August 29, 2017 – I was there the day they stopped whispering. It was the day episode 140 was recorded at a podcast booth on the VMworld show floor. In my mind, this had all the makings of a great athlete retiring and would bring about the end of an era. I was fortunate enough to be a part of it.
Getting into Podcasts
The real story begins much earlier in the year. I needed to renew my VCP-DCV 5 before September and had been ramping up to start studying again. But I was also working a job with an hour commute each direction and needed to find a way to create more study time. I started listening to the vBrownBag series of podcasts on the VCP-DCV 6 as I drove to and from work. I would also listen or watch from my desk during part of lunch, before work, or after work.
As I searched for the vBrownBag series in iTunes, I began to see recommendations for other podcasts. One of them was called The Geek Whisperers, and I decided to give it a listen. I don’t remember the first episode I chose, but I feel like it might have been Episode 131 or somewhere close to it. Much like Lay’s potato chips, I couldn’t stop at just one. After listening to the newer episodes, I decided to start from the beginning.
I was intrigued. I can only equate this experience to that of listening to a lectureship series on a topic I didn’t realize interested me. The topics of discussion weren’t directly about technology but were approached through the lens of technology, community, and social media. The podcasts were about career progression, marketing, org charts, and were the stories of many people not so different from me. These people had made a choice to take on a new challenge, to let themselves stand out, and to set high goals. Not too long before I started listening I had made a job change to better my career, so the stories really resonated with me.
Amy, John, and Matt taught us as technology professionals to think differently. They taught us to get outside our own IT bubble and to really think about career separate from the technology we work with on a daily basis. This takes time and concerted effort, especially if you have not been doing it. It can be difficult to figure out where you might want to go next in your career through the lens of where you are now and to figure out what needs to be done to connect the dots. And unless you train your mind to think about these things, you might be cheating yourself out of some great opportunities. But you don’t have to go on this journey alone. There is a massive community of people out there who can help you get to where you want to be.
Is there something you think you want to change about your career? Start talking to the people who do the thing you think you want to do, and find out what it’s like. Talk to them about how they got to where they are and why they wanted to do it in the first place. What do they want to do next as far as career goes? Someone you know (or someone you don’t) would be happy to share all of this with you if you just have the guts to ask.
Listen for Yourself – My Homework for You
If you listen to all of the episodes, you’ll hear stories of people who started in IT and realized they are better at something completely different as well as those who started somewhere and eventually landed in IT. I also found these podcasts don’t just apply to those of us in technology roles. All of the stories and ideas can be applied to any discipline.
Even though episodes about marketing and public relations may not be directly applicable to you, I highly encourage you to listen to them to gain exposure into these areas of a business you probably don’t touch. As you work through the catalog, don’t try to listen while you’re working. Listen to them when your mind is free – while you’re in the car driving somewhere or when you’re out for a morning walk so you can really take in what’s being said. I’ve listened to many of these multiple times to try and pull out all the nuggets of wisdom.
Here’s a list of my favorite episodes:
Episode 1 – The Twitters Won’t Tweet Itself
Start here just to understand the background of the hosts. Maybe that will set the stage for the perspective they bring.
- Episode 34 – Interview with a Unicorn
Get an idea of what a unicorn is as Amy Lewis defines it, and absorb some great tips from Chris Wahl.
This is a great episode. Listen to how Amy, John, and Matt created new roles for themselves.
- Episode 57 – The Non-Linear Career Path
The guest on this episode fell into IT and just kept coming back.
Duncan Epping got into blogging first and then technology. I found it super interesting.
Nick Weaver carried himself to that next career level by embracing his individualism and his willingness to take on any challenge.
- Episode 74 – The Geek Who Listened to Whisperers
Keith Townsend changed his career path by quitting his job and pursuing a MBA.
This one is packed with great advice from Josh Atwell.
- The Dom Delfino Episodes – these are both too good to be counted as separate list items.
Episode 85 – Be Great Right Now
Episode 121 – The Domolosophy of Management
What will Dom Delfino never do again?
- Episode 88 – How to Recognize Your Career Options
This is very good advice from someone who has been down a number of career paths.
Episode 97 – Life as an EMC Leader with Chad Sakac
The guest on this episode is a super smart guy who eventually became an executive. It’s filled with great advice in my opinion.
This is one really hit home with me after I failed a certification test earlier this year. Maybe something in it will resonate with you.
The Silicon Valley VMUG Episodes – these are too good to separate.
Episode 109 – Geek Whispering at the Silicon Valley VMUGEpisode 110 – Investing in Career Insurance: VMware User Group Recap
The Geek Whisperers advise people to tell stories and invest in career insurance.
I really like the way Erin Banks kept in touch with the people she used to work with and how she leaned on those people to help her.
Have you progressed beyond stage 1? Does progressing mean management is the only way?
Leah took an inventory of what she’s really good at and used it to help her find that next job.
Did They Really Stop Whispering?
Now that episode 140 has been released and their body of work is complete, does it make any of the content less relevant in some way? Absolutely not. In a way, because of the content of these podcasts, they are timeless resources that can benefit any person in any line of work. The whispers live on and have been fully digitized for us to hear for years to come. Take advantage.
This post is my way of saying thank you to Amy, John, and Matt for the incredible body of work they have created, for teaching me to think differently, and for taking the time to let me pick each of your brains.
A Prediction Is Made
Near the end of episode 140, John Troyer makes a prediction about me:
I’m going to predict that you’re going to look back on this year 5 years from now, and your career is going to be very different. You might even be working at a different place. You’re going to connect with enough people at this event that it hopefully changes your trajectory over the next few years.