& more

Episode 45

Thriving In Economic Uncertainty

Show Notes

The last few years have been a weird time for everyone, and while the tech industry is seeing a lot of change, not all of it is inspiring. 

Navigating market shifts can be tricky, stressful, and terrifying. But that’s just the beginning of the equation.

When the going gets tough, what can help us grow?


00:00 — Kim Huang
In 2008, I am sitting in my living room and I'm looking online, and I get a message. It's from this company that is really, really popular in the hospitality industry, and they're advertising for some new positions, two of which are in my field. Instead of going the traditional route of having people apply virtually, they're asking for people to come in in what's called an open call. Immediately. I get excited. At this point in my life, it is the perfect opportunity. All I need to do was get in front of a hiring manager and tell them what value I could add to their teams, what I could bring to the table. And if I could just do that, everything would be okay. I'd be great. (00:53): On the day of the open call, I left my house probably two hours early. I got on the train talking to myself, trying to psych myself up, getting myself ready. The actual open call took place in this giant building in the center of the city. I go through the double doors and it's just wall-to-wall people. There are people sitting on desks. There are people sitting in chairs. There are people sitting on the floor. It's one of those open foyer type things where you can look up and see four or five floors up and there's wall-to-wall people there, maybe 400 or 500 people as far as the eye could see, and they all have copies of their resume in their hands. (01:42): I remember thinking to myself, this isn't good. That day is still so vivid to me because I felt like the game was changing while I was playing it. Everything my parents, my mentors, my professors had taught me about the world, the rules no longer applied. Things were different, and I didn't know what to do about it. Right now, we're going through another unique time in the job market. During times of economic hardship, how can technologists grow and thrive?

02:22 — Angela Andrews
This is Compiler, an original podcast from Red Hat.

02:27 — Brent Simoneaux
I'm Brent Simoneaux.

02:28 — Angela Andrews
And I'm Angela Andrews. We go beyond the buzzwords and jargon and simplify tech topics.

02:34 — Brent Simoneaux
Today, we're exploring how to thrive during times of economic uncertainty.

02:45 — Angela Andrews
Producer Kim Huang is here to help us out.

02:49 — Brent Simoneaux
So Kim, it sounds like you experienced a real open call.

02:54 — Angela Andrews
I've never heard of such a thing outside of acting, actors and musicians, and stuff like that. Who does that?

03:03 — Kim Huang
It was wild, and-

03:05 — Angela Andrews
That's a free-for-all.

03:08 — Kim Huang
It really was. It was interesting because, the different types of jobs, obviously I work in kind of a web tech content, all that creative kind of field for pretty much my entire career. It was just the sheer amount of people that came out. It really, for me, it's a snapshot of the time because the hiring manager, I feel like their intentions were pure. You know what I mean? They were like, "Oh yeah,. It's hard right now. We're going to do something a little different," but I don't think that they expected what would happen and how demoralizing it would be to some people like me, who got there two hours early.

03:49 — Angela Andrews
It's like The Hunger Games.

03:51 — Brent Simoneaux

03:52 — Kim Huang

03:52 — Angela Andrews
What was that? I can't even imagine. And everyone probably felt just like you did, just "What are we doing here?"

04:01 — Brent Simoneaux
I feel like this is a physical manifestation of what's kind of happening virtually anyways, because it's like you get two positions open and 500 people are applying to those positions. You know what I mean? So it's kind of like you're just able to see what's going on anyway, and so I kind of understand how that would be really overwhelming.

04:26 — Kim Huang
Whenever you see that number, it's hundreds of people applying for one position or sometimes thousands of people applying for one position, you can't help but feel like you're in a sea, like an ocean of noise. You feel kind of directionless and you're not sure how to navigate a situation like that. How do you even go about it? I have no idea.

04:47 — Angela Andrews
May the odds be ever in your favor.

04:48 — Kim Huang
Oh, gosh. (04:52): Well, because of my personal experience and what's going on today in the news, obviously no one is unaware of what's going on. I wanted to know about careers and taking care of one's career, and trying to thrive during a time like this. I thought a good place to start was to find out about how building one's career has changed over time.

05:21 — Angela Andrews
So timely.

05:22 — Kim Huang
Yes. So, I spoke with Kari Djokova. She's an HR professional who works in the tech industry.

