The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Chris Cummings

October 03, 2023 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 62
Chris Cummings
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
More Info
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Chris Cummings
Oct 03, 2023 Season 1 Episode 62
Chris & Zoë

In this episode, we chat with Chris Cummings, a full-stack network automation software engineer at ESnet.

Chris has a fascinating story of how he accidentally got into network engineering, starting from a summer camp job in Alaska. He’ll share his insights on the value of certifications, the importance of learning from others, and the challenges of imposter syndrome.

We discuss how he transitioned from being a network engineer to a software engineer, and how he uses his skills to automate the network for some of the most demanding scientific research projects in the world.

We’ll also explore how he deals with boredom, burnout, and stress in his career, and how he strives to be the dumbest person in the room.

Join us for this engaging and informative conversation with Chris Cummings.

“I always want to be the dumbest person.
I'm a firm believer that life is about learning from others in every single aspect.”

Chris' Links:


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, we chat with Chris Cummings, a full-stack network automation software engineer at ESnet.

Chris has a fascinating story of how he accidentally got into network engineering, starting from a summer camp job in Alaska. He’ll share his insights on the value of certifications, the importance of learning from others, and the challenges of imposter syndrome.

We discuss how he transitioned from being a network engineer to a software engineer, and how he uses his skills to automate the network for some of the most demanding scientific research projects in the world.

We’ll also explore how he deals with boredom, burnout, and stress in his career, and how he strives to be the dumbest person in the room.

Join us for this engaging and informative conversation with Chris Cummings.

“I always want to be the dumbest person.
I'm a firm believer that life is about learning from others in every single aspect.”

Chris' Links:


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Machines made this, mistakes and all:

[00:00:00] Chris: Hello, and welcome to the imposter syndrome network podcast. This is where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't. My name is Chris Grundeman and I'm here with Zoe Rose. 

[00:00:12] Chris: This is the Chris Cummings episode, and it's going to be a good one. Chris is a network engineer with many years of on the job experience and a lifetime of hands on experience.

[00:00:21] Chris: In addition to being a full stack network automation software engineer at the Energy Sciences Network, ESnet, he's also a host of the Modem Show podcast and a blogger at Slash64 Tech.

[00:00:35] Chris: Hey Chris, would you like to introduce yourself any further to the Impostor Syndrome Network? 

[00:00:40] Chris C: Oh, thanks. Thanks, Chris. Thanks, Zoe. Uh, appreciate y'all having me on. Uh, it's good to be here. I've listened for quite a while and, uh, really appreciated the podcast. So yeah, I'm just happy to be here and hilariously, uh, as I was kind of getting ready for this before I was like, why am I on this podcast?

[00:00:54] Chris C: I feel like I shouldn't be on this one. Like, and I was like, oh man, that's the imposter syndrome talking. There it is. Perfect. That was pretty good. 

[00:01:01] Chris: Yeah. So that's the, that's the secret, right? Is the podcast actually spreads imposter syndrome. Yeah. It doesn't cure it. 

[00:01:06] Chris C: That's what big imposter syndrome wants you to have.

[00:01:09] Chris C: Everyone we ask is like, wait, why? Why would I be on that? You're just, well, you gotta keep that imposter syndrome going so that you can keep having a podcast. Right, right. That's the scam. Alright, I see what the game is here. Alright, okay. 

[00:01:19] Zoe: Conspiracy I can get behind. 

[00:01:21] Chris C: That's right, yeah. 

[00:01:23] Chris: So Chris, we were recently hanging out in New Mexico.

[00:01:26] Chris: Yeah. We were both there for Albuquerque Nog, ABQ Nog, the first of its kind. So I know. That you can drink both fine craft beers and good whiskey. Um, but I don't actually know much about ESnet other than what you, you know, you talked about your awesome automation on the stage there at Albuquerque Nog, which was really cool.

[00:01:43] Chris: But, you know, I think ESnet is one of those networks that kind of, it's not really an ISP, but it is, it's not really an enterprise network, uh, but it is. You know, like maybe you can just describe a little bit of like what ES net as a organization is and then how that network operates. I mean, at a high level, right?

