The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Gifted Lane

February 21, 2023 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 30
Gifted Lane
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
More Info
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Gifted Lane
Feb 21, 2023 Season 1 Episode 30
Chris & Zoë

Our guest today is Shala A.K.A Gifted Lane, a Cloud Associate Architect.

Shala will explain the responsibilities of a cloud architect and a typical day in the life of one.

She shares with us how she got to where she is now, the mentors that guided her, and the most important lesson she has learnt throughout her career.

Shala shares with us the origin of her pseudonym Gifted Lane, her greatest accomplishment to yet, and how she survived her first time working on a ship overseas.

I've never had a situation where I said I didn't know and then someone went negatively.
I don't know, let me go find out or I know who does know, and I'll get back to you.
And so they still come to me for help because they're just like
“Look, either Charlotte knows how to do it. Or if she doesn't know how to do it, she's gonna figure it out”



Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Show Notes Transcript

Our guest today is Shala A.K.A Gifted Lane, a Cloud Associate Architect.

Shala will explain the responsibilities of a cloud architect and a typical day in the life of one.

She shares with us how she got to where she is now, the mentors that guided her, and the most important lesson she has learnt throughout her career.

Shala shares with us the origin of her pseudonym Gifted Lane, her greatest accomplishment to yet, and how she survived her first time working on a ship overseas.

I've never had a situation where I said I didn't know and then someone went negatively.
I don't know, let me go find out or I know who does know, and I'll get back to you.
And so they still come to me for help because they're just like
“Look, either Charlotte knows how to do it. Or if she doesn't know how to do it, she's gonna figure it out”



Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

This transcript is machine generated and may contain errors.

[00:00:00] Chris: Hello and welcome to the Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't. 

My name is Chris Grundman and I'm here with my exceptional co-host, Zoe Rose. 

[00:00:21] Zoe: Hey! 

[00:00:22] Chris: This is the Shala episode and I know you're gonna love it. Shala is a passionate associate cloud architect with over eight years of experience working in information technology.

Hey, Shala, would you please introduce yourself a bit further to the Imposter syndrome network? 

[00:00:41] Shala (Gifted Lane): Hello, I'm Shala. Folks may know me across social media as Gifted Lane. And that's me. And so I like just kind of sharing my journey. When I first got on social media, I was talking about network engineering cuz that's what I was passionate about.

Went after my CCNA, I actually did my CCNA five years after working as a network engineer. And when I got that CCNA, I fell out of love with network engineering and now I'm in cloud. 

[00:01:12] Chris: Awesome. Now, one thing before we dive into the rest of this that I did notice when we were doing kind of our pre-recording research is A, your LinkedIn profile is awesome, very impressive and quite thorough describing your experience while also being b, listing none of the company names.

Right, so, so your whole career, which I is not totally, I don't wanna say it's not normal, but it's not something I see every day. So I was just wondering, is that because you're like legally or otherwise required not to mention those company names, or is this just a personal preference? 

[00:01:45] Shala (Gifted Lane): I think the more I dive into the security space, that has a lot to do with it.

But more importantly, what happened is some of the companies I worked for were really big. and I would have people randomly message me on LinkedIn, say, Hey, I got an interview with such and such company, can you help me get in? And I'm like, no, I don't even know you. Like, I don't even know how I got myself in, like start there.

So, and then I was just like, you know what? A ton of people are starting to follow my profile, which I think is awesome. And I'm like, just pay attention to the things that I do and not the companies I work for. I was just like, you know what? Company A, company B, that's just what it's gonna be. 

[00:02:30] Zoe: But that's very impressive.

Like sometimes people tend to, oh, what's it called? Name dropping, isn't it? Where it's like a, oh, I know the person, or I work for this company. Yeah, but you're getting their own, your own, your own actual skills. 

[00:02:44] Shala (Gifted Lane): Yeah. And I don't wanna name drop, so I'm just like, it doesn't matter. 

