Ep#57 Nobody is going to HIT you as HARD as LIFE with Chris Anderson

April 13, 2022
EP57 Chris Anderson 1280

About the Guest

A former Marine Corp Drill Instructor once told me, "You are the product of all the experiences related to you." With his spirit in mind, I must say I am honored to have worked with the some of the most passionate and brilliant men and women within the Air Force Special Operations community. I took my experience as an Instructor and Evaluator in the Intelligence field and transferred it over into sales management within retail prior to becoming a part of Team Turbo, aka Turbonomic, an IBM company. Here at Turbonomic, I find myself again surrounded by passionate and brilliant professionals who seek to fulfill our company's vision: To Assure Application Performance; Accelerate Digital Transformation; and transform the modern day paradigm within the IT community.

Episode Summary

Nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit Its about how hard you can get hit And keep moving forward About how much you can take and keep moving forward Our next guest, has taken a number of hits in his career from budget reductions in the air force to civilian life but he hasn’t let that stop him from moving forward Joining us today is Chris Anderson to talk about how he kept moving from military to civilian life

Episode Show Notes & Transcript

Host: Jon

Nobody's gonna hit as hard as life, but it ain't how hard you can hit, but it's how hard you can take a hit and keep moving forward. It's about how much you can take and keep moving forward. Our next guess has taken a number of hits in his career from military to reduced budget cuts to civilian life. Before I bring Chris Anderson onto the show, don't forget to hit that light subscribe and notify. Please join me in welcoming Chris Anderson to talk about his experience from the air force to civilian life and his transitions.

Guest: Chris

John, can it be here? My friend. Awesome. Have you, uh, date to ya?

Host: Jon

Yes. Well, when this comes out, it will be on a Wednesday, so that works perfect. <laugh> you know what folks that was not even planned Chris. Perfect timing.

Guest: Chris

Awesome. I'm glad it worked out just fine for your time.

Host: Jon

<laugh> by the way, all these bloopers and stuff make the video because they make it natural. So, Chris, I wanna jump in right into things a little bit in 2008, you joined the military. Well, I wanna know why everybody's reasons are different. Why did you join the military

Guest: Chris

Man? Great question, John. Uh, I'll be honest to say in hindsight, even I don't have a, a clear cut answer. It's a mixture of two things. Number one, uh, in high school, you know, I knew the military was something that, uh, I wanted to pursue back then. It was some Marine Corps, namely could say, had the best recruiters and the awesome votes awesomeness uniform, which you, you can ask for. Uh, so, um, but my father served, uh, as well. So obviously he said, Chris, no, uh, not yet. At least I want to go to college. First went to college, uh, since he takes specifically for two years. But within that second year, um, not saying did not appreciate, uh, going attending college and getting an education, but man, I wanted more ownership of my life and uh, a path that will get me more than more fulfillment than what the class was offering for me. So, um, that coupled with, uh, what I experienced in high school, I say, Chris enlist, the difference being, it took tears of college for me to decide to join the air force as opposed to Marine course. So I did learn something. I did gain some wisdom in that regard. So, so yeah, I hope to ask you your question, John.

Host: Jon

So Chris, you joined college right after high school, correct? I mean immediately right after, or was there any time off?

Guest: Chris

Uh, yes. I went to CNC tech right after the fall, uh, uh, spring semester. I'm sorry, what

Host: Jon

Did you go? What did you go for?

Guest: Chris

Yes. So at first I went in for, you know how this freshman year, first semester you, you decide one thing you changed it. My initial, uh, major was industrial engineering at the time and started intriguing because on the surface you get exposed to all fields of engineering, but in reality, in regards to the job market, and I'm not saying it's not those do this present day, but the, the job market, uh, that was pointed toward in my direction was, uh, let's say you working at Disney and you're the guy who's responsible for ensuring the lines are efficient within rides. <laugh>, that's not for me. So I immediately transitioned to, into a management information systems, which is literally a business degree with engineering principles. Um, that definitely, uh, was better suited for me in my, in my taste. But obviously, you know, it, it didn't erase the bug I had, which was to enlist the military. So

Host: Jon

How many career changes do you think you've done up until this point?