05:32 — Kari Djokova
What I started studying in university was psychology, and my passion was to try and understand why we do what we do, whether it's just normal everyday behaviors. But in practice, I realized that working with people day to day is something that I enjoy more than academic work. So I decided to transition into an area where I can combine my understanding of psychology with working with people and work in a business setting, which is also something very interesting for me.

06:04 — Kim Huang
Kari goes into more detail about how the responsibility for career development has changed hands over time.

06:12 — Kari Djokova
The transition to the more modern way of working hasn't been that smooth, and how people can manage work and careers has become more challenging and varied. I think especially career-wise in the workplace, traditionally, the employer would look after someone's career development and that has been the case for decades. Maybe in the last couple of decades, things have shifted more towards what we call career self-management. And in that setting, people are expected to look after their own careers. However, the transition hasn't necessarily provided people with the right tools and there is no universal approach that people leave school with, for example, and can just apply in the workplace.

07:04 — Angela Andrews
That is interesting.

07:05 — Kim Huang
Yeah, okay to recap. In the beginning, back in the ye olden days where your grandpapa got a job at a factory and worked there his entire life and got his gold watch at the end of it-

07:19 — Brent Simoneaux
Which my grandpa did.

07:21 — Kim Huang
That's awesome. You work at a place for an extended period of time, possibly your entire career. You retire from there and during that time, your career progression is pretty much out of your hands or somewhat anyway out of your hands. You're promoted, you become a manager or a senior manager, or supervisor, director on up, and a lot of that movement, it has nothing to do with your actions specifically.

07:47 — Brent Simoneaux
Yeah, I mean this is certainly the experience of my own family. My grandfather worked at a factory and he started there when he was really young and he stayed there for 20, 25 years, 30 years. And same with my dad. Once he found his career, he was with the same employer until he retired. That has not been my experience though.

08:11 — Kim Huang
Right. So the turning point I guess that Kari is mentioning is now with modern working, like modern day workplace, the responsibility of developing one's career has kind of transferred from the employer's responsibility to the individual's responsibility.

08:29 — Angela Andrews
I have an opinion about that. Career self-management: you are in the driver's seat of your career. If you want to be promoted, it's your problem. It's your responsibility to figure it out. How do you do it? Go through the steps, put your name in a hat. You are driving this bus. And if you've come from a place where traditionally if you wanted to be promoted, your boss would have to leave or something weird would have to happen. So, not every place has a promotion track where you can kind of elevate your career. If you think of the culture shock when you come from a place like that to a place where it's Choose Your Own Adventure, how do you figure it out? How do you know the rules of the road, where you come from there were no rules. You just did your job, you loved it, you liked it, you hated it, whatever, but you did your job and that was the end of it.

09:28 — Brent Simoneaux
There's also the Choose Your Own Adventure that sort of goes outside the walls of your company that you're current at too. Managing your career also means that you have the opportunity, hopefully, to move to other companies. I feel like that's much more common now than it may have been in the past.

09:51 — Kim Huang
Other companies, and maybe even other industries as well.

09:54 — Brent Simoneaux
Other industries, other jobs. Yeah.

09:56 — Kim Huang
Which I find fascinating. Part of that is very empowering, right? I think that there's a definite allure there. I can choose my own adventure, I can do whatever I want to do. To Kari's point, it also means that having a specific set of tools, the ability to, for example, network or know when to network, having presentation skills and speaking skills, and things that maybe would not be emphasized in a formal education. Increasingly, people are coming out of school, coming out of informal and formal education without the tools that they need to pursue promotion or to pursue a career in a way where now it's like, I don't want to say a free-for-all, but there's no rails there anymore.

10:45 — Brent Simoneaux
Yeah, I would say one interesting thing is, especially for people who come out of colleges and universities, and I feel like I can say this because this was me, which is that the people who teach at these places, your professors, your lecturers, your teachers, a lot of them are career academics. Especially in the field that I came out of. I would say that maybe we're not the best at preparing students for this kind of environment because we didn't live it ourselves.

11:18 — Angela Andrews
You're in your silo, in the higher ed silo where people stay for years and they're in this one position, or if you're adjunct, you're at one or two different places, whatever. In my experience, maybe higher education or formal education is not best suited to tool newly minted grads in this. This sounds more like a community-based education where if you're out in the world in 2023, how do you navigate the road? I wish there was a rule book in which we could post everywhere, put on the news, put on every website, put it out on social media, where this is what you need to do to take charge of your career because I feel so many people are woefully unprepared for this. Unfortunately, you get into these jobs who expect you to know these things, and it really puts people behind the eight-ball a little bit when they just don't have the tools to do it for themselves. How do we educate everybody in how to do this?