[00:02:47] Zoe: The other benefit is you probably, I mean, I'm making your assumption here, but I get a lot of message.

I wanna make you aware of this product, and I'm like, no buying power. So we, we talk about a bit, Bruce, about um, what are they called? Handles. Um, I'm really boring and actually Chris is boring. We just go by our actual name. But, but you go by gifted Lane. What, what was the story behind that? 

[00:03:13] Shala (Gifted Lane): So what happened with that is basically my better half my, uh, significant other created that.

One day they came home and they were just like, Hey. You know what? I think you're like someone who's like a gifted lane. And I was just like, what does that mean? And they're just like, because it's not until someone starts talking to me that they realize all the different stuff that I do. And I don't know, he's just really good at making up a whole bunch of good names and it just kind of stuck.

And then once he helped me create the logo for it, where it looks like a street sign, I was just like, yo, I, I rock with this. And so I just kind of tossed it out there and just went with it. So. 

[00:03:55] Chris: Awesome. So these days, and we'll talk a little bit more about the journey, but like right now, as you said, you're working more in cloud, you're an associate cloud architect.

Maybe you could tell us a little bit about what that means. What does a cloud architect do? What, what, what's a day look like? Like what's a normal day? What are you doing? 

[00:04:12] Shala (Gifted Lane): All right. So the first thing I do like to talk about this or would love to talk about it more because I'm still figuring that out.

I've been. Working in cloud now. I think this is like the seventh month for me, so it's only been seven months and I'm still trying to figure it out. Uh, when I got into cloud, I was actually hired on as a cloud network engineer. Pretty straightforward. I'm doing networking in the cloud and then fast forward five months, they're just like, Hey, you're gonna be a cloud architect now.

And I'm like, okay, what am I supposed to be doing now? And I'm still figuring that out. And so, I don't know if it's one of those, I'm pretty sure it's one of those positions where, from company, company it might mean something different. But for me, what I'm doing in my current position as a cloud associate architect is I am, one of the things I do is I help manage, uh, partner relationships with, uh, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

So I, I talk to them and, you know, help build our partnerships and stuff like. And then other things I do like today, a ton of times on researching, cuz let's say a client comes to us and they're just like, Hey, these are the things we want. And then they're like, Hey Shala, we're gonna put you on this, this project.

And I go, okay, they wanna work with, let's say, AWS code pipeline. I've never worked with that before. So that means, all right, I'm gonna go spend all day researching and building stuff, breaking it. And then once I get a proof of concept working and I understand what I'm doing and it's doing what the customer wants, then I go build the thing that they need.

So that's a good chunk of my day. I wanna say what I'm supposed to be doing, if I strictly go off of like job description, it's supposed to be where I architect or design solutions for companies that are trying to put their stuff in the cloud and they don't know how to do it. So it basically, it's a bunch of researching and breaking things all day.

[00:06:16] Zoe: That sounds like a dream to anybody nerdy. Get to research a bunch, break a lot of things. 

[00:06:21] Shala (Gifted Lane): Yeah, I'm having a blast. 

[00:06:22] Zoe: And then magic, magic happens and it works. 

[00:06:25] Shala (Gifted Lane): Exactly. 

[00:06:27] Zoe: um, well one of the questions I had is what do you love about your current job? But it kind of is the discovery bit in the learning bit, or at least that's how it sounds.

Mm-hmm. . Yeah. If you could change anything about your job, what would it be? 

[00:06:40] Shala (Gifted Lane): Hmm. Good question. What would I change? I don't know if this is the right answer, but the first answer that comes to me is if I could either a clone myself or go get the hyperbolic time chamber from Dragon Ball Z and use that so I could do all the studying I wanted to

Cause like my biggest thing right now, after getting into cloud, if I. Like had a way to redo it or pause time or something. I would spend time getting really good with Linux. That would be great because I work with it a lot, but I'm learning it as I'm working with it because I didn't really have to use Linux before.

