In this episode, we talk to Ned Bellavance, an IT professional with more than 20 years of experience in the field, and founder of Ned in the Cloud LLC.
He shares his journey from working in retail to becoming a consultant, a content creator, and an independent entrepreneur. He also reveals how he overcame the challenges and discomforts of consulting, and how he developed his passion for learning and teaching new technologies.
We discuss his courses on Pluralsight, his books, his podcasts, and his unfinished rock opera project. We also explore how running helps him stay productive and healthy, and what advice he has for aspiring IT professionals.
Join us for this insightful and inspiring conversation with Ned.
“One of my core pillars of just how I like to live my life is to make myself at least somewhat uncomfortable all the time.
Because if you’re not uncomfortable, then you’re probably not growing in any way.”
Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!
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Make it a great day.
Machines made this, mistakes and all...
[00:00:00] Chris: Hello, and welcome to the Impostor Syndrome Network Podcast, where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't. My name is Chris Grundemann, and I am joined here in our virtual ISN studio by the one and only Zoe Rose. Heyo! This is the Ned Bellavance episode, and it's going to be a good one. Ned is an IT professional with more than 20 years of experience in the field.
[00:00:33] Chris: He's been a help desk operator, a systems administrator, a cloud architect, and a product manager. These days, he's an independent consultant. He's the founder of Ned in the Cloud, LLC, where he focuses on creating content around training, education, and marketing. This includes developing courses for Pluralsight, running multiple podcasts, writing books, And creating original content for technology vendors.
[00:01:01] Chris: Howdy Ned. Welcome. Would you like to introduce yourself a bit further to the imposter syndrome network?
[00:01:06] Ned: I mean, you did a fantastic job. Not sure what I could add there. I mean, I am a little exhausted just listening to the list. I'm like, Oh yeah, I do those things. And sometimes I wonder why I do all of those things.
[00:01:18] Ned: And then I remember. The, my passion, the thing that drives me is to create educational resources for people that are of a technical bent. I love doing that. I love investigating new things and then sharing the knowledge that I've gained about those new things. And so basically that's everything I do now is, is create that educational content in whatever media format I can do.
[00:01:42] Chris: Awesome. That's fantastic. I love it. And we're going to dive into that a little bit more because I think you've been Extremely successful in my view anyway, in, in kind of that transition from being an actual operator to, you know, being an educational resource to operators. It's a cool journey that I want to dig into more, but I actually like to start with maybe another passion.
[00:02:01] Chris: I guess I don't want to, uh, answer for you, but it's, I think it's a passion of yours that we share, which is running. And I wonder, um, if you can tell us a little bit about when you started running, why you started running. And does that have anything to do with your career and your productivity and your ability to do all these things?
[00:02:19] Ned: Oh, all good questions. So let's, let's start at the beginning. When did Ned start running? I came to it pretty late in life, to be honest. I didn't start running until I was 30 and the impetus was a few things. First of all, I hit that sort of slump in your twenties where in your metabolism slows down and you start putting on a little bit of weight because you're still eating like it's a, like you have a full blown early twenties metabolism.
[00:02:45] Ned: So I did notice that I'd started gaining a little bit of weight and also I had a very sedentary job, right? I was working in IT at a cubicle not really getting outside not enjoying the outdoors and I do enjoy the outdoors I like walking outside And so I think it sort of started with me just going on really long walks to think about things And then eventually turned into, hey, what if I could run instead?
[00:03:12] Ned: And I tried it and I ran way too fast and got completely winded after like three blocks. And I was like, well, I guess running is just not for me. But then, you know, I had this voice in the back of my head that's like, hey, just give it another try. Maybe go a little bit slower next time. And, you know, next time I was able to run ten blocks.
[00:03:31] Ned: And then, you know, walk for a little bit. And it just kept extending out from there. And a couple of years later I ran my first half marathon and then the year after that I did my full first full marathon and ever since I've just been running at least four times a week I'd say.
[00:03:48] Chris: Awesome. Yeah. Awesome. And does that affect your, your, your productivity at all?
[00:03:53] Chris: I mean, obviously there's a, there's a, just a kind of, maybe it's a getting away from work aspect of running perhaps, right? Clearing your head and that kind of thing. But. I wonder if it does play into the work you do, or maybe not specifically the work you do, but the work, you know, how you do work.
[00:04:06] Ned: It's funny how often I've encountered other endurance athletes.
