Be the person not the job

Today’s little thoughts as I was driving back from a riding lesson was all about labels. How we and others see ourselves. Very often the first thing that people ask is or try to find out if they’re stalking us on social media or checking out our profile on a dating site is “what do you do for a living?”. Fair question, it’s always interesting to find that out, but does finding out change that persons perception of you? I think it does.

When I say what I do normally people look confused so I broaden it to I.T. Which of course has other connotations at that point, people think I can of course fix their computer, their wireless router and anything else that involves wiring. Most of the time I can but that’s not what I do. The other image is of course the dismal one of the guy on the Helpdesk, headset on, listening to people’s woes over Outlook, Word, internet connectivity or something like that. And that perception that I fix stuff is yet again there. I guess actually my job is more about designing my bits right so the help desk guy gets as little hassle as possible…

If I had told you I was a refuse collector would you have perceived me differently? I suspect yes, but why? Well that’s because society still classes us by the jobs that we do and not the people we are. Lawyers, doctors, priests, the upstanding citizens of our so called human ecology can be as immoral as the next guy, in fact can be worse. The immunity such a profession can give means that some feel they can manipulate the situation to fit their favoured outcome, and as a society we let them because that’s what we do.

The call centre worker, well I’ve been there before, being shouted at, then looking after or training the poor guys being shouted at, probably demonstrate some of the most powerful problem solving skills and quick thinking in order to resolve the being shouted at situation. It is those on the front line, the anonymous voice who get abused the most and yet they have no power to manipulate the world as the guy in the grey suit with the letters after his name does.

But here’s the thing. Every single profession I’ve mentioned above involves people with likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams. They are merely acting in the paid time that they are held captive by the employer to do what they do. And yet still it defines our perception of the person.

I spend a lot of time playing down my intellect to people when they discover the work that I do if they don’t quite get it. I often feel embarrassed like I’ve been found out. The “Oh so you must be pretty clever then” is almost an accusation of being stealthy in my approach to appear as a human when I clearly am not.

But my life is so much more than the job that I do, and each time my job role has changed I remain the same person, I just learn a little more. Sometimes I’m a mom, sometimes I’m a zookeeper, sometimes I’m a wonderer, a biker, a horse rider, a lazy bitch watching Netflix in bed, at every single point I’m not being clever, I’m simply being me.

Some people certainly live and breath the work that they do. They just don’t stop and whilst it’s admirable it makes them boring to me. Yes the passion is great when someone loves what they do, but you can be too much of a good thing at which point you become that and nothing else.

So next time I see the guy emptying the bins, or the lady at the check out, or speak to the advisor for my insurance, my gas bill or buy things from a shop I’ll try to see the person behind the role and wonder what else lies behind the uniform or the well trained voice. When we remember that everyone else is a human too our prejudices of the unknown melt away. The lady in the burka often persecuted in today’s society is just a woman who has made a decision to demonstrate her faith, the guy in the overalls is fixing or building the things that we need for our everyday lives and so on, without the mix of people in our world we would all be clones. I am lucky to live in a country where choice is allowed, where freedom of speech is encouraged, but it’s sad to be lucky, that’s the way it should be regardless of our location.

I don’t fight for feminism because it’s now a dirty word, sullied by the extremist views of the bra burners, the man haters and the ones who accuse and abuse the rules to make the results in their favour. We often forget that our animalistic biological roles are separate to the intellectual roles that we play in the world. As a mother I try to instil the values that I see as important into my daughter, as a female being dated or in a relationship I am a woman, the potential child bearer, the yin that balances out the yang. But it doesn’t mean that I must always be that role in everything I do. At the gym I lift heavy whenever I can, in my job I out intellect the intellectuals in the chess like mind games of design and solution, but it’s all being lead by the person inside.

