Handling Change

So a lot has changed in my life since that darned ole PowerShell Summit 2018. I noticed a post from Don Jones a few weeks after the Summit regarding a full-time position with Pluralsight as a Cloud Author. I inquired about the position, interviewed and viola, I’m now an author for Pluralsight. Pretty crazy. So I want to document what the last few weeks have looked like for an old dog like me.

The Start

The timing worked out where my last day at the college (last contractual day of the academic year) happened to coincide with the first day of employment with Pluralsight. I will be 100% working remotely. Some (in this area) think that would be a challenge, however, I have spent most of my time developing curriculum, writing for MS, and studying for my MBA at home. I am very comfortable with this situation.

So What’s the Rub

I’ve had a routine for 17 years. Teach in fall…Christmas break…teach in spring…summer break. Now, I’m in a position where I will still teach, however, it’s on my own, creating great content with high expectations and to be honest, I’m terrified, yet extremely excited for the new challenge. I know A LOT of folks who think I’m insane, only 10 more years for some healthcare payout for years of service etc. My career is not driven by final outcomes which revolve around checkboxes. It’s about the challenge and this is certainly an excellent challenge.

Breaking up is Hard to do

This is exactly what this felt like. I was actually going to say “it’s not you, it’s me”….which it really was. I was ready for something…well, different, but the same. I loved my time at the college and truly felt I left the program with some great direction based on my nudging over the past few years. They are in good hands and I will still be involved. We NEED more IT folks. I will do whatever I can to help this community/college and I truly believe NWTC is positioned to send some great IT Pros into the industry.

So What’s New?

Everything! New SSO, using G-Suite…just different than being in the public sector for the past 17 years. I don’t have “summers off”…I’m back to full time and I’m totally embracing it, almost to a fault. I feel like I should be 100% productive before onboarding. So what am I doing? Di20180529_205240ving into content, building my workspace…and well, waiting for recording equipment to arrive. Trust me, PS sent high-quality stuff. Rocking a Surface Laptop now! Built a standing work desk (44″) for recording (left) and a sitting desk (right) using birch wood butcher block and black steel pipe. Thanks to Josh Rickard for the inspiration.

Where to now?

So now, it’s a matter for working with my awesome Author Success Manager (ASM-Sean Lowery) and Production Expert (Alex Walton) to get the gear right, project scope identified and start laying down some great stuff we can provide for people looking to level up their IT chops. This is a huge change for an old dog…well, not for the IT space, but compartiviely speaking a lot older than my students. I don’t see a huge issue as I’m still doing what I love to do…developing curriculum and content for others to hopefully ‘fix a thing’, ‘get inspired’ or ‘find a new life’. That’s my motivation. I’m trading the classroom and seeing my students on campus for being to impact a larger scope of people hoping to realize their dreams. #Can’tWait

 

 

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PowerShell Summit: Pregame Plan

Last year was my first venture to the conference circuit in more than a decade. Hell, who am I kidding, Windows 2000 was the new kid on the block at the time. So, with a #PSHSummit and #DevOpsCamp under my belt, I’m chomping at the bit to dive into some great sessions, rekindle some friendships, and get to know some more like minded folks.

Mindset

Having not been to a conference in “forever” last go around, I was a bit nervous and was crippled with the “impostor syndrome”…OK, well, crippled may be an exaggeration, however, I was a bit nervous. My mind was quickly put at ease when I started to connect with Summiteers (is that a word) on the @Slack channel. Quickly meeting up with Wes and heading down to a pub (my home away from home) and the rest was a breeze. Keep an open mind, participate on @slack and get involved early and often.

Session Planning

My plan this time is to enjoy the days and hit sessions as they are scheduled. Yes, I wanted to see @mminasi last year but @Delta had other plans. The point is, be fluid and flexible. The sessions I plan to attend this go around will have backup plans, and you know…sometimes the side-sessions or just conversations (quietly) outside the rooms are as valuable as some sessions themselves.

Connections

I was awestruck last year. All the rockstars of the community were there. “Holy sh!t!  There’s Don Jones”, “Wow, Jeff Hicks!”, “Mike F.’n Robbins!” (Mike thought I was nuts when I approached him at the meetup and said just that…Sorry Mike, open bar). Jason Hemlick, @lee_holmes @thedevopsdiva, @techtrainertim…and yes, Jeffery F’n Snover…the man! They are all here and then some. I could list all of them, but it would defeat the point. My point is, they are here, they are human, and most are pretty approachable ;)…they ALL are approachable. Say hi, hug some, and say THANK YOU for all they do. They are my inspiration to blog more, share more and do more in the community.

My best connections were the people I met and didn’t read, follow or whatever. Getting off the plane, I met Bob Dillon…yes, THE BOB DILLON @hag624. Wes Kirkland and I met in the lobby of the hotel via @slack  to head down to the first meetup. Found @titoaldorando then @jbirley and @ryandcoates (cocktails were a plenty). I got to know @dagryphy at @devopscamp in July and we’re in touch often and I consider him a great friend. There are others, and I consider all of these folks great friends, and what’s better, I KNOW I can reach out to all of them and they will respond almost instantly. My point being, these are like minded life-long contacts and better yet, life-long friends. Embrace it.

Summary and Advice

I really need this breakout with some like minded folks to share where I’m at. I’m looking forward to making more great connections, shaking hands and a hug with old friends…oh yeah, and great conversations over some well deserved cocktails. Don’t freak out if you’re not making the sessions. Eat, hydrate and well, repeat. Your brain is your asset and someone paid for this gig so get what you can out of it. To be honest, the contacts I made are invaluable and worth more than the sessions. The sessions were inspirations of what can be done! Brain cramming for an entire week is overwhelming! Hopefully the sessions will be available as recorded. So cultivate the contacts, have fun and get inspired. Some of us our in our own echo chambers, this is your opportunity to drink it all in…literally (my liver will attest). I am looking forward to meeting you! Come say hi!

Best,

Mike

Take a Shower…or whatever

It’s starting to become hip (and awesome) to work from home. I have been an independent consultant for 20+ years as well as an IT instructor. I have summers off from teaching, spring breaks, and Christmas breaks as a teacher. I do most of my curriculum development, remote support from home. This short post is a reminder for those who work from home or are thinking of it to get yourself in your best work mode.

Everyone has a religious routine in the morning which activates their “work mode”. It could be coffee (YES!!!), reviewing your to-do, having a brain-healthy breakfast or maybe it’s just taking a shower. Most likely it’s a combination of these. Regardless of what gets you activated, you need to know WHAT GETS YOU ACTIVATED. For me, I’ve discovered coffee and a shower are critical for my mind to be truly going. My a.m. routine includes getting the boys off to school, while drinking my first cup-O-Joe, taking Josie (my dog) for a walk and then assembling my BulletProof coffee for the remainder of the day.  There are workout days sprinkled in as well.  I am not truly activated until I take my shower though. These are small tasks that are accomplishments that build that drive to finish with a win.

My point is, as it is in my Learning post, is finding your routine and stick with what makes you a better you. Each task you complete is a WIN! The more WINS we can stack early in our routine, the more focus and drive we will have. Admiral McRaven preached this process by starting out with “making your bed“. So kick your day off the best way for the best you. Take a shower or make your bed! But, seriously, take a shower. 😉