[00:04:10] Ned: I'll call them because it's not just runners, right? I, I like to run long distances. So I put myself in the category of an endurance athlete. I know there's runners who like to sprint or, you know, focus on the five K. And when you're an endurance athlete, the one thing you're really good at is just doing something for a long time.
[00:04:29] Ned: That's uncomfortable. And somehow that seems to really mesh well with IT. Yeah, yeah, surprisingly. But in regards to productivity, I, I don't think that running necessarily makes me more productive, but it puts me in a headspace where I can be more productive. The running time is sort of the me time where I can get my head on straight, get some physical activity, get those endorphins going that make you feel a little bit better.
[00:04:56] Ned: And when I sit down in front of my desk in the morning and know that I've gone on a nice run, I feel like I've already accomplished something. And now I'm ready to do something else, and I don't feel guilty about sitting in a chair for the next three hours because I did something physical and active earlier in the day.
[00:05:14] Ned: So I'm also I run in the mornings because if I don't do it in the morning, then I'll find excuses throughout the day. It's like, oh, busy or, you know, I have to go to this meeting or whatever. So first thing in the morning, go for a run. And then I feel like I've already accomplished something today.
[00:05:28] Chris: I love that perspective.
[00:05:29] Chris: And just to underline it, I mean, I feel a hundred percent the same way. And I've got kind of now it's taken me years to get here, but I have like a whole morning routine, which revolves around my running, which also includes some journaling and some meditation and things like that. And, uh, very much by the time I sit down to work, I've essentially accomplished all the most important tasks of my day.
[00:05:49] Chris: You know, I've, I've done all the things I needed to do for myself. And so now I can, you know, I went, you know, I start to work, which is almost like bonus round at that point.
[00:05:57] Ned: Right.
[00:05:58] Zoe: I am not a runner at all, but I saw a meme that said, you know, start your day with a run so that, you know, what, how was it, how did it say, so, you know, nothing could be worse after that.
[00:06:13] Zoe: Can't get any worse after that. That's what it was. That's how I relate to running. Um, but I do agree with you, both of you that doing something physical did actually make a difference for me. Pre pregnancy, obviously, I could do jiu jitsu, Brazilian jiu jitsu, so that was exhausting as well. Uh, now it's like standing up is basically the equivalent.
[00:06:37] Zoe: But, um, yeah,
[00:06:39] Zoe: I don't think I can even do it anymore, but, uh, but I do cycle in the morning to be fair, so, but I'm in Netherlands, so that's normal.
[00:06:50] Chris: You're required, like, by law, they're going to kick you out if you don't.
[00:06:53] Zoe: Basically, you live here, you must own at least one bicycle, one that's either been stolen and then like a real one or, you know, so I have two, but, uh, yeah, no, it does.
[00:07:07] Zoe: I agree with your statement of putting it in the right headspace because it lets, it lets you forget about work for a minute and kind of forces you to think about something else. I think one thing I mentioned to a colleague recently was the need for breaks during your day because they were taking shorter breaks and I'm like.
[00:07:30] Zoe: You need at least a full break because you need to kind of reset your brain so it thinks about something else before you dive in, or even between things, because it can be quite overwhelming. I imagine IT is very similar. I used to work in IT. It was very similar to security now and you need to give yourself a break so that you can kind of feel productive and not burn out.
[00:07:54] Ned: Oh yeah, whenever I'm really puzzling over a difficult problem. Usually the best thing I can do is stand up and walk away from it for 15 minutes, half an hour, whatever it is, take the dog for a walk or something. By the time I get back, I'm looking at that problem with fresh eyes and I'll see something that I missed before Most of the time and if that doesn't work, I'll just take a longer break, I guess.
[00:08:18] Ned: Yeah, just banging your head against a wall Accomplishes very little and you really do need that other Perspective whether that's taking a break or bringing somebody else in to look at the problem as well
[00:08:30] Chris: I like that. I like the physical aspect of it, too I think it was, shoot, was it Hemingway or Edison?
[00:08:36] Chris: I'm totally blowing it up, but somebody, some famous dude, um, related to America in some way in the past had a habit of when he hit these hard problems, I think he was maybe much older at the time. Or at least that's how I see it. But he would, he would sit down in a chair holding a spoon and he would nod off.
