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Day Two Cloud 114: Successfully Transitioning From A Tech Role To Management

Today’s Day Two Cloud podcast topic is about moving from a tech role into management. Is it a good idea? Why might you want to make the change? How can you do it successfully?

Our guests are Josh O’Brien, VP of Technical Operations at Sauce Labs; and Greg Colburn, Director – Engineering Technologist at Dell Technologies.

We discuss:

  • The path from tech work to management
  • Lessons learned from being managed
  • Real-life management challenges
  • Management vs. leadership
  • Mistakes and successes
  • Personality traits that are helpful for being a manager
  • Whether management is the end-goal of a career
  • More

Takeaways:

  1. Management is not for everyone. Your career can continue to progress as an IC. Be aware of who you really are. Being a technologist is distinct from being a manager.
  2. Engage with your existing manager if you think you want to be a manager. They will have a good idea if you’re a fit. But be in a good mental place (true self-awareness) before having that conversation so you can face reality appropriately.

Sponsor: CBT Nuggets

CBT Nuggets is IT training for IT professionals and anyone looking to build IT skills. If you want to make fully operational your networking, security, cloud, automation, or DevOps battle station visit cbtnuggets.com/cloud.

Show Links:

Managerial Leadership – Greg Colburn via LinkedIn

@joshobrien77 – Josh O’Brien on Twitter

@gdcinclt – Greg Colburn on Twitter

Transcript:

[00:00:00.470] – Ethan
Sponsor CBT Nuggets is IT training for IT professionals and anyone looking to build IT skills. If you want to make fully operational your networking, cloud security, automation or DevOps battlestation, visit CBT Nuggets. Com cloud that’s CBT Nuggets. Com cloud.

[00:00:25.040] – Ned
Welcome to Day Two Cloud. Today’s topic is moving into management. Is it a good decision? We’re going to talk to some folks who have made the transition and done it in a fairly successful way. We’ve got Josh O’Brien, the VP of technical operations for Sauce Labs, and Greg Colburn, director engineering technologist for Dell Technologies. I have interacted with Greg a bunch in the past, Ethan you’re a longstanding friend of Josh?

[00:00:54.260] – Ethan
A friend and former employee. Josh actually hired me once, and we worked together for, I don’t know, a good year and a half, two years at a company working on some things. This is an interesting recording, Ned, because, you know the show that we recorded a few weeks back. By the time this goes out where you and I were talking about some of the mistakes we made as management. Well, that or as managers taking the job, maybe you shouldn’t. Well, some of that came out articulated pretty well, but then the points were made of what kind of a person you need to be if you’re going to be successful.

[00:01:31.770] – Ethan
As a manager. And I think in this episode that resonated for me way more than what not to do. It’s easy to know what not to do but what to do and what kind of personality traits you need to have to be successful as a manager is a pretty different conversation. And that was a good bit of what we chatted about today.

[00:01:47.940] – Ned
Yeah, just being okay with the fact that maybe you aren’t going to be a good manager and you don’t have to be a manager that really resonated with me as well. So enjoy this conversation with Josh O’Brien and Greg Colburn.

[00:02:03.410] – Ned
Josh and Greg, welcome to Day Two Cloud. Why don’t we start with a little bit of background here? That seems like it’s probably going to be important in a show that’s all about your journey into management. So, Josh, let’s start with you without giving me your entire life story. What did your tech career look like before you moved into this crazy management world?

[00:02:23.100] – Josh
Yeah, sure Ned. Well, the long and short. I want to be a fighter pilot, and that didn’t work out. So building the Internet seemed interesting. So I did add a little bit in College and then bailed out of College, then taught myself network engineering and just kind of worked my way up through the ranks as an IC eventually landed in consulting and doing a little bit of management here and there just around projects and stuff as they came up. I think we all do a little bit of that as you get thrown into things.

[00:02:48.300] – Josh
And as I was consulting, I was with a client who had had a CTO who had come kind of gone rogue and punched his manager and some other things that I’ve been working with them for a while. And they said, hey, how about you become our CTO? And I said, sure, it sounded interesting. I was in my early 30s and it was kind of a path I had wanted for a while anyway. So did that. Helped them launch a new company. I think, as Ethan has mentioned in other places and other times, he worked for me during that tumultuous period of my life.

[00:03:16.890] – Josh
And it kind of went on from there. Well, I went to Brocade for a while, managed automation team for a year. And now I’ve been where I’m at Sauce Labs for five and a half years as a senior director and now VP recently. And, yeah, that’s the path. The long and short of it wanted to blow things up with big jets and then turned into being a manager of IT people.

[00:03:38.890] – Ned
All right, that’s quite a journey. And we’re definitely going to dig into some of those details. But before we do that, Greg, I’d like to bring you in. What was your technical background before you got into this world of management?

[00:03:49.980] – Greg
Dumb luck. It was one of those things where actually. So I’ve actually got a master’s degree in history. My plan was to finish my Masters and going into law school. And I distinctly remember I was driving back from a law school interview for admission, and I was like, I can’t do this anymore. I’m done school. I’m up to my eyeballs in debt. It was no longer time to go to school. Luckily, it was the mid 90s when tech companies were hiring people with the qualifications of, you can fog a mirror.

[00:04:21.940] – Greg
And so I fogged a mirror. And got a tech job where they trained me up. And essentially, I got into consulting that way. And within a year, I was working at a federal facility doing NT architectures and exchange deployments. Got a job at Microsoft bounced around Microsoft for about 15 years in a number of different roles. I spent time in services, I spent time in product management. I spent time internal with Microsoft IT. Joined to EMC. Shortly thereafter, we merged with Dell. How I got into management really came about.

[00:04:52.960] – Greg
It was really more of opportunity. It was an opportunistic hire. I was working in tech marketing for the new Azure Stack product. At the time, I was doing a lot of enablement of our pre sales teams as well as really supporting them on opportunities. But I was one person in a global organization, and they said, you know, we really need a team of people to do what you do. How would you like to build out that team? And I was like, yeah, I think I’d like to build out that team, which is actually the time when you and I were talking about possibly working together.

[00:05:24.090] – Greg
So, yeah, it was really more opportunistic than anything else. Management was not something that was kind of on my radar. It was just one of those things where, hey, that seems like a pretty cool opportunity. Throughout my career, I’ve always tried to vary the experiences. I’ve kind of build a complete resume as it were. So that’s why I’ve been in services. I’ve been in presales. I’ve been in support, you name it. I’ve done it in the IT world. So management was just kind of another one of those things where I was like, oh, hey, that’s pretty cool. I’m go do that.

[00:05:52.920] – Ned
Bouncing around, it really helps you focus and figure out the things you like about the tech industry and the things you aren’t willing to do. It sounds like management was like an opportunity. Oh, here’s a thing that I would like to try to do and see how it fits me. Now, one thing that I know I do is I learn from other people the examples they set. And, you know, that certainly applies to managers in the past who have inspired me or given me good advice. As you moved into a management role.