Sometimes that person inside is just a small child as she tries to make sense of the world around her with the hope that no one can see her breaking inside as she bluffs her way through trying to hold it together. Sometimes that person is the oldest, wisest witch with the forces of nature behind her and intuition leading her when she feels her strongest. There’s always a balance to be had in the child like wonder and the wise witch who knows the rules of the universe, and when the balance is equal she is at her happiest. She can enjoy the experience with her eyes open wide but interpret it with the wiseness of the child that was always considered to be old for her years.

In my belief we are purely energy driving the machine of the biology we’re born into. When the biology is old our energy is transferred to a new machine to start again and experience some more. The soul which is mine is an old one, the energy is fresh but the experience is vast. There are irrational fears built from experiences before this time that cannot be explained by events of the current phase of life into which I’ve been born. It makes me patient most of the time, but frustrated at behaviour of the world as a whole when I see people are wrongly perceived, persecuted generation after generation. It means that I don’t fear death all that much, but the pain of the process in which it inevitably happens.

So be the person inside, drop the job role, the perception of the way you should act and be the person you are, you’ll be perceived as more genuine. Don’t worry about validation from the people around you, validate yourself and have confidence that when you are being who you are it really doesn’t matter what you do to earn your bread.


Design Decision Tarot

IMG_0554So as you’ve probably guessed by now I like a bit of spontaneity and get some new ideas all the time. Me and my best bestie from my old team often come up with some new ideas for businesses that might just work!

Today’s Idea….

Design Decision Tarot! How’s this gonna work? Well… let me explain… as a data architect I have to come up with a solution to a problem involving data… very often it’s a collaboration between me and some other architects such as solutions and infrastructure. Easy right? Most of the time no… not when the boys get all protective over their idea or miss stuff or forget to tell you something important. It can take forever!!!! And very often what you’re working with is pure intuition on what will work because you don’t know until you’ve tried it! Intuition you say… let’s take that idea and run with it… like so far that we just won a world record for sprinting the fuck away from the original plan. Yep been there. So I’m gonna start using the powers of the universe to help me make a design decision from now on. I’m gonna take along my trusty pack of tarot cards and it’s going to be as good as any in how I decide how the hell we fix this one hell of a fuck up of a bug, or poor legacy design that someone took and buggered to the ends of the earth till it broke baaaad.

Here’s what I’m gonna do;

1. Hand over my precious cards to the business owner and ask them to shuffle.

2. Lay out the designs we all came up with on the table in front of them.

3. Ask the person to deal 3 cards for each solution.

4. Interpret card 1 as background problem, 2 as implementation and 3 as final outcome

What could possibly go wrong?!?

So… here’s a quick over view of how it could pan out;

You got the Tower as Background, the Sun as Implementation and the Ace of Pentacles as your final outcome…. go with that one!!!! Seriously ignore anything else!!! You are fixing something that is totally fucked and delivering it will be a dream, the outcome will be awesome

You get the 10 of cups as back ground, the ten of Wands for implementation, and the 9 of swords as your final outcome… leave well alone, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it style because that’s gonna be a pain in the arse to implement and when you do you are gonna be fixing bug after bug and it’s gonna hurt.

Failing that you could always use the Ouija Board… this will tell you exactly which bit is buggered, be carful though, the spirit of an architect could be good or bad, if it starts at the moon drag your glass to goodbye immediately, no good can come of their input.

I’m going to try it… the others right now are stuck in a place of indecision and mutual suspicion of each other. Sometimes leaving your decision to the divine is the only choice you have because no one can make up their freakin’ mind! Or more often everyone made up their mind before we got into the 2 hours of some prick commandeering a white board and nothing getting solved, me wishing I had those 2 hours of my life back or failing that a button to push that either unleashes my pet dragons or opens up a trapdoor to hell or somewhere… either way, I’m not picky.

Tomorrow I’m taking my cards to the office… if it catches on I’m totally gonna run with it!!! I mean someone came up with scrum poker for sizing work… so why not Design Decision Tarot? The decision logs will be much simpler  to fill out, 3 columns one for each card and as most people prefer pictures the answer will speak for itself 5 years down the line when we’re trying to work out who in the world made that decision. Also it takes away the blame culture, if the universe advised it then there was a reason that we should not question.