[00:01:57] Chris: Not technical details, but just give folks an idea of what this thing is. 

[00:02:00] Chris C: Yeah. ESnet's a unique one. It's a, it's a research and education network. So that would be like the broad category of what we fall under. So, you know, typically you think of like enterprises and service providers, right. As two things, but, uh, R&E, research and education is also this category that kind of exists.

[00:02:14] Chris C: Alongside those and you know the whole mission of ESnet specifically is to be the circulatory system for the DOE science facilities essentially kind of like paraphrase that and mingled it and I'm not speaking officially for ESnet so I can do that right now. 

[00:02:29] Chris C: But you know more or less the whole point of it is that you know you have all of these big investments that we've made with U. S. taxpayer dollars and you know international collaborations To do science and do research and so we need to spread that science across between these things and, you know, provide a backbone and a system that you can be used for those, you know, institutions to talk to each other and actually, you know, do collaborative big science is like kind of the origins of like the Department of Energy, which is who are big funding agency is.

[00:02:55] Chris C: All the way back from like the Manhattan Project with creating the atomic bomb was like all surrounded by this whole like concept of big science and being able to do really large scientific projects and kind of migrating from you'd have like a researcher in their laboratory that did their stuff and they wrote the things down on paper and then they did it to being international collaborations with tons of scientists and just absolutely large scale problems that can't be solved.

[00:03:17] Chris C: You know, in traditional manner. So, yeah, so ESnet kind of sits at the center of that for the U S but we kind of connect over to like CERN, which is like the large European organization for high energy particle physics. That's the other thing too, is we, we sit mainly in the high energy, high energy particle physics space a bit too.

[00:03:32] Chris C: So I guess that really comes with interesting network problems because those are really high speed kind of data transfers that happen. So really big flows too often. So versus a. You know, your commodity internet provider might have, you know, hundreds of gigabits of traffic in aggregate, but that's gonna be from, you know, hundreds of thousands of clients.

[00:03:51] Chris C: We might have hundreds of gigabits of traffic from two clients, and that just might change the entire game of how you, how you make that traffic move from A to B. 

[00:03:59] Zoe: Yeah, I, I remember I was talking to a museum because they were talking about doing like medical scanning, but on artifacts because they didn't wanna damage them and they were like, You don't know how big those files are.

[00:04:13] Zoe: Like it is insane how big those files are. And then having guests come in and having to meet their needs. It is very unique situation, very unique. That sounds redundant. It's unique situation. 

[00:04:25] Chris C: It is. And when you have those really big files, I mean, just, you know, think about it from a file transfer.

[00:04:30] Chris C: Perspective, when you have a bunch of small files, a lot of times it's easy to move those. If you move, you know, a bunch of small files, you can parallelize that easily. If it's one big file, maybe you can't, uh, maybe you can, but it just, there's difficulties and uniqueness that doesn't, like, it's the kind of stuff that doesn't happen in the common path for most solutions, and so you are typically operating in the edge case every time.

[00:04:53] Chris C: On everything, which is kind of fun. 

[00:04:55] Chris: Yeah, it is for sure. I did a little bit of work also in Boston at a, at a data center there owned by Jeff Markley and market group. And a lot of their customers are the folks that are around there, like the Broad Institute and MIT and Harvard, and got a little taste of that with like electron microscopes, throwing off quite a bit of data at a time and things like that.

[00:05:10] Chris: But, but dive in a little bit deeper into that. You are a full stack network automation software engineer, which is a lot of words for a title. I don't know how to do like, like the of FSNASE, I guess is the, uh, the other way to say that. But, um, what is that? What do you do day to day? How does that look, you know, from a day to day perspective?

[00:05:29] Chris C: Yeah, this is a good question. Basically, my role is to sit kind of on the border of network engineering, which is where I kind of got started on a lot of this stuff. And software engineering. So the way we structure our software engineering group, you know, everybody's a full stack engineer. So you're working on everything from front ends to back ends, to databases, to all that stuff.