[00:06:25.960] – Ned
Greg, was there someone or multiple managers out there that you took lessons from, or that could be a good lesson, like, yes, I should do that. That’s a good idea that makes a good manager or lessons like, oh, God, that was the worst manager I ever had. I am never doing that thing.

[00:06:42.300] – Greg
I think it’s been bits and pieces, right? You kind of take I tend to not be the micromanager sort at all. And I think a lot of that is because of experiences that I’ve had where I’ve been micro managed, and it just didn’t work so well for me. I know some people are okay in that environment. I’m not. So without naming names, I had managers in the past at places like Microsoft were it was a minute by minute accounting for what you’re doing. And that is not my style.

[00:07:14.230] – Greg
I think the probably the biggest influence I had. So I’m going to call them out by name because he’s awesome guy named Ryan Barker here at Dell when I was first considering even thinking about management. This is before I actually had the opportunity to do it. We were working through career paths and things like that because I was reporting to him at the time, and that’s when it really dawned on me that management is actually a completely separate career tree. It’s not like, I know later on, we’re probably going to talk about is management a career progression type thing.

[00:07:47.140] – Greg
But to me, it’s, it is a completely separate discipline. So you’ve got your individual contributor lines in the technology world, and then you’ve got your manager lines, and it was really Ryan that helped me understand that. Look, you don’t have to go be a manager to continue to advance your career. There are all these other options. And I think that was the first time it clicked for me that. Oh, so it’s not just that the manager gets to be, you get to be the next level. And now I’m the manager.

[00:08:14.470] – Greg
That’s not the way it works. And it really that was, probably really important in the way I approach management as well as just my decision to go into management eventually.

[00:08:24.370] – Ned
Got you. What about you, Josh? What lessons have you learned?

[00:08:28.400] – Josh
So I’ve said this through my entire management career that I don’t have an MBA. I don’t have a lot of other stuff. I’ve taught myself a lot, but the most I’ve learned is what not to do. I hate to just be that blunt, but I’ve had a lot of horrible, horrible, horrible managers from people who couldn’t be sober on the job, to people who micromanage the crap out of me and made jobs fail because of it. I just, that’s not ever how I want to manage.

[00:08:54.240] – Josh
That’s not how I ever wanted to lead people. And so a lot of my experiences come from what not to do. And one of the bigger, more recent in the last six, seven years was a CEO who gave me a book. It was the book Hard Thing About Hard Things. It was his attempt to explain to me why our business was going the direction it was. And I read that book and I went that’s profound and we’re going totally wrong direction. I’m leaving. So I’ve also learned that, in management your own strategies can backfire and you that one backfired horribly.

[00:09:24.570] – Josh
To this day we’re friends, but he doesn’t understand why that book was, like, the impetus for me to be like, done, done. As far as good managers, I haven’t had many, and this is going to sound like I’m kissing up or blowing smoke at this point. But one of the best ones I’ve had is the guy I have right now. And Justin has a deep level of experience, which a lot of my previous bosses haven’t. They’ve been kind of aspirational in their goals. And I think that’s not always the best way to lead people.

[00:09:52.230] – Josh
I think you need experience good and bad, in other words, leading people or moving up the chain and have the experience with people to get there. Justin has let huge groups, hundreds of people, international group, stuff like that. And I’ve never done that. So it’s been really good for me to have somebody to finally go. Okay, I’m leading 30, 40, 50 people as the team keeps increasing in size. And look at Justin go, what did you do here? And that’s been helpful. And also from that perspective, I’ve learned that there are managers who meet you where you are, which I’ve always tried to do with people, and it’s always felt a little weird because I’m a fairly aggressive personality.

[00:10:29.160] – Josh
But Justin is the same. And he’s met me where I am and we’ve established a rapport, so it’s kind of validated how I manage my teams. So that’s helped me a lot.

[00:10:37.600] – Ethan
You said two things there Josh, you talked about managing groups, leading groups, but then also there’s a lot of individual connection that has to happen there as well. So it is both of those things you would say?

[00:10:48.740] – Josh
Yeah, it’s huge. The group thing is managing priorities, managing conflict in the team de conflicting people stuff, allowing the team to kind of breathe and be natural in its culture and how people come in and out of the team. I have a very open handed model. If people decide it’s time to move on, I encourage them to, and I want them to go in. But then you get down into the individual piece and I hate the run a team or a company as a family mantra. I don’t think it holds up, but there’s not anybody on my team that I wouldn’t jump in a car and drive across the United States and do something for.

[00:11:27.960] – Josh
It’s weird. I think when you build the right culture and a team and you build the right structure and team, and you spend a lot of time getting to know each other and knowing their personal cycles and rhythms and cadences and their family things and their health things, when you really get into that with people, it gives you a different perspective. And just to wrap around in my 20s and 30s early, like, when you see people like, oh, why don’t they just fire that guy or that girl or that person because they’re not performing? Well, it gets into this thing as you get to know people, it’s like that’s somebody livelihood, that somebody’s plan to have kids, that somebody’s plan to buy a house.

[00:12:02.850] – Josh
And as soon as I started managing people, something clicked in my head where I’m like, this isn’t just about hire and fire. There has to be more to that because these are people and they are the asset, not the application, not the service we offer. The people are really the asset. And if we don’t treat them that way, then we’re doing it wrong.

[00:12:20.540] – Greg
It’s interesting you brought that up because that’s something that I actually just had that conversation with one of my managers this morning just talking about how when you’re looking at somebody who is working in your organization and maybe they’re struggling with something. What you always have to keep in mind is they’re a person and what you’re seeing at work is being impacted by all of this stuff going on outside. They’re not one dimensional. They’re not a work entity. And obviously we’ve got pandemics going on. They may be greatly impacted by that.

[00:12:53.590] – Greg
They may be greatly impacted by an elderly parent that’s sick, they may be impacted by sick kids. You name it. There’s all kinds of external stressors going on. And so you’ve always got to keep that in mind when you’re working with your people. You’re only one part of their life, right. And while we’re focused on this stuff at work, you got to make sure you’re keeping in mind that there’s other stuff that you may need to help them deal with, even though it’s not your responsibility.

[00:13:17.740] – Ethan
Well, Greg, do you mean if we’re talking about leadership here, there is still a time that despite whatever the extenuating circumstances are in someone’s life, maybe you do have to let them go, because that’s what’s right for the company. As a leader in a management role, you have to make that decision is that fair?

[00:13:33.400] – Greg
You do, that’s perfectly fair. Right. So at the end of the day, it is a business. At the end of the day, you do have results that you have to deliver. I guess my point is you can’t be quick on the trigger with such things. You really got to be thinking it through before you make those moves and realizing that there’s more to it and it may not be as cut and dried as, hey, I got to fire this person. Maybe this isn’t the right role for this person, but maybe they still have value in the company, and we can move them around or things like that find new opportunities for them, even within your own org.

