Change is good : Fear & Atmosphere

This post is a big deal for me personally. It is the first public acknowledgment of a major change in my life. This blog post will be about me announcing this change; but it will also be about why I am doing it and what lessons I feel can be learned. I had a good boss for three years who had a funny saying I think fits here. “The only thing stopping you is fear and atmosphere.” Every time I pitched an idea to him that he was okay with, he would say those words. What they basically mean, is that the only things between you and your goal is your own fear and the air between you and getting started on it.

I feel those words really fit for this change. As of today I am announcing that I have taken a position with the VCE team(vArmy) at EMC as a Senior vSpecialist. It was a decision that was exciting, terrifying, and complex all at the same time. I was already a huge fan of both Chuck Hollis and Chad Sakac. After meeting my local team and getting a taste of the vision and drive to change the way datacenters are designed for the better; it was an easy decision to make. All that really had to be done was figure out how I could muster the courage to leave my home (current employer) where I have spent over 50% of my career.

For those that don’t know me, I have been on the customer-side of things for my entire short career of six years. To move to the provider-side will bring a great number of challenges and opportunities; which for me is the number one reason I have decided to make this change. I am a bit dramatic and sappy at my core. And so I will sum up the real reasons behind the decision through my eyes and hopefully encourage you in some way to continue or regain the passion for what you do.

1.  Challenges Develop Passion

From the moment I got my first IT job I knew I what doing what I was meant to do. I enjoy it so much it is ridiculous. Whether I am working a major project or writing a small script, the minute I see it come to fruition I am as happy as a dog with two tails. For me overcoming challenges results in a strong Passion for technology and what it can do. And over the years I realized something; Passion is infectious. When you care about what you are doing either people around you will start to care also, or they will get the heck away from you.

For me, the secret to Passion in what you do, is never being satisfied with the just what you are doing. I have been surrounded by incredible people who have been more skilled that me in every facet. My reaction to this was simple, follow them around and figure out what makes them so awesome and learn how to do it yourself. Be positive, be a sponge, be part of the team. My Wife (who is awesome BTW) can tell stories about me starting a job, realizing that I didn’t know everything I needed to, and then spending 4-6 hours a night reading and studying till I was over-prepared. Those moments of realizing I am lacking start a fire in me to take things to the next level.

By taking this position I am intentionally moving myself from the top man on the totem pole to the lowest man on the rung. With great people like Chad Sakac, Scott Lowe, Stuart Miniman, John Avery, Ed Saipetch, Dave Graham, Chuck Hollis, Christopher Kusek and my incredible local team here in DFW; I am but a small speck in comparison. I will never reach my full potential until I knock myself down and surround myself with wiser and stronger people. For me, taking this position sets me up to really grow as a person and IT professional over the next phase of my career. Even better, this move will encourage my already strong Passion for virtualization and truly agile infrastructure.

2.  The World is Changing (or at least the stuff it runs on)

I saw this the moment 4+ years ago when I was first introduced into enterprise datacenter virtualization. It was edgy and a little difficult to grasp but, there was one core thing I came away with – this is going to change everything. I went on to successfully do so many things with virtualization using VMware technologies and defined myself as a professional. The funny thing is that this is still just the beginning. Virtualization of computing resources utilizing a robust hypervisor is just the first step. With the new partnerships like vBlocks and move towards abstraction of layers in storage, networking, and security, information technology is soon to change forever. Not everyone sees or believes that yet but enterprise architecture will be molded by these changes, mark my words. At my core I see this future and more than anything else I want to be a part of helping make that happen. EMC has invested a enormous amount of money and vision and are redefining themselves as a company to be a part of this change. This position is the perfect opportunity to become a part of something great.

3.  I Am The Warm Little Center

In my current position I make a huge impact. Across business or technology lines I play a major part in both decisions and accomplishments. My current employer has been incredible to me in so many ways. There have been tough times like: four different CIO’s in three years, losing close friends, and insane workloads. But, I feel nothing but love and gratitude to my current employer.

However, there is one problem I will not escape. At the end of the day I can’t make them one penny. I will never be a part of the profit center in a company that is a consumer lender. I readily admit jealously at seeing product owners or risk analysis folks who make direct contributions to the revenue and growth. While I am an important aspect of the company and make those warm little profit centers successful and on schedule; I am never going to be where I want to be.