Guest: Chris

Whew. So in short, I could summarize my career within three realms. Um, the military realm for sure. Um, retail management within sales and now, uh, tech, um, starting my career Atmic now. So yes,

Host: Jon

I wanna put this out there for everybody that it's okay to change your career whenever you feel it's good to change it. Don't think about anybody else. I think I'm on career number five or six, by the way, I, I I'm going wherever my passion takes me. So let's just leave it at that. I mean, come on, I'm doing podcasting now. I never thought I'd be doing that.

Guest: Chris

You're living the dream, John. I'm telling you, you, you nailed it.

Host: Jon

Ah, thank you. I'm not totally off topic and we'll get right back to in a second. And I tell this all the time, but I want people to realize a year ago I was sitting with my kids watching YouTube and I said, you'll never find me on there. Never say never. It's all I gotta say. All right, Chris, back to it. Let's talk about your military career. Yes. How long were you in the military?

Guest: Chris

So I enlisted October 14th thousand eight. Uh, separated July. No, June 14th, 2014.

Host: Jon

Okay. From 20, go ahead.

Guest: Chris

Yes, I'm sorry. So, um, um, so pretty much five, six year period, but a lot, I definitely experienced a lot within that six year timeframe for sure.

Host: Jon

Let's talk about that six year timeframe. I knew that I know from past conversations, in fact, I had a conversation with Haley booth. Everybody take a look up here for a link to Haley's interview and talking about her military career as well. Now, Chris, I know the first two years are pretty much training for you, right to your career. And then the next four years are your actual career.

Guest: Chris

Yes, you're pretty spot on, uh, in my case the first year was, uh, training, getting exposed to the, uh, job, which was an operations intelligence analyst, um, um, a little bit different than what Haley's job was, but she's freaking awesome by the way. But, uh, yeah, after a year, um, once I got out of my technical training and got assigned to a spec up unit, the training pace definitely, uh, escalated for sure. Um, cuz I had to get spun up and uh, get prepared for ongoing contingencies at the time were speaking on the war Afghanis sitting INX so things got crazy for me real fast. John,

Host: Jon

Let's talk about your role in what you did up to a certain point that were allowed to really what, what did you do? What did it entail?

Guest: Chris

Sure thing. So I I'll start by saying, um, very broad job mini hats, many skill sets, but uh, I will say that I, I had to start by saying I was attached to a spec up unit, not to sound cool. It's just that, uh, you know, our world is completely different. So for the air force, for example, what we call big blue or the conventional air force, you're, you're really speaking on F 30 fives, F sixteens, top gun type stuff in our world. We can care less we're we operate from within the air to ground realm. So we're focused on, uh, the guy knocking down doors, uh, during raids, uh, we're focused on missions and of course, um, capturing apprehended all, uh America's greatest enemies. So, um, so for me as operations, intelligence analyst, the bread and butter, my job was to essentially provide all the Intel I can and support to operators doing missions, whether it was a Navy seal team, an army ground team or, um, air force, uh, spec operators, um, ensure we can do everything we can to capture the bad guys. More importantly though, make sure the good guys come back home safe in one piece. Um, yes.

Host: Jon

All right. I envision so many movies now. I'm sure they embellish just a little bit on, on some of the aspects, but that you are gathering all the intelligence, providing it to the operators who are then going to decide what to do with the information

Guest: Chris

Absolutely. To so two things. Number one, if you wanna solid movie reference, in my opinion, uh, zero dark 30, in my opinion, it's the best movie that captures the overall intelligence experience. I'm not, um, nowhere close to the, uh, characters represented in that film, but that definitely captures the Intel experience. Uh, number one, number two, um, in the military world, every mission consists of three people, a commander, an operator, and an Intel guy, right? The commanders hand, the mission, your operators actually doing the mission, the field and your intelligence analyst ensures that you have, um, all the, again, intelligence hate saying intelligence cause I'm repetitive. But the point is, um, we are this me on the threat. So I'm ensuring my operator knows exactly what he or she's going into during the mission again, to achieve the mission, but more pro they come back home safe. Um, I said to say that within counter of terrorism, you know, we really focus on, um, I'll just say killing or capturing our, our enemies. You can definitely imagine, be favor one more to the other, but we really, uh, we miss out on speaking on the lives, we save more so than the lives we take. So I wanna make sure we get that out there for people to understand that for sure.