[00:14:07.350] – Greg
So it’s not always just a cut and dry, hire fire kind of scenario.

[00:14:12.460] – Josh
You’ve also got to look at those circumstances when you get to that point because there’s different ways to address it. I’ve done a bunch of different strategies around this. Greg said he doesn’t like the micro manage. He doesn’t like the minute by minute thing. I hate it. My team hate it. I treat my team as adults and let them go in. But I’ve been in situations where somebody on the team literally said, I’m the only one doing work in a 15 person team, and I can’t get my stuff done because nobody else does.

[00:14:39.950] – Josh
And I went, okay, well, you’re not going to like me, but everybody download Harvest, and every 30 minutes, start accounting for your time, and I’m going to start digging through Jira, and I’m gonna kind of be a pain in the ass for the next four weeks, and I was. And the team complained, and most of the team is still here, by the way. They sit in their current role, and they bring it up all the time. Remember that time Josh made us track our time? Like, yeah, thanks.

[00:15:04.440] – Josh
Let’s keep hitting me with that. That led to somebody leaving the organization. But I guess my point is you adapt strategies to get to the right data, and that took an extra four, six, eight weeks to narrow it down. So you’ve got to be you got to pay attention to what’s going on around you and understand. Okay. This could be true. If it is. Then I failed as a manager, and I’ve got to fix something in the team. Otherwise you collect enough data to go. No, it really is a problem with you. It’s time to move on.

[00:15:32.320] – Ethan
And that’s the thing for me is I want to be the nice person that everybody gets along with, and I struggle if someone doesn’t like me. So if you stick me in that management role, I’m going to struggle with that person working under my leadership. That is not performing well because I’m non-confrontational and so on. But that’s a big part of the job. You need to be able to balance not only whatever’s going on with that person in their life that maybe is leading to that under performance.

[00:16:01.110] – Ethan
But also when you can’t get them past and get them to the level that they need to be at, you got to be able to let them go. That’s tough.

[00:16:11.190] – Ned
Yeah, the best managers that I’ve had had the ability, I think you mentioned Josh, is being able to separate the fact that this is a whole person, and they’re going to have stuff that’s outside of my realm. And I need to think about what’s best for them as a whole human, not just what’s best for them in the context of this organization. Also, what’s best for the organization. And that might not be this individual working here anymore. I told a story in the previous episode where I had a district manager when I was working in retail that basically forced me out of my position.

[00:16:42.840] – Ned
She didn’t say it directly, but she made it uncomfortable enough to work there where I realized I should really be somewhere else. Have you had a situation where a manager did something like that where you didn’t even realize you needed to change or needed to do something? But the manager saw it and drilled into that?

[00:17:01.380] – Greg
I’ve got a definitive yes.

[00:17:03.630] – Ned
Okay. Go for it Greg.

[00:17:07.380] – Greg
For clarification, so not since I’ve been a manager, so I haven’t had my direct say you need to change the way your management style is or anything along those lines. But as an individual contributor, absolutely. I’ve had managers. I remember distinctly. It was one of those. It was an odd scenario. It was probably the best and the worst review that I have had to date in my entire career, where I went in and my numbers were outstanding. I blew my metrics just completely out of the water, came in and sat down in the office.

[00:17:39.230] – Greg
This review’s going to be awesome. Sat down. And the first thing started out exactly as I thought it would. Hey, you really did a great job, but the numbers are fantastic. And then there was but and it was. But the way you went about your job and the way you worked with your peers and the way you worked with other groups when your name was brought up in our stack ranking meeting, and at the time, the company I worked for did a definitive stack rank with a Bell curve.

[00:18:06.900] – Greg
Your name was always associated with something negative, and it wasn’t your numbers. It was how you were approaching it. You basically just came in and ran rough shod over everybody and everything. So while you killed it, you actually made it more difficult for your peers to succeed. And that was kind of like a Whoa. And the first reaction was just, it was denial. It was straight up, well you gave me a job to do. I did the job. Look at the numbers. The numbers speak for themselves.

[00:18:38.230] – Greg
And it took a couple of days of reflection after that to be like, you know what? They’re right. And it’s kind of one of those. It’s not what you’re saying. It’s how you’re saying it. And that’s probably the biggest challenge I’ve got even to this day. I have to sit back and think sometimes before I speak because it’s not necessarily the message that’s being delivered. It’s how you’re going to deliver it, particularly when you get into that role where you’re in a management role. And we talked about having to let people go or or take corrective action on performance.

[00:19:11.500] – Greg
How you deliver that message is everything, because I can give you empirical data that says you’re not doing your job, but that’s not enough frequently. That’s not going to turn somebody around. There has to be some sort of I guess a way out, way forward with the discussion. Unless you’re just going to come in and say, yeah, you’re out. That benefits nobody typically, because even in a scenario where somebody needs to move on, that creates challenges in the business. Now I’ve got a back fill. Now I’ve got a gap in my team, things like that.

[00:19:44.030] – Greg
And anytime someone gets, let go. That’s going to have a morale hit on your team.

[00:19:49.480] – Josh
So I got a couple of things. I’ve got the exact same conversation with management the Greg had, which is the job’s great. You’re kind of ‘eh’ like how you deliver, how you get there. Your work’s fine. But maybe you’re a problem. I had a hard time with that through a lot of my career because I didn’t respect management. I watched my management doing dumb things. I watched my management doing unethical things, and it took me a long time to get to the point where I did a lot of self reflection.

[00:20:14.680] – Josh
And I think you have to become super self aware if you’re going to manage people, because I also give my team’s total openings to be like, you’re wrong. And that has been super powerful. When the people I manage get to a point, they trust me, and they’re like, you’re a little out of control on this issue. We should reign it in because it’s bad for the team, because then it forces you to self reflect. I think I’ve had that exact same experience as Greg. Now you said something I think is a little different.

[00:20:42.900] – Josh
You said you had a manager that made it uncomfortable for you to the point you left. I like, when people are direct, I like being direct. I’ve had people try to do the thing with me where it’s like, let’s just keep pile on layers until maybe they leave. I don’t like that. I think it’s actually even an HR strategy because let’s let them leave on their own eventually. I don’t like that. It’s not good for the person. It’s not good for the company. It’s not good for the team.

[00:21:09.440] – Josh
It’s super stressful on the manager because you’re trying to get work done. You’re trying to kind of, you know, keep the peace while this falls apart, and I think that’s a horrible strategy. I don’t know if that’s what you are inferring that your manager did to you then, but it’s a bad management strategy. If people do it.

