Associate Technical Account Manager
…So you like, um, wait, what do you do as a technical account manager?” – This is the question I get from my peers, family, and even colleagues every time I introduce myself and my role at VMware. The first couple of months I would roll my eyes, staring back at them with an annoyed look, and confidently say: “You know what, I have no freaking clue!”. I mean you got to admit, it is a hard question to answer.
Gladly, I can now say that I mastered the response after a year of Associate Technical Account Manager life: “Something with customers, trying to answer their questions without panicking, and making sure you look competent while having no idea how to solve 80% of said questions.” Sounds about right, doesn’t it?
On a more serious note, the TAM role is all that, and a lot more. Starting out as an Associate TAM, my journey was definitely challenging but it remains to be one of the best career choices I’ve made so far. So how does that ongoing journey look like up till now?
Month 1 – 2:
As an associate, fresh out of university, with a naïve outlook on work and a hunger for adventure, I was thrown into Cork, a small city in South-West Ireland. All the graduates from EMEA and a couple of other regions spent six weeks there, training, networking, and looking at the raindrops of various windows in the training center and the many pubs! Sounds boring? Oh, it sure was not! This is where all of us were able to dive deep into the amazing VMware culture and the complicated technology, which enabled us to feel like part of the company in no time. And, well, the pubs did compensate for all the rain.
Month 3 – 4:
Back at my home location Munich, I was able to meet many colleagues from all over Germany. The first couple of months are mostly that. And online training. Loads of online training. Luckily, I am fortunate enough to have great co-workers who reached out to me and made sure that I got customer site experience as well. This way, I was able to see what impact VMware actually has on companies and their people. At this point, I also understood that I still had no idea what I was doing.
This is where it gets more and more interesting.
You hear VMware language and think to yourself “hey, I know this weird word!”. Then you hear the next sentence and you’re lost again. You have a success moment with your customer where you set up a long-awaited meeting about an important topic, and the next moment you have to ask ten times to understand a question regarding a certain technology you have no clue about.
All I can say is, the longer you are at VMware, the more you learn. You just got to put in the effort. There are ups and downs, highs and lows, Hypervisors, and VMs. But eventually, it all pays off. Sooner or later you realize how much you’ve actually accomplished. And then the real fun begins.
I hope this realization will hit everyone at one point because that’s what gives work purpose: Helping people, creating a positive impact through knowledge, and achieving personal highs you would have never thought feasible a year ago. Maybe that should be my new answer as to what I do as a TAM!
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