For the last ten years, I’ve been working for the same value added reseller (VAR). It’s been a very fun ride. I started out as a desktop repair technician. It just seemed natural after my work on a national inbound helpdesk. Later, I caught a couple of lucky breaks and started working on Novell servers. That vaulted me into the system administration side of things. Then someone decided that I need to learn about switches and routers and phone systems. That’s how I got to the point where I am today as a network engineer. That’s not all I do, though.
If you’re reading this, you know all about my secret identity. If my day job at the VAR has me acting like Bruce Wayne, then my blog is where I get to be Batman. I write about tech trends and talk about vendors. Sometimes I say nice things. Sometimes I don’t. However, I love what I do. I find myself driven to learn more about the industry for my writing than anything else. Sometimes, my learning complements my day job. Other times the two paths diverge, possibly to never meet up again. It can be tough to reconcile that. What I know is that the involvement I have in the industry thanks to my blog has opened my eyes to a much wider world beyond the walls of my office.
Enter Stephen Foskett. I can still remember the first time he DMed on Twitter and asked if I would be interested in attending a Tech Field Day event. I was beside myself with excitement to say the least. When I got to Tech Field Day 5, I was amazed at the opportunity afforded to me to learn about new technology and then go back and write down what I thought about it. I didn’t have to be nice. I didn’t even have to write if I didn’t want to. I had the freedom to say what I wanted. I loved it. Then a funny thing happened before I could even leave TFD5. Stephen asked if I wanted to come back the next month to help him launch Wireless Field Day. I was overjoyed. You mean I get to come back?
So began my long history with Gestalt IT and Tech Field Day. I’ve been to seven Tech Field Day events since TFD5 in February of 2011. I’ve also been to a couple of roundtables and a meeting or two. I love every aspect of what Stephen is trying to accomplish. At times, I wished there was something more I could do. Thankfully, Stephen was thinking the same thing. When Network Field Day 5 came around in March of this year, I got another life-changing DM a couple of weeks prior:
“We need to talk about your future. Have you considered becoming the Dread Pirate Roberts? I think you’d make an excellent Dread Pirate Roberts.“
Just for the record, Princess Bride references in a job offer are the most awesome kind of job offers. Stephen and I spent two hours on the first night of NFD5 talking about what he had in store. He needed help. I wanted to help. He wanted someone enthusiastic to help him do what he does so that more could be done. I was on board as soon as he said it. I’d always half-jokingly said that if I could do any job in the world, I do Stephen Foskett’s job. He talks to people. He writes great posts. He knows what the vendors want to sell and what the customers want to buy. He has connections with the community that others would kill to have a chance to get. And now he’s giving me a chance to become a part of it.
As of June 1, 2013, I will be taking a position with Stephen Foskett at Gestalt IT.
I’m excited about things all over again. Sure, I won’t be typing CLI commands into a router any more. I won’t be answering customer voice mail password reset emails. What I will be doing is where my passion lies now. I’m going to spend more time writing and talking to vendors. I’m going to help Stephen with Tech Field Day events. I’m going to be a facilitator and an instigator. If Stephen is the Captain, then I hope to be Number One. We’re hoping to take the idea of Tech Field Day and run with it. You’ve already seen some of that plan with the TFD Roundtable events at the major tech conferences this year. I want to help Stephen take this even further.
This also means that I’m going to spend more time at Tech Field Day events. I just won’t be sitting in front of the camera for most of them. I might spend time as a hybrid delegate/staff person on occasion, but I’ll be spending time behind the scenes making everything work like a well-oiled machine. I’ve always tried to help out as much as I can. Now it’s going to be my job.
I won’t stop doing what I’m doing here, though. Part of what brought me to where I am is the blogging and social media activity that got me noticed in the first place. This just means that I’m going to have more time to research and write in between all the planning. I plan on taking full advantage of that. You’ve seen that I’ve been trying to post twice a week so far this year. I’m going to do my best to keep with that schedule. I’m going to have much more time in between phone calls and planning sessions to dig into technologies that I wouldn’t otherwise have had time to look at in my old day job.
It’s going to be a busy life for a while. Between conference season and TFD events, I’m going to be spending a lot of time catching up and getting things ready to go for all the great things that are planned already. Plus, knowing how I am with things, I’m going to be looking for more opportunities to get more things going. Maybe I’ll even get Voice Field Day going. I’m looking forward to the chance to do something amazing with my time. Something the community loves and wants to be a part of.
I recorded an episode of Who Is with Josh O’brien (@joshobrien77) where I discuss a bit about what brought me to making this change as well as some thoughts about the industry and where I fit in. You can find it here at his website.
In closing, I want to say a special thanks to each of you out there reading this right now. You all are the reason why I keep writing and thinking and talking. Without you I would never have imagined that it was possible to do something with this much passion. That would also have never led me to finding out that I could make a career out of it. From the bottom of my heart – thank you for making me believe in myself.
Congratulations; an excellent move I’m sure.
Good stuff. Congratulations on the move. Onwards and upwards, eh?
Again, congrats man. Seems like a great fit – just make sure you’re still at every NFD shouting at Cisco for my amusement. 🙂
Sooo Cool. Great for TechFieldDay and the community!
Congrats and Good Luck on your new journey Tom!
What a fantastic move. Heartfelt congratulations Tom.
Thats awesome!! Congrats dude and best of luck!
Superb post to read. You surely bring fresh ideas to any conversation you partake in. Congratulations from down-under Tom!
Good for you Tom – from the outside it sometimes seems like your life is writing and attending conferences, so now to make it your formal job description seems like the best move you could make!
Also good news that Gestalt IT is going well, keeping busy, and needs to take on extra staff. Stephen seems to have a Good Thing going.
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All the best on your new journey. I don’t doubt you’ll do well.
Putting myself in your shoes I’ll leave this comment:
A move like this takes some serious guts.
I’m a little late to the party but Congrats! Sounds like a great move for you.
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