12:27 — Brent Simoneaux
One little caveat to what I was just saying, I don't want to go too hard at universities-

12:31 — Angela Andrews
Can we? No, I'm kidding.

12:35 — Brent Simoneaux
Do you think this is changing?

12:35 — Kim Huang
I think it's fair to say that there are a lot of people who are coming out of those programs who are feeling these kinds of large shifts or experiencing these large shifts in culture and in preparedness that leave them kind of without a direction or without the proper tool set to get the results that they want.

12:58 — Angela Andrews
We can agree.

12:59 — Brent Simoneaux
Yeah, agreed.

13:02 — Kim Huang
Kari has seen her share of IT career hopefuls, and she knows all about the pressure, the stress, and the worry. It's all too real. But there are ways to manage those worries, the things that we've been talking about up until this point, and to put oneself back in the driver's seat.

13:23 — Kari Djokova
I think the first step is to definitely realize that everyone is worrying. You are not the exception. Worrying doesn't mean that you are necessarily in a bad position In this context. My recommendation to each individual would be to seek opportunities to turn your current challenges to your own advantage, and that really requires becoming an expert in your own career in understanding what you're hoping to achieve because only when you know what you're really passionate about, what makes you want to go to work, that helps to give you the why for all the effort and work you need to put into developing yourself.

14:12 — Kim Huang
Sometimes finding your why is more important than getting that perfect job, and I know it's a privilege to say something like that when you're not in a state of urgency or scarcity. You don't have bills to pay. You don't have children dependent on you. But if you're early in your career, you do have a kind of currency at your disposal. Kari thinks that currency is time.

14:43 — Kari Djokova
Early on, people really forget that they're rich in time and they have lots of time in their career to reap the benefits of the effort they put very early on into the things that they can control, and that usually is how they approach their preparation and how they approach the decisions they're making this early in their careers, and being deliberate with these decisions.

15:08 — Kim Huang
Being rich in time to me doesn't only mean being able to reap the benefits of someone's effort. It also means you have time to make mistakes. (15:22): I wish that I had been able to change my thinking in that way, especially on the day that I'm talking about at the top of the episode. It could have made the difference between having no hope and feeling out of control, and feeling more empowered and confident.

15:40 — Kari Djokova
If you're early in your career, you definitely haven't invested too much time yet into any specific direction. We always say that people may have some doubts after they graduate, but actually this is not something that should predefine your next step. However, you should also use that opportunity being this early in your career to explore different things that may be of interest. I think having these opportunities early on, taking these risks early on, and even making mistakes, getting a hundred nos in the process, that's very valuable data that could serve the individual for their entire career.

16:26 — Kim Huang
It sounds like something completely in opposition to things that we've been told as children, and it's easy to be skeptical. Making mistakes doesn't always lead to a benefit, not for everyone, but there is something I can agree with. Understanding oneself is key to envisioning the life you want, and at the very least, that's a powerful starting point.

16:49 — Kari Djokova
That's why I think the most important part, whether it's career management, whether it's adapting your work life to manage your lifestyle, managing your future goals, it really starts with understanding yourself. And that could sound very cheesy, but I mean in the practical terms, how do you like to work? What does it look like to be working with you? How do you communicate? Are there challenges that you really feel like you want to give up? The personal approach I think really helps people to build that confidence of knowing who they are.

17:26 — Brent Simoneaux
Kim, I'm thinking about something you said earlier about the game changing while you were playing it. It's really sticking with me right now as I'm thinking about some of the advice that I've gotten from my grandparents or my parents about my career, or lessons that I was taught by my teachers in the past, which is that the advice that they were giving me, it didn't feel like it applied to where things are right now. That that's kind of what I'm sitting with right now.