[00:05:47] Chris C: So that's where the full stack comes in. And the network software automation engineer means that the, a lot of the software I'm writing is specifically for automating our network. So, you know, again, back to the unique problems that, you know, ESnet faces and every network is starting to, I think, come to terms with this, but we've been doing it for quite a while.

[00:06:03] Chris C: Is dealing with how to automate your network and how to actually scale out your network, uh, you know, make it work big and fast. Uh, and automation is a big part of that. So, you know, the, we write a lot of software and, and, you know, configure, of course, a lot of like off the shelf software too, we don't just write everything, but we make all that stuff work so that, you know, ultimately you can move bits from A to B, but yeah, it's quite the mouthful of a title, isn't it?

[00:06:26] Zoe: I feel like the more scene you get, the more. Boring your title guess, or at least longer, because my title right now is exceptionally long with a very short name, makes my email signature very weird looking. But I'm curious because that's, you know, quite a long part down the journey of your career. If we look back at the beginning, why did you pursue, or how did you pursue, I suppose, maybe you didn't do it on purpose, a technical career?

[00:06:56] Zoe: Also, why did you stay in it? Because that's one thing that I've noticed is some people, when they start, they don't expect to get into, well, most people don't expect where they are, but I wonder if anybody gets bored along the way. 

[00:07:11] Chris C: Yeah, I definitely do, uh, struggle from boredom, and so I have pivoted a lot, I think, in my career to different roles, and I think that's how I've ended up where I am now, uh, across a lot of domains, which is actually useful.

[00:07:23] Chris C: But to the original point of your question, the, the way I got into this was entirely accidental, which I've noticed is totally a common theme across a lot of folks on this podcast. I don't know if that's like a selection for people who have imposter syndrome more, is because you didn't come into it with purpose, maybe you're like, Oh, I just.

[00:07:39] Chris C: Because I didn't like choose to do this. I don't deserve it or whatever. But for me, I was I was in college going to a school that I didn't really like. And so, uh, one summer I went to work at a camp up in Alaska, uh, like a summer camp for kids, you know? And, uh, I did that and afterwards I was like, okay, this place is kind of cool.

[00:07:58] Chris C: Like, how do I stay here? I was like, I don't like the school I'm going to. I don't kind of like school. I really like it here. I was like, what if I just got a job like flipping burgers and living on the cheap and just seeing what I can do? And so I started looking around for stuff and I had found this managed service provider WISP organization that, uh, had actually just turned up an internet connection to the, to the camp I was working at.

[00:08:21] Chris C: So I had, I had met the owner and was just kind of like, Oh, you're hiring people. All right. I'd love to work for you. And so he was like, Oh yeah, sure. Come interview. So I interviewed and got a job and I started doing a telephone moves, ads, and changes for the state of Alaska, which was. About two hours worth of work every week.

[00:08:37] Chris C: So I was pretty excited about that because I could use that to study. And so I, I basically enrolled in a, um, I was involved with networking a little bit in that role because you're using VoIP phones, right? So, you know, there was a degree of like configuring access ports for, for phones and, and that kind of stuff.

[00:08:53] Chris C: And I, I was just very much like looking at like, why, like, what is all this network stuff? Cause I. I, before I had been like a sound engineer, like an audio engineer for live music and stuff. And so that, that involved some networking knowledge, but it was like the, I know how to put DDWRT on a, you know, Linksys purple router, WRT54G, like that was how I learned a lot of this stuff.

[00:09:13] Chris C: And I was like, Oh. Like, there's rules to this was kind of what I started to learn. And so I enrolled in actually a Cisco Network Academy style, uh, university, uh, Fort Hayes State University, which is just like literally the cheapest online school I could find. I was like, my workload's easy at work. I can just, I'm locked in a white room with a halon canister behind me.

