Screw Following your dreams–CHASE THEM!

DSC_0876 (521x640)For those of you who know me – I’m a very passionate person.  Be it technology, skills development, fatherhood, Microsoft, mobile devices – whatever.  I tend to be someone who jumps in with both feet.  Sometimes I do it on instinct. Sometimes I do it with after a long hesitation and with great caution.

Well – I jumped in this time – with both feet.

Let me back up a bit for a little bit of context and history.  It has been a dream of mine to work at Microsoft. I happened to be referred into the position of IT Pro Evangelist by a very good friend of mine (Pierre Roman) who was in the process of applying for the job.  During his interview process he decided the role wasn’t for him but said to the HR rep “I know this guy who would be perfect for this job” – that guy was me.  He gave me a call while I was off on paternity leave with my Twin girls. At first I dismissed it, saying “I’d never be good enough” to work at Microsoft – but he insisted I apply. Nine interviews later, I was offered what would become my dream job – working for Microsoft Canada as an IT Pro Evangelist.

Fast forward 7 1/2 years later.  I have “grown in role” up to a Senior Technical Evangelist working on the same team – working with and engaging the Canadian technology community.  I had developed a knack for understanding how to make a difference in the lives of people by enabling them to use (Microsoft) technology more effectively and further their careers in IT. I loved getting up in the morning every day – never hitting the snooze button – giving it my all.

Then opportunity knocked.

A position opened up on a team in Redmond at Microsoft Headquarters.  It was for one of four Technology Evangelists that have similar responsibilities and functions to what I was currently doing (and some cool new challenges), BUT was on a worldwide stage.  At first I wasn’t really interested, since I have very strong ties to Canada AND it would mean relocating my whole family down to Seattle.  But – after talking it over with my boss (WIFE) on a number of occasions – she said “go for it”. I then talked with my other boss (work) – who was very supportive of the idea.  I’m kind of paraphrasing his comments – but my conversation with him lead me to the title of this post.

If you simply follow your dreams – you will be constantly taking the passive route of going where they meander.  If you really want to realize your dreams – YOU HAVE TO CHASE THEM in order to have a chance of attaining them.

I decided to apply and went after the role whole heartedly.

I write this post sitting here in Seattle, with my family in temporary housing. After a long 4 months during which time we completed the interview process, job offer review , visa application process, relocation planning, selling off of personal property / house / car, actual moving day – we’re ALL onboard in this fantastic new journey.

I am now a Technical Evangelist on the Corp evangelism team here in Redmond at “Corp” (a.k.a. Microsoft Headquarters). I will be focusing my technology expertise back to my roots – CORE INFRASTRUCTURE on the Windows Server platform (current and future versions). When you think about it – “Server” is really the building blocks on which you craft your solution, be it on premise, optimized for private cloud or even public cloud.  Windows Server will be playing a significant role – now and in the future. I’ll be responsible for the technical reviews / advising on content for the major technical conferences Microsoft puts on across the world. I’ll also continue to be engaging the worldwide technical audience and engaging with social media / blogging / podcasting and more. There’s even an element of community building with the internal Microsoft Evangelism efforts with the IT Pro Evangelists around the globe. The role will continue to evolve over time – but once again – I’m Stoked.

On the eve of us departing Canada for the US, I called a friend of mine to talk about the move. He was sad we were heading out, but at the same time he was very excited for me and the family. He said to me “you’re changing your family’s destiny by doing this. That’s exciting – embrace this challenge and relish the moment”.  I hadn’t thought about it in this context before – but it’s true. New job, new house, new schools, new friends, new opportunities – it’s kind of overwhelming at times.

You know what? After starting this journey, I can say that despite my hesitations at first – I can honestly tell you, my Gut is telling me it’s the right thing to do, the right time to do it.

If you have an opportunity and you are on the fence – don’t get paralyzed with how big of a change it would be in your life and your family’s life. Do your level of sanity checks and consult your internal board of directors.

Screw following your dreams, chase them! Once you’re close and you’re ready – Jump In!

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15 Responses to Screw Following your dreams–CHASE THEM!

  1. Murray says:

    Does this mean you won’t be at PAB this year? :) Great opportunity, Good Luck

  2. Murray says:

    Oops. Rick, was supposed to be a sad smiley – slip of the keyboard.