So, yeah. 

[00:07:29] Zoe: Well, I am sure Chris can tell you all the challenges. , . 

[00:07:33] Chris: I was gonna say, that's the best way to learn it though. I, from my, well, I mean I'm very much a like hands-on learner, so maybe that's bad advice for other folks. But yeah, so that's what I did. Right? I mean, one of the first networks I built was for a wireless internet service provider.

And we actually were so bootstrapped and so early days that we like wrote our own router code sounds way more interesting than it is. Like it was just hacked together like pearl scripts and stuff. They were all ba like they were all Linux boxes, like bridging routers that we were using to do this on.

And so then I just started using only Linux on my machines because it just was easier to like, understand like all this context of how all that works, um, for me anyway, to like do it all the time. And that's carried on for now. So I still like, but that's what, um, Zoe was mentioning. I, I still run Linux desktop like full-time, which for audiovisual recording is sometimes super fun.

[00:08:29] Zoe: Although you sound better than me apparently. So, . But, but, but no, I think I'm in the same boat as both of you actually is. Um, I have to be dropped into it because my motivation is the same. I need to be kind of in the deep end for me to be motivated to learn about it, but also when I get to the point where I'm like, oh, I know everything.

Not that I ever know anything, but um, but I kind of feel like, okay, now I'm ready to move on cuz I get bored easily. Sounds like you're quite similar. 

[00:08:58] Shala (Gifted Lane): Yeah, for sure. And it's kind of funny cuz when I think back to what I'm doing now and I go all the way back to my college days, which yes, college for me was like, it, it was some years ago, but like , I remember like.

My junior year, going into senior year of college, I was just like, dude, all I want is someone to pay me money to just learn. Like if I could just be a professional student, I'll be good. And I feel like cloud, that's exactly what I'm doing. I'm getting paid to learn. I actually do stuff, but a good chunk of it is me learning and then going to do this stuff.

So it's, it's this perfect. Marriage of what I wanted in a job. So I like that a lot. 

[00:09:43] Zoe: Yeah, definitely. 

[00:09:44] Chris: That resonates with me hugely. I think that's, that's kind of my grounding stone. Whenever I get into a point, like in a job or a career where I'm really frustrated, that's kind of the question I ask. I look around, I'm like, am I learning?

Yeah. Because if still then maybe this is tolerable, right? But if like, if my boss sucks or my team sucks or whatever's going on that I don't like mm-hmm. and I'm not learning time to time to brush off the resume for me anyway. 

[00:10:09] Shala (Gifted Lane): Absolutely. Because I will say, except for one time, any job I left has either been because management, coworkers, or I was bored.

I've never necessarily, I can't say I've ever left for like money. Like each time I do go find a job, the goal is to get more money, but that's never been the reason why I left. It's always because I'm bored, , I'm bored, or you know, my early, early days, like in my early twenties, it was bad management. I was just like, I can't be here or bad coworkers.

I was like, I can't, I, I, no , I'm not working here. My coworkers suck. . 

[00:10:51] Zoe: Well, you spent so much of your day with them. You, you have to actually get on with them to a point. I mean, don't have to be best friends, but they can't drive you crazy. How did you get to where you are? Because obviously you've, you've been in industry for, I think it was 8 years or eight plus years.

More recently in cloud for seven months . Um, so you next expert now, but how did you get to that position, really? What was your journey, I suppose? 

[00:11:17] Shala (Gifted Lane): All right. So trying to see how far back, I guess I could start at the beginning. I really didn't break into like IT until 2013. I was working for a startup company where we built like mobile applications and web applications and stuff like that.

I was working for them for like two years. They let me go in 2012 , um, which was a fun story. I remember during my review I asked for more money. And the answer was, we're going to. One Friday they called me into the office and they're just like, we're gonna help you out with the more money part by letting you go, and then you could go double or quadruple your money.