[00:09:32] Chris C: And it's 60 degrees. Like, let's, let's pound out some school and finish it up. And as soon as I enrolled in a full workload of classes, of course, Our contract changed and I was no longer doing that and I actually got drafted into being a network engineer it means to be a network engineer, but I'll give it a shot.

[00:09:46] Chris C: So yeah, so I started, so I started actually working like 60 hours a week and I was working full time on, on course load. So that was really fun. But yeah, that was kind of the accident of how I got into network engineering. Was just, I didn't want to go to the school I was going to anymore. I was just like, not, not having it.

[00:10:03] Chris: That's fair. Sometimes the escape hatches ends up being the right door, you know? 

[00:10:07] Chris C: Absolutely. Yeah. Unless you're on a submarine. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:10:09] Chris: Yeah. Well, it depends on where the submarine is, man. Come on. Yeah. That's a good perspective. So I'm interested, right? Cause I think that also, maybe, I don't know if that was directly led to, but I noticed you have two CCNPs, both I think the, like the enterprise side one and the, and the service writer side one.

[00:10:22] Chris: And so that's something we asked about a little bit, right? Because I think it's something that gets debated, um, sometimes fairly hotly across the industry is, you know, the value of certifications and things like that. So I wonder. You know, was that something you did really early on? Is that something you did a little bit later?

[00:10:34] Chris: And then, you know, what do you, you know, how do you feel about certifications that they help your career? And do you think they're, you know, I don't know what, what do you think? 

[00:10:39] Chris C: Yeah, I have really mixed feelings about them because so I worked for a managed service provider, right? So I did everything right.

[00:10:46] Chris C: It's that kind of classic entry it role in a managed service provider where I was doing like helping people uninstall malware off their computer. I was, you know, doing BGP routing on the internet. I was. Flying in helicopters to towers and realigning radios. I was doing literally everything. We built generators from scratch and I designed like.

[00:11:04] Chris C: A web interface to turn them on and off. Like it was probably the broadest job I could ever get, but you know, what I really liked about that time was I needed something to focus me and certifications helped with that. And so I started kind of chasing down the certification path to again, kind of get back to this, like, what are the rules to all this stuff?

[00:11:20] Chris C: Cause I could configure a switch to do things. I could type in the commands to do a thing. And I'd be like, yeah, all right. Now the internet works. Okay. But I didn't understand how it was working. And once I started doing the NetAcademy, which was really thrust upon me more by the university program I was enrolled in versus me choosing it, I was like, oh my goodness, like, of course it's Cisco specific, but if you actually pay attention to that stuff.

[00:11:43] Chris C: Like you can really learn how it all works. I was like, Oh, like there's layers here of the OSI model and there's routing protocols and like this isn't just magic. Like there are rules for how this works across things. And once I like figured out that there's rules, I got really hooked. And so I started going down the certification path pretty hard.

[00:12:02] Chris C: I actually am at this inflection point very soon where I need to figure out if I'm going to actually keep them because they expire soon. And I'm kind of too lazy to navigate Cisco's website to do all the continue, continue education stuff that I need to do, which I've done, but I just haven't got it to work.

[00:12:17] Chris C: So I'm just kind of like, well, do I just let them expire? Because I'm not doing them. So I'm now at this point where I don't think that they're valuable for me to do, uh, generally I'm not at an MSP where, you know, like they get paid more if I have certs. I feel like if I needed a cert for a job, I could probably go hound one out real quick.

[00:12:35] Chris C: It'd be not too bad. But I do think that they're good if you're the kind of person that needs guidance and they kind of, they kind of feel good, right? Like you get the little certificate and you're like, wow, like I did this. I did this thing. And, and to the people who are kind of haters about certs are bad.

[00:12:49] Chris C: Like, I think those people need to really like chill out. It's like. Look, people work hard for this and I'm not going to say that a cert is going to make you good at something, but it's not going to make you bad at something. Like if somebody wants to go and do that, like that's, that's all for him. And so I totally support anybody who wants to do it.

