Nobody Likes a Grateful Geek

Seventeen years ago I started writing my first blog. It wasn’t pretty. It was the musings of a then mid twenty geek working in the technology arena who was generally frustrated by life and mainly by the technology he couldn’t get his hands on, mainly because his friends were still writing it. In that latter respect my friends are STILL writing the technology that drives me mad or in equal amount makes my life automated and in many cases easier. They know who they are and many of them write the code that also makes your life easy you just don’t realise it because you take it for granted.

Roll the clock on seventeen years and I’m forty three years of age, married with two children and still working in technology. However now out of choice not because of any need to, it’s something I do because I want to certainly because there are other things I can go do at the drop of a hat just for now this is more fun and it’s more of a challenge. To have the good fortune to work with some of the worlds leading coders and thinkers in a world leading company is something that I thrive on. More especially as I was around at the very start and have therefore seen huge evolution.

There is however a downside, one that sometimes eats me and perplexes me but if this is the sole “negative” in my life as I approach middle age I consider myself to have carved a niche somewhere between settled/happy and calm. For that I am grateful and for that I reach into my life and pull out the pack of cards called life and count my blessings. I seem to have thrown aces the last few years since meeting the woman in 2007 who I would go on to marry and have kids with.

Procreation changes everything. Life isn’t about you now, it’s about them and about shaping them and keeping them alive. It’s as basic as that. Life literally pivots on a spot and before you know it you’ve got a family home. Lego everywhere, you become immune to the mess that you never used to have as children deploy toys, books and detritus at speed. If you are actually paying too much attention to it, or you are OCD, you will never actually recover from the shock. Gone are the halcyon days of being able to go to late night cinema with your other half or to go off for weekends care free.

In the place of those memories grey hair appears and the countdown of being able to get into bed with your wife and just have a cuddle without a child screaming for something or being poorly. The cuddle is the hugely important marker that says the day has ended okay and you’ve survived. To me it’s the equivalent of wireless charging your phone or tablet, in fact without it I’m running flat. Without it I’m going to end up awake in the middle of the night, unable to process whatever logic is present.

The change in life in getting married and having kids is magical and at the same time life appraising. Instead of worrying about the small stuff you worry about the big stuff. Daft thing is the big stuff in most peoples lives is not the big stuff in my life. The usual worries other folk seem to have I don’t have a problem with it’s the silly inane stuff. Recently I’ve lost a good friend to cancer. He was a huge influence in my life and had kids the same age as mine. Whilst financially I made provision for my family long before they were even a possibility it’s the daft thing about wanting now to live long enough to watch them grow and succeed in life. My own father having died at an age not much older than I am now. The feelings of mortality and the perennial fear about making sure you are doing enough is ever present.

Then you think about your career. I have this weird life where I have to intentionally mentally turn a lot of stuff off to go to work. I have to actually wholly deliberately turn off a lot of my core competencies and hunker down to get through most days. I love what I do and the people I work with but I use about ten percent of my core professional capabilities to do the core pieces of my job. It’s a challenge often to just get through each week without taking it too personally as it’s not meant like that. That is not to say that I am doing a dumb job, far from it. I just don’t use any of the skills that I have been professionally trained for or certified to lead or deliver. Not one bit of the experience I was hired for having is ever utilised or harnessed and it can grind you down. I don’t think it’s personal or unique to me either so it can drive you mad slightly especially in the current security climate.

You know in your heart that down the line the route you would have directed as sensible will eventually become screamingly obvious but you know that to suggest it would see it ignored. It happens too many times for it not to be a coincidence. Too many issues often aren’t solved by a strident call to arms or me trying to exert change when you are surrounded by a well meaning crowd.

I am sure many have the same exact daily experiences in your careers, if you don’t you can count yourself in the minority. All you can do is be proud of the job you are doing and do it to the best of your capabilities to match the expectations you have on you. As a former CEO, and a former director and employer I have to just accept my life took a different turn and that this for now is what it is. Do NOT let it eat you and don’t take it too seriously. Try to gently coax but accept that for now you’re not in a position to influence or change the direction of the conga. It doesn’t help your health or your home life and that’s where this blog comes from.

I was posting a lot on Facebook the last nine years and I was starting to hate it. Facebook is instant and it gives you the ability to bang your fist and say something. Often the last place you want to do that is in public on Facebook in front of peers, colleagues and friends or even worse your wife or family. The tempation post BREXIT to also appear even more angry at some of the diatribe and crap from the Leave camp just got to me. I was taking it way too personally. I had to say to my wife that from now on I would not be posting status messages on Facebook other than automated bot postings from my blogs and then to remove Facebook from mobile devices to reduce the temptation which for now I’ve managed.

Facebook is so easy to get into a corner where you either can’t paint yourself out or you want to reach across the virtual ether and gently allocate slapage to the poster or person commenting. It’s also almost impossible to get a point across when you have intelligent friends who either like a good discussion or who are bored to death and have nothing else to do than get a rise out of you.

Solution: Walk away at a planned time and date and don’t post there again. No more statuses no more comments on statuses to police and no more caring what people think as if you’re silent you’re able to just get on with stuff. Advantage to date, my phone battery lasts twice as long, I don’t have acid indigestion and I’m calmer. Also I have my life back. If you ever get the chance take it. You can and will live without Facebook.

So for now this is going to be my little home in the ether where I can post and talk about the stuff that interests and bothers me. I hope it will keep you entertained and bemused as well as maybe show as a side to me none of you realise I have. Don’t expect rants or moaning, nobody wants to hear it and if I am honest I am very fortunate in life. I hit the jackpot marrying my wife, great kids, no financial issues, I have every toy I could ever want and more and I can work wherever I really want so I’ve hit the tree of good fortune. Now I’m just able to take my foot off the social media gas and post here about stuff I enjoy and that I hope will reflect bits of my life that you don’t know about or see as this journey evolves.

Keep coming back and let’s see where this goes.