Issue #16 February 2006

How the Summit changed my life: GPS Consultant Jon Benedict

Jon toasts the Summit with his libational 'fail-over cluster.'

Last year Jon Benedict was a Senior Systems Integrator at another company. He arrived at the Red Hat Summit in New Orleans in June of 2005 looking forward to three days chock-full of everything Linux and famed Cajun hospitality. He was also hoping to learn more about Red Hat, and interested in finding a new job. By September, Jon was working as a Red Hat Global Professional Services (GPS) Consultant. How did attending the Red Hat Summit help Jon figure out where he wanted to be? Read on and find out how the Summit can help you network too.

RHM: Why did you decide to attend Red Hat's Summit last year?

Benedict: When the Summit was advertised, I thought it would be a great experience to be with other Linux-centric people, and to network within Red Hat. I was definitely looking for a career change. I was bored at my current job and I went to the Summit prepared with resumes, hoping to get my foot in the door. However, I also went with the expectation of attending the mini-seminars and being around other like-minded people for a few days. This was my 'summer camp for geeks'.

RHM: How did the Summit measure up to your expectations?

Benedict: I'm a geek at heart, so the technical tracks qualify as fun for me. Also the location, New Orleans, was fun. I was happy to see that the technical presentations were given mainly by people that helped develop the products. Having Q & A sessions with some of the world's best open source developers and engineers was very impressive. This was not the sales pitch I was expecting. Instead of a sales person stating "you should buy Red Hat because...", it was developers and engineers explaining what they had been working on, and how it was relevant to other developers/engineers/admins. I was expecting sales people talking to geeks (not so good), as opposed to geeks talking to geeks (very good). When I got back to work, I sent an email to my chain of command explaining the cool technologies that I witnessed and why they were relevant to the company. I'm sure I'm not the only person who did that. The evening festivities were a lot of fun too. Great events. I still show off my pictures of the Mardi Gras parade to the offsite party.

RHM: What impression did the Red Hat associates make on you?

Benedict: They definitely solidified my interest in joining Red Hat. The "buzz" surrounding the event, the people presenting the tracks, and the hatters I met. All had a profound effect. I went to the Summit wanting to "get a job at Red Hat", I left wanting to be "a part of Red Hat."

RHM: So how did you make the leap from attending Summit to working at Red Hat?

Benedict: I wasn't offered a job during the Summit. (Darn it!) I got referred to the company just prior to attending the Summit but that didn't seem to go anywhere. Then 2-3 weeks after the Summit, I got an email from Christopher Basquez, wanting to speak to me about a potential job. I started as a GPS Consultant in mid-September. Attending the Summit really helped me break the ice before the interview process began.

RHM: Will we see you at this year's Summit in Nashville?

Benedict: If I were offered the opportunity to go, I would definitely take it. Any opportunity to help evangelize and rub elbows with other geeks is good for me.

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