That linked article is a good read, even if the title is a bit sensationalist. I love the juxtaposition of how the writer makes your realize you both love and hate the exact same ideal presented in two different ways. John mentioned me in his link to the article and while this started out as a comment there, I figured I should just make my own post because it’s a topic very dear to my heart and mind.
My problem is with our country’s divide. From day one of this election year, my battle tune has been the same: I hope the 2 party system dies. To me, it is the 2 party system that is feeding, energizing and growing this great divide. With 2 sides, you can’t agree on anything because that means you’ve “joined the other side”. With more than 2 parties, you can compromise and still be seen as being true to yourself. Why am I so certain that we can kill the 2 party system and still be okay? Because I’ve never been a one party kinda guy.
I’m outside the divide. I’m a big city boy, have been most of my life (I LOVE New York and Hong Kong), but was also very spiritually minded for again my whole life. I grew up poor in an inner-city ghetto, but am now close to a 1%er living in farm country of a red state (and love the small town, family friendly vibe).
How I’m Giving Back – Biggest Dreams / Toughest Challenges Yet
I’m in my 40th year, about to turn 41 in September. As I look forward, I realize that I really only have one more super productive 20 year block in me. My 60 to 80 year will be a good block to offer advice to others, finally have my wife all to myself again, and enjoy grandkids. Therefore, if I have any more ambitious activities, they’ll have to take place in the 40 to 60 year block.
Why I Can Give Back – More Help Along the Way that Made Me Successful
For the second 20 years of my life, I paused the hope phase and began the execution phase. I realized coming into this block that I wanted to be married with kids, have a good programming job and start my foray into the business world. It wasn’t easy to execute on any of those three things. In fact, at 20 years old, I was a college drop out with no girlfriend (much less a person to marry and have kids with), no job at all (much less one dealing with programming software) and starting a business seemed like the furthest thing from my mind. I don’t remember feeling hopeless or helpless though. I knew that I was going to have to start at the bottom and work my way up. I just knew in my heart that there would be people along the way to help me. That just seemed logical to me since there were people the first 20 years, so I decided to get started as soon as possible.
Where My Desire to Give Back Comes From – Being Poor but Loved and Lucky
For the first 20 years of my life, I was poor but happy with a heart full of hope and a head full of dreams. My family life was idyllic in the sense that I was surrounded by love from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and my lil brother. Not only that, but I had great friends in all stages of my education: from grammar school to high school to my 1 year stint at college. (Sidenote: all my schooling was private, no public school for me.) The fact that I never had money didn’t bother me. I was rich in love, the only true treasure in life.
As I constantly confess, I live a truly blessed life. So much so that I feel I have to start giving back. Since this giving back thing is going to occupy the next 20 years worth of my life, I figure I should give a bit of backstory. I’d like to talk a bit about where this desire comes from, why I feel like I can give back and how I’m planning to go about doing it. This is not about Open Source Software, but the beginning of something I’m going to sappily call Open Hope Software.
Many of you may or may not know, but I was born in Hawaiian Gardens, CA. It’s a one mile square barrio (in Spanish) or ghetto (in English). I grew up there, poor, but not really knowing I was poor. My cousins, who oft ran with (or were) the rough crowd, would tell me, “Go, home, Tommy. You don’t need to be here. You’re too smart.” That was code for, crap’s about to hit the fan so go home. At the time, I would get mad because in my mind we were equals and them staying made me think they were acting superior. This past weekend I attended the American Bar Association’s National Summit on Innovation in Legal Services: an invitation only event full of best legal minds on the planet plus me (I was odd man out! LOL). This fine and brilliant crowd of individuals applauded me (twice!) for some recent tech efforts. I couldn’t help but offer a silent thanks to those cousins for watching out for me in my youth and for parents who had the foresight to see a better future for me. Continue reading “How a Mexican Kid from the Ghetto Winds up with Hanging with Elite Legal Minds”→
When I shared my last post on twitter, people asked how they could fix work life balance now vs later. That’s a tough question to answer because everyone is different. However, I think a lot of people just need to have some idea of what to do outside of work. I know that sounds sad, but our society doesn’t give people ideas on how to unwind other than hit a bar, get drunk/high and then pass out.
Oftentimes, programming is a lonely activity. Whether alone in a coffee shop with our headphones on or in an office behind closed doors, most of the magic happens in solitude. Oftentimes, it has to. If we’re paying attention to someone in a conversation, we’re obviously not paying attention to the text on the computer screen. However, we must never forget that no matter how important the work is, the fact that we’re human and need interaction takes higher precedence.
The picture above is the top shelf of my desk. It sits above my computer screens at home and rightfully so. The things on that shelf are of higher importance than anything that transpires on the screens below it. If I may indulge, lemme explain what those items are from left to right. I’ll also cover who those items represent to me, the ideals those people helped build in me, and how that affects my professional life. Continue reading “A (Programmer’s) Life Shouldn’t Be Lonely”→
The title should really be, “My Purpose in my Professional Life.” But that doesn’t flow as nicely or grab you buy the emotions, so I shrank it down to “My Purpose in Life.”
If you’re lucky, you’re one of those people who’ve known exactly what your purpose in life was since high school or college. If you’re extremely lucky, you’ve known since you were a kid. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that way for me. I barely figured it out this morning, after a little more than 37 years of being me. That’s almost 20 years AFTER joining the workforce, where I was supposed to be executing upon that purpose.
For some, their purpose in life is wrapped up in a single goal or series of related goals. For example, “I want to be the best basketball player…on my team” then morphs to “…at my school” and then “…in the (W)NBA” and lastly “…of all time.” Now, for me, my purpose is not like that.
For me, my purpose in life is something that I’ve been hoping for to provide guidance. I like to do many things as evident in these two separate posts. A lot of different things make me happy. I have a ton of crazy ideas, and I get more ideas all the time. In fact, I just had a great new biz idea this morning. When the ideas hatch though, I invariably ask, “Will this make me happy? Will this be fulfilling for me in the long run?” Most of the time, I would answer, “I don’t know” because again, I didn’t know my purpose so how could I know if this would work towards it? Continue reading “My Purpose in Life”→