Rear-View Mirror: Looking Back at Four Years as a SolarWinds Head Geek
It was LinkedIn that reminded me how long it's been. A sudden flood of "Congratulations on your work anniversary" messages (thank you, by the way, to everyone all the well-wishers) hit my inbox, little popup messages lining the bottom of the dedicated tab in Google Chrome. My first thought was, "has it been that long?" which was followed almost immediately by, "OF COURSE it's been that long."
It's similar to the thought parents think about their kids: "Where has the time gone?" followed by a rush of memories, each one distinct and unique, carrying their own particular imprint on our emotions. Every one of the more than 1,460 days is there, if I think hard enough about it. Not all of them have been perfect days. In many moments, I was not at my best. No matter how much fun I have at it, work is still work.
But what amazing work it's been.
Over the last four years, I have had the joy and privilege to meet so many amazing people, many of whom you've gotten to know along with me: experts in the field who have the ear of thousands; brilliant minds within SolarWinds who are setting the course of our products and inventing, sometimes out of whole cloth, new methods of doing things we had only imagined a few years ago; and people who have transitioned from one to the other (and sometimes back again). But along with those who shine brightly and capture our attention—be it in blogs, videos, webinars, or eBooks—there are incredible people I work with every day who are quietly brilliant, consistently awesome, dependably insightful. These are folks who avoid the spotlight (and a few who actively run from the room if a camera is turned on), but who are passionate and driven and engaged and skilled. And this job has allowed me to work with all of them. To learn from them. And occasionally teach them something, even if it's on the history of Dungeons & Dragons, or how to correctly pronounce "challah."
Second only to the people is the work itself. When I told my wife about the job after my first interview—how I'd be writing for publications, blogging, creating video content, and speaking at industry events—she said, "I hope you didn't tell them you'd have done all that for free!" I would have, but I wouldn't have had the chance to do it quite so much. In four years, I've had the chance to create 12 eBooks, write 254 essays or blog posts, and appear in 176 videos. Yes, yes, #humblebrag. I'm celebrating my Head Geekiversary. I think I've earned a little bit of workplace pride.
I've had four glorious years to venture out to conventions and user groups and meet people who use SolarWinds products to solve their very real, very important challenges. To help celebrate (and as often as I can, publicly share) their successes and to hopefully be part of resolving any of the challenges they've faced. To marvel at the arc of their careers, whether they were just getting started, somewhere in the middle, or reflecting back after many years.
And you know what? After all this time, it's still my dream job. It's still every bit as thrilling to me today when I get to tell people "I'm a Head Geek for SolarWinds" as it was back on that very first day (My name is Leon Adato, and I'm a SolarWinds Head Geek ).
So thank you again to everyone who messaged me with "congratulations," both for the kind words and for the chance to stop and take a moment to appreciate just how wonderful it's been.
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