[00:08:53] Chris: And the thing about holding the spoon was as soon as he actually fell asleep, when he was actually asleep, his hand would release the spoon, the spoon would fall, it would hit the floor, it would wake him up. And apparently that was just enough of like going into the like unconsciousness and coming back to like many, many times he would come back with the solution.
[00:09:10] Chris: Yeah. I don't know how apocryphal that is, but it, but it, you know, it happens in the shower. It happens walking.
[00:09:14] Zoe: That makes sense because your unconscious brain is more powerful than your conscious brain because your conscious brain takes way more energy. Obviously, I'm not a neuroscientist, but I've read a few books on it.
[00:09:26] Zoe: Um, and that's what they say and they're the experts, so I'm going to believe them. So that would make a hundred percent sense to me because your brain has never stopped thinking. You're still going to think. You're just not consciously thinking.
[00:09:37] Ned: Yeah. That was Edison. If I remembering correctly, because I actually wrote, uh, part of a rock opera that was going to be about a alternate dimension that you actually dip into in semi consciousness, and it was something that in the story, Edison discovers through his spoon, and then he moves on to inducing it through electricity.
[00:09:59] Ned: And then there's this whole wild adventure in this alternate universe. So yeah, that's amazing. I want to see this rock opera now. It never made it past the lyrics stage. So I wrote all the lyrics for it and I showed it to my buddy and he was going to lay some guitar down for it and maybe some drums and then life happens.
[00:10:18] Ned: You know, we were, we were teenage lads in love with music and everything else and You know, sometimes projects just go unfinished.
[00:10:25] Zoe: Well, maybe something you can pick up when you retire.
[00:10:29] Zoe: Speaking of work, uh, you work for yourself. Is that right? Yes.
[00:10:36] Ned: That is correct. Yeah, I started Ned in the Cloud a little over four years ago.
[00:10:41] Ned: So 2019, uh, just in time for the pandemic. And yeah, the main focus was going to be well, but prior to that, I had been working at a value added reseller first as a consultant. So I was doing consulting work with clients that were hiring the reseller. And then eventually I moved into a product development role because we were trying to focus more on services and less than just selling hardware and licenses.
[00:11:09] Ned: And so I was in charge of creating cloud solutions that we're going to try to sell. And it turns out that I didn't like that role very much. And so I was starting to try to think about what to do next. And I had been creating courses for Pluralsight since 2017. So about two years at that point. And I was doing fairly well from a revenue standpoint from Pluralsight courses.
[00:11:35] Ned: And I thought, hey, this is something I could probably do fairly full time. So I talked to. My person at Pluralsight who was kind of helping me develop courses and whatnot. And I said, Jake, what do you think about me going full time? He's like, when can you start? So I was like, okay, so you think it's a good idea?
[00:11:55] Ned: He's like, yeah. Uh, and then I did apply for a couple other jobs, but in the intervening time, I talked to Stephen Foskett, our good friend from Gestalt IT, and he basically said the same thing. He was like, Ned, have you considered just working for yourself? Don't make a snap decision just now. Think about it a little bit and he planted that seed and sure enough, uh, a few days later, I, I called him back and I was like, Steven, I think I'm gonna go work for myself.
[00:12:25] Ned: He's like, yes, yes, you should. So, yeah, that was, um, in 2018, late 2018, I started the process of building a little nest egg and making some contacts and building a book of work that and potential clients that I could do stuff for. And then I formally quit my job in May of 2019 and haven't looked back ever since.
[00:12:50] Zoe: Oh, that's interesting because we, we've had a few entrepreneurs on the, on the show and obviously Chris's as well, but I remember in school I took, um, a course on entrepreneurship. And they always talked about, you know, making small steps, but eventually you do have to dive off the end or whatever. I remember the example he used, but what I didn't do when I started a business, cause I also was self employed years ago, is I didn't do that planning ahead bit that you just mentioned.
[00:13:23] Zoe: It worked for me at the time because I was actually in college, so I was poor anyway, so it didn't, didn't make a difference, but, uh, but no, that I really like the point you make of planning to be an entrepreneur and the book of work and also building your quote unquote nest egg.
[00:13:42] Ned: Yeah, it was so one of the really good pieces of advice that I got from my first boss at the value added reseller.
[00:13:51] Ned: I had written a couple blogs for the company and he was like, I really like what you wrote. You're clearly a pretty decent writer. I think you should also create your own website and start building your own brand. And he kind of said that to everybody in the group that I was part of is, you should focus on building your own brand as well as, you know, doing good work for us.
