Three-Month Check-In as a Google Cloud Customer Engineer with John White, Part 2

Welcome to episode 67 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 have the second half of our discussion with John on his move from VMware to Google Cloud. The first half was Episode 66 if you’d like to listen to it first (or if you missed it last week).

Original Recording Date: 2020-01-25

Topics – Checking in with John White on Life at Google (Part 2)

2:11 – Changes to John’s Professional Development Strategy?

  • Many of the skills we’ve discussed on Nerd Journey previously like HR screening calls, etc.
  • Google does a multi-step onsite interview process and gave John some advice on how to prepare for them.
  • John knew who he is and what he brought to the table, taking every opportunity to prepare.
  • There was a great deal of room for advancement at VMware, but Google as an organization is pretty young with ambitious growth goals and funding from the parent company. It feels like working for a startup.
    • For example, folks wanting to move into management were encouraged to start having those conversations with their managers since the organization knows more managers will be needed as the company grows.

8:01 – Changes to Family Life?

  • John wishes he had heard Mike Burkart’s advice before making this move (see Part 1 and Part 2 of that discussion).
  • John did not anticipate how much of a change consistently going into the office would be versus working from home.
  • The office hours are not set specifically. Getting work finished and being present for meetings is more the emphasis. John has seen people at the office at 6 AM.
  • John plans his schedule around the food served in the office (sometimes).
  • A benefit of being at the office daily is the proximity to coworkers for bouncing ideas, asking questions, etc.
  • For the first year, John plans to be in the office 5 days per week to build relationships with colleagues. This was the recommended approach from others who were seasoned Google employees.
    • Building as many relationships in person as possible is important to John.
  • Sometimes John’s wife would work from home, and he used to be able to take a short break to catch up with her. Being in an office every day takes this perk of working from home away.
  • Remember there is a cost of giving up time to commute and be at an office all day. Consider this when taking a new role.

15:06 – Proximity to Management

  • John’s manager works in the same office as he does. Google seems to be organizing teams this way when possible based on geography.
  • John has met colleagues who were completely field facing due to no local office.

16:57 – What John Misses at VMware

  • That is easy…the people. He had great colleagues, management, and enjoyed interacting with his customers. It was easy to reach out to colleagues.
  • John brings up a great point – when moving to another vendor, should you maintain relationships with former customers?
  • John did not take the time to reach out to everyone he valued as a colleague to let them know he was leaving (change / move was too sudden).
    • He chose not to take his Outlook contacts with him for ethical reasons. In some cases he lost the list of contacts. But he still has connections with many people on LinkedIn.
    • How many people make a list of all the right folks to contact inside the current company who should be notified when they leave (i.e. goodbye e-mail with contact e-mail)? One thing John would do differently is to maintain this list ahead of time.
  • On the way out, John made sure his customers were transitioned properly to someone else.
  • We talked about gracefully leaving an organization in a previous episode.

26:56 – Other Lessons

  • John mentioned he achieved his dream job when he arrived at VMware and had to find a new dream.
    • John wanted to make sure he built the right brand so that others would know what he brought the table (skills, etc.). And he also began to think about how to make his skills portable to other roles.
  • Listeners should learn to dream in bands.

Contact us if you need help on the journey.

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