[00:21:25.010] – Ned
It was a unique situation where I was doing really well at my job, to the point that I was going to be promoted from store manager to, like, the next thing. But at the same time, she looked at what I could be doing with my life and was like, you should really like, retail is not what you should be doing. And so rather than tell me that because she knew I was the kind of person who if you told me I shouldn’t be doing a thing, that’s the thing that I would do.

[00:21:49.200] – Ned
She went, oh, okay. Well, I’ll just move to a store that’s much further away, and now he’s going to have this crappy commute and eventually and some other things happened as well. But eventually I was like, maybe I should be doing something else, but, yeah, it was a weird type of situation. Now, both of you have ended up in management, but that is not necessarily the path for everyone. Do you view management as a necessary part of career advancement, or is it completely optional? What do you think, Greg?

[00:22:22.120] – Greg
I mentioned it earlier. I think it’s completely optional. It’s a, it’s a completely separate career tree. The best example I can give is I’ve got individual contributors working for me that actually makes significantly more money than I do. And it’s not. So when I was more junior in my career, I always kind of thought, oh, the managers make more money, that’s it is that until I had to sit down with Ryan, as I mentioned earlier, but that’s the direction that your career path should logically take is you’re really good ass IC.

[00:22:53.460] – Greg
And then when you’re really good at it, they’ll recognize that you’ll be a manager and you’ll be really good at that. And up the chain you go. But we’ve all seen plenty of cases of the Peter principle out there where there are plenty of ICs that have no business being in management, and they could be really good at what they do. And I’ve got people that work for me that there’s no way I could do their jobs. And likewise, I’ve got people that work for me that there’s no way that they could do my job and I know it.

[00:23:20.830] – Greg
They know it. And I think that’s kind of the the way you need to approach it. And I think the more mature you get in your career, the clearer that becomes. I think a lot of times when you’re younger, when I was in my 20s, I had a completely different view of what management is. Josh was mentioning. I was working for managers, and they were making stupid decisions and going in the wrong direction. I’ve been in the same spot, but at the same time now that I’ve been in leadership, and now that you’re manager of ICs, and then you become a manager of managers.

[00:23:52.880] – Greg
If you take that path, and I’m starting to understand more, I still think some of the decisions are stupid, but I understand that there are a lot. There’s a lot in play that goes into a lot of those decisions, right? So things that I may have thought as an IC, man that was a stupid way to go. There may have been reasons for that that I wasn’t privy to as an IC. So,it’s a completely different set of skills, different approach to things. And like I mentioned, I was going to be a lawyer.

[00:24:24.340] – Greg
I wasn’t going to go into IT. That was never my thing. And I do have a passion for tech. Once I’m once I got into it, I was like, oh, this is really cool, but that was never like my thing. I’ve never been the guy that’s got a lab in his garage. I live in North Carolina. We don’t have basements here, but I’m not, I’m not a basement dwelling geek at heart. I love the technology. I love what it can do, but I really like the business side of it more than I like the core technology side of it.

[00:24:56.170] – Greg
For me, it’s a more natural fit, actually, once moving into leadership, and I also like the people aspect of it. I’m sure we’ll get to that in a little bit, but so for me, it is not a logical career progression. As a matter of fact, you should be approaching it as two separate things. If you are going to make a jump into management, if you are offered a management position, think long and hard about your own personal attributes. And is this a fit for me? Because there’s a good chance it’s not, as matter of fact. If I had to, I would say it’s probably 50 50 or less. Good manager to bad manager ratio. Personally. What I see.

[00:25:32.870] – Ethan
Greg, I want to go back to the money question, though, because you mentioned, hey, there’s some individual contributors on your team that make more money than you.

[00:25:39.930] – Greg
Not some. A lot.

[00:25:41.650] – Ethan
But that’s got to be more dependent, though, because a lot of the places I work, the only way you were going to make more money if you got promoted to management. That was what I got stuck with a few times.

[00:25:49.810] – Greg
Yeah, and I think a lot of times it’s an interesting one. Right. And I say that for a reason or I call that out for a reason. I think a good leader is going to be comfortable with that scenario. Right? The way I view. And I wrote a blog on LinkedIn kind of about the whole servant leadership thing, right? I’m here to help my team succeed. I’m here to set strategy. I’m here to remove roadblocks for them, right? But by and large, they’re the stars, right? I mean, I’m the drummer, right?

[00:26:22.090] – Greg
I’m not the lead singer. I set the rhythm. They’re out doing the flashy stuff. They’re at the front of the stage. There’s benefit that comes with that. And if it’s a higher paycheck, so be it. We’re all successful. I’m comfortable with that. A lot of folks aren’t. And I think that’s where some of that comes in, where you have to be promoted into management to make more money. Again.

[00:26:42.510] – Greg
I think that goes to being a good leader, being comfortable with that kind of scenario. But that’s just me and feel free to disagree. You’re wrong, but feel free to disagree.

[00:26:50.370] – Josh
I agree with you, Greg. You’re way more eloquent about it than me. You say things like being a servant leader and removing blockades, and I say I’m there to eat bullets for my team and stuff like that.

[00:27:00.780] – Greg
It’s the same thing.

[00:27:01.890] – Josh
Yeah. You’re just way more. I like your verbiage better than mine. It is very org dependent. And we went through an exercise about two years ago where I am now, where we split the paths, where we said, this is a pure engineering path. This is okay.

[00:27:17.100] – Josh
At this point, they can split and go into management. I will say, I don’t think we’ve been great about that in our org. I think that’s a challenge in any org. We’re not a startup. We’re a rapid. We’ve accelerated out, but we’re not Dell. We’re not Cisco. We’re not some big company, and we’re still building out structure and framework and how all this looks. And I’ve been in several cases where I am now, in other places where they’re like, well, specifically, let’s go back to where I worked with Ethan.

[00:27:48.260] – Josh
They were like, we want you to move to LA. And I went, well, one. I have no interest in moving to LA. It seems like a really bad idea for a lot of reasons. Plus, what you’re going to have to pay me, I’d rather pay my people. And they really chafed at some of the paychecks that went out to the tech folks at that company because they had never seen stuff like that. But I was hiring seniors, and that’s also a lot of in the path I’ve taken in my life.

[00:28:12.350] – Josh
I’m brought into a place when it’s on fire and asked to build a team, and I’m good at that. So when you get into the money side for the first time, a lot of these companies are seen salaries haven’t seen before, as you’re building pure senior teams to go solve real problems. As far as is management and necessary path. Absolutely not. I’m 100% with Greg. No point in even rehashing it. I’m locked step with him. They are two separate paths and you should be very cautious how you enter into it, because once you enter into it, it’s kind of a one way gate.

[00:28:40.880] – Josh
It’s really hard to go back. You for a year or two. Might keep some of your tech skills and stuff, but that stuff starts rotting and several times I’ve been like, well, maybe I should go back and get cloud certs and stuff like that. And man, that’s a long slog back a couple of years later. So you should be careful and very specific about how you go into it and very self aware about what your goals are.