[00:14:16] Ned: Because when you leave, that good work stays with us, but your brand goes with you. And if you're trying to move up in your career, building a network of folks who know you and can refer you to new opportunities and just being recognizable in the community is going to be extremely helpful. And not everybody took that advice to heart, but for whatever reason, I really did.
[00:14:39] Ned: So I started blogging a lot both for the company and for myself and building up a little bit of a following and reputation that way and I also started a podcast like you do and that was back in 2000 I would want to say 16 or so it was for the company so it wasn't my own independent podcast but It's It's I ran that podcast for about three years until I quit my job there, and it was great practice for building up the podcasting and presentation chops in a way that wasn't necessarily associated with me.
[00:15:16] Ned: So when I did kind of go out on my own, I started a new podcast with the Packet Pushers and Ethan Banks called Day 2 Cloud. And I already had that sort of process and presence down to be a podcast host because I've been practicing for three years under the guise of this other company.
[00:15:33] Chris: Yeah, I like that a lot.
[00:15:34] Chris: I mean, that makes a ton of sense is, you know, kind of de risking some of these these jumps forward now in doing that right and having that kind of history of, you know, I think it sounds like kind of a natural progression, right? Blogging, which is a little bit of putting yourself out there, your names on it.
[00:15:50] Chris: It's out there. People can read it. Um, that can be a little scary, a little intimidating, but you know, you're, you're, you're figuring out how to kind of put your thoughts together in a way that maybe people will enjoy. And then taking that to podcasting, which I think does, at least to me, feels like another step, right?
[00:16:02] Chris: Just like going to a presentation does. Taking that next step of, you know, now not only is your name like, you know, on the byline next to the words, but your face is actually speaking the words, and then somebody's watching you do that, or at least hearing you, that kind of thing. So did that approach kind of eliminate a problem that, you know, I think a lot of other folks we've talked to have had, which is as the name of the podcast, might lead you to believe I was going to ask about, you know, this imposter syndrome or, or feeling like maybe I'm not the expert here.
[00:16:29] Chris: Maybe I shouldn't be the one telling you about this. Who am I? To be putting these blog posts out, to be putting this podcast, did you ever feel anything like that along the line or was this more of you had this kind of natural progression and it just made sense?
[00:16:39] Ned: Uh, there was certainly some hesitation, especially writing blog posts.
[00:16:44] Ned: I was worried that, you know, I would get technical details wrong and I'd be, you know, taken to task for it. As it were, but the thing that drove me to dig deeper into a solution before I published the blog post, make sure I'd crossed all my tees and dotted all my eyes and and looked through all the information in terms of building knowledge and sort of trying to get rid of a little that imposter syndrome.
[00:17:10] Ned: I think the biggest boost for that was putting myself in a very uncomfortable position of being a consultant. The life of a consultant is constantly being thrown into new situations with limited information and being able to think on your feet. And that prospect terrified me at first, but someone that I was working with, I was working at a large university and the person I was working with made the jump to consulting and he's like, Ned, you should come with me.
[00:17:41] Ned: No, I don't want to do that. I'm safe here. I'm a sysadmin. I sit, you know, in a cubicle. I do my thing. I run VMware. It's all good. And three months later, he's like, Ned, you should really come with me. I was like, but why? I'm he's like, let me tell you what our starting salary is. And he told me, I went, what?
[00:17:59] Ned: Okay, maybe I should give this a try. Uh, cause we had our second child on the way at the time. So, you know, bills were going to go up and maybe earning a little bit more wouldn't be a bad idea. So I jumped in feet first into the world of consulting and it was profoundly uncomfortable for several months.
[00:18:19] Ned: If not a year or two, and then eventually I just got used to the discomfort of walking into a room, not knowing what I was going to find, knowing what the salesperson had potentially sold, but Also knowing that what they sold might not be what's in the S O W or match the expectations of the client. And I was going to have to massage all of that sometimes while learning the technology that I was ostensibly there to implement.
[00:18:45] Ned: Yeah. At a certain point I was like, well, I guess it's just what everybody does.
[00:18:49] Chris: Yeah. Yeah. So that is a very interesting dynamic, right? That as you described there, this, you know, not only are you on the spot to know this technology, but what you're on the spot to know, you may not know because. I've seen the same thing, right?
