This year I have been fortunate enough to be made a vExpert for my second straight year. I was asked what does it mean to me to be a vExpert, so I thought I would take a moment to write a blog article on what it means to me to be a vExpert.
To explain what vExpert means to me I must go back to the beginning of 2010 when I first got into IT. I sat down and listed out career goals, salaries, certifications, job titles, & everything I wanted to accomplish to know I had been successful in my eyes. By 2018, I had accomplished everything I had sat out to accomplish and I even did it 7 years a head of schedule.
I was proud of what I had done and smiled that my friends thought I was a great person, I was that technical dial a friend to people, I had been a keynote speaker on emerging technologies, been in multiple private beta programs, obtained over three dozens certifications, and had made a lot of money. However, outside my close circle of friends words like brash, arrogant, selfish, etc were used to describe me by people who had not taken the time to get to know me.
I would often ponder why such adjectives would be used to describe me given how much money I donated to charity, friends I had helped, free consulting services I would provide, and other things I thought made me a good person. What little could I know at the time but people saw a selfish arrogant man because I made my career about myself and my abilities.
Key Turning Point in my Career:
In 2018, at what I thought was the peak of my career, I almost retired from IT. I sat with a dear friend to discuss this topic but he in return tried to convince me not to retire but begin blogging & made the argument of how much bigger your brand could get and how much more money you could charge for your services. The idea of a “Brand” seemed ridiculous to me and I shot down both brand building & blogging.
However, later that year I sat with Brad Tompkins, Winces Michel, & Tim Davis and they made a different pitch. Imagine if you could share your experiences in a blog, speaking engagements, tech talks & etc to help other people for the sake of helping others. This notion of just putting content out that I hoped would be useful to the vCommunity with the backing of good hearted friends inspired me to begin my blog.
Through the blog came requests to speak on panels. Through panels came interview requests. Through interview requests came more beta programs to write about. Though these things I met more people at a lot of companies, which allowed me to build a network to help others in the community to get jobs. This circle began where the more I tried to help people the more opportunities that life granted me to help more. In the last two years I’ve had opportunities to do things in my career that I could never have imagined 10 years ago.
In 2019, I didn’t know if my application was good enough to make vExpert but was surprised when I was accepted into the program. When I applied for my vExpert in 2020, I was hopeful to keep this run going but I cared more about the people I helped in 2019 more than if I made vExpert 2020. I am not saying this to diminish the vExpert program. I have just reached a point where whether or not I receive the vExpert honor, I will continue to be involved in my community, help others, write blog articles hoping they’re helpful, and even more if the opportunities arise. There are many great rewards of being in this program but knowing you are helping make a difference in the lives & careers of others is what keeps me motivated.
I began my career with selfish goals & only thinking about myself. If it had not been for the vCommunity and the vExpert program than I believe my career would have plateaued resulting in early retirement. Thanks to this program and all the wonderful people I’ve met in this program it continually inspires me to wake up every day trying to do more and help more people. This community is rich in people coming together for the betterment of our peers. There are no ego’s, no arrogance, no entitlement, just people trying to make a difference.
I hope anyone who read my story takes something positive away from this. If you are not yet a vExpert I encourage you to start blogging, and if not blogging then get on the community boards. If you don’t believe you are at that level yet then just start by attending a local VMUG meeting & network to see who locally you may be able to help.