Nerd Journey 048: Amanda Blevins’s Career Happiness VMworld Session

Welcome to episode 48 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution 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 discuss career happiness, as covered by Amanda Blevins in some past VMworld sessions.

Original Recording Date: 07-13-2019

Topics – Amanda Blevins and Career Happiness, VMworld 2018 Throwback

0:55 – Background on Our Topic Selection

  • This is a follow up discussion from something we mentioned in Bonus 01.
    • This week we’re sharing some nuggets from a VMworld US 2018 session Amanda Blevins did on career happiness. You can view the presentation from VMworld US 2018 on-demand here and the one she did with Joe Baguley from VMworld 2018 Europe here.
    • If you happen to be at VMworld 2019 this year, you can see the session live. Achieving Happiness: Building Your Brand and Your Career. See the content catalog link for the US Session and the EU Session to add it to your personalized agenda.
  • The Nerd Journey crew (John and Nick) will be at VMworld US 2019 this year. Come chat with us!
    • John is doing a VMware {code} session entitled "Save the IT Department: Add the Development Platform to Your Portfolio". The content catalog link to it can be found here.
    • Nick is doing a vBrownBag session entitled "Pi in the Sky: Using Wavefront to Analyze Pi-hole Data". See the content catalog link here.

4:37 – Diving into the Session

  • 5:27 Happiness in your career

    • Aligning goals, desires, employer, and career path was something John learned from discussions with a career coach.
    • The distinction between role responsibilities and role requirements are important to identify. Know what you’ve agreed to do.
    • Often times we lose track of personal requirements and weighting them over professional requirements.
      • Time with family and friends and on hobbies is important too.
      • Go back and listen to the episodes with Keiran Shelden on this:
    • Think about project work associated with any job and the distinction between those you have to work on and those you get to work on from flexibility of the role or a need that arises. Is that type of flexibilit important to you?
  • 9:59 Personal brand

    • It might be better to call it professional reputation since personal brand is a little bit of a buzz word these days.
    • There are ways to decode your brand from personality to communication. Also the way you make people feel is important.
      • It is extremely important to be honest in your self-assessment.
      • Get honest, constructive feedback from others.
    • Don’t just work on strengths. Consider opportunities to develop personally and professionally that build on weak areas.
  • 14:44 Career

    • Amanda gave some great definitions for what a career is.
    • The things we do at work do not define us. Defining yourself based on the things you do can lead to negative self-perception.
    • Identification of paths, mentorship, research, and planning with your manager are all part of a career journey.
    • Creating your own position is a possibility but takes some work. Think back to Tom Delicati’s approach on this from Episode 13.
      • The Q & A from the VMworld US session had more material on this specific topic and how to approach it.
  • 19:21 Brand and Career

    • Developing a brand / reputation is a continual process. It takes work to form this into what you want it to be.
    • Making decisions is easier when you define what you want your brand and career to be.
      • A reputation of saying yes to everything can hurt you and prevent follow through.
    • Generally before being promoted into a new role, one must be performing many of the tasks of someone in the new role already.
  • 23:32 Questions and answers from both sessions

    • Someone asked what managers could do to help identify and focus the development of individual contributors on the team. Go listen to it (VMworld US recording).
    • John cites his favorite question overall asked – recognizing organizations that are not supportive of individual development (VMworld US recording).
      • What if you feel trapped / unsupported at your current job?
    • Can advancement happen without a mentor? (VMworld Europe recording)
      • Go listen to what Joe and Amanda have to say on this topic. How formal should mentorship be?
  • 30:26 Summary

    • This session is a prescriptive approach that makes you think.
      • It really gets into the "how" of progression and reputation building and isn’t just a high-level discussion. It’s not career markitecture.
    • Amanda mentioned having to read a bunch of books about interacting with people to learn this skillset better.
    • John saw this session live and will go see it again this year. Achieving Happiness: Building Your Brand and Your Career [PD1407U] US Show
  • Come hang out with us at VMworld US – at meals, in between or during sessions, and let’s talk career!

Contact us if you need help on the journey.

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