[00:19:02] Chris: And almost every professional services sales cycle, what the customer thinks they're buying and what the sales team thinks they're selling is very seldom the exact same thing. Um, so you're often rescoping the project and trying to make sure that you're giving the customer what they want at the price it was sold at, even though those two things didn't actually line up.
[00:19:20] Chris: Right. And, you know, and so was it just that figuring out kind of what this customer was actually wants and what the environment is and how do I get that thing? Or, you know, I mean, I guess the question there is, were you getting like prep time ahead of time or, or is it like customers back to back enough that you're just kind of walking into a meeting a little bit blind?
[00:19:35] Chris: I mean, how much preparation do you get in those situations?
[00:19:38] Ned: A lot of the times the amount of preparation I had was here's the statement of work that we gave to the client. The kickoff meeting is tomorrow. And I mean, that was some time, but there were certainly occasions where I look at the statement of work and just to give an example of me going, ah, so we sold an engagement to deploy VMware's Horizon product.
[00:20:03] Ned: I think it was called Horizon View at the time. That's their. You know, VDI, uh, virtual desktop infrastructure service. So we had signed an S. O. W. to deploy a pilot implementation of that, and that was given to me. I had never touched Horizon. I had never installed Horizon. I knew basically nothing about the product, and I was going to start on the project after the weekend.
[00:20:27] Ned: So yeah, that was, that was like worst case, right? Just... Here's the kickoff call next week. You're gonna be on site and guess what? You're gonna be deploying a product that you're supposed to be an expert in that you've never touched That's about as bad as it could be But there were certainly times where it was.
[00:20:46] Ned: All right, we're gonna deploy this thing in AWS for this client and I'm like, yeah No, okay. I know how to do that. I know how to write the scripts. I know what's involved More projects were like that, especially as the group matured a little bit and I matured in my role and just learned a lot of ancillary things along the way.
[00:21:04] Ned: One thing I'll say about consulting is if you want to get like 20 years of learning done in five, consulting will certainly do that to you or you'll, you'll burn out trying.
[00:21:16] Zoe: Yeah, no, that's a really good point. I, I've been in various, my career has always been consulting. I'm in my first internal role and I'm like, this is so weird.
[00:21:25] Zoe: Like I'm now that client, but yeah, no, I've been in situations where they've joined me to a call because they've realized they don't have the skill to deploy it, so they need me cause I'm the expert. And I'm like joining the call as learning what, what it is they're talking about. So there's definitely been some last minute education, I suppose you could call it, but, but I agree with you in the sense that it is a great way to learn and build that, that skill that you almost mentioned, or you talked about just a bit ago about kind of finding your way whilst you're doing it, you know, thinking on your feet, I suppose you could call it.
[00:22:10] Zoe: I really like that skill. I like it. But I think if I went into consulting knowing I had to have it, I think I would be scared.
[00:22:18] Ned: Yeah, and if I'd known the full scope of what I was going to be responsible for in consulting before I did it, I might never have taken the leap. So, I, one of my, like, core pillars of just how I like to live my life is to make myself at least somewhat uncomfortable all the time.
[00:22:36] Ned: Because if you're not uncomfortable, then you're probably not growing in any way. But I didn't realize how uncomfortable I was going to be in consulting until I got there. But then I got used to it. And that's sort of, I don't know, I guess that's, we're humans. We adapt to new circumstances. And what seems foreign and difficult initially becomes natural and secondhand at a certain point.
[00:22:59] Ned: And I think I always loved learning. I've always loved learning. I loved school. Sounds strange to say, and you know, I got my bachelor's and eventually got my MBA and I've always tinkered with the idea of maybe going back to school to finish an engineering degree that I abandoned at one point. I've always loved learning.
[00:23:18] Ned: And for me, consulting was an opportunity to be constantly learning. And because I was working with clients, I was also helping to transfer the knowledge and skills that I gained to the folks at the client like that sort of the last couple days of an engagement where you're delivering the results and you're going over the documentation and you're showing them the ins and outs.
[00:23:40] Ned: That was awesome. Like I enjoyed that part. I know some consultants really grumbled about they're like, Oh, it's done. I just want to get out. And I'm like, No, this is like, this is the cool part where you get to show off a little bit, but also like teach, teach a person to fish as it were. And so I think that whole discovery process is what led me to start creating courses on Pluralsight because I was like, I am learning about these cool technologies and I want to teach other people about it.
