  I know I need to be combing through company websites and job websites to find a job along with continuing to engage on the social networking level.  However, I believe my focus needs to change. 

Tomorrow will be a different day and I'm looking forward to my list of accomplishments and achievements. Oh...and I have another phone interview which I am most certainly looking forward to.