17:59 — Kim Huang
Yeah, I've sat with that for many, many years. I've had a lot of time to think about this. Finding oneself and discovering oneself, and figuring out more than what job you need to get, what job brings you the most joy or finding what style of work would you like to do long term, or finding out what you gravitate towards and what you don't gravitate towards, the things that you do well, how is it like to work with you on a team? That curiosity and introspection, I feel that a lot of people can benefit from it, and it takes a little bit of the worry and the constant kind of shame, because there is shame, right? When you're not able to land that job right away. (18:49): When you go online and you see on social media that all of your friends are doing this job at X company or they've gotten this position and you're still kind of sitting in a holding pattern, or you're still waiting to hear back from employers or you're still looking, it could be soul crushing to see that, but if you take the focus away from that and put it towards looking at yourself and trying to realize your most authentic self and the best version of yourself at that time, I feel like it takes a lot of the worry away. The pressure can be alleviated a little bit. (19:25): What do you think Angela? Angela is very quiet and she's lowered her head. She's closed her eyes and she is smiling that smile where she's about to say something that she thinks that other people are going to disagree with, sorely. I can't wait to hear what she has to say. I'm very excited. I'm waiting with bated breath. Here we go.

19:46 — Angela Andrews
Okay. Listening to this, I am doing two things. I am putting myself back in my early career and I'm looking at my youngest son specifically.

20:05 — Kim Huang
Oh, yeah.

20:07 — Angela Andrews
And my youngest son, he did the unconventional. He did what made his heart sing, that nothing else mattered. You couldn't put him in a box. You couldn't tell him that he needed to do this thing, because as older people, we say "This is the way that you should do it. This is how you build a career. This is how you take care of yourself. You need to do these things." And Christian said, "That's not for me. This is the life I foresee for myself. I've envisioned this life," and he is actively chasing that life. I commend him because I could never be so bold.

20:52 — Kim Huang
Oh, no.

20:53 — Angela Andrews
I could never be so bold, and I know this about myself. He inspires me. When I look back on myself when I was younger, you did what you had to do to get your foot in the door. It didn't to me, at the time, it didn't come with this freedom. It didn't come with this ability to figure out what fit and what didn't. You just didn't want to get fired. You wanted to learn your job. Onboarding new jobs is really difficult and it was so challenging. You know what you think feels good, but when you're in early career, and I see this now with folks that I deal with in social media and inside of my company, they're so unsure. And to give a person who's right out of college, no training wheels-

21:48 — Brent Simoneaux
And tell them own their career.

21:50 — Kim Huang

21:51 — Angela Andrews
That is heavy. That is so heavy.

21:53 — Kim Huang
Very heavy.

21:54 — Angela Andrews
I think we should be more nurturing than that. I totally hear what Kari is saying, but there's a lot of it I disagree with. I do agree with the fact that seek those opportunities that help you become yourself and what feels good, and where you can stretch yourself. I do believe that, but I think we need to figure out what rubric like "You need to do these things because this is now in your hands." So I'm of both minds. I watched my son march to his own drummer and find his way, and I'm seeing where sometimes that doesn't necessarily work.

22:33 — Kim Huang
It does not pan out. Right.

22:35 — Angela Andrews
You need that because you don't want these people coming out floundering, "How do I do this? I just want to learn my job. Where do we find this? My career?" I can only imagine. So again, it might be a little bit controversial. I understand both sides of it, but we need to give folks the opportunity to do these things comfortably and safely, but they have to know and become. You have to do some growing up a little bit and be working long enough to make those decisions to say what works and what doesn't, what I like and what I don't like. That takes a little bit of experience to figure out, in my opinion.

23:17 — Kim Huang
Kari had some really interesting points, and her point of view as an HR professional I thought was really valuable to the conversation. Next up, we're going to hear from a manager talk about his approach to leadership during tough times. (23:32): Let me introduce Sylvain Reiter, Chief Delivery Officer at Cyber Duck. Cyber Duck is an agency based in the UK specializing in web accessibility and digital optimization. Sylvain recalls his early career around the time of the dotcom bubble.

23:49 — Sylvain Reiter
I was actually just starting my kind of post-grad degree, my engineering degree in 2000, and served an IT and telecom school for the next five years, and then I could hear everyone was graduating that year. I was so stressed, and so for me, I was still, yeah, didn't really understand how bad it was.

24:07 — Kim Huang
Sylvain ended up pivoting into working for himself somewhat, so there's a happy ending to that story. But having worked in IT for so long, he has some viable insights on the early days of a tech career.