Host: Jon

Yeah. That's usually the part that's, uh, brought up first versus the part that should be brought up. First of all the lives you saved, you were, you mentioned the, you hate using the word intelligence, feel free to say Intel. That sounds pretty

Guest: Chris

Cool Intel. Yeah, I'll do that. I'll do that.

Host: Jon

<laugh> uh, it's all good, Chris. All right, Chris, let's transition a little bit in 2014, you actually retired from the military, right?

Guest: Chris

So to be more specific, um, I was, uh, separated out the military, um, due to the broad budget and force reduction plan that actually started in 2012, but in my case, and it hit me into 2014. Um, that was unique in that. Uh, no one saw that coming. I will say for all veterans who serve, you know, 20 plus years, bill will say, yeah, those things happen. But, uh, in my case, uh, the joint chief staff said, uh, Hey, we are, uh, spending too much of taxpaying dollars, need to reduce our budget. And the best way to go about doing so is to, um, reduce the force. In my case, the target demographic was the 10, 12 year enlistee. Um, cause at that point they were offering early retirement packages. So instead of waiting, not waiting, instead of serving 20 years to get their retirement package, you could have done 12 and got in a, uh, it got a relative package early. In my case, that was my fourth, fifth year in. I, there was no incentive for me to, to leave. So, uh, in short I took the risk of, uh, staying in until my commander said, Hey Chris, unfortunately, we're not gonna volunt tell you, uh, to leave cuz you're over the threshold, uh, in regards to the rank that you're in. So that's how that ended my friend.

Host: Jon

Okay. I have to touch on this because this wasn't the first time that you were offered the, you know, volunteer or budget reduction. Yes. Correct. And you didn't take it the first time you, you did that gamble. It worked out well for you for the first time, the second time come up, you did the gamble. Unfortunately you were voluntold to, to leave, which is, is really tough to understand like why, why did he do that? I understand, you know, the taxpayer dollars, but you have two years of invested training or whatever training you needed to then four years into it. You're still relatively young and military life.

Guest: Chris

Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, you know what, John, that, that is conversation. I've definitely, uh, thought of for me many years, but uh, I I've always kept my opinion to myself, but I will say on personal note, I'm, I've never been salty nor ever had any, um, feelings of, uh, any ill will toward that, um, decision. I understand it, it, it is what it is. I, I think for me in hindsight that the biggest impact of that transition was to being told, to get out. It was actually transitioning back into the civilian role all over again. And more importantly, coming from a very small, um, specialized niche to finding a way to translate all that experience onto resume for a hiring body at a store to look at and then hiring and say, yes, now that's a whole that conversation we can take care of today, for sure.

Host: Jon

I think, and I've talked about this numerous times on my show, the past defines your future, but the past does not define who you are as a character. Yes. There are, there are certain instances where you thought you were gonna be in military life for a long time, or you might have changed your opinion. And being told to leave does feel a little downside, but the whole thing that you were talking about today, and everybody knows I'm not one to speak negative on my show at all. I like showing everybody the highlights of what's going on in their career and through their life and really tell, telling and captivating that story. Chris let's transition. You, you left in, you know, 2014 from 2014. What did you do,

Guest: Chris

Man? So the first thing I did was go back to mom's house. Right? Um, that was a blessing obviously. Um, but I will say that the biggest, well, initially the biggest hurdle for me was again, transitioning from military life to civilian life. During that instance, my game plan was to transition into a civilian contracting job, right? Cuz there, uh, there are plenty of opportunities out there for me where I could have easily transferred my security clearance and direct hands on job experience to a civilian contracting counterpart. Right? The one thing I did not foreshadow or see coming, um, was in lieu of the entire department defense downsizing. So did the civilian contracting uh, part as well. So in my case, I'm living in mom's house, mom's saying, Hey Chris, how's the job hunt gun going? And I'm saying, Hey mom, no problem at all. I have all these opportunities.