I'm gonna say at first I . I was mad, I was upset. I didn't know what to do with that. But then I ran across them again and they were just like, oh, how are things? So I was like, you know what? You did help me cuz I did like at that particular moment, I had doubled what I was making there when I went to go work for somewhere else.

So I was like, you know what? You did help me so I'm not even mad at you anymore. And , the new place that I went to work at is where I ended up working as a network engineer. I actually went there as a office admin and then six months doing that job. Our senior IT person retired. And the VP was just like, Hey, do you want to take their spot?

I said, yes. And next thing you know, I'm like sailing on ships in the ocean, fixing networks and stuff like that. And that was crazy. And so the only reason why I ended up leaving that job is because the company decided, which made perfect sense that it was cheaper to sell all the ships as well as the crew with the ships and just charter them,

So basically, my job went away and the jobs that they had that they could place me in, I. Okay, you want me to like start coming into the office on a regular and work in silos, like I'm not gonna be happy. So I was like, it's time for me to go. So I left and I ended up going from network engineering to desktop support and folks were just kind of like, Wait, aren't you going backwards?

And I was like, no, cuz this is my journey. They pay well, the work balance is awesome. I can sit there and go after my CCNA and all these other things while I figure out what I wanna do next. Because I wasn't sure if I wanted to do networking because I was just like the networking job I had working on the ships.

I don't see another networking job matching that. I, I am, I think I'm gonna get bored. And so anyways, uh, I spent four years doing desktop support and finally, um, I had a friend that kept telling me back in 2019, you know, I think you should get in cloud. And I was just like, I don't know what cloud is and I don't think that's what I wanna do.

Maybe just kind of brushed it off. But in 2021, Like around September, I actually did cognitive behavioral therapy because it was being offered through the company I was with at the time for free. And I didn't know what I wanted to do career wise, so I tried it out. But anyways, it helped me create this career mind map and that's when I decided, you know, to tap that same friend who was telling me to get in cloud.

I was like, It's 2021. I was like, Hey, yeah, I wanna, I wanna get in Cloud . I think that's where I need to go next. And basically, I tapped a few people that I knew who had been working in cloud for years. I was like, how do I start learning cloud? And majority of them pointed me to the same AWS SAA course.

So I checked out the course and next thing you know, I was doing the course and fell in love with it, and I started knowing what AWS was and how to use it and building my own projects. And so it's just like, all right, I'm ready. I need a job, . So I just started, uh, keeping my ears and eyes open, and a friend of mine happened to post actually on Twitter saying just a general post to the world, like, Hey, my company's hiring for, you know, at all cloud levels. And I just reached out to them and I was like, are they hiring for cloud levels zero? Because that's where I'm at. Like I am Michael Scott of cloud, but. You know, I wanna work at cloud.

And so, um, anyways, I applied and I had to fight for it though too. Cause they were just like, you don't have any cloud experience and no cloud certs and you want me to hire you? And I'm like, yes, . And I'm like, I don't, but like, Here's my career mind map of how I'm going to get the knowledge. And then I was showing stuff like I created this thing called the Cloud Resume Challenge that they had never heard of.

And I had it working and I did it my own way. And what else? Those kind of things, you know? And so they gave me a shot. There's like, all right, we'll take a shot on you. And then also I had like my social media presence. I think that helped out a lot too. So yeah, that's how I got there. 

[00:16:31] Zoe: Well, you've touched on a, a couple points that I do when I interview, because I've taken a couple courses on unconscious bias and, uh, the main point that they make is, you know, you have to bring your bias to the front, but also, Look at why you're viewing something as success.

You know, so when somebody doesn't have as much experience, or I'm hiring for a more junior position, I always try to say, well, what have they done that maybe isn't directly related, but shows their motivation, shows the way they think and shows the way that they learn. Because I want that diversity, right?