  3. Bonnie says:

    Congratulations on kicking same-old/same-old in the ass. How exciting for you and your family. You are a great example ffor your family, showing them how to shape your life vs letting your life shape you. The post is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

    • RicksterCDN says:

      Thanks Bonnie. It’s been tough changing over to the “take control” mode – I tend to like going with the flow a little too much. It was time for a shake up.

  4. Mike Kean says:

    Well my friend, you’ve come a long way from back in the day when had C64 BBS’s. Congratulations to you and your family!! I look forward to reading more in your blog and in the IT news about your future activities.

    Mike Kean

    • RicksterCDN says:

      You know dude – I still have that C64 in storage! I wonder if I can find drivers for a 300 Baud modem anywhere. Hell – if I can find a serial port on a machine anymore.

  5. Barry Gervin says:

    Didn’t know about this until now. What a loss for Canada, but a great opportunity for you to go forth and have an even bigger impact. Congratulations but best of all good luck.

  6. Rodney says:

    It was a pleasure working with you all those years! I hope you are as happy with your move as I was with mine! Enjoy :)

  7. Shaun says:

    Rick,

    This is awesome news and I love the attitude. So many people go through life with regret of lost opportunities. People hum and haw over things, good things, that stare them right in the face and yet turn the other way. Glad to see you moving on. Maybe I’ll see you at the Canadian Leadership Summit when I head down to Seattle in early May. If not then June, you are still going to TechEd aren’t you?

  8. I think it was five years ago I stood in the background looking up at “the Gods” upon the stage. A funny guy with a Green hat and this Bald Guy who seemed to have the longest and coolest password on the planet. I knew there had to be something special about Microsoft. These people seemed so relaxed.

    As I tentatively walked towards these people I held to be “Holier than thou” I ran into something I had not ever expected, an unknown set of friends, community and in very many respects, a place I found myself wanting to belong to.

    I still remember the words from your mouth my first time after the posting of “Confessions of a Computer Geek” on CANITPRO. “….I’m from another planet!” my response…. “BROTHER!”

    I knew after that day I’d been missing something and I’m so glad I’m chasing after my dreams. You, Damir, Rodney, Ruth, John, Mitch, all the MVP’s and so many other people have been a huge influence in my life.

    I’ve learning myself that chasing those dreams yields so many rewards I never would have pictured. I don’t mean financial, I mean thinks so wonderfully beautiful and invaluable I can’t put a price on it. Courage to be myself and stand out in the crowd.

    Oh sure, there were a few loud noisy trips and only a few overdone data plans, but you people encouraged me (without words but quiet smiles along the way) to keep going on.

    In the five years I have grown to know you as one of the untouchables, a man who is not allowed near anything electronic, a giving humane being who donates who his own time freely and most importantly a good and solid friend.

    You have been a huge part of my inspiration and I above everybody you can imagine and dancing all over the place and (as we Powershell people love to say) “Doing a Snoopy Dance”

    To you I toast and offer up a phrase that has been my new calling card.

    “RELEASE the KRAKEN” and show Microsoft and the World just how much Passion and Energy we have
    and YOU continue to change and inspire others (especially those other “Seans”) to break out of their shells and become more than they thought they were.

    …..except for the singing…. We’ll keep that between us ;)

    Cheers and hopefully see you at MVP2012
    Sean
    “The Energized Tech”
    http://www.powershell.ca
    MCSE, MCTS, MVP Windows Powershell
    Member Springboard Technical Experts Program
    ……and yeah….someday…. you know where ;)

  9. Reemah says:

    Great post, Rick. Wishing you and your family the very best on this new adventure!

    Looking forward to reading and hearing more about it soon. :)

    Cheers,
    Reemah

  10. Olivier Jaton says:

    Congratulations Rick!

    I know we never met but I have to tell you that after following you at Techdays for several years and now being a brand new member of the Microsoft family, you are a very inspiring person!

    All the best for the future.

    Best regards,

    Olivier

  11. David Lee says:

    Hey Rick – I know this is a late comment, and I’d gathered you had moved away from Ottawa, but just got around to reading this post (was actually in the process of looking for your blog post on making a bootable USB key).

    Good for you taking the leap – OWSUG will miss having you here I’m sure, but I’m sure we’ll see you around.

    Probably catch you at WPC!

    Cheers,

    David

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