Guest: Chris

I was waiting for contracts to come my way so I can sign them, keep moving. Um, unfortunately, um, again, civilian contracting, uh, companies or corporations or downsizing, therefore it became a matter of time for companies to be acquired by bigger companies or, um, the job they used to exist no longer exist existed because of lack of funding. So for me, um, I, to this day, I remember the conversations in email chain, um, that started from, Hey Chris, we're looking forward to have you join our team. We're just waiting for things to slow down with realization of funds to, Hey Chris, remember months ago, we told you you had that job waiting for you. Well, unfortunately it doesn't exist anymore. So, uh, if anything happens in a pursuit future, we'll hit you up. But for now we can't do anything for you. Um, that put me in a very tough spot because again, I'm in mom's house and I love mom to death, but I'm a grown man who came from living and independent of such esteem, lifestyle, the military to, you know, I have nothing. So, um, that immediately propelled me to find a job, John, at any cost and literally a friend of mine who got out the same time, told me to go check out the job market within the Pacific north west by playing ticket January 5th, 2015. Whoa,

Host: Jon

Whoa, hold on. Wait a second. Cause that that's I have, I wanna re step back for a couple questions because what you're about to touch on is very important and compelling. And I wanna get there in one second, but sure thing. Are there any three letter companies that you could transfer to during this that were interested or were they all having the whole downsizing happening?

Guest: Chris

Right. So, okay. I we'll say in the Intel community, a few of the big letter agencies out there that we all transferred to would be, let's say the DIA defense intelligence agency. Um, the NSA is another big one. Um, there's of course a CIA route. You wanna pursue a career in department of justice. The FBI is a big one, too. The problem I had was on, on, in regards to resume, I'm bringing forward, I'm only offering, you know, four or five years of service and while it's counterterrorism and it a lot within that, within that period that I'm so proud to this day, the problem is that in competing for that job, you know, I'm competing against our career police officers career, uh, counter Intel counterterrorism operatives in the military. So that was a struggle in itself. Um, in short being told, no, unfortunately we, we more, um, that was the problem. Um, within that itself. Hope I answer your question, John,

Host: Jon

You, you did. And I like that so far, you've talked about some of the hurdles that you've come into of Le you know, having to leave military, uh, being told you don't have enough background, probably eventually being told you have too much background hate to tell you, but it's gonna happen. It does now you're at mom's house. Pride is really one of the key factors, right? You're used to being on your own military life and it's too yourself. I, and I can tell your character and you're taking this as you know, I shouldn't be back at my mom's house should be doing this on my own, should be on my own. A friend mentioned, Hey, listen, take a look over it, you know, out west and you did something I probably would not have done, but I find it really compelling to tell your story that you bought a one way ticket. You wanna tell us about it?

Guest: Chris

Absolutely. Uh, this is where life gets interesting. Um, obviously it's my life. So I have my opinion, but I'm sure anyone in my family will say Chris made the wrong decision, but, um, but, uh, yes, I literally bought a one way ticket, January 5th, 2015 to get a job, um, plain as simple. In fact, um, I already had interviews lined up during that week. So for me, buying a one way ticket, enable me to get out to Portland, Oregon specifically, knock got those interviews and get a job. If things went well, I can stay for a little bit. If things not work well, I had intended on returning, but obviously in my case, things did work well. I actually got, uh, a few job opportunities and gained some employment to get some paychecks under my belt.

Host: Jon

Did you have a place to stay when you were going there? Or were you just gonna wing it? Be like, all right, I'm just gonna land in this hotel, crash on this guy's house, you know, meet up with a, like, what was the plan,

Guest: Chris

Right? So this is where those bonds and friendships that you forged in military or worth their weight and gold. I was very fortunate to say that a close friend of mine, um, is, was from well, is from Portland. He literally had a apartment right outside of, in Nike, uh, headquarters in Portland. If Phillip don't know, Nike is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. So, um, he said, Chris, listen, I know you're going through cuz obviously he went through it himself. He said, Chris dude, just get away ticket, stay with me. And my wife put, take care of you. That way we ain't get on your feet with the jobs, uh, that you're trying to pursue and knock out and knock down. You'd be good to go. And literally that's what enable me to get out there in the first place. If I didn't had that game plan, then I would've been stuck at mom's house still <laugh>

