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”→
Sidenote: Faith and family come before the three things below. That should go without saying, but figured I should say it regardless. You can read up the details on faith and family in this post over on my spiritual blog, if you’re into that sorta thing.
Our Time Is Short, So Have Fun
I’m not sure what got me thinking on this tangent. It could’ve been my daily analysis of life. It could’ve been me contemplating what to do professionally. Regardless, for some reason, I started to boil down what makes me happy as a person.
For those of you that have met me in person, and hopefully for those of you that just met me via this blog, it’s probably obvious that I’m a simple person with simple pleasures. While I often cloud my life with drama, stress and desires for false happiness (via some new gadget), there’s basically just 3 things that make me happy:
I’ve spent a longtime thinking about this post. Is it perfect? No. Is this the way I live my life? Not fully…yet. Is it something I’m gearing towards? A bit more each day. Is it something I hope happens? For the sake of my kids and grandkids, yes.
Much like a legal document, let’s define something at the start to ensure we’re on the same page. When I use the word System (note the capital “S”) in this article, I’m referring to mass media and big business. I’ll leave the topics of Wall Street and our government for some other (far distant) day.
The only way to bring down the System is by depriving it of life. Yes, this could be achieved by violent actions, but I’m not a violent kind of guy. Instead, I’m thinking of something that will bring about the same effect, but will use positivity and humanity to starve the system of the money it needs to survive. Because more than anything, the System craves one thing and one thing alone: money.
And who is going to bring about this change? Why you and I, of course. For if not us, then who?
I just figured it out. That stupid saying was probably introduced to me early on in life. It’s a very teacher and parental thing to tell a kid. Most adults have a hard time finding that one thing they’re great at. It would be unfair to plant the notion that there’s more than one thing.
Here’s the thing though. I’ve lived what…35 years of my life in misery, literally, misery and agony trying to find that *one* thing I’m supposed to be master of.
Self doubt sucks
“Is it art?” I wondered until my portfolio quite literally blew away in the wind one day in high school. “Is it writing?” Fiction or non didn’t really matter to me. I wrote a novel, poems, short stories, news articles, technical articles, etc. “Is it programming?” I was good at it in the eighth grade and it’s paid the bills quite steadily since December of 1997. “Is it conferences?” A short stint proved that while fun, that certainly was *not* it. LOL
“Why can’t I figure this out? What’s wrong me?” Every other day, I find myself alone somewhere (my bed, the shower, in the car, heck, even the toilet) and I ponder that. I wonder why I’m broken. “35 years and you still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up.”
See, that’s the thing. I figured you had to be *something*. You had to be a Master of *something*, else you’d be a useless Jack of All Trades. I wanted a sign, from God, from my parents, from my peers, anywhere. “Let me know what it is and I’ll be there. I’ll dedicate my life to it.”
I know articles like this are bad news. People losing jobs is not good for their psyche or for the economy. Or is it?
I’m an odd egg, I get that. I see life in a slightly skewed way. The result of this is that I love experiencing everything: the good, the bad and the ugly. I have contigency plans. Should I ever get to the point where I have no job or any leads at all in the tech field, I’m looking forward to trying my hand at selling cars and flipping burgers.
In regards to selling cars, I have a list of ideas I’d use to help me be a great salesman. I even went to 3 dealerships one day to do research. The experience was so bad at all 3 (low end, mid and high) that I wrote down all the things that I would do to make the experience better.
For burger flipping, I’ve always wanted to work at In-N-Out. I realize that I’d be the oldest employee, but I’d have a blast. Last I checked, working your way up through the ranks was the only way to open up your own In-N-Out. Plus, managers make a hefty salary and have wonderful benefits. Continue reading “Staying Happy During Tough Times”→