[00:13:04] Chris C: I don't know that I would go and do any more myself though today. But again, I think a lot of that has to do with where you are in your career and, and who you are about being able to like self guide your studies and things like that. 

[00:13:16] Zoe: I'm also a Cisco Netacad graduate, so I am super pro them. They, they made a huge difference in my career as well.

[00:13:25] Zoe: I, I didn't go as far as you did. I only officially have one Cisco certification, uh, because I took it during Cisco live cause it was free when you get the full pass. Um, but, um, but, but I do agree a hundred percent with what you said. It does depend on the type of person. It does. I agree. It's not going to hurt you.

[00:13:46] Zoe: It, you know, it might not, for some people might not be effective, but it's not gonna hurt you. I also like the rules. I like rules. So that was very sexy to me, but do you think it also depends on your location? So like right now when I'm hiring, I don't look for certs. If somebody has a cert, cool. I don't care.

[00:14:05] Zoe: I mean, I'm not going to decline them, but I'm not going to be like, you must have this. But I know that's not. True for every area. So I think, I think that was the only thing that I always tell people is what does depend on your region, like where you physically are actually does impact. If you need a cert or not, but I do agree in early in your industry, it does set you apart.

[00:14:28] Chris C: I think that it's like anything you have to actually consciously make a choice about why you're doing it. Does I think that if you sit down and actually, you know, do the math on how this might help you. And do the math on like how much it's going to cost you because they're a they're expensive right to take the tests, but they're also time consuming and I look back at my my career in life as far as it's gone so far and uh, you know, I kind of regret to a degree like how much effort I put into grinding out like getting better and getting forward and all that stuff.

[00:15:00] Chris C: And I look back at a lot of that and go, I not wasted a lot of time, but I missed a lot of opportunities. And I sacrificed a lot of relationships and things like that along the way to do that. And you know, I wouldn't change it, right? Because I am who I am and where I am now because of such things.

[00:15:15] Chris C: However, you know, I would encourage anybody who's doing, you know, this analysis of should I take this or not is think about how it's going to impact your life. Like, especially if you have, you know, you know, a partner of some, some sort or a family or whatever. Right. Just friends, even. I mean, that is something that will impact things and you have to see how it fits into your overall life balance a lot.

[00:15:36] Chris C: And I think that gets neglected, unfortunately, quite a bit. And, and I really would like people to kind of figure out where that balance is for them. 

[00:15:43] Zoe: Totally agree. I also will often, when I give advice, people specifically ask me about certifications. I give that whole preface of, is it worth it? Is it not?

[00:15:53] Zoe: But I also say, well, especially people starting out, I say, for example, when it comes to security, well, you've got these two certifications that I would put kind of on par. This one is more recognized by HR. Good if you aren't in industry, whereas this one kind of needs industry experience. This one costs a lot less.

[00:16:13] Zoe: Is the company going to pay for it? Because if they are, go for the expensive one. Totally, if you have that opportunity, do it. But if you have to pay out of pocket... 

[00:16:23] Chris C: Yeah, absolutely. 

[00:16:24] Zoe: Yeah. I was going to ask, um, I really like your Twitter bio, networker, automation, SP stuff, idiot among geniuses. 

[00:16:33] Chris C: Yeah, that, that is a, that's actually what I try to live like my life by in a lot of ways is to basically always be the dumbest person in the room.

[00:16:45] Chris C: Like I've heard it put many times, like if you are. The smartest person in the room, like you're in the wrong room. And there were a few points in my career where like, I was like, when it came to networking, the one who knew it all and, uh, uh, uh, charity majors, uh, has a great blog post, uh, called the premature senior, I think it was called those like super influential for me, which, uh, I'll dig up a link to it, but basically like the whole premise is like, you know, if you get thrust into a senior role too early in your career, sometimes that can kind of hamper you because you won't have. The guidance of people who you know are more knowledgeable or or have wisdom that you could learn from and then you can form some really bad habits.

[00:17:26] Chris C: You know that it may not be good and also you might just have a lot more stress that's not healthy. I mean, sometimes it makes sense to take a pay cut and and stuff like that. I've actually done that. Nicely, you know, from one role where I was the senior network engineer for a mining company. Basically, we had, we're an international publicly traded company and I was at our corporate headquarters and my responsibilities were basically to coordinate network design and implementation across nine different companies that we owned.

[00:17:53] Chris C: In three or four different countries, and it was a lot, it was a lot of stress and I liked it. It was very valuable. I learned a ton from it, but I felt like I still had a lot more to learn about network engineering. And so I actually decided to take a pay cut to go to actually ESnet. The organization I'm at now where I could be surrounded by the best of network engineers, right?

[00:18:16] Chris C: Some of the best network engineers in the world, which I truly believe we have at our organization. And like to be able to have that, and of course, like a better work life balance was a big part of it, but being the network engineer for that organization who people came to for questions versus. Being able to not just like sit back and not do anything, but actually have this very deep network and deep bench of people that I would work with that I could actually learn from was very valuable to me, and I grew so much more in my network engineering skills in the few years that I was doing network engineering at ESnet.

[00:18:50] Chris C: Then I had before it was, it was very interesting. So yeah, so that's, I think that's probably why I have that in my bio is, you know, yeah, I always want to be the dumbest person. Cause I'm a firm believer that like life is about learning from others in every single aspect. I don't, I don't think there's any aspect in which, which you should not be trying to learn from others, even people you disagree with.

[00:19:08] Chris C: But put yourself in a situation where the people around you are, you know, smarter than you and more capable than you and just like better at their jobs than you and you will propel yourself forward and, and that'll be a huge investment in yourself. 

[00:19:22] Chris: Yeah, there's tons of research out there around this, right?

[00:19:25] Chris: I think there's some like rule from one of these studies that talks about like, you know, one of the biggest predictors of success. It's literally just the seven people you spend the most time with, right? You tend to just kind of gravitate to whatever that level is of, you know, and however you're measuring things, right?

[00:19:39] Chris: If, you know, whatever it might be, I think in life and work, if you want to be an expert network engineer and you hang out with a bunch of expert network engineers, it just kind of happens to some degree, which I think is pretty interesting. So, you know, at this point, right, you've come to this point, you've gone through a lot of these really cool experiences, I think.

[00:19:55] Chris: Kind of gone from, from Kansas to Alaska. I think you were in California for a while. Now you're in Chicago and also, you know, going through the network engineer ranks kind of through up through the ranks and then into this kind of more software development type role to build automation. What do you want to do next in your career?

[00:20:10] Chris C: Yeah, that's a good question. I think right now. I'm really working on developing the, the software engineering side of my skillset. So, you know, it's kind of like that whole T shaped skill discussion, right? So having a lot of breadth wide, horizontally in your skills. So knowing a little about a lot and then going deep down into one thing, right?

[00:20:27] Chris C: And for a long time, My shank of the tea, I don't know what part of the letter that would be referred to as was network engineering. And so now I'm trying to add a second one, which is software engineering, and you know, it's just kind of drilling down deeper and deeper into that. And so to me, like, that's the big thing that I'm really working on, uh, is just really honing my, my software engineering skills and then figuring out how to tie those two worlds together.

[00:20:53] Chris C: Because I do think it's really valuable and it's a huge gap we have in the industry, which is being able to actually. Take networking excellence and software excellence and actually marry the two together because there's a lot of really excellent software engineers. There's a lot of really excellent network engineers.

[00:21:06] Chris C: There are not a lot that are that are both and there's I'm not, but I'm definitely not one of them. I'm trying to be one. So 

[00:21:12] Chris: it's good to have goals, they say. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, and I think that's right. I think those those intersection points are really, really interesting and really important. 

[00:21:19] Chris C: Yeah, finding finding a good place where you can overlap between two knowledge domains and figure out how to tie those together, whatever those domains are, if they're somewhat related, I think is always a very valuable place to be because you'll be in kind of high demand because if it like there are a lot of network engineers out there.