I’ll let you know how it goes…


Same city different times


It occurred to me today how many people we encounter on a day to day basis and yet how lonely you can feel in a crowded city surrounded by people. I take a break every morning when I’m at work and stand outside my office building that stands right opposite a bar where my last boyfriend frequents, and yet we will never bump into one another in spite of the close proximity of our two separate existences.

I not through choice but necessity awake during the day to go to work and carry out my various responsibilities before eventually hitting the hay for a few hours to repeat the next day. He is awake during the night because the business he chooses to run is predominantly carried out after office hours with people trying to make it to leave the 9-5 drag or people like him who have no real routine or perhaps even responsibilities in life other than perhaps feeding themselves and keeping a roof over their heads.

I used to feel envious of the freedoms they held but actually now I no longer am, the apparent freedom for many is a trap, they drag themselves down and each other with the notion of the struggling artist and the idea that one must have no ties to stop their creativity from happening.

Why can’t it be both? For me the romanticism of the struggling artist is just that, actually it doesn’t have to be that way at all. Why must success always be so painful? Do I really have to cut off my own ear and die poor for my art to be sold for millions hundreds of years after my death? My answer is no. Because what would be the point?

So here are my two sides of the city, the one’s who are working to achieve success and the one’s who are working to well… for what? Pain and suffering I guess. Is taking a good wage really selling out? Or is it actually accepting the value of your worth for the work that you do?

We all have to do the things we dislike sometimes in order to do the things we enjoy. Getting up for work in the morning is a daily struggle but I do it for the things that I can achieve by doing it. The joys of seeing my daughter smile, the joy of knowing the roof over my head is mine, the joy of simple things like planting flowers, reading books, seeing friends to go to a gig. All of which I would not be able to do were it not for the 35 hours a week I sacrifice. But then, is it really such a sacrifice when there are things I gain? The interactions with people I would never have met, the chance to learn something new and be part of something great.

When I told myself aged 18 I would never be able to work in an office I had a dismal view of the world of work, the idea of being free to be who I wanted to be, outside of the norm, but then I have never been a part of the norm.

So the two sides to the city, whilst I rest he works, whilst I work he rests but I gain from my day things that he could never understand. And no longer wish for the life of suffering, no longer see my choice as a sacrifice, more an enabler to do what I want, to become great in my fairy tail and rule my own kingdom. The only limits are those that I put in myself, I’m not tied, I can run if I wish, but for now I’ll stay. Running away doesn’t solve the problems you are running from. But staying and dealing and overcoming them makes your life that much richer.

The life I have I did not necessarily choose but then again perhaps I did, because I chose to succeed where others told me I couldn’t, I chose to work hard when others told me not to. At a young age I had two choices, suck it up and make your daughter proud or lie down and let others deal, I chose the former and have no regrets because everything I have I worked for, nothing was handed to me in a plate. My university fees I mostly paid myself, my house deposit provided by me, my car paid for by my own hard work. My future will be built by me. When I could not afford bread, I worked harder, when my flat was cold, I worked harder. Today I stand on my own two feet and I’m strong because of the lessons I leant, you can have whatever you want when you put your mind to it and work hard. Yes some get the help of inheritance or parental support to give them a start, that is great as long as they use that help to make themselves a success and show that a wise investment was made. This is why I have no guilty feelings when I invest in myself. You cannot be strong for others if you haven’t. My life was not created for me to suffer for some art that may never be discovered, and nor was anyone else’s. Find something each day that makes you love what you do. And never wish for the life of another without fully understanding the implications of that. There is no honour in martyrdom, but there is honour in gratitude for what you have and the talents you have gained in getting there. Enjoy your life and everything it brings, the challenges are just that, don’t give up on your dreams or limit yourself to the views of others, it’s your story to write make it a good one.



Game of Thronsