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taylor desseyn
taylor desseyn

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How to Get to Where You're Going with Michael Liendo

We’re switching things up a little bit today from our regularly scheduled career and tech talk programming to chat a little bit about…. well, life. Or at least the ‘bigger picture’. Yeah, I bet you weren’t expecting to see this in your inbox this morning. Thankfully I was joined in conversation with the ever-insightful and wonderful to talk to Michael Liendo, Sr. Developer Advocate at AWS. 

To give it a listen and to check out more GC 2.0 shows while you’re all up on my YouTube channel, here you go:


Okay, but really:


For the rest of you who have stuck around and want to jump right into the deep stuff, we’re going to start with the world’s fastest background on Michael. Apologies in advance, Michael, I know I’m not doing your story justice. Set the scene— a young father who’s waiting tables wants more for himself and his family. Michael didn’t get the luxury of coming from an easy childhood. He didn’t even really interact with tech until he was an adult. But he gets a book about iPhone app development, and then, just like that, there he is ready to build his own apps. The bad news, he wasn’t particularly great at app development. The good news, he was hooked on tech. (If you were watching the live show right now you’d be hearing a lot of millennial banter)

When it comes to perseverance, Michael is in a league of his own. In his words, “the system isn’t really set up for people with my background to succeed” and in some ways, he had to force himself into the tech world. But knowing struggle and adversity gave Michael the perspective and the drive to push beyond just being a product of his environment. 

So here are our deep cuts and a loose roadmap, Guidance Counselor 2.0 edition:

  • Education: If you don’t need specific knowledge you can only get in college, don’t go. Doctors, please disregard this bullet point. But for some of you try getting your education from on-the-job training, self-teaching, and boot camps. Whatever works best for you. There’s no reason you should be in debt for the foreseeable future over something you could’ve learned from a boot camp. Speaking of boot camps…
  • Community: No one in this world is completely independent. Everyone relies on each other for something. So when you’re going to these tech meetups or boot camps or hanging out in my comment section— you’re building a pool of influence, support and knowledge for yourself.  Use it wisely, and use it often. 
  • Influence: You’ve probably heard the phrase “You’re the sum of your five closest friends.” And while the number may be more than five and it might’ve grown to include your TikTok addiction— the sentiment is still the same. What and who we surround ourselves with is going to have a direct impact on who we are and our values. So it’s important to choose those people carefully. 
  • Presence: Never shrink yourself to fit the expectations of others. No one wants to spend their life and career trying their best to be forgettable. You’re always bringing something to the table. 
  • Balance: Finding yourself saying, “It’s just really busy for me right now” over and over again? I’ve got bad news for you, bud. Odds are this distant carrot that’s dangling in front of you of short work days and finally using up all your PTO— if you keep grinding year after year for it there’s not going to be anyone there to enjoy it with. Take the time to take time. And if it’s going to be a hard day or week, communicate that to the people who will be impacted by it.

See, just a real light and definitely not self-reflection inducing bit of information at all, right? Yeah, me either. Whatever part of your career or life you’re going through right now, maybe one of these little notes struck a bit of truth for you. And maybe building your community starts with some dude's blog you like to read. But most importantly don’t forget, you’re not alone. 

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