[00:29:00.750] – Ethan
[AD] We pause the episode for a bit of training talk. Training with CBT Nuggets if you’re a day two cloud listener, you are you’re listening to it right now. Then you’re probably the sort of person who likes to keep up your skills as am I. Now here’s the thing about cloud is I’ve dug into it over the last few years. It’s the same as on Prem, but different. The networking is the same but different due to all these operational constraints you don’t expect. And just when you have your favorite way to set up your cloud environment, the cloud provider changes things or offers a new service that makes you rethink what you’ve already built.

[00:29:33.120] – Ethan
So how do you keep up with this? Training. And this is an ad for a training company, so what do you think I was gonna say? Obviously, training and not just because sponsor CBT Nuggets wants your business, but also because training is how I’ve kept up with emerging technology over the decades. I believe in the power of smart instructors telling me all about the new tech, so that I can walk into a conference room as a consultant or a project lead and confidently position a technology to business stakeholders and financial decision makers.

[00:30:00.170] – Ethan
So you want to be smarter about cloud? CBT Nuggets has a lot of offerings for you, from absolute beginner material to courses covering AWS, Azure and Google Cloud skills. Let’s say you want to go narrow on a specific topic. Okay, well, there’s a two hour course on Azure Security. Maybe you want to go big wide. Alright, there’s a 42 hours AWS certified SysOps Administrator course and lots more cloud training offerings in the CBT Nuggets catalog. I gave you just a couple of examples to whet your appetite.

[00:30:31.080] – Ethan
In fact, CBT Nuggets is adding 40 hours of new content every week and they help you master your studies with available virtual labs and accountability coaching. Interested? Of course you are. So satisfy your curious mind by visiting CBT Nuggets dot com slash cloud and figure out if CBT Nuggets will work for your training with their seven days free trial. Just go do it. CBT Nuggets dot com slash cloud for seven days free. That CBT Nuggets dot com slash cloud. And now back to the podcast. I so rudely interrupted [/AD] [00:31:04.800] – Greg
On that front. The further away from the front lines you are, the quicker the deterioration occurs. Right. So when I was a front line manager, I was still engaged with some of the technical stuff. Now that I’m a director, I don’t do technical stuff anymore. I mean, I understand the concepts and I understand the business values. But if you ask me to sit in front of a console right now, man you would get one heck of a result, you would not be anticipating. So it’s just one of those, I couldn’t go back now.

[00:31:34.980] – Greg
I think about, I’ve thought about it sometimes, I could be an IC, I could be an IC, maybe in a product management role, you put me as a core technologist. Forget it. I just I couldn’t do it any longer.

[00:31:45.000] – Josh
It was a wake up call the day that my team stripped all my Cisco rights out of the current platform. They’re like, hey, you haven’t logged in in six months. We think it’s no longer a good idea and a little tear.

[00:31:59.930] – Ethan
Josh, what was the first management position you took and then walk us through what led up to that position? And did you have training or preparation to get into that first role?

[00:32:11.900] – Josh
Alright, well, let’s go reverse on that. I’ve never had any official management training other than reading books and failing forward. That’s the only training I’ve had as far as the first role was probably actually at a Cisco consultancy. They hired me as the first engineer at the site and then wanted me to build that site out. And I did. We build it out to 50 engineers under me. And then one day they hired another manager and that was really hard for me. I was not a good culture fit for their management team, and I couldn’t see that then.

[00:32:40.310] – Josh
Now I totally see it. And there was no way I was ever going to be a manager director in their org. But I was a great IC, and I produced really well there. But that was probably the first one where I was actually managing people. And I did that for a year and a half before one day guy showed up that I’m your new manager and I went, what? I manage this team. That was weird, but that was the first one. The first official one would have been where you and I work Ethan.

[00:33:02.530] – Josh
So I’m sorry, I was learning a lot on the fly there, but that was in the CTO/COO role as that company expanded and I kind of stumbled into that one. Like I said, I was consulting for those folks. They called one day and said, we want you to do this. And I think my exact answer was to them because I was reading a lot of books about my worth, and I was reading a lot of things about how I impact companies and the value I added.

[00:33:27.250] – Josh
And I looked right at the CEO of this company, who I had never met before and went, you can’t afford me. And he went, Bet, and I gave him the number and he went, We’re going to have to call you back. All right. And they did. And we negotiated down. But again, they were seeing things they had never seen before. So that’s how I got into that. What part of that question I missed? Was there aspects that I missed? I kinda just went off.

[00:33:54.890] – Ethan
Your prep for the role, wasn’t. Again, it was books. You had no formal training. You weren’t mentored either?

[00:34:01.460] – Josh
Nope. The closest mentoring I had that is I saw the owner of that company and the CEO of that company throw cell phones at people. And I went, yeah, we’re not going to do that. And I’m going to push back hard against that type of behavior. And quite honestly, that behavior was still going on when I was there. But we didn’t tolerate it on my side, and I’m not going to lie. I threw a phone one time there and – not at somebody, but out of pure anger.

[00:34:24.260] – Josh
And that is not a good look for the guy running your team, regardless of how big or how small that team is. And that was a big wake up call to me that I was in a bad place doing bad things and needed to really adjust my own mental health. I think that’s not long before I went hiking in the White Mountains with Ethan, so I’m by no means an expert at this. Like I said, I’ve failed forward in this, and I continue to fail forward in this a lot.

[00:34:50.340] – Josh
And I just try to be super self aware. And when I do find gaps, I go read a book or I’ll go talk to people. I’ve got a lot more opportunity now in these roles. And just based on the career I’ve had, a lot of the people I know in this industry have come up, and they’re either senior ICs. I’ve got Ethan who I’ll call and freak out to occasionally. And I’ve got a bunch of those people. And I didn’t have that. In my twenties and thirties.

[00:35:13.200] – Josh
I felt very lonely and isolating back then and probably led to some of the bad things. Yeah, that’s the only experience I’ve had is failing forward. I wish I would have had more.

[00:35:22.580] – Greg
I’d like to call out that starting your management career with a C level title is not the norm. That’s an impressive feat.

[00:35:33.160] – Josh
It’s a little bit terrifying. Like I said, it was not always a good look.

[00:35:38.540] – Ned
Greg. So what about you? I think you said this is technically your first management position. So did you get some training or mentorship leading up to this?

[00:35:47.200] – Greg
This is an extension. So this is an extension of my first management experience, right? I own so much more now than I did when I first started. So the first team that I built out and I built it from scratch was about four years ago. Now management training. Does Dell have a management training program? Absolutely Dell does. Does it really equip you? And this is not a Dell thing. I think this is industry wide. Does it really equip you with what you need to know to be a manager?

