Overcome Your Introversion and Realize That Asking for Help is a Strength with Derick Rethans

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Derick Rethans is a PHP internals expert and author of Xdebug.  He works as an independent contractor and consultant on PHP extensions and related projects. Derick has contributed to the PHP project in numerous forms and is the host of the PHP Internals News podcast as well as being a frequent speaker at conferences.

In this episode, Phil and Derick Rethans discuss why asking for help is a strength rather than a weakness. Derick shares how he counters his introvert tendencies so that he can fill in his knowledge gaps and help others. They also talk about how to take on challenging roles and build new skills, while still maintaining the right work/life balance


Derick Rethans


Derick Rethans – Check Derick’s website!

PHP Internals – Check out Derick’s Podcast website!

2 Top Career Tips

1) Asking for help should be a skill that you use liberally. Doing so saves you a huge amount of time and hassle. Often, it is a mutually beneficial experience. They answer your questions and, often, will ask you a few of their own. We should all be leveraging off each other´s knowledge base.
2) With the help of others, actively work to teach yourself the things you are not good at. Even if you are very shy you should still push yourself to do this. Derick is naturally quite introverted. But he forces himself to talk to random people, especially at events. Doing so makes it easier to fill in the gaps in his knowledge.

Show Notes

Worst Career Moment

At the start of his career, Derick was asked to fix an SEO Unix machine. He knew a bit about Linux and Unix II, but the machine he was working on used an older version. One he was not familiar with. As requested, he attempted the fix. A decision that nearly led to disaster. He explains what happened, in the podcast.

From this experience, he learned not to assume you know things about technologies you have never touched before. Things are not always as similar as you might think

Career Highlight

Being approached by people at conferences who say to him “It is nice to meet you; I like what you did on x project…” feels particularly good. Although, at first, it felt very weird to him.

The Future

Derick finds the pace of change and the fact that there is always something new to learn to be exciting. For example, he has only recently started to learn new languages. He has also had a lot of fun playing a game that teaches you how to build a computer from scratch. Something he tells you about in the podcast.

The Reveal

What first attracted you to a career in I.T.?

Derick´s interest in the industry was sparked by the fact that, as a kid, he was allowed to play around with a computer.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

You need to take the leap.

What is the worst career advice you’ve ever received?

You have to work 80 hours a week to be successful. This is not a sustainable way of working.

If you had to begin your career again in today’s world, what would you do?

Derick would focus on his language skills so that he could better communicate with others right from the start.

What career objectives are you currently focusing on?

Derick wants to start hiring this year, so he is focusing on building the skills he needs to do that effectively.

What’s the number one non-technical skill that has helped you in your career so far?

Being able to put himself out there by writing books, public speaking, and blogging.

What do you do to keep your own career energized?

Pushing himself to have contact with other people keeps him energized. He explains why in the podcast.

What do you do in your spare time away from technology?

Derick loves walking. He walks everywhere, even if it takes a couple of hours to get there.

Contact The Guest

Contact Derick Rethans through the following social media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/derickr

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derickrethans/

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Accelerate Your Career Every Week - NOW

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