Host: Jon

I love the bonds that are formed in military. Now. I've never been, I'm not a military person, but I've talked to so many people. I know some military folks that work out at my gym and their character speaks for everything. I don't even know them so well, I can just tell how they come across how they carry themselves. So the bond that's built in military and transition, no matter where you go, you will always find somebody that will reach out and have that helping hand

Guest: Chris

Mm-hmm <affirmative> absolutely cause, um, especially from, well, anyone can relate if you're a veteran, but you know, for me, you know, I'm talking about literally working with men and women who are putting lives on the line, you know, they're own included, I will say. Um, it's, it's one thing to say that while I serve the uniform that I looked after, every person allowed me to pull and remove the veil here and tell you, there are people who I worked with, who I would not have wanted to pay the so-called altered price for I'm sorry, negative Nancys. So on and so forth. No, but for those men and women who, um, stood, stood up for the values that we believed in, who worked with honor and integrity, um, those were the few among the many. Now I'm proud to say that those are the folks who to this day I've been in contact with and have always been in contact with me to help me, uh, through out my military career, the office, my civilian life as well. So that, yeah, the military, uh, relationship was forced over the years. So I've been working everything to me without that literally I wouldn't have gotten into where I at stay my friend.

Host: Jon

Nice. Nice. Very nice. Uh, let's talk about Turbonomic. So you're Turbonomic now, right? You're in tech, right? I have to step back again because you went from high school to college, to military air force, then you're out, you're back at mom's house, right? You're in Portland for a job in retail. Now you're AMIC. Whyo why tech and how did you end up here?

Guest: Chris

Sure thing. So, um, so first off I, I, I fully appreciate the experience I attained while working within retail management, but man, I was not utilized to my fullest potential. Uh, that was a huge mental financial, uh, roadblock there transition from a high speed spec up military world to selling general memberships or namely. I was a, uh, a store manager for, um, uh, famous footwear, great opportunity. But, um, the problem I faced was advancement. If I wanted to advance, I literally had to wait for someone to retire in a lot of cases. And it was very difficult knowing you're gonna be stuck here in a small little niche for an UN achievable future a and B again, I'm not being utilized for full potential. So again, going back to its military homicide forest, um, it was what, November, 2020, my former superior calls me and say, Hey Chris, how's it going?

Guest: Chris

I wanna call and catch up with you, by the way, what's here about you working at a shoe store. What's all about you like it. Well, listen, dude, I already know you're not doing what you used to do. I already know your, um, your roadblocks here. You need to consider transitioning to tech. And when you told me that I'm like, you know, dude, um, I'm not a software engineer. How in the world can I compete with those guys? He's like Chris, it's not about the software programming world. It's about the sales industry within tech sales is where you need to go. Once you put that book in my ear, um, I immediately took advantage of, um, joining what's called the break line education or the brick line community, which I've heard before from, uh, Haley and Caitlin McGinness. Um, the break line community, uh, re showed me the tech industry. And more importantly showed that I had potential in earning a tech job. Um, they helped, uh, reshape my resume helped me translate my military skills to, uh, skills necessary needing the tech industry. And then with a few opportunities here comes Turbonomic.

Guest: Chris

And I will say going through that pipeline that a lot of companies said no, but turbo said yes, every step of the way. And, and when I tell you that this is opportunity that I wanted, not because of the company and the platform the company has, but the culture, right, the culture and the people rented with me because it reminded me of a military service. Everyone spoke more about working with their colleagues more than the awesome platform that two number provides. That was a huge red flag for me. You know, Chris, this is it, go all in. And uh, yeah, I'm here. They, uh, talking to you now with John, because of that, my friend,

Host: Jon

You mentioned break line break line was talked about and the conversation I had with Caitlin McGinness. In fact, everybody take a look up here on the recording. I did with CA McGinness who talked about break line and how it helped her translate her military career to really, uh, civilian life and how it took the, the resume. They worked with her. Uh, she had nothing but positive things to say about it. I included them on the podcast and on the links, because I believe in giving a shout out to those who help others Turbonomic. Now, E everybody knows I work for Turbonomic. Uh, I'm a senior PMM and tech evangelist for Turbonomic. And you, you mentioned tech, uh, sales I'm in tech. I do tech stuff, but guess what? I do all that content creation and really get to evangelize the product. So there's different aspects of tech. You've only been with Turbonomic. Now, when we're doing this recording, I think you're over a month. But when we talked, it was only a couple of weeks.