[00:21:36] Chris C: And like I said, there's a lot of software engineers out there, but there's not a lot of network automation stuff. I mean, I've given a lot of talks on on network automation and just kind of like, you know, presenting you. The current state of what we're working on and some of the concepts that we use in our organization and you know, here, you know, run some workshops on here's how you could do it and stuff like that and it's always a bit of a widespread, but there's not a ton of people doing it, but everybody wants to do it, so you know, figuring out how to make that happen.

[00:22:03] Zoe: Well, I've always viewed automation as the maturity point. Like you have to get the foundations right before you can automate otherwise you're just making a bigger mess faster and so yeah and so look at how many organizations struggle with the foundations, you know, I used to call them the brilliant basics, but that to me was.

[00:22:23] Zoe: A bad term, I, I work in CRT, so the brilliant basics of security, but that's a bad term because it sounds easy. So the fabulous foundations is my new terminology and it's, it's hard because if you're struggling with the foundations, how are you going to get to that maturity point of automating it? So I like what you said about building that depth of knowledge, because you're not going to know everything, but you're going to have a very specific area that you're very good at and you can go to the levels that you need to, to then make it more mature for sure.

[00:22:55] Zoe: I have one more question. You mentioned brief, oh, well, we, not briefly, you, you mentioned a bit about surrounding yourself about, around, uh, surrounding yourself with a good community of experts that you can learn from, you can grow with regardless if you have the exact same opinion or, or not, and sometimes it's better to learn from those people as well.

[00:23:17] Zoe: But I'm curious if you've had mentors that influenced your career as well, specifically and or sponsors, you did mention a bit in the beginning of. Kind of when you started yet, they're like, I need a job and they're like, yeah, okay, come here. So that's partly it, but potentially, but is there any more you have?

[00:23:35] Chris C: Oh yeah. No, I definitely give a ton of credit to a Nick Buraglio. Uh, don't let him hear me say that guy doesn't deserve to turn it down. Yeah. No, I give a ton of credit to Nick Buraglio for helping me out a lot, a lot, a lot. That guy is, he knows a lot and he's very willing to share his knowledge with everybody.

[00:23:54] Chris C: And also vouch for people. And like you said, sponsor, like he definitely sponsored me sponsored, I guess, isn't the right word, I guess, in this particular instance, but you know, he really worked to convince me, I think, to apply to, uh, the job at ESnet that I didn't think I would ever get, because I kind of looked at ESnet and I'd heard about them.

[00:24:12] Chris C: And I was like, Oh, that's like where people who are like, goodness, go. And I was, I almost self selected myself out of the hiring round. Right. Because I was just like, yeah, well, why would I waste their time with me? And, you know, he pushed me and another, another friend of mine to apply to that. And we both, you know, got in and, and I've been hiring there and, you know, now both are, you know, doing a lot of work in the organization and it's, it's very, I definitely can point to him as somebody who, uh, has pushed me along well in my career and then I've, there's definitely plenty of others that I've asked for tons of advice.

[00:24:44] Chris C: Uh, Jeremy Schulman, I've asked many times for advice. Uh, when I, when I made the decision to move into, uh, software, I, I just kept messaging and messaging him endlessly about all of my anxieties and insecurities around, you know, moving from one career that I'm like settled in into just something completely different.

[00:25:03] Chris C: And I was like worried about losing my identity as a network engineer and all these things and he totally gave me tons of great advice on that. And so, yeah, having people like that is just absolutely amazing. I can't, you know, thank, thank those people enough, except for Buraglio I don't thank him for anything because he's the worst.

[00:25:19] Chris: Uh, well, as Zoe alluded to. We've come to the end of our time for today. Chris, do you have any projects? Okay. So we're going to have, uh, the modem show podcast will be linked in the show notes as well as your blog slash 64 tech, Twitter, LinkedIn, and your Fediverse accounts will all be there. So folks can kind of look at that and find you if they want to chat above and beyond that, or maybe one of those things.