[00:24:05] Ned: And here's an organization that's dedicated to that. And I don't have to do it full time. They, you know, they work with contract authors. So let me just, you know, ping them and say, Hey, I'm interested in maybe doing a course. What do you think? And wouldn't you know it, it's six years later and 30 some odd courses and yeah, it turns out they were interested.
[00:24:26] Zoe: Well, I think also you have to know the solution or whatever it is you're teaching better if you're teaching it. So it's also a really good way to force yourself to learn more about it.
[00:24:38] Ned: Oh my goodness. Yes. My, my very first course that I pitched to Pluralsight was Terraform Getting Started. And that was in part because I'd been using Terraform for probably about six months or so.
[00:24:50] Ned: And so I was really into it. I was like, I really like this. I see it's got a bright future because CloudFormation is awful and I hate it. And not quite that harsh, but like not far off. That's when CloudFormation was only JSON and, and ARM templates were the only way to talk to Azure. And it was just awful.
[00:25:07] Ned: I was surrounded in a sea of JSON. Anyway, so I, I pitched this course and they said, that's our number one null result on our website right now. Like people search for Terraform and we have nothing. Yes, course approved. And so I did the course and I learned a ton about how Terraform actually works because I had to write and produce the course.
[00:25:27] Ned: And then each subsequent time I've revised that course, I've learned new and interesting things about Terraform that I didn't know before because I've thought harder about it than I think the average person has to because I need to be able to communicate concepts clearly. And also answer questions when they come up.
[00:25:45] Ned: If someone asks me after they've taken the course, well, you know, you said this, but why does this happen? And I, I feel like I should know the answer to that. So yeah, if you really want to learn something in depth, try to teach it to somebody else and you'll, you'll realize where your deficits are pretty quickly.
[00:26:02] Chris: I've had that experience for sure. I think there's, I don't know if it's quite an order of magnitude, but it feels like about needing to know about 10 X, what you're actually going to present just to feel comfortable, at least right. Just, it does like be like, ah, I mean, at least for me, I mean, I'm sure there's people who can just go in there and maybe wing it on less, but I like to have that zero point, right.
[00:26:19] Chris: I think the better you understand it, the more clearly you can communicate it, even if the thing you're communicating is one really simple piece of it, knowing how all the things work behind that allows you to describe it and explain it, I think, in a better way, you know, there's, there's something to that, I think for sure now, you know, in addition to the courses, I know you've also written some, some books, we already talked about, you know, multiple podcasts you're doing, There's videos you're doing all of that it sounds like it's kind of aligned with this vision That's kind of come from the consulting where you kind of figured out Oh like teaching is something I really enjoy doing and now you're finding just all kinds of different ways to do it Is it is that a fair assumption?
[00:26:55] Chris: Is that kind of how this has progressed or is there something else there?
[00:26:58] Ned: I don't know if there's any other overt influence in that but uh, I should probably mention that I am surrounded by teachers So my mother was a teacher turned librarian. My sister is a teacher. She teaches kindergarten. My wife is a teacher.
[00:27:14] Ned: Her mom is a teacher. My dad was a lawyer who then became a high school economics and history teacher. Really, it was just me and my brother in law, who's an engineer. We were like the odd ones out at every family gathering. It was like, all these teachers, and then the two, like, engineering type people. And then he, I betrayed him.
[00:27:35] Ned: I became basically a teacher too.
[00:27:39] Zoe: One of my colleagues is, uh, he was a teacher and he's moved into security awareness. And he was talking about how it really benefited him because it's a mindset. Of not just what is this, but how can I explain this in a way that you will want to learn more, but also you'll understand, you know, I like, I really liked the way he kind of described it.
[00:28:01] Zoe: And I do think it would make you better at your job. Like I am not a teacher, but, um, but part of my job is teaching the importance of the ever loved security concepts. And, uh, and yeah, I think a lot of the times I have to reset my mind and say, okay, they don't care about this. So how can I teach this in a way that they would actually be interested in?
[00:28:23] Zoe: So I think it's definitely a really good skill. I'm curious of what the best advice you ever received in your career was.
[00:28:33] Ned: Oh, jeez. Um, well, I did mention the build your brand thing, and that was an incredibly valuable piece of advice that I'm very glad that I listened to. Another piece; I don't know if I would call it an advice, but I like to tell this story because I just think it's funny.