Guest: Chris

Absolutely. Um, I am new, um, wet behind the ears, but again, it didn't take long for me to see that, um, beyond the job offer, everything that was told to me was not a lie. There weren't no Wolf tickets beyond the company and the platform that we provide within the it community. Um, the culture in turbo was amazing, right? And, and literally, I can tell you that there has been a path laid for me. It started with the interview process, reached out to current turbo employees who were, if not break line alumni like myself prior, uh, military servicemen women, or just awesome tur employees who are kind up to say, Hey, Chris, I heard about you coming through turbo. I heard you wanted help. I can help you. Here's some insights help you navigate your way through the interview process. It started with there. Once I asked, even when I, after I got the offer, John, all right, Chris, welcome to team turbo. Listen, if you wanna succeed in our, in our company, here are some, uh, some advice for you can take and more importantly, know that your path isn't one dimensional. You can start off as a sales development representative and branch out to a wide variety of positions is up to you to choose, but know whatever path you choose. We are here to help you along the way. And I literally rely on that to the John. It's awesome.

Host: Jon

I agree with you. You don't have to stay with one role if that's not what you're looking for. A passion, the people at Turbonomic are very passionate about the product, but more passionate about the people and succeeding and being happy. Chris, one last question, before we wrap things up, uh, civilian life before Turbonomic, and I'm gonna tack onto that. Is there anything you would like to leave, maybe some inspiration for those who are going through the same thing? So how was civilian life before Turbonomic and anything you wanna leave with the audience?

Guest: Chris

So to, to be clear, right, with civilian life, like meaning Americans, I was looking paycheck to paycheck, right? So for those who live like that, and many of us do, you know, that comes with a lot of anxiety, uh, a lot of pressure, knowing that you have to manage your life, literally one paycheck to the next. So with that, especially for military veterans, I'll say this number one. Um, whether you plan on retiring within your timeline or in, like in my case, uncle Sam says, Hey, Chris, we're cutting his shorts. Uh, be sure to invest in the time to find resources, to help, that will help you translate your military skills to civilian skills. Unfortunately, you know, the, the civilian world has a very limited knowledge and exposed to military world. In fact, as I was applying for jobs, the feedback I got was okay, Chris, well, we think you can follow instructions. You work, you work long, uh, harsh hours beyond that. I have no clue what the heck it Opal analyst is. So, um, with that, even if it requires you actually pay somebody to help you translate and build your resume before you do that, that resume is your front door to that job. Interview. Number one, number two, the resume also validates or help you validate, help you validate your, um, your salary. If you have the opportunity to negotiate your salary, your resume is starting point. So I will start there. Uh, number one, number two, um,

Guest: Chris

Even though you're transitioning out the military folks, there are a lot of things that you can, you can keep your work ethic, your, uh, parent of life, your eating habits, working out, staying fit your, uh, self-sufficient confident mentality, keep that, um, that would help you succeed. And last, not least, um, always again, always leveraged on the brothers and sisters that you met when you were in, in my case, I can tell you, there are folks who I've not seen in person since I got out, but all it takes one phone call. And from there it's like, I I've saw them just yesterday. So, uh, those be a big three things I would IM empower, put anyone transitioning to military life and just steal in life and, and go for it. The world is yours. Just own it and take it.

Host: Jon

I like that. The items that were indicated of your work ethic, your eating habits and workout, all the things that do not require an education, do not require skill sets that you can show up and that are free and that you keep doing and get done. All right, everybody. I wanna thank Chris Anderson for joining the show, Chris. Thank you so much,

Guest: Chris

John. This is awesome, man. Love you, man. This is dope.

Host: Jon

I I'm, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Me too. I enjoyed the conversation. I enjoyed the pack and forth. I enjoyed you sharing your story to the audience. Everybody. This has been the John Meer podcast. I'm your host, John Meyer. Thanks for joining this show. Don't forget to hit that, like subscribe and notify, because guess what? We're outta here.

 

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