In the past, whenever brought into a new engagement or job, I always felt I had to 'prove' myself because typically, people didn't know who I was or anything about my background. I have always tended to hit the ground running whenever in a new location because I tend to catch on to things pretty quickly. It is just something built into my nature.
I've always been in the mindset that you should always be approachable and never have a 'snooty' or 'I know more than you' attitude about yourself because that always comes back to haunt you. If you take 5 minutes out of your day to help someone with a problem, you sometimes end up with a new friend, or a batch of fresh cookies the next day. It can also be a life saver when you are at wits end on a problem and need to call in a favor from someone. People tend to help if you've always been open to helping them in the past. I know this might sound like "Just be a nice guy", but there is more to it than that. You can be an absolutely brilliant technical resource, but if your people skills cause people to avoid asking you for help, that can cause problems.
The same type of open environment can make for a great workplace too. I tend to thrive in an environment where I feel comfortable enough to ask a potentially "stupid newbie" question and not face the wrath of a generic "RTFM" reply. I know that if I can't figure something out, I can throw it out to our internal mailing list as a "Hey guys/girls, ever seen this?" question, and typically get a reply pretty quickly, even at 2am in the morning.
I once had a manager that said all his best techs were night owls and I've always noticed that people that are "really into computers" tend to fit this stereotype. Whenever I fire up Office Communicator late at night, I can always expect at least one other person online, if not 10. I have gotten better at not pulling all nighters when on a technology bender, but there are times when I find myself up late at night, installing a new build of an operating system or trying out some new program, or writing an article for this site.
In the past year, things have changed a bit. People know who I am because of this site, especially after I put my photo in the upper right hand corner of the homepage. It has been a bit boggling the impact this tiny little corner of the web has become for me. I also believe this site is why I became a Microsoft MVP last year, which had been a goal of mine for a long time, but something I never expected to happen so quickly.
Now, however, I am on the other side of the spectrum for "proving myself." I have to make sure I don't disappoint them by not knowing something. People have said "What, you don't know something? You're an MVP!" jokingly, and I'd much rather admit that I don't know something and tell them I have to look it up than to make up some acronym buzzword filled answer. Most people can read through those types of answers. If I ever give you a technical interview for a job position, please just say "I don't know" instead of making something up. I'm much more inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt, unless every answer is "I don't know."
The point of this post? This site has changed my life in ways I never imagined. It originally started out for selfish reasons, and due to my wife pestering me to start up a blog. I needed a place to post links or solutions to problems I had figured out. As time went on, I added more sections and made it more user friendly. Soon, people were telling me that they kept bumping into my site in search engine results when looking up a solution for a problem they had and what I had posted was the fix they were looking for. I still find it pretty amazing the amount of feedback and exposure I get from the site. Now, my wife likes to remind me who recommended that I start the site. I don't think I'll ever live that one down.
Thankfully I have a wife that is into computers almost as much as I am, or else I don't think I'd be able to get away with half the things I do around the house, with my mad scientist experiments (our wireless network, our A/V setup, etc.)