Dear Luigi …

“Did you pay him for this, mom?” my 11-year-old asked. He wasn’t asking about the ability to be a podcast guest, but for the sage advice that Luigi doled out. Liberally. Both of my kids became convinced that Luigi Danakos (@nerdblurt) was the new life coach that I recently mentioned. He wasn’t. However, like a good life-coaching session, I walked away different.   

After professing my love for learning new things during our convo, Luigi challenged me to write a blog post about something that I’ve learned.  In my head, I translated this to only apply to technical topics like Kubernetes, WordPress, or maybe Service Mesh. Sure, I still plan to do that. However, I feel like there is a lot of value in sharing my top three takeaways from my talk with Luigi.

  1. You are not your job. How often do we include our titles and companies when we introduce ourselves? If you are like pre-sabbatical me, you always include your title and company after you introduce yourself. It’s “I’m Becky.  I work for X as a Z.”  It’s never just, “I’m Becky.” Who I work for and what I do seem as coupled with my identity as my name. When you think about it, it’s rather f*cked up.  Why isn’t enough to be “Becky”?  It is, and Luigi helped me see that.
  2. Be open to ALL job opportunities because you don’t know where they will lead. How Luigi became a vSan SE  at VMware is hella inspiring.  From Tech Marketing to unemployed to his dream job at his dream company. When he first heard of the SE position at VMware, it would have been easy for him to dismiss it out of fear. However, his “always explore the job opportunity” philosophy kept him open to possibility.
  3. Don’t worry about perfection. The recording of this podcast was that in practice. Luigi said that he didn’t edit. This recording would be what it was.  He proclaimed that the podcast was a love project, and while he hoped others would get value from it, he wasn’t overly concerned about their judgments. Luigi told the story of how, at one point, he had dozens of unpublished blog posts. Posts that he felt weren’t good enough.  Now he doesn’t hesitate and stress over the illusion of perfection.

I’m so grateful for the conversation that I had with Luigi at the beginning of my sabbatical, a time where I seriously pondered, “Am I Enough?”   Okay, I’ve shared takeaways that created confidence and clarity at a time where I needed both.  What is some of the most perspective-altering advice that has been shared with you?

Becky Elliott

After dropping out of a liberal arts college that focused on reading and discussing the “Great Books”, Becky Elliott found her way to a career in IT. For 20+ years, she has held a number of roles in Dev and Ops, and the area in between the two. In working for organizations in which poor security practices can cost lives, she’s an ardent believer in integrating security through the entire design process. Becky holds a number of industry certifications including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

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