Thursday, November 27, 2014

Things To Be Thankful For - 2014 Edition

I haven't blogged in a while but as Thanksgiving is literally minutes away, here's my list of things to be thankful for in 2014:

Friends, Friends and More Friends.   I have quite a few friends from different aspects of my life and I am thankful to have all of them in my life.   I may have known them from work, other friends or other means, but it doesn't matter how I met them.  I am just glad they are part of my life.

ABC Basketball League!  I could say a lot of things but the simple fact is that it's great to have a community of people in our basketball league to regularly play and hang out with.  The league is not purely about basketball anymore but a chance to catch up with people that you've met through the years.

Facebook "Friends".  There are a few folks that I have met via Facebook Groups in the past year or so.  I've met one of them and there are others that I interact semi-regularly with.  While messaging on Facebook isn't quite the same as in person or over the phone, the people I know are cool and we have a lot of talk about.  Again, it's great to have another avenue to interact with other people.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lessons In Coaching And People Management

I coached youth basketball for years and have a good feel for it.  However, all the experience coaching youth doesn't prepare you for working with adults.   I've been a captain / coach in various adult leagues for many years.  However, early on, I lacked confidence in dealing with certain players. I was great with the low key folks who just followed my directions.  But on every team, you have guys who are outspoken and want to do things their own way.  

However, in recent years, I've started to tighten up as I know what I like and don't like.  I had an interesting situation tonight where two players were getting into it.  Our team was down 22-13 as well and there was some heated discussions.  I even got into it a bit with a few people because there was just a lot going on. 

Ultimately, I made a choice to sit a couple of players down to let them cool down.  We fell behind 29-13 but somehow came back to win 54-52.  Did my choice to bench people have something to do with it?  I don't know but it was a sacrifice I made.  If we lost the game then so be it. 

Sometimes I don't think people realize that coaching a team is basically like being a manager at a job.   Basically you have to coach people to play a game and work with their "personalities".  I didn't do the best job today but I learned a lesson in how to manage situations for the future. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Funny How Things Work Out

I don't talk much about work on my blog but I'll make a small exception this time.  I'm not really complaining or commenting on the work itself, but just how my career progression has gone in the past few years.  

In mid-2006, after about seven years at a large telecommunications company, I left to take a job at a smaller company.   The official job title I took in 2006 was "Product Support Specialist" which is a fancy title for technical support.  I had done customer support for five out of my seven years at my previous company so doing product / customer support wasn't anything new to me.  

However, I had taken the job to take on some new challenges as a smaller company gives you those opportunities.  Over time, I ended up doing some different things including pre-sales technical support, QA Testing, and manual writing.    

As things progressed into 2007, the smaller company earned some venture capitalist (VC) funding.   With that, the VC's decided to bring in experienced management to help the company grow to the next level.   With that, I got a new manager and subsequently new job titles.  My new manager had studied the work that I did and thought it was reflected Sales support (even if customer / technical support was still an important part of the job).  My manager decided to bless me with a new job title which was "Inside Sales Engineer".   I didn't realize how important the job title would be until later. 

Unfortunately, in mid 2008, I was laid off from the smaller company.   This would be my first ever layoff and I admit it was a bit of a surprise.  However, I took things in stride and just began the process of looking for a new job. 

About a month later, I got a call from a recruiter for a "Sales Engineer".  I guess having my job title as a "Inside Sales Engineer" helped him find me.  Thanks to that recruiter, I landed the job of Sales Engineer at my current company.  

To wrap this post, it had been a small goal of mine to achieve the title of "Senior Sales Engineer" at my current company eventually.  Being a Senior Sales Engineer has different expectations and responsibilities and so I knew it wasn't going to be anytime soon.  

In a bit of a repeat from 2006, the management staff of our Sales Engineering team determined that all of the Sales Engineers on our team were already performing work at the level of "Senior Sales Engineers".   Thus the management decided that all of the Sales Engineers would be granted the title of "Senior Sales Engineer".   The folks that were already "Senior Sales Engineers" would be given a new title of "Principal Sales Engineer".   So while all of us will still be performing our same duties, we have been gifted some new titles.  

So while this isn't technically a promotion, I do appreciate having the title.  It was something that I wanted to achieve from a personal perspective.  Even thought the title will be official at some point, I won't stop trying to improve and will continue to push toward the next level of my position in the future.    However, it's funny how things sometimes work out when you least expect it.