career achievement – unlocked

I started working with VMware products (ESX 3.0) back in January 2007. Like many IT folks that spent years working with physical equipment in DCs, I still remember the excitement I felt when I performed my first vMotion. It was AWESOME! I remember showing my buddies/co-workers how we could move a virtual machine from one physical host to another, while I was RDP’d into the VM, and only losing one network ping. We are obviously “light years” ahead those days, but that initial taste of Virtualization forever changed my career and made me the IT Professional I am today.

From that one moment, I’ve continued to grow my career over the years, and continued to grow with VMware and their myriad of products. I “resurrected” the Central Mississippi VMUG and really enjoyed learning from the vCommunity about what they were working with, issues they were having, etc. In fact, this became a regular session we would have at our VMUG meetings titled “All Things VMware.” Hearing the community talk and share knowledge with one another is an awesome thing, and one I’m very proud to be part of down to this day.

My continued Virtualization and Engineering roles with various companies/industries made my excitement for VMware’s products continue to grow. I started having more and more friends/colleagues go to work for VMware, and tell me what a great culture they have, and to “nudge” me when VMware had a role they thought I would be good at.

I started to really think that I wanted to be on the inside…I wanted the opportunity to help others use VMware products and help them see the benefits of new technologies as they came out. So I finally applied for a role at VMware. I would like to tell you that I was immediately hired and everything was candy and roses since, but that was not the case (yet).

I don’t recall the exact opportunity with VMware that I initially applied to, or exactly when it was, but my guess would be 5 or 6 years ago. I remember getting a canned email that stated something to the effect that they “found other candidates that better fit the qualifications” of the role, or something like that. Like most folks, I don’t like rejection, but realize that is a part of life. It is what you do after the rejection that defines you.

I moved into different roles since that first rejection…going from an SVP, Manager at a Regional Bank, to an Sr Engineer position at an Oil and Gas Company, to a Sr Virtualization Engineer at a Software/Telco company. All along the way, I received hands-on experience with VMware products in larger and larger environments. The one constant I’ve learned throughout my years working with VMware products is that you have to be willing to learn and willing to change. You cannot stay stagnant…you have to continue to invest in yourself and teach yourself as new technologies emerge.

As I continued to grow in my skillset, I would apply for different roles at VMware from time to time. I started getting further along in the hiring process, but ultimately would see the same result, an email thanking me for applying but no offer. Sometimes the role was canceled for various reasons, sometimes an Internal Staff member was moved into the new role. Whatever the reason, it still seemed to be a rejection to me, but also fueled me to keep pushing and pursuing my goal of working for VMware.

I don’t know the exact number, but I believe it has been at least 5 roles I’ve applied for over the years, but each time, I learned something…perhaps something I should teach myself, perhaps something I should handle better in the process, etc. Ultimately, I took these things I learned and pushed myself to do better. My reasoning was, even if it didn’t help me get a job at VMware, at least it will help me at my current employer and be something I can share with the vCommunity at our VMUG meetings.

Fast forward to just a few months ago, and I saw a LinkedIn post by one of the VMware guys I met at our Orlando UserCon. It was for a role as a VMware TAM (Technical Account Manager) in Nashville, TN. My family and I are very familiar with the area and recently thought about moving there when we sold our house in Mississippi. I thought, “why not give this one a shot?” As I read the job description, talked to existing TAMs to get their feedback, and learned more from close friends that work at VMware, I decided to apply. I went through the process, had several phone interviews, Tech Screen, and face-to-face interview and ultimately received an offer to go to work for VMware as a TAM in Nashville. My start date is this coming Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

To say I’m excited would be an understatement…I can’t wait to get started and to see what all I can learn from others, and possibly share some of what I learn. I am very thankful for my vCommunity friends that have continued to push me throughout my career, and thankful for the companies I’ve worked for that allowed me to continue to grow in my Virtualization skillset. I look forward to working with VMware and continuing to be an advocate for the VMUG community!