24:20 — Sylvain Reiter
Especially for at the beginning, if you just come out of school or your first internship, obviously you don't have a lot of experience. So the two things here is to be open-minded and just think how else you can gain experience or how else can you prove yourself to a potential employer. I think in the technical space, or I guess in the development or software engineering background, contributing to open source in your own time is a great thing because it shows that... And then you can find any type of project that you have some sort of passion or connection for. Anything, it could be any language, any product, any tag. There's enough. You can find something that you connect or resonate with, and then that would kind of teach you how to work in a team.

25:06 — Kim Huang
According to him, it's essential to stay flexible, fluid. Where a person starts is very rarely where they end up.

25:16 — Sylvain Reiter
Not being so rigid about your entry point, if you studied something and you spend a few years in a specific area, just be open to change because you can reuse a lot of your skills and we're all learning on the job anyway. If I look back of what I had studied during my degrees and what I ended up doing at work, it's completely different anyway. I'm still learning to today. I'm still kind of going out of my comfort zone and doing new things that I didn't have a class on how to manage people with a hundred staff and all that. I still do it and learn every day.

25:46 — Angela Andrews
We're all flying by the seat of our pants.

25:52 — Brent Simoneaux

25:52 — Angela Andrews
Thank you, Sylvain, for confirming that.

25:54 — Brent Simoneaux

25:56 — Kim Huang
I love the honesty. I love radical honesty, and that really is an example of radical honesty. Again, something I could have probably used when I was younger.

26:07 — Brent Simoneaux
My first boss, she used to tell me all the time, she used to say, "Be flexible or be miserable."

26:14 — Angela Andrews

26:15 — Kim Huang

26:16 — Angela Andrews
How true is that though? You can't afford to be rigid. Especially technology, it changes so much. You have to be willing to pivot on a dime for a project, for a team, for a different company, for a different role. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, "I can do this."

26:37 — Kim Huang
And if you're learning, you have to remember to kind of share what you learned, not because you're paying it forward, it's the right thing to do, but also because you never know who's listening.

26:50 — Sylvain Reiter
So if you had specific insights into your previous job or the previous technology or the framework you were using, it's good to document things anyway. And then serendipity online can open the next opportunity by just a random encounter on LinkedIn, or someone sharing your article on social media, Twitter, Facebook, wherever on the publishing platforms.

27:13 — Angela Andrews
I feel so validated.

27:14 — Kim Huang

27:15 — Angela Andrews
I do.

27:15 — Brent Simoneaux
This is you, Angela.

27:16 — Angela Andrews
Why? This is-

27:18 — Brent Simoneaux
This is Scooter Phoenix.

27:20 — Angela Andrews
This is definitely Scooter Phoenix. What he just said: you have to share your knowledge. You cannot be selfish. You have to let other folks know. You have to share what you've done, because what happens is you're becoming this person who has an opinion and you are sharing the knowledge and you're sharing the wealth, and someone's going to read that and say, "Oh, so-and-so knows what they're talking about in this arena." And when the opportunity arises, your name may be on someone's tongue, "Oh, I've read this article that they wrote about X, Y, and Z." I say this all the time, being online and sharing your experiences and sharing what you know, and being a thought leader in your little piece of the world, it is invaluable because someone's always reading. Someone's always listening. You never know what type of opportunities are going to come your way. I believe it.

28:20 — Kim Huang
So what about managers?

28:23 — Brent Simoneaux
Oh, yeah.

28:23 — Angela Andrews
I have no clue.

28:25 — Kim Huang
Right. People who are leading teams during difficult times, they see their colleagues, they see the people on their teams, their reports, their worries and their concerns, and we all do it. We're all doom scrolling between calls and getting caught up in whatever economic report comes out. But if you're a leader, you can only take care of people if you take care of yourself first. At least, that's what Sylvain has to say.

28:54 — Sylvain Reiter
As a leader, obviously you need to be in the right position yourself. So the first thing is still to take care of yourself. You need to be in the right mindset to inspire others. If you are down, if you're stressed, that's going to reflect on your team. It's always about putting you in the right mindset and physical shape, and everything around that, and mental fitness.

29:19 — Kim Huang
Brent, I wanted to talk to you specifically about this.

29:22 — Angela Andrews
This is a Brent topic. I am all ears, sir.

29:26 — Kim Huang
Yes. I want to know what you think.

