How “Hitting Refresh” Skyrocketed my Career

I haven’t read Satya Nadella’s new book yet Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone but I did participate in a Microsoft MVP program where we wrote about our personal “Hit Refresh” moment. My article didn’t get chosen so I’ve decided to share it here. Enjoy!

My hit refresh moment truly changed my life, but I didn’t realize what I was missing out on all those years. In 1998, I started my IT career. I was a student worker at a local university pulling cable in hot attics, sneaker netting software to install around campus and answering trouble tickets of all shapes and sizes. It was sometimes dull, yet fulfilling work because ever since I was a young boy, I knew I’d be in “computers” somehow.

As time went on, I got more experience. Support work turned into project work which turned into architecture work. I followed a typical IT professional’s path. I was happy. I’ve always enjoyed what I do and was still glad to help out on any new endeavors I came across, but I didn’t do anything earth-shattering. I was happy getting up, going to work, socializing with friends, coming home and kicking back.

Fast forward a few years to 2015. 2015 was the year my career changed dramatically. 2015 was the year I Hit Refresh. This year was the year I decided to come out of my introverted shell and begin getting involved with a tech community. A few years before I had fallen head over heels for the PowerShell scripting language. This language just seemed to mesh so well with how my brain worked. I loved this language so much I decided to begin sharing my knowledge with the world via my this blog. “Everyone has to know about this scripting language and how it can make your job so much easier,” I thought.

This passion for a technology and the willingness to begin teaching it led to my Microsoft MVP award. I was elated and my coworkers at the time thought I was a rockstar. I’ll never forget it. Being awarded the Microsoft MVP award accelerated my already growing community presence. I’ve since gone on to author several training courses, present for various user groups, write an eBook and am in the works on my first published book! This introverted engineer has also realized he doesn’t make a bad technical marketer either. Who knew?

Not only knowing but knowing how to teach others in a clear, concise way and making it happen has skyrocketed my career. To give some perspective to the BHR (Before Hit Refresh) and AHR (After Hit Refresh) moments in my career, below is a chart of my yearly income starting in 1998. Can you tell when I “Hit Refresh”?

My “Hit Refresh” moment not only skyrocketed my income but helped me realize more about myself that I never understood. I realized that I do enjoy teaching and I do enjoy talking with others even though my introverted brain tried to tell me otherwise. Hitting the refresh button on my life changed every aspect of it, and I love every minute of it.

4 comments

  • Nice article Adam; it’s good to read about a fellow Introvert finding his voice in the community. I think your articles interest me because of your perspectives as much as the technical, and if it’s a help – I do believe the truth in your articles gives us all some power to extol our truths; good, bad, or just us.

    Out of interest, you talked about joining the community, but it seems you created one – have you got any suggestions on a forum or similar to join?

    Cheers, Josh

    • I definitely did not create a community. There were people in the PowerShell community long before I came along. I suggest getting on Twitter and conversing with people. Join the PowerShell Slack channel and perhaps get involved with powershell.org.

  • Wow Adam, you found a great way to -up- your life in many ways. It resonates with me and I hope to follow you in your footsteps even though I already have a pretty good life. 🙂

    I’ve been reading your blog and tweets for a few months now and we seem to have similar personalities and probably interests as well. Powershell for sure. I was enthusiastic when Monad came out (over 10 years ago), but never took the time to actually learn and use it in my IT-job and private life. I kept with scripting in Batch + Xidel (and also some AutoIt/4Dos/TakeCommand/ported unix-tools). However, these days it seems you can’t get around PowerShell as a sysadmin for Windows (and within a few years I believe: UX/OS-X too)…

    So, I’ve planned and payed to take 3 “official” PowerShell courses: M10961, M10962 and M55039. Starting next year 2018. I know I’m already addicted to learning about PowerShell through “some famous PS folks” on youtube and their blogs. But I need to start DOING. There’s this tendency I have to FIRST learn everything about something and only THEN apply it. But I think that’s not the best way… It’s like becoming a soaked sponge that’s becoming tired to slowly dry out again. Such a lazy kind of gluttony and a tad of perfectionism actually leads to unfulfilled potential that I’ve repeated over and over with different interests. I hope to escape this behavior. Guess it’s time to press the refresh button. 🙂

    One question: Your income has risen a lot, but can you elaborate (in percentages/guestimates) of what job(s) / medium / categories that boosted AHR income consists of? BHR you had a pretty fixed (steadily rising) income/salary.

    • My first piece of advice is do NOT do the official PowerShell courses. Instead, I’d recommend going through the Pluralsight courses. Pluralsight courses are done by people in the trenches and making things happen. IMO, the official courses just teach PowerShell. They don’t necessarily teach you how to apply it like you should.

      My income has risen a lot for a few reasons. The biggest jump was from a full-time position I got by being known in the community for PowerShell work. The other income comes (in this order): freelance writing, Pluralsight/Udemy courses, blog sponsors, Pester Book, PowerShell consulting and a few other things.

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