Life changes

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Over the past few months, there have been a lot of changes in our family.First, we celebrated the birth of our first child in April. There’s quite a long story behind our journey to parenthood, but we are happy and blessed to have our son with us.

Secondly, over the past 6-8 months, I’ve felt a stirring to begin a change in career. Just like everyone who’s ever changed jobs, there were certainly multiple factors to my desire for the next step. The first key for me was realizing that I was on autopilot. Some of you have spent time on this site discussing RDS implementations and issues, and once our implementation was done, due to budget constraints, we were unable to pursue any new projects. This left me in a position of being on autopilot because no new projects or tasks were being done. This, to me, is difficult to maintain over an extended period of time, and drove me to begin the process of searching for my next challenge.

I took this decision seriously, because it isn’t an insignificant decision. A change in career after four years in a stable job was frightening. I also really enjoyed the people I worked with, and had built a very stable network infrastructure with an average 99.99% uptime for our critical servers and applications.

When I started, the first thing I did was take the PRO-Development test. This test confirmed that ultimately, the role I was in was not a good long term fit. This assessment is an extremely powerful tool that assesses your fit in terms of your (P)erson, (R)ole, and (O)rganization. This test was proctored, which provided me with an expert who guided me through the results and helped me understand what type of role would be the best fit for my skills (“competences”) and my “motivators.”

I began looking at various types or roles within large technology companies, as I knew this would be the direction I wanted to go in my career. Being a part of a company that is changing the technology industry is exciting, rewarding and definitely challenging.

One of the themes of the PRO-D test that came out multiple times was the idea of a “trusted advisor.” Being a trusted advisor requires…well, trust. That trust can be developed over time by providing value as a vendor to the customer and being able to go to bat for the customer internally. It also means that the customer can call you and know that their issue (whatever that might be) is taken care of. From the customer’s perspective, they don’t care who resolves the issue – they just want to know it’s resolved. They also don’t want to have to chase down 10 people to get something resolved. Being bounced around to different departments of a vendor is extremely frustrating, as I can attest from being a customer.

To that end, the trusted advisory role in the technology community typically ends up being in the hands of the Technical Account Manager. Different vendors have different definitions of the role, but essentially they are that trusted advisor for the customer and provide a single point of contact into the vendor organization. In some companies, the TAM is responsible for aligning the vendor’s products/services with the technology strategy of the customer.

So as I searched for a role that would be a good fit, LinkedIn was my primary research tool, primarily focused on finding people in similar roles and looking at their background and skill-set to see where my skills would line up best. I even reached out to several Technical Account Managers at VMWare, Microsoft and a similar role at HP to discuss the position and how it lined up with my goals. I’m extremely thankful to those who took the time to talk with me via phone and email to help me with navigating a significant change in my career.

After 4 months of searching and 6 weeks of interviews, I’m excited and proud to say that I accepted a position at OpenDNS, which I’m extremely excited about. My role is a TAM role, but specifically focused on our MSP partners who utilize our security products. I’ve spent time working for MSPs in the past, so this position is a great fit and one that I’m excited to grow in. In the three weeks I’ve been here at OpenDNS, it’s been an amazing experience and I’m excited to help make our company “awesomer!” We have an extraordinary team of people and I’m proud to be a part.