29:29 — Brent Simoneaux
Yeah. For me, this is one of the hardest things about being a manager and being a leader, which is that you have got to hold the center for your team and for everyone around you. That is really hard because sometimes you are freaking out on the inside and sometimes you're struggling, and sometimes you don't even understand what's going on, but you still have to hold the center for other people. And that is really, really, really important to do.

30:05 — Kim Huang
It seems like an insurmountable problem, and if you're not careful, those concerns kind of overtake you. It's like you're in an ocean, like I said, and a wave just knocks you out. It can easily happen. I think that leaders play a really important role in keeping things together even when they're not looking their best.

30:28 — Angela Andrews
Like the captain on the ship.

30:29 — Brent Simoneaux

30:29 — Kim Huang

30:30 — Angela Andrews
Everyone takes cues from the leadership, and even if you are melting on the inside, which is because you're human, if the team sees that nervousness or angst, or being unsure, they're going to react accordingly. I don't take the role of a manager or leader lightly. It is something that you have to be willing to put yourself in this very, very important position. And because you think about it, everyone's looking at you for leadership and for guidance, and if you are not good on the inside, if your mindset isn't where it needs to be, your people are going to suffer.

31:12 — Kim Huang

31:13 — Brent Simoneaux
I think there's something that's really important in what you were just saying, Kim, about listening because you really have to listen and understand other people's experiences and perspectives because your experience is not necessarily my experience, and me telling you what has gotten me through this might not work for you. So it's about understanding people as individuals and what they're going through. There's also something to providing context and providing knowledge, because I think sometimes, and I say this from my own experience when I was an individual contributor, which was like I was in my world, it's like I did my job and I did my thing, and I didn't have as much context as I do now. (32:08): And so I think there's this really valuable thing that you can provide for your team as a manager, which is providing context for what's going on around to the team. It's the why things are happening. I think it's okay to be honest sometimes when you yourself don't understand it, but I think that as leaders, you're interfacing with other people. And so you oftentimes have information and context that other people don't have, and so there's an asymmetry in knowledge there and context. Just sharing that context and sharing what you know in a transparent way as possible, it goes a long way to helping your team out.

32:59 — Kim Huang
I want to bring it back to Sylvain. I asked him about the importance of empathy. When you're in a leadership role and things are not going well, circumstances are beyond a person's control, I think empathy is important. Here's what he had to say.

33:14 — Sylvain Reiter
It's all about people kind of communication, and people, no matter what level you're at, what industry you're at or seniority, it's all about looking out for your team and having empathy. The way I approach this with the team, for example, and especially even more in the time of crisis, is like, okay, yes, technically you work for me. I gave you an employment contract and you work in my company, but actually as a leader, I work for you. It's my job to make you successful. It's my job to make sure that you have the right tools, the right processes, the right mindset and environment to serve our clients the best because you're the one delivering the work, and I need you to be in the best shape possible.

33:58 — Kim Huang
That's some leadership right there.

34:00 — Angela Andrews
Where are they teaching this?

34:01 — Kim Huang
Exactly. I need to know

34:02 — Brent Simoneaux
It’s servant leadership. My job is to really serve my team. I think this goes back to what we were talking about in the first half of the episode that also goes to people's careers as well. My job as a manager is also to help you along in your career, wherever that may lead you. I feel like that is some of that missing tooling and link that our first guest was talking about. I think that that can be filled by a really good empathetic leader who serves their team.

34:40 — Kim Huang
Right, removing all of the requirements or all of the things that the position entails, and the responsibilities to the organization that you're working for, which are also important. But a larger kind of conversation there, Brent, to your point, is you're guiding a person through this one area of their career, this one portion, this one kind of era or period of their career. No one really knows how long or short it's going to be except for maybe the person themselves, but it's still an important aspect of their development as a professional. (35:19): You really never know when you're going to cross paths with people again. I've been finding out, and this is just me working for Red Hat for the last few years of my life, the world is a lot smaller than we think it is. You end up coming back in contact with a lot of people that you didn't really think you were ever going to see them again. You leave your former position and you think, "Oh, I'm never going to have to work with this person again. I'm never going to see them again. They were cool, but in what world will we end up crossing paths again?" And it happens. It happens all the time. I feel like, Angela, I feel like you say this a lot.