[00:36:17.500] – Greg
Absolutely not. So I think it’s definitely your first year. At least my first year was very much trial and error. We talked about earlier kind of borrowing from things that I’ve seen successful managers do, avoiding things that I’ve seen managers that weren’t so successful in my opinion, do. There was a lot of that, right. And I had mentors, no formal mentorship. But I absolutely have people that have been in leadership that I go to frequently for advice on things. Even to this day. I’ve got folks, both internal to Dell and external to Dell, that if I’ve got questions about a particular direction that I’m thinking about taking a team or something like that, I’ll bounce it off of them.

[00:37:00.020] – Greg
I’m very, very open. I think Josh talked about it earlier. I’m very open and cognizant of the fact that I’m a human being and I make mistakes, and I’m more than willing to own up for those mistakes. And if one of my team calls me on it or one of my mentors or my peers says, hey, you might want to think about a different direction. Very open to that feedback. And I think it was more on the job training, right. And I benefited. I’m going to brag a little bit from hiring out a completely awesome first team, which made my life a lot easier. If you come into a scenario where you’re taking over an existing team, that’s a different story than when you get to build the team from scratch.

[00:37:37.930] – Greg
I mean, literally the first team that I had, I hand picked every single person on that team. So if it was a good pick, It was mine. It was a bad pick. It was mine. But it was mine, right? I didn’t have to come in and deal with that guy’s a performance problem. And this girl over here, she’s your rock star, but she’s probably going to leave. You got to figure out how to retain her. Those kinds of none of that came into play for my first role, which I think was easier, building your own team like that.

[00:38:04.240] – Greg
Well, it’s got challenges because recruiting is a completely different story. At the same time. It’s kind of a training wheels role because I got to set. I even got to set what are your KPIs, what you team actually going to do. All of that was open to me. And so I took full advantage of it. And then I was able to so good at it. They said we’ll build another one. So I built the second team out. And then, then was literally about a year and a half ago was the first time I ever took over a group of employees that were not my hires. Luckily, that was a rock star team as well.

[00:38:39.820] – Greg
So we’re cool there. So I haven’t had to deal with a lot of the performance management type issues here and there, but nothing like so draconian of having to go ahead and yeah you’re fired. There have been no plane trips to places to get people’s laptops, that that kind of stuff. So I’ve been lucky on that front.

[00:38:59.560] – Ned
I’m curious because you said the Dell training or really any training you feel probably couldn’t have prepared you for the managerial role. Is there something you think could have prepared you a book or some sort of more formal training, or is it just like you got to live it man.

[00:39:16.930] – Greg
I think you got the 1000 yard there. Right. You can use profanity. You kind of got to be in the sh*t right if you’re not in it. I couldn’t have explained it like I couldn’t have explained it coming in more so than I can explain it. Now, there are so many variables, and I work for Dell. Dell training is awesome. Fantastic. Best training in the world.

[00:39:42.090] – Greg
But the point is that I don’t think it can’t possibly come up with all of the different variables that are going to get thrown at you on a management role. There’s no way you could come up with a cumulative this is the management training. And if you take this and do everything it says, you’re gonna be successful. It’s just not possible. Most of the training that I’ve been to even like at Microsoft when I was there. They had a, so you want to be a manager training so you could go take this training and they would run you through.

[00:40:11.050] – Greg
This is the day in the life of kind of scenario. And it was great. But as it turns out, it’s not very accurate. In a vacuum, yeah that would be the day in the life of, but nothing occurs in a vacuum. Right? And so what you find is the trainings are focused on. These are your HR task, and this is how you approve expense reports. And this is how you onboard somebody. And this is how you offboard somebody. But it’s not really focused on the actual this is how you manage somebody.

[00:40:37.500] – Greg
This is how you can be effective. And it also doesn’t cover the fact that the way I manage employee A, I may not be able to manage employee B in the same fashion. And so there’s so many variables. It just you’ve got to learn on the job.

[00:40:50.960] – Josh
I want to give a tech correlation of this. We’ve all known paper certs, super smart, super good at training, super good at taking tests. They’re not dumb people you have.

[00:41:00.940] – Greg
That’s me. In a previous life

[00:41:01.560] – Josh
You have a data center melting down at 03:00 a.m. And you get woken up out of bed and you give somebody with a paper cert that environment who’s never been there before, they might have all the technical knowledge in the world and know what buttons to push and they’re probably not going to do well.

[00:41:18.660] – Josh
I self trained, came up through it. I’m not a good network engineer. Ask Ethan. I am not a good network engineer. I’m a good troubleshooter, so I’m really good about wrapping duct tape around things at 03:00 a.m. On no sleep and drinking a lot of coffee and then hiring people like Ethan or my current team to then go clean that up. Same thing with management. I think you can get all the training in the world, but it doesn’t really prep you for that. One thing I think people should do.

[00:41:44.720] – Josh
Companies should do more if they’re going to bring people into management. And I don’t care what tier CEO down. If you’re managing people, they should have an external peer that the company helps provide them or make sure that they get if you don’t have your own external peer that you’re mentoring with, because mentoring is also not just an up and down thing. It’s a bi directional thing where you’re helping each other. And if it’s not, that’s a problem too. But companies aren’t good at that.

[00:42:10.790] – Josh
And even coming into this role, I told my manager the other day, if I’m coming into this VP role with a whole bunch of other VPs and stuff, I’m going to go get an external mentor. I think I need some external stuff and I’m working on getting that right now, but I think companies should do that. So you have somebody who is outside of your change, who’s outside of your KPIs, who’s outside of your financial lines, who doesn’t have the same risk reward tied to it.

[00:42:35.150] – Josh
I don’t think companies are good at that, but if there is one thing I think would help new managers. It’d be that.

[00:42:39.980] – Ned
You said external, and I think that’s an interesting thing to call out. Why would you focus on an external peer as opposed to someone else within the company who’s in a similar role?

[00:42:49.920] – Josh
Politics and stupidity that’s all there is to it. Companies are people. People find themselves in tribes, and the bigger an organization gets, the more tribes there are. And people have very different goals and outcomes, even if the vertical top down goal is make money on product X, there’s all these other paths to get there, and it’s natural. It’s the way that we innovate. It’s the way that we grow, like if there’s no resistance, it’s like bone, right? Astronauts, bones get weak in space because you’re not putting weight on them.

[00:43:22.090] – Josh
If you’re not working things and tearing muscles and getting micro fractures, you don’t get stronger. It’s the same thing in a business, and people are super uncomfortable with that. So then if you have to go and be like, man, I screwed up my team today, and you have to do that with somebody who you’re politically misaligned with. It. It’s not even bad misalignment. It’s just natural, healthy misalignment inside of a company where decisions get made, you’re putting yourself in kind of a weird disadvantage. And not everybody sees these natural flows inside of a business as something that is natural and healthy and good.

