Leveling Up Your Career with Yadin Porter de León

Welcome to episode 88 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 discuss leveling up your career and making the conscious decision to change with Yadin Porter de León.

Original Recording Date: 08-07-2020

Topics – Leveling Up and Making the Decision to Change

2:05 – Career Background

  • Yadin is one of those people that recruiters have no idea what to do with. He currently works for VMware as a part of the Marketing organization.
  • Throughout the conversation, Yadin will be channeling Amy Lewis.
  • His background is in regional management, sales alignment, and professional services.
  • The bulk of his tech career was from working with companies like AIG, Apple, Dell, and VMware (customers of his at one time or another).
  • Yadin saw a disconnect in Marketing. Maybe we should create content by people for people (very intuitive to the tech community).
    • Sometimes marketers will create content for an audience they don’t really know (i.e. the person doing the creating may not know a CIO, a Database Admin, or a SysAdmin).
  • When Yadin was young, he leaned toward tech around age 10 (got excited about AppleSoft Basic). Listen to the story he shares about pseudo-hacking a program at school.
  • He was super into storytelling, and went back and forth between video production and tech. He eventually attended film school.
  • Yadin got a MBA in Information Systems and made the decision to go all tech after the dot com crash.
  • Yadin shares a story from his experience in the last week speaking with Joe Beda and James Watters on his podcast. It was intimidating to speak to people who are so technical.
  • Yadin was a documentary filmmaker at one point and lost his funding.
    • He received a from a friend about working at a software company around the same time and said yes.
    • Yadin feels like his journey started that day.
    • Right after leaving Thomson Reuters, the software company he originally worked for was dissolved.

9:04 – Pro Tips on Leveling Up

  • Ask your company if they pay for any education. There’s usually something they will throw at you. Check with HR first because there is cash to be had.
  • Yadin is the founder of the Level Up Project and co-founder of Tech Village Media.
    • There will be a vTrailMap again this year for the benefit of the community.
    • The Level Up Project is in line with what we do on the podcast (helping people level up in their career by sharing lessons we learned earlier in our careers).
    • John shares that he and Nick have had their eyes opened to the vast career possibilities for individual contributors.
    • The number one thing that opened Yadin’s eyes from a career standpoint was podcasts. It was not just one but many.
      • Yadin started with The CloudCast and went back to their first episode.
      • He thought he was in tech but did not understand what it was like to be in tech until working for a tech company in Silicon Valley.
      • One of the reasons he started the vTrailMap was because he was lost on where to start in the industry (what podcast to listen to, what blog to read, etc.) and wanted to get involved.
      • Twitter and following people from various podcasts certainly helped, but no one had made a guide quite like the vTrailMap.
      • You have to be curious. Take that up 10x. Don’t just listen to one podcast. Listen to several. It doesn’t have to be with a specific regularity.
      • Listen to people who have done a job, and ask yourself if their role sounds fun.
      • Marketing has a lot of money, and they aren’t afraid to give it to the right people.
      • Following your passion is a recipe for disillusionment.
      • Yadin believes we should show up, do the work, and find the passion. Show the discipline drip by drip, day by day. If the passion isn’t there, maybe it’s time to move to another role.
      • When I showed up one day, what gave me the most value / got me the most excited?
        • Was it working on a new technology or something else?
      • Whether you are a pioneer, settler, or town planner…find out where you want to fit. There’s no shame in loving ITIL, for example, if it is something you love to do. But find an organization that will let you do the work in a way you want.
      • Share a blog, a podcast, comment on Twitter.

17:05 – What if I’m Too Busy / Burned Out?

  • Burnout is real. IT personnel are asked to do more with less consistently.

    • When you’re in that situation and can’t get off the treadmill, that is a health issue (i.e. not enough time to complete the basic components of your role).
    • Sometimes we create more things to do than can be done. But if others are putting things on you that you 1) don’t want to do and 2) requires more time in your day than you have, that is a huge red flag. Just to get oxygen, you have to move to a different organization.
      • No one wants to go to their manager and say they are overwhelmed.
    • Even if your day is packed, you can reach out to people (send an email, send a DM) to see what working in a specific role is like.
    • The best time to do what you are thinking about doing is NOW.
    • In any situation there are 3 things you can do, but you have to choose one and pursue with intent.
      • Accept it – if this is your choice, you must stop complaining.
      • Change it – do something about it, and stop complaining because you’re doing something about it.
      • Leave – get out of the situation.
    • By declaratively choosing, you take control (situation is doing something for me vs. doing something to me).
  • Reach out to Yadin on Twitter, see #vTrailMap, and subscribe to the Tech Village Podcast.

  • Yadin is most proud of his work on The CIO Exchange Podcast. Check it out on the listening platform of your choice!

Contact us if you need help on the journey.

image sources

  • Ep 88: John White

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