I’ve been with my current company for 19 years now. Today is my last day! Where am I going and how did the community play a role in my move? Read on.
I started with my current employer in the Summer of 1999. I was on a placement as part of my degree from Strathclyde University and at the end of the summer I decided I enjoyed the role so much I didn’t want to go back to university. I approached the company and asked if there was a job for me. Luckily they said yes.
I’ve had many great opportunities working there. From three years working in the London office to the trust they put in me to implement some new technology called VMware GSX Server. I’ve worked with some great people and made some life long friends working there. They have been very good to me and my family. I am truly grateful for the time I have worked there.
For many years I was happy there doing my 9-5 and just concentrating on what I was doing day to day. Then I encountered the Scottish VMUG.
Community - The Beginning
As I was starting to get more into VMware I heard about a thing called the VMUG. I started attending the Scottish VMUG many years ago back when there was 20 people in a room for half a day. I loved going but when I went I sat through the sessions and during the breaks stood in the corner not talking to anyone. I would then head straight out at the end.
One fateful day the leaders appealed to the community for people to speak up and do a session. After all it is a User Group. Even though the thought of public speaking terrified me I decided to volunteer to talk about a project at work. I had decided after many years of using other peoples work through blog posts, forum contributions, etc. it was time for me to give back somehow.
Since that first talk I have started a blog, spoke again at the VMUG, lead community roundtables, spoken at the Scottish PowerShell and DevOps User Group, presented a vBrownbag Session, and become a vExpert.
Best of all though is getting to know the wider Scottish IT community. Since that first session where people approached me I have met so many great people.
How Community Played Its Part
So after all that community involvement it really opened my eyes to what else was going on outside of my daily role. I started to think maybe there was more I could do and to be honest I was very comfortable where I was. My community involvement has consistently put me outside my comfort zone and I love it. I decided it was time to see what was out there.
I never saw something that seemed right but then the community struck. I was messaged in the Scottish VMUG Slack about a job someone spotted on a recruitment website and thought I might like to apply. Fifteen minutes after I submitted my CV I was speaking to the recruitment consultant. I was invited for an interview - my first one ever.
I was naturally nervous then the community struck again. I ended up speaking to a fellow member of the Scottish VMUG. I’d never personally spoken to him but we knew all the same people. This common bond of our VMUG attendance and after ‘forcing’ myself to talk to people made the interview a really enjoyable experience. I actually felt like we had a great conversation about technology - something I do at every VMUG meeting.
My vExpert status was mentioned in the interview process and I am sure my blog played a part in getting the new job. vExpert and the blog happened because of my involvement in the community. Once I told the Scottish VMUG Slack channel about the new job multiple people said it was a great place to work and more importantly a great team of people I will be working with.
So Get to It!
I’m pleased to say I am joining Cigna as an Infrastructure Engineer. I will be involved in a much larger VMware environment, more technology, and be part of a bigger team. I’m excited to work with new people, add to my skills and make a difference at Cigna.
Finally I want to say special thanks to the Scottish VMUG Leaders Chris Storrie, Sandy Bryce, James Cruickshank and Iain Balmer. Without their encouragement, commitment to running an amazing VMUG, and pushing me to do more I would not be facing this exciting time in my career. Thank you gentlemen.