So I want somebody that has a different skillset set, um, a different way of thinking in my team to balance it. But the point that you made about not just, you built that like cloud, uh, the resume Challenge. Yeah, challenge. Challenge. But also cuz that's showing, you know, you're motivated to learn, but also your mindset of, okay, this is my career mapping and this is where I want to go.

Because when I hire somebody, I'm not looking for somebody to do the here and now only. I want somebody to stay and be motivated to stay. So I wanna understand their journey of why I wanna get to this place, is that going to fit within my team? So I really like that you touched on that because I think I've seen quite a few people unhappy in their career and it's, I've been to that like.

What do you want in your career? Where do you wanna go? And they know they don't have that mapping. I don't have that mapping to be fair, but I I like that you did that. I think I'm gonna try doing that myself actually. . 

[00:17:56] Shala (Gifted Lane): Yeah, it was helpful cuz I didn't have that either. Like I said, going to the, it was virtual therapy sessions or whatever, and basically the way that therapy worked was just, She's, you know, she was like, why are you, why are you doing this?

And I was just like, I don't wanna do networking anymore, but I don't know what I wanna do career-wise. Next is, she was like, all right. So one way to figure that out is what are your core values? What's important to you? And once I started listing out my core values, there's things like, uh, curiosity. I'm a very curious person.

I love learning. It's kind of fun. I like to have cost money, so I need money, like a good amount of money. And I realized a lot of my cloud friends were making over six figures, , and I was like, I need that. And then also they were working from home and so I was like, I want to work remote as well because then I can like go work from the beach or something.

That's how I got there, . I was like, all right, cloud, let me figure this situation out. 

[00:18:55] Zoe: No, that's really, that's really interesting. And I really like how it's not even technology related. It's, well, what do I want in my life and what can I do to get there? So it's not a careers taking the front in focus, it's, I want a career that enables me to be happy.

I really like that. 

[00:19:13] Chris: Well, I wanna dive back a little bit. There's a, there's a few things I wanna get to forward as well, but I wanna dive back to, You know, shala, you're, you're riding around on crude oil tankers fixing network problems. I, can you tell us a little bit more about what it's like to, you know, operate a network or troubleshoot a network on a ship that's, I guess, I mean, floating, but I don't know if they're moving.

I mean, I don't know what's, what's that situation look like? I mean, are you like, I don't know. Well, yeah, I've never done that. What's, what's going on there?

[00:19:38] Shala (Gifted Lane): Yeah, so the fun part is, is when I took on that role, I, at that time, I didn't even know what an IP address was. Like. I had seen it before. . I didn't know how to log into servers.

I didn't know what to do with route. I knew nothing, right? So I hadn't learned everything. Baptism by fire. I did have a mentor where, The senior person who left there was a contractor who had been working with networking for years. He was still there, and he, he took me under his wing because he noticed I would ask him questions, take notes, and it turned into, I'm not re-asking the same questions, but now we're able to have discussions.

So he, he taught me, you know, everything, which is awesome. But yeah. So what happened is, yes, the, the ships are moving. You know, they're carrying oil from different places. Some of the ships were overseas, so I spent some time like in China sailing around, fixing stuff over there. And then we had ships that were sailing along the West coast, between California and Alaska.

And what was that experience like? The first, the first one is, One of the longest trips I took early on was two weeks, and that was all the way from Long Beach, California to Valdez, Alaska, and Valdez is like one of the highest snowiest places in Alaska. And so it took two weeks to go there. The, it was in a winter cuz it was like right before Thanksgiving.