35:55 — Angela Andrews
Because it's true. Tech specifically is so small, and if you're not careful, you never want to burn a bridge. You want to be that person that someone thinks of when you're not in that room and "Oh, I remember I worked with X. They were great at Y." What you're saying is so spot on. Both of you made amazing points, and I can't agree with you enough, Brent, for being a servant leader, the most important quality, there's empathy, there's trust, there's understanding. Knowing your employees as a full person is so important and it's a huge responsibility. And to Kim's point about it's more than that. You need to be careful and mindful that the world is so small, and you never know who your next colleague is going to be. You never know who you're going to be on that next project with. (36:57): Just because something's in your rearview mirror at the time doesn't mean it can't come back around. Because again, we're flexible. Tech is very fluid. Technology changes. People's skillsets change, and you never know who's going to come back around. I say all that to say stay flexible. Stay willing to take on what comes. Be open. Be opening. Be hopeful. I know these sound like a whole bunch of words, but we are living in such a time where we cannot afford to be stiff and stringent in our thinking and our beliefs because we'll believe one thing for a minute and something will come and turn it on its ear, and how quickly we react tells a lot about ourselves.

37:45 — Kim Huang
Sylvain wants people out there to stay positive despite everything that's going on in the economy, and be open to things that come their way. Kind of what you were saying, Angela, in that flexibility and staying fluid, because sometimes opportunity can come in a different package.

38:07 — Sylvain Reiter
Yes, maybe there's a crisis and there is a risk for our business, but that's then the opportunity to pivot to something else, a career into something new, whereas maybe I'm a web developer, software engineer, or IT professionals, and that's how a lot of career growth and personal growth can happen. It's just widening your opportunities where you don't need to stay on the same track your whole career. And there's many other jobs that are very relevant to your skillset. So yeah, try to see the positive in things and be open to new opportunities.

38:44 — Brent Simoneaux
So Kim, we've been spending this entire episode talking about playing a game while the rules of the game are changing, whether that's your career or whether that's how you lead people through those. I'm kind of curious how you're thinking about this now.

39:01 — Kim Huang
I look back to 2008 when I was going to random open calls that were posted on the internet and not getting the results that I wanted. It was a time that sticks out to me because I had really lost hope at that point. But that time is long gone now, and I realized that I was being too rigid. I wasn't being flexible. I was so concerned about what I should have been doing, I didn't make time for curiosity. I didn't make time to discover things about myself. I didn't make time to figure out what I could do. My advice for people who find themselves in the midst of market shifts and hard times is simple: discover what you love and be open to opportunities and new things, and don't let what should be get in the way of what can be.

40:05 — Angela Andrews
What did you think about today's episode? The story that Kim told us in the beginning really struck home. As you can see, Brent and I had a lot of opinions about it. We want to hear what your opinions are about how do you thrive in economic uncertainty? How do you stay fresh? How do you stay curious? We want to hear about it. So tweet us at Red Hat using the hashtag Compiler Podcast. You can also hit us up on Instagram. We want to know how do you stay on top of your game in these market shifts? We would love to hear it. (40:43): And that does it for this episode of Compiler.

40:46 — Brent Simoneaux
Today's episode was produced by Kim Huang and Caroline Creaghead.

40:50 — Angela Andrews
A big thank you to our guests, Kari Djokova and Sylvain Reiter.

40:54 — Brent Simoneaux
Victoria Lawton always inspires us to stay positive.

40:59 — Angela Andrews
Our audio engineer is Kristie Chan. Special thanks to Shawn Cole. Our theme song was composed by Mary Ancheta.

41:07 — Brent Simoneaux
Our audio team includes Leigh Day, Stephanie Wonderlick, Mike Esser, Nick Burns, Aaron Williamson, Karen King, Jared Oats, Rachel Ertel, Devin Pope, Matias Foundez, Mike Compton, Ocean Matthews, Paige Johnson, and Alex Traboulsi.

41:23 — Angela Andrews
If you liked today's episode, please follow the show. Would you rate the show, leave us a review and share it with someone you know? It really helps us out.

41:33 — Brent Simoneaux
All right, we'll see you next time.

41:34 — Angela Andrews
Take care, everybody.

Compiler background

Featured guest

Kari Djokova

Sylvain Reiter

re-role graphic


This limited series features technologists sharing what they do and how their roles fit into a growing organization.

Explore Re:Role

Keep Listening