As I think back on my career and where I began I’m reminded of the people in my professional life that have helped me along the way. My first job was at a nationwide company primarily doing desktop support for the local office as well as some of the remote locations. My boss, Jason, was someone I related to and we had a great working relationship. I could ask for help on anything and he would stop what he was doing and make time to show me the right way to do it; not just do it for me. While I reported to him, he treated me as an equal.
My next job was for a startup and I was the lone IT guy. No matter the task, whether IT or not, I did it. It was a job where I had ownership over everything. The attitude that the success of our company rested on my shoulders was something that drove me to work harder each day. My boss, Ron, was a great person that I could freely talk to about everything. We brainstormed together how this business would run, where it would go, and how we’d get there. There was a mutual respect.
At a later job I met one of my favorite boss’s and one of my better friends. While we both struggled with the company itself, we made the best of our situation and we worked hard for each other. He trusted me and believed in me. He saw a lot in me and throughout the years has pushed me to do more and to be better than what I was. Not just in my career, but in my life as well.
My favorite jobs all had one thing in common: 1 person that made me better, that kept me learning, and that pushed and encouraged me. The person I bounced all of my (sometimes ridiculous) ideas off of and they listen to all of them. When you’re building your career, that is what you need. You need the help of people around you to build you up.
The point of this post isn’t to talk about how important your boss or good co-workers are. Sometimes you don’t have the benefit of having a boss or good co-workers who CAN or WILL teach you. Sometimes you’re a 1 man IT shop and all you have is yourself and Google. When you don’t have that support at your job that’s when you need a good community.
Why is VMUG and this community so important? . When I started working with VMware I learned how to edit some Virtual Machine settings and then made a ton of assumptions on how things worked because I never had the time to learn and didn’t always have the benefit of someone to ask. Each and every day I’m just trying to keep my head above water, but I’m not growing in my career. Those were the days I wished I had a community I could go to and ask all the questions I had.
With so many VMware products and so many configuration options, every member adds value to VMUG. Being active in in VMUG isn’t just for “experts”. Sharing the knowledge you’ve gained in YOUR environment can help someone in theirs. When you share your struggles the community is there for you. When someone else shares their struggles, you can be there for them.
I have recently joined as a leader for VMUG in Portland, Oregon. The vision I have for us is a community that is actively working to help each other succeed. We can ask questions, share ideas, or just talk over beers during a happy hour. I didn’t want to be a VMUG leader because I’m an expert, far from it. I wanted to be a leader because I want to see us succeed. I want each and every VMUG member to know they have a place to turn whenever they need help. The only way we can be successful is if our members are active and talk to each other.
The more events you come to, the more connections you’ll make, the larger your community will grow and the better this VMUG will be. Everyone has value regardless of how big or how small the environment they support. No matter the skill level, years of experience, certifications or any other factor. The VMware User Group is nothing without its users.
We are all in this together and your VMUG community is on your side.