So the, the water was really choppy and I, I would go deep sea fishing with my dad on like little boats. So I've been in rocky waves and I was just like, ah, I'll be fine. I was not, I remember on that particular voyage, one of the reasons I was on there is because our satellite communications kept dropping and so I'm on the satellite phone when it wasn't dropping, talking to a vendor, trying to fix it while we're sailing in the ocean.

and the ship would tilt so far to one side. You could actually do like, you know, the Michael Jackson lean. So I'm doing that and the vendor's on the phone and he's like, try this, try that in the LAN rack on the boat. And at one point he just hears me like throwing up, like puking my brains out. And then

We had worked together on a number of the ships in person, so he knew me, I knew him. We had a good rapport. He understood it was my first voyage and . I come back to the phone, you know, I wiped my myself off and you know, a couple. He is like, welcome to the party. 

[00:22:24] Chris: Talk about baptism by something. . . 

[00:22:27] Shala (Gifted Lane): Exactly. And then I'm like, all right, oh good.

And you know, we go right back to doing all the things. So there's stuff like that. Um, there's learning how not to get hurt. There's learning that I never wanna be in a situation where you need to get into lifeboat because the way the lifeboats work, they're hanging on the side of the ship. And then when you need to actually use them, they tilt down and get shot into the water, and you're supposed to be in it.

While it does that, and sometimes there's like one classic YouTube video where like the lifeboat hit the water and then bounced into the air and flipped, and like, I'm like, no, . I also learned about throwing life rings towards someone and not at them because they're really heavy and you'll just knock them out.

which is what you don't wanna do. I was gonna say, but yeah, the biggest thing about working on ships is I tell people my endpoints moved. So it could be stuff like a cloud going by. One time a bunch of bees landed on one of the satellite domes, and that blocked the signal or passing through a missile silo area that's nowhere marked on Google or anything until I had to have the ship tell.

What are you seeing when you pass by this spot? Whenever the signal goes down and they explained it and I actually had to talk to like government people and figure out that. Yeah, there's no, no kind of like, uh, no zone. Yeah. . And when you look like Google, it's just water. It, that's not what's there. . 

[00:24:10] Zoe: what?

Google lies, what? That's not true. Oh, that's amazing. Well, you know, it's always a good lesson to know what you don't want. Uh, one is lifeboats. I don't think I could survive, uh, working on a boat. I feel like I would get tossed over just by like, I don't know, sneezing too much. I, I'm not a huge fan of water, to be fair.

I don't think I'd be a good fit. But, um, but one point, one point you made was, you know, both careers you kind of jumped in without the core knowledge even, which is one really impressive, but two, you mentioned having mentors and reaching out to people, uh, to learn more about their career and see if it's the right fit for you.

Do you have any mentors that really influenced your careers? Maybe sponsors as well, and how critical were they? 

[00:25:00] Shala (Gifted Lane): Yeah, so sponsors, no, but definitely mentors, supporters, I think would be like a good way to put it. But yeah, I definitely have, I have, I have a few actually, but there's definitely, I have like, I would say three who have been like really.

Big, big helps. 

[00:25:20] Zoe: How did that work? Was that something where you reached out to people because you knew they were in that career, or is it something that kind of naturally happened just by building relationship?

[00:25:29] Shala (Gifted Lane): Yeah, so I would say my first, first big mentor, and I still talk to them now, would be of course when I started the networking role.

That just naturally happened because I remember the first time one of the ships, the network went down. Like we would just say, oh, a ship's down. Some people would be like, wait, is it sinking? It's like, no, no, no, no. When we say down the networks, down , the ship's not sinking. But, uh, the first time a ship went down, You know, he had to figure, he had to walk me through figuring out what the problem was and it just became a natural mentorship.

And then when it came to cloud, really it was just me being on social media sharing my C C N A journey. And I had where I would do like these global CCNA study sessions through Zoom. And I met a few people and then I had a Discord server at one time for a gifted lane, and that's really where I cultivated a lot of like relationships where I actually talked to these people like in real life, like they have my number, I have theirs, I've seen them in person, stuff like that.

And I built a rapport with them and it just naturally became a mentorship because the way I approach it. I, I, I wasn't someone who's just like, oh, let me see what this person does and see what I can get from them. What it was was, I didn't even know this person was working in Cloud , so start there. I didn't even know they were working in cloud and that they have been working in cloud for years.

