When the economy starts contracting, career advisors start talking about the importance of “soft skills.” What are “soft skills,” exactly—and why are they “soft?” Mike Bushong joins Tom Amman and Russ White to talk about why these skills are important, why they are not “soft,” and how we should talk about people skills instead. They are superpowers,” and there isn’t anything “soft” about them.
Forty years ago there was an implied loyalty between companies and employees—but that world is long gone. As much as companies would like their employees to be loyal, layoff culture has crept into every corner of the modern world, especially as we move into an economic downturn. Giovanni Messina joins Russ White and Tom Ammon to talk about being prepared to be laid off, including such topics as being financially prepared, building skills for the long term, and finding community.
Have you ever taught a kid to ride a bike? Kids always begin the process by shifting their focus from the handlebars to the pedals, trying to feel out how to keep the right amount of pressure on each pedal, control the handlebars, and keep moving … so they can stay balanced. During this initial learning phase, the kid will keep their eyes down, looking at the pedals, the handlebars, and . . . the ground.
After some time of riding, though, managing the pedals and handlebars are embedded in “muscle memory,” allowing them to get their head up and focus on where they’re going rather than on the mechanical process of riding. After a lot of experience, bike riders can start doing wheelies, or jumps, or off-road riding that goes far beyond basic balance.
Network engineer—any kind of engineering, really—is the same way.
How do you balance loyalty to yourself and loyalty to the company you work for?
This might seem like an odd question, but it’s an important component of work/life balance many of us just don’t think about any longer because, as Pete Davis says in Dedicated, we live in a world of infinite browsing. We’re afraid of sticking to one thing because it might reduce our future options. If we dedicate ourselves to something bigger than ourselves, then we might lose control of our direction. In particular, we should not dedicate ourselves to any single company, especially for too long.
Have you ever thought about getting a college degree in computer networking? What are the tradeoffs between this and getting a certification? What is the state of network engineering at colleges—what do current students in network engineering programs think about their programs, and what they wish was there that isn’t? Rick Graziani joins Tom Ammon and Russ White in a broad ranging discussion on network engineering and college. Rick teaches network engineering full time in the Valley.
I often feel like I’m “behind” on what I need to get done. Being a bit metacognitive, however, I often find this feeling is more related to not organizing things well, which means I often feel like I have so much to do “right now” that I just don’t know what to do next—hence “processor thrashing on process scheduler.” Todd Palino joins this episode of the Hedge to talk about the “Getting Things Done” technique (or system) of, well … getting things done.
Communication is one of those soft skills so often cited as a key to success—but what does effective communication entail? Mike Bushong joins Eyvonne Sharp and Russ White on the Hedge to discuss radical candor, and the importance of giving and taking honest feedback to relationships and business.
I began writing this post just to remind readers this blog does have a number of RSS feeds—but then I thought … well, I probably need to explain why that piece of information is important.
The amount of writing, video, and audio being thrown at the average person today is astounding—so much so that, according to a lot of research, most people in the digital world have resorted to relying on social media as their primary source of news. Why do most people get their news from social media? I’m pretty convinced this is largely a matter of “it saves time.” The resulting feed might not be “perfect,” but it’s “close enough,” and no-one wants to spend time seeking out a wide variety of news sources so they will be better informed.
Jack of all trades, master of none.
This singular saying—a misquote of Benjamin Franklin (more on this in a moment)—is the defining statement of our time. An alternative form might be the fox knows many small things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.
When we think of automation—and more broadly tooling—we tend to think of automating the configuration, monitoring, and (possibly) the monitoring of a network. On the other hand, a friend once observed that when interviewing coders, the first thing he asked was about the tools they had developed and used for making themselves more efficient. This “self-tooling” process turns out to be important not just to be more efficient at work, but to use time more effectively in general. Join Nick Russo, Eyvonne Sharp, Tom Ammon, and Russ White as we discuss self-tooling.