This all changes for me at EMC. Not only will I be able to contribute to the revenue of such a great company; but they will have the tools, materials, and career advancement opportunities that I would never have access to otherwise. I get to become a part of a warm center and I would even venture that with this particular team, this is really the hot boiling center of things to come.


Fear & Atmosphere

Even with all these reasons this has been a very difficult choice. I feel at home at my current employer. I know so many amazing people that I have worked with there. My life both personally and professionally has been improved for the better by my experiences there. However, nothing lasts forever. To quote Ecclesiastes(3:1) “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven”. Sometimes when you are in that wonderful, comfortable, happy place (atmosphere) you can be afraid to leave (fear).

I know this decision is the best one for my family and myself. So I will leave my comfortable atmosphere and overcome my fear of change and go forward with all the energy and effort I can muster. I want nothing less than to change the future of information technology and I believe there is no company in a better position than EMC.

Along with all these reasoning one thing  is certain. I am a customer-focused person. I have lived life as the person trying to make the miraculous happen with little time or resources. Now I have the opportunity to partner with similar people and help make them successful. I now get the chance to change from the Warrior at the gate to the traveling Warrior Monk coming to turn the tide of battle.

So I will end this post with these questions for you:

What are you passionate about? What fears or atmospheres stand between you and that passion? Are you comfortable? Are you challenged? Inside you know you are capable of great things. Just search yourself and determine if you are heading towards them or waiting for them to head towards you.

Comments, questions, or critique are always welcome and really appreciated.





25 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I would like to say that I sort of know how you feel. I left a company I had worked at for 11 years. It was very difficult and surreal experience to click the “send” button for the email resignation. Shortly after, I moved into the “what have I done?!” phase. Don’t worry, it doesn’t last long. The shock soon wears off. If you are making a move for the better, you soon realize there is a large and exciting world out there left to explore. I can’t imagine anything more exciting than working for a player like EMC. Good luck, I’m sure you will do well!


  2. Great post! It looks like a great move for you. I have recently done a very similar job move, and it has been great for me to kind of reset to the bottom, but still stay with virtualization, my passion. There are lots of smart people here that I can learn from. Thanks for the encouragement, and keep up the passion!

  3. Really Jason?! You did an email Resignation?!

    I left a company after being there for 12 years – did it in person and when I left NetApp, I had to have that long talk on a Friday evening after 6pm, days before my boss left for Vacation! I can definitely imagine the email route being extremely difficult, the in person is just as challenging!

    Okay, now that I’m done talking to Jason.. 🙂

    Nick! OMFG! I’m so happy for you! Be sure you read my blog post on how to integrate 🙂

    I wrote it with champions like you in mind, and if I can leave you with only one word of advice..

    Don’t be afraid to succeed

    Look forward to seeing your name in the GAL and the constant interactions which will follow!


    • Thanks Christopher. I had actually read that post a few times during the whole *decision* period on this.

      Great stuff. Look forward to meeting you in person in the future!

  4. Admit it, you did it just so you can have new places where you can become a foursquare mayor 😛

    Your comments on fear remind me of a great paperweight I keep on my desk:

    What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

  5. Hey Nick! I am SO excited for you. I know this will be SUCH a growing experience for you there in your new position at EMC. This is a fantastic post and does a great job of showing that you truly are in sync with who you are and what you want to do. I can say, having been on both the customer side and integrator side of fence that there are pros and cons to each. But I’m with you on actually making a difference to the bottom line of a company rather than just being that expensive black hole that just costs the company money but never produces the product. Now YOU will be the product (or at least one of many products that EMC will offer). Congratulations to you and shake off any fear and trepidation remember – 2 Tim 1:7 – For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. I look forward to seeing you at Partner Exchange (if not next week, then possibly next year)!

  6. Nick,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about this tremendously important personal decision. I happened upon your post thanks to Twitter, and I just had to give my congratulations and best wishes. What a great opportunity to continue to grow. Because, you know, we die when we stop growing.


  7. Nick,

    This is awesome. You may not have had direct customer contact but TC would not have been as successful without you. EMC is lucky to have such a great resource. You have relentless energy and any customer that you work with will get their monies worth. Just remember, slow down and let people catch up to you occasionally.

    Good Luck.

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