They're just someone that I just vibe with. They were fun, whatever. And they come to find out they work in cloud and I was just like, wait a minute. Hey, I wanna get in cloud too, you know? So it was just, we were already friends, so. 

[00:27:15] Zoe: Nice. Nice. Yeah. Well, like I think I've had people reach out to me and they're like, oh, I need you to mentor me for this, and I'm.

Okay. You know, what, what are your questions? You know, like to try and build it, but, and it's really hard when it's like the mentor is trying to push knowledge. It's much more effective from my, from my experience, limited. But when the mentee is saying, I wanna learn about this, or I wanna understand that, and you have that.

Connection as well. Cuz there is some chemistry needed. You can't hate each other. Um, . Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Although maybe, maybe it'd be very effective to learn quickly. I don't know. , 

[00:27:50] Shala (Gifted Lane): maybe 

[00:27:51] Zoe: we, we've heard quite a few really big achievements. Let's be honest. You've built two careers from the ground up essentially, but, From your perspective, what are your greatest achievements in your, or maybe one, two, whatever your greatest achievements in your career so far?

[00:28:07] Shala (Gifted Lane): Definitely with the networking job, my greatest one was when the company won first, decided to send me by myself all the way to Singapore, and what it was is for the ships, what you have is every so often you have to take a. And dry dock it. And when you dry dock it, you literally take the ship out of the water and you do all these different kind of repairs that need to be done to it.

And so they're like, Hey, we're, we're gonna send the ship over to Singapore, we're gonna pull it out the water. And while it's out of service, out the water, we want you to replace all 22 desktops on board. We want you to rip out the old LAN rack and build a new, you know, LAN rack that goes from the floor to ceiling.

Put new routers, new switches, new firewalls. And also we had no idea because the company I worked for was a really large oil and gas company, and they had their own it. But what happened? The department I worked for with the ships was, uh, kind of like the stepchild that had got kicked out at one point because one of their ships ran aground in Alaska and spilled oil everywhere.

And the way to escape PR was to kind of kick them out the company and give them a new name. So the it I was doing was autonomous , like I wasn't part of the, uh, the larger organization it, so to. And so anyways, the bigger it company, you know, the, the non-st step child, it was like, hey, we wanna see what happens if we put one of these new, um, what's it, Dell, I think it was Dell, like a Dell Power Edge Hyper V server thing.

On this ship and see what happens. And that's exactly how I said it. Cause I was just like, I don't know what that is. And I had to build it out, set it up, get it working. But I'm like way over there in the south china sea, and the first moment I'm working with my mentor where I call up my mentor, I'm like, all right.

I hooked up all the things and he's like, all right, let me see if stuff is going to the, uh, data center here in the us. And it was, so that's when I fell in love with network. That's a big achievement. Yeah, that's a good feeling. Yeah, that was a big achievement cuz I was scared on the plane ride just going to Singapore.

Cause I was, I remember. What was it like? It was literally the day before I left for Singapore. I'm telling my manager, my direct manager, his right hand and our vice president, okay. We, we are all aware that I've never done anything like this before, so this could go really, really wrong. And I saw what the plane ticket cost because they flew me business class.

So I was just like, We're just, we just all know I can screw this up, right? . And they're just like, we have faith in you. And I'm like, well, I'm glad y'all do. So anyways, they're like, we've seen all your, your plans and contingencies and stuff like that, you'll be fine. Which they did come in handy. And so that was a big achievement for me.

It showed me like my own strength and. I guess the next biggest achievement would be me getting into cloud because I was just like, I'm gonna try and see if I can get in. I was like, I don't know. I was like, I don't have the experience, but I'm gonna try it. . 

[00:31:31] Chris: Yeah. And here you are, which is awesome. And that's a piece of advice that we've gotten from some previous guests.