[00:28:49] Ned: Prior to going into I. T. I've been working in retail for about five years. And the reasons behind it are, you know, numerous retails. I won't say it's easy, but you know, if you're fairly competent, you can move up pretty quickly in the world of retail. So I had moved from a sales associate to a part time manager to a full time store manager for a little, a little series of stores called Hot Topic, which.
[00:29:17] Ned: If you're from the US, you might be familiar with this chain of stores, uh, mostly known for selling goth clothing from a certain era, but, um, while I was there, I was a store manager and one of my sales associates, this guy, Dan, he was just finishing high school, so he was, it was, this was probably, you know, in the spring, he was going to finish up high school and go off to college and, uh, and We were sitting there folding t shirts like you do because that's an amazing amount of my day was folding T shirts and he looks at me and he goes Ned what the hell are you doing here?
[00:29:53] Ned: And I just froze. I was like, uh he's like No offense, dude. You could do better. And it really like, it was the equivalent of him taking like a 2x4 and just hitting me across the head with it. It was that blunt. And it's the sort of thing that only a precocious 17 year old could say to, to me. And it really threw me and that was the beginning of the end of my retail career.
[00:30:23] Ned: Because the more I thought about it, I was like, is this really what I want? Because I like computers an awful lot and I should probably be doing something with that. And less than a year later, I had my first help desk job. And I was, ironically, it was for a retail company, but at least I was out of the stores and now at the help desk level.
[00:30:41] Ned: And that's when my IT career really started. And that was 21 years ago.
[00:30:46] Chris: That's awesome. Well, your career has a long time still to go. This podcast does not, unfortunately, we're about at a time for today. Ned, we've covered a lot of ground here. Obviously we'll have links to your LinkedIn, your YouTube, GitHub, the website, which I think has links to all bunch of other stuff you've done.
[00:31:04] Chris: Your books and everything. Is there anything in particular you want to highlight for the imposter syndrome network? Any any projects or causes or anything we should kind of point out specifically and get folks awareness on?
[00:31:14] Ned: Uh, i'm putting a lot of my energy right now into my youtube channel So if you're interested in learning more about the world of terraform That's been the primary focus of my youtube channel for a while.
[00:31:26] Ned: So, you know, definitely check that out and Seriously, feel free to engage with me. Find me on LinkedIn. That's my sort of platform of choice at the moment. Send me a message, comment on a thing, and I'm happy to chat with anybody who has questions or is looking for a little guidance or. Or whatever it is you need, I want to help others learn and grow as well.
[00:31:46] Chris: Thanks, Ned. And thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story with the Impostor Syndrome Network. Thank you also to all of our listeners for your attention and your support. We know that time and attention are your most valuable assets, and we really, really do appreciate you choosing to spend them here with us.
[00:32:03] Chris: If you found this episode insightful, interesting, or even entertaining, please consider paying it forward by letting others know about this show and the great guests we have on. But Ned, speaking of those videos you're doing on YouTube, before we totally close out here, I have noticed that you've been doing a few of them around professional development and best career advice, I think is some of the clips and things.
[00:32:25] Chris: You know, I think those are great. Obviously they, they strike a chord with me and Zoe and the podcast we're doing here. I wonder if, you know, I can put you on the spot to think back to maybe the, you know, the best piece of advice or, you know, top three things. I don't know, you know, maybe you can give us some takeaways that you've had in these conversations you've had with other technology pros around again, professional development and career advice, that kind of thing.
[00:32:47] Ned: So I mentioned that I have like three core pillars that I kind of try to use for my career and personal development. And one of them is make yourself uncomfortable. And so that's, I think that's a great piece of advice. Just in general, if you're not uncomfortable, you're probably not growing. Another one is to be kind.
[00:33:06] Ned: And others will tend to be kind in turn. I think sometimes people are worried that if they reach out to somebody, they're not going to get a positive response or any response at all. And what I've found is most people are really excited to help somebody else. And so if you reach out. and give them a clear thing that you're asking about or some advice you're looking for.
[00:33:28] Ned: Nine times out of ten, you're going to get a positive response from them. And I'm sure there's a third pillar that I'm completely forgetting at this point, but really the be kind and make yourself uncomfortable are my two favorites.
[00:33:40] Chris: That'll get you a long way for sure. I love it. Thanks again, Ned, and we will be back next week.