[00:25:39] Chris: Is there anything you want to highlight, you know, projects or causes for the, uh, for the network today? 

[00:25:43] Chris C: Yeah. Check out modem. We kind of just post randomly about, uh, we put podcasts up whenever we kind of feel like it. Just whenever we find a topic that interests us, we'll, you know, get people on and, and, you know, just see what they're working on and just kind of dive into the technical guts of it all.

[00:25:59] Chris C: It's kind of fun. So check out modem. Uh, like you mentioned my blog, uh, it's criminally neglected at this point, but yeah, if you're, if you're interested in like network automation, uh, I mean, feel free to hit me up. I'm always down to talk about it. Um, I talk a lot. Uh, it's. So I have plenty of talks on, uh, network automation that you can look up.

[00:26:16] Chris C: Like the one you mentioned, ABQ Nog, uh, was recent, but there's some from TNC and other conferences out there. So yeah, feel free to look those up. Otherwise, I don't know right now, my biggest passion is like. Outside of networking and all that stuff has, has been running. And I know Chris, you're a, you're a runner running and cycling.

[00:26:33] Chris C: So I don't know, hit me up on Strava and we can like compete on something or something like that. 

[00:26:37] Chris: Nice. I don't even know if we're connected on Strava. We're going to make that happen. Yeah, we'll fix that. And thank you. Thank you for sharing your story with the imposter syndrome network today. And thank you to all of our listeners, everybody out there who's hearing this for your attention and your support.

[00:26:48] Chris: If you found this episode insightful or interesting. Please consider paying it forward by letting others know about this show and the great guests we have on before we close out, Chris, if you're a listener, you already know, I was going to ask you one more question. So you mentioned at the top of the show, right.

[00:27:02] Chris: That kind of being invited on was, and I don't remember if it was before we started recording or not, but just the fact that, you know, imposter syndrome itself was something that's kind of been. Uh, present in your life at least, what do you do when you feel that imposter syndrome kicking in? 

[00:27:15] Chris C: Yeah, that's a good question.

[00:27:16] Chris C: So for me, uh, therapy has really good, I, I, I'm a firm believer in making yourself better individually first. So focus on yourself and everything. I don't think it's selfish to focus on you. I think it's actually one of the most generous things you can do for everyone around you is to focus on yourself and make yourself better because when you're a better person, you will be better to those around you.

[00:27:38] Chris C: And I think that that carries over to your personal life and professional life equally. And I think that one of the best ways to combat imposter syndrome is to actually just focus on your inner monologue, focus on how you talk to yourself, focus on how you view yourself, and make sure you talk to yourself as a friend, not as an enemy.

[00:27:55] Chris C: I think I had a friend, I had a friend once who I was talking about a problem. He's a coworker of mine, but he's a good friend. If we were talking about this problem, I was like, I really screwed up. Oh, a stupid mistake. He's like, dude, like, would you tell me that if I did what you just did? And I was like, no, why would I tell you that?

[00:28:10] Chris C: He's like, why would you tell you that? And so like that mindset change totally, totally changed things for me. Yeah. So really. I cannot recommend therapy enough to everybody do it, learn how to talk to yourself better and, and learn how to just become better individually. And that will outflow to your career, to your personal life and everywhere.

[00:28:29] Chris: I love it. I couldn't have said it better myself. And definitely, I just want to underline that again, that self talk and even just, you know, the language you use, whether it's positive versus negative, you can describe the same thing in so many ways. And if you choose to describe it. In a way that's an empowering, it will change the way you see the world and the way you behave.

[00:28:43] Chris: It really will. It's something I harp on with all my friends as well. And myself. To just, you know, be nice to myself and say things in a positive, uplifting way. It really matters. It makes a difference. It seems like something that's trivial, but it's not at all. 

[00:28:56] Zoe: I was just going to say I also recommend therapy.

[00:28:58] Chris C: 10 out of 10. 

[00:28:59] Chris: There it is. Three. Unanimous. I'll shut up and we will be back next week.