You know, some folks that are really senior in their careers now, maybe, you know, 20 plus years in which is, you know, one. Don't let a single requirement, like on a job description or even a couple requirements, stop you from applying. If you want the job, go, go apply for it. And, and we've had some comments on, you know, on that, on social media and stuff where other people have chimed in and said the same thing that, you know, if you take a job that you're a hundred percent qualified for, there's no growth.

You already know how to do all that. So, you know, I think you're doing exactly the right thing in, in technology, which is stretching yourself right on, on each kind of new assignment. And uh, and I think it's really refreshing and cool that you were able. You know, clear the air with the team and be like, Hey, I'm not feeling totally confident about this.

I've never done this before. Are you really sure you wanna fly me business class to Singapore to, to handle this? I think that's a really cool way to kinda get in front of the, the imposter syndrome maybe, right? Which is to just say, Hey, let's all level set here. I've never done this before. Things could go weird.

And you know, just being everybody eyes wide open. I really like that a lot. 

[00:32:30] Shala (Gifted Lane): Yeah, I have to say, that is something I really do like about myself when it comes to career. And I say career cuz I'm actively trying to get better about this in my personal life. But when it comes to career, I will quickly tell you, I don't know.

I don't know, and I have no problem saying it. I don't feel bad. I've never had a situation where I said I didn't know, and then someone like, and it went negatively. It's always been, okay, look, I don't know. Let me go find out, or I know who does know and I'll get back to you and I'll make sure to give back to them.

And so they still come to me. For help and my name still gets circulated within the company cuz they're just like, look, either Shala knows how to do it or if she doesn't know how to do it, she's gonna figure it out. But she'll also tell you she doesn't know how to do it. And I think that goes a long way with people cuz it's like, I'm not gonna sell you smoke and mirrors.

It's like, I don't know. Let me go figure it out.

[00:33:30] Chris: I love it. For better or worse though, I do know that we're just about out of time for today. Shala, thank you so much for joining us and sharing your story with the Imposter Syndrome Network. And thank you to all our listeners for your attention and your support.

If you wanna support us even further, we'd love for you to share this episode or other episodes that you found valuable with your friends, colleagues, family, whoever you know who's out there, who's looking for a career change, working in tech, thinking about a career in tech. We'd love for this to reach a lot of people and, and hopefully share the message and share everyone's passion around a little bit.

Now, before we shut this whole thing down today, Shala, I would love to know, through everything you've done so far, what's the most valuable lesson you've learned in your career? 

[00:34:15] Shala (Gifted Lane): Hmm. This I use both in my career and I use it in my personal life and it's amazing. And that is when you, when I start to feel overwhelmed, I just take a breath.

And I go, okay, my back's against the wall. I may not know what I'm doing. I feel like if I mess this up, it's gonna go really wrong. But I'm like, you know what? Let's just apply some logic to this and just work the problem. Just work the problem. Don't allow myself to get too overwhelmed to where I'm just running around, like my head's cut off and that.

That goes a long way. 

[00:34:55] Chris: I like it. I like it. Yeah, definitely take a breath. Work the problem. Don't, uh, don't worry about it. Yeah, I like that a lot. Obviously we know you're on Twitter at Gifted Lane. Do you have any, you know, other projects or profiles that you'd like, uh, the network to know about?

[00:35:11] Shala (Gifted Lane): Sure. So I also, you can also find me on, uh, Instagram.

That's actually where I started and I'm getting back to it. So Instagram at Gifted Lane. I just started, uh, doing YouTube. That's at Gifted Lane as well. So there's only three videos. I'm just starting, but I am doing that. And then I'm also going to come off of hiatus and start back live streaming on Twitch, and that is also at Gifted Lane.

[00:35:39] Chris: Cool. Well, we'll make sure there's links to all those things in the show notes. For folks who couldn't quite listen fast enough and don't wanna rewind, . Excellent. With that, we will be back next week.