[00:43:56.820] – Josh
Sometimes they see it as opportunity. They’ll use it against you, and then you’re in that meeting and you’re like, Well, you pissed off your whole team. Why should we trust you on that issue? So I think there’s a huge advantage to that being external. And again, I’ve got a lot more peers now, but I also can’t call Ethan every night and cry.

[00:44:12.110] – Ethan
Not every night, not every.

[00:44:14.330] – Josh
Not every night. I mean, every Wednesday. But I think there’s a super. There’s a lot of value in that. And also a lot of people in your orgs at your level are at the same level as the aspirational.

[00:44:27.400] – Josh
Like, an aspirational can be good and bad. Aspirational can be good in the fact that I want to win. I’m driving to this. Aspirational can also be, well, I can do this job and you’re totally unqualified and you’re failing at it. So when you can go external to people who have been there, done that, see that. See it from a different angle than you don’t have skin in that game. They can give you totally different perspective than people in your own business.

[00:44:50.380] – Greg
Yeah, I think that’s actually the scenario he just threw out there when we talked about does training cover things? I think the thing that I was most unprepared for moving into management and again, moving up in management even more so the higher you go is the politicking. It’s someting that. Seriously. It’s something that I never really thought of too much when I was an IC. Yeah, there was some, but it was all going to go be a manager. It was more of that, right. But the higher up you go, there’s so many different layers of politicing because people that have individual aspirations, and then you’ve got group aspirations and particularly the larger the organization.

[00:45:33.190] – Greg
You would like to think that at a large company that all of the business groups are in alignment and how they push their products will just naturally line up into these silos, and everybody will get along well. And that’s not the case. There’s always wrangling for budget. There’s always wrangling for attention from the marketing folks and things like that. And all of that is stuff that I was completely oblivious of until I got into the role and the training certainly didn’t say. And by the way, now we’re going to take an hour and a half and we’re going to cover organizational politics.

[00:46:07.530] – Greg
There was none of that. And that kind of gets back to the question you were asking is. There’s not. I can teach you how to use tools to manage people from a process perspective. When it comes to the really doing the job? No. Because you just can’t prepare somebody. And every organization is different. Right? So, like, Ned, I know you do a lot of work for Pluralsight. Pluralsight can’t possibly cover all the different companies out there that have all the different politics. If they were to try to put together a management course on this because every company is different.

[00:46:40.740] – Ned
Well that’s what I’ve said. Once you get specific enough, you’re not teaching anymore. You’re consulting and you should get paid commensurately more.

[00:46:48.980] – Josh
I like that. Maybe I should consult more.

[00:46:53.610] – Greg
I support Ned getting paid for his blogs.

[00:46:58.380] – Ethan
Let’s say you have a leadership position on your team to fill. Maybe that’s a management position. Maybe it’s just leadership broadly for some definition of that. What do you look for in the people you manage to try to see if there’s someone in that team that would fill that leadership role.

[00:47:13.280] – Greg
I just filled one. I can comment a bit. I look for folks that bring a perspective to it that I may not have. Now, I’m not looking for someone who if I see someone that person, there’s always the one that calls out all of the faults with what we’re doing, but never has solutions. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about. If you’ve got somebody that brings a different point of view, maybe has a different level of empathy for their teammates, maybe. And I’m assuming we’re talking internal to my team for folks that I’m looking at, the way I went about it, we just hired a really spectacular lady to lead one of the new teams that were building out.

[00:47:55.120] – Greg
And what she brought to the table was completely unique amongst her peers. She was never self promoting. She was never out there trying to talk about the self advancement. Her, what she got job satisfaction out of was helping her peers succeed. And when I saw that, she didn’t come to me about the management role, I went to her. I was like, look, I’m seeing these qualities in you. We’ve got this management role. I’m very, very interested in you taking this management role. And it was very specific to things that I saw her doing that, in my experience, would lead to successful management.

[00:48:36.730] – Greg
And obviously, at any organization, typically, you’re going to have an open req. And I had people come to me that were high level ICs, and they were like, hey, I want this role. I’m like, okay, but are you sure this is the role you want? Why are you a fit? Right? And again, they were. I would be not in all cases. But if I know somebody, for instance, is a Super, super, passionate technologist, and they just love the tech, and they, look, I’m going to try to talk them out of taking a management role.

[00:49:07.260] – Greg
We talked about it a bit ago the minute you move into management, that starts to deteriorate and not that you can’t maintain a technical focus. My boss is extremely technical, but I think there’s a rarity in that, right? I mean, when you’ve got a VP level, that is in an organization like Dell, and they are Super, super technical man, that is a Canary or a diamond in the rough or what? I don’t know what it is, but it’s an oddity, right?

[00:49:34.730] – Greg
It’s a needle in a haystack. You don’t find that very often because that takes a lot of effort outside of work, because my days are filled with stuff that are not tech. When I get off of work, I want to go watch my kids play baseball, and I want to go out and have dinner with my wife and all these things. I don’t want to sit in front of a console and learn, and that’s what you would have to do.

[00:49:53.830] – Ethan
One of the things you said, Greg, that really stuck out to me was empathy for teammates. That was something that you looked into looked at, and that sticks out to you. What does that mean? Why is that so important?

[00:50:06.800] – Greg
Well, I kind of got to it when I was talking earlier about the kind of the servant leadership mentality, right? You’ve got to be willing to sometimes sacrifice I woudn’t say sacrifice your own success because. But you’ve got to be willing to put yourself in your employees shoes, got to be willing to promote them. So, for instance, if I’ve got employees that are doing awesome work, and I’m asked to do a roll up to my leadership on some of the stuff we’re doing, I will 100% always give the employee the opportunity to come and present that stuff to the senior leadership.

[00:50:39.440] – Greg
I could do it. But that’s not my place. They did the work. And so when I think about it, when I’m looking for someone to be a manager in one of my teams, it’s that same mentality, right? So if you’ve got somebody, hey, I just organized this awesome enablement. We went out and touched a thousand people and look at the results. I organized it, but all these people deliver it. This person would 100% completely deflect anything she did, which was awesome. To give credit to the folks that were actually doing the deliveries and things like that.

[00:51:11.900] – Greg
That’s what I mean, that. And she would come to me and she’s like, I noticed. So and so is having some problems. We mentioned none of this is one dimensional. So and so was having some problems, and I was noticing they were stressed out. I reached out. Hey, I found out this is what was going on in their home life. And these are some things. That stuff that’s well beyond what her job responsibilities are. But she was taking it on herself when she saw teammates that were struggling with things to go talk to them. And that’s the kind of stuff you can’t train that either you do it or you don’t do it.

[00:51:42.060] – Ethan
I think some of it maybe comes with maturity, too, because 27 year old me didn’t get that at all. I mean teammates no. Now. Yeah, I completely get it. Now. You work with enough people. If you have any sense of humanity about you, it it comes more naturally, just the older you get. But as a young one. Nah.

[00:52:00.530] – Greg
I sat in on the review that said, your results are great, but you’re a sucky person. And so it’s, I get it. And then it does come with maturity. But that was one of those things where it was so clear that she was management material that I didn’t even consider going anywhere else. I talked to other people because you do due diligence. But when I’m looking for stuff, that’s what I’m looking for. If you’re good at great you’re good at Tech, a lot of people here at Dell are good at Tech, but show me what it is that would make you good at management.

[00:52:36.140] – Josh
There’s an interesting thing about life cycle of organizations too. And who makes who you need leading teams and managing teams. I think all the core things exist already. What Greg said is 100% accurate, but who you’re looking to bring as a manager to an environment that’s on fire and full chaos mode and needs a team built. You need somebody who builds teams like building teams. I’m good at that. I’m also probably not the guy you want running something once you’re in management and full Ops mode because I’m pretty chaotic like you give me a problem and say, go solve it.

[00:53:10.610] – Josh
I’m going to crack a planet to solve that problem. And when I started hiring the current team, I hired somebody very early on, almost five years ago. Now, right after I started who I knew if I got hit by a bus fired, that was always a real possibility in my career, but could take up and pick up and go where I was. And here we are five years later, and the organization gave me a new opportunity to go solve a new problem. That person came into my role and that person is very calm, very empathetic from the get go, well known by the team.

[00:53:41.550] – Josh
Probably not the person who would have even wanted to come deal with the chaos that I took on six years ago. But it’s the perfect person now to bring a new perspective to the team I built starting five years ago because that team’s entering a new phase in the life cycle and keeping that team healthy and growing and the culture safe probably doesn’t need my chaos right now.

[00:54:00.460] – Ned
I’ve heard of the concept of the wartime versus the peacetime CEO, and this almost sounds like an extension of the wartime versus peacetime manager role.

[00:54:09.680] – Josh
Oh, I’m definitely a wartime manager.

[00:54:13.630] – Ned
So you can be my wartime consigliere. Okay, good to know. Thanks Josh. I well, I think we are running out of time, but this has been a fantastic conversation. Before I get to the outro, I wanted to give each of you an opportunity to just have some closing thoughts on the conversation and management at large. Greg, why don’t we start with you?

[00:54:33.500] – Greg
I guess the refraining thing for me is management isn’t necessarily your logical path as an IC. You can advance without it. Management is not for everybody. As a matter of fact, the quickest way to shorten your career somewhere is to go into management when you aren’t fit for a management role. In fitness, I don’t want to say fitness. It sounds harsh, but it’s the reality of it. Not everybody is suited to leading teams, whether it’s a small team or whether it’s a large team. And to be Frank, everybody that leads leads a small team successfully isn’t necessarily suited to lead more at a strategic level, the director level, and on up the chain.

[00:55:10.880] – Greg
So just be very cognizant of that as you’re looking at how your career progresses. And if technology is your thing, since we’re on a technology podcast, and that’s what really drives you in the morning when you get up, it’s like, cool. I get to go work with Azure or AWS or VxRail or whatever your technology of choice is. If those are the things that drive you, do that. That’s going to make your job a much happier place for you, then if you go into something because you think that’s what you need to do to be successful.

[00:55:42.800] – Greg
So that’s really what I would leave it with is just make sure you realize that they are separate career paths with separate skill sets that are required to do them. And as long as you’re following by that, you’re probably in a pretty good place.

[00:55:54.680] – Ned
Great. Josh?

[00:55:57.540] – Josh
So if you’re thinking about making the change, definitely engage with the people who currently manage you. Bring that up with them. I’ve had a couple of people bring this up with me, and it leads to a lot of the outcomes that Greg talked about. Like, you’re wanting the next thing, and the next thing you think is management, but that doesn’t have to be all there is. If you’re chasing money, there’s other paths to getting money than go into management. So talk to people.

[00:56:20.850] – Greg
Sales, sales, sales.

[00:56:22.260] – Josh
Yeah, if you want money, you start there in your career. But talk to the people managing you because they’re already going to have perspective, especially if there’s a trust and a good relationship there. And even if there’s not and you’re looking at external, you’ll probably get some insight. Step two, take the time to get mentally healthy and self aware before you make the decision, because if you go in burned out, run down, no sleep, not in a good mental health point yourself. You’re never going to be able to get to the point where you’re looking out for others on your team.

[00:56:52.000] – Josh
And really as a manager, that’s your job. You’re eating bullets, moving things out of the way. Your job isn’t there to elevate yourself. It’s there to elevate your team and to elevate the organization. You’re there to drive outcomes and wins through using other people’s intelligence and capabilities. So you’ve got to be in that place. And then I guess the final thing I would do is say, reach out. Like if you’re looking at this reach outside of your org, reach out to your peers, reach out to people who may not even know you and have this conversation and talk about why you want to do it or why you would want to do it or not want to do it.

[00:57:25.610] – Josh
But get a very good, self aware picture of yourself before you make that jump. Because again, it’s not a one way portal, but it’s a hard portal to come back through.

[00:57:33.900] – Ned
Right? It makes absolute sense. Josh, if folks want to hear more from you. Where can they find you on this wonderful Internet?

[00:57:41.820] – Josh
Easiest way these days is just on Twitter. I’m Josh O’Brien 77 easy to find me there. I’ve got a I’ve got a blog, static Nat dot com, but I haven’t done a lot there for years, and every year I’ll probably post one thing, but that’s not the primary place to find me, but Twitter is a good place. Please reach out.

[00:57:59.490] – Ned
Greg. I did find that LinkedIn post that you were talking about, and we’ll include that in the show notes. But is there anywhere else you want to point folks?

[00:58:06.920] – Greg
You can find me on Twitter. It’s at GDC in CLT, so I’m in Charlotte for those of you who want to stalk me later on, but it’s at GDC in CLT. Most of my tweeting is about sports and things like that these days. I do some tech stuff, but I’m trying to break free of the Twitter habit.

[00:58:24.980] – Ned
It’s a tough one.

[00:58:26.530] – Greg
It’s kinda dragging on me.

[00:58:28.480] – Ned
All right, well gentlemen, thank you so much for appearing on Day Two Cloud and hey, listeners out there virtual high fives to you for tuning in. If you have suggestions for future shows, we’d love to hear them. You can hit either of us up on Twitter at day two cloud show or fill out the form on my fancy and brand new website, Ned in the cloud. Com. Did you know that you don’t have to scream into the technology void alone? The Packet Pushers Podcast Network has a free slack group open to everyone.

[00:58:56.400] – Ned
Visit packet pushers dot net slash Slack and join. It’s a marketing free zone for engineers to chat, compare notes, tell war stories, and solve problems together. Packet pushers net slash Slack. Until next time. Just remember, Cloud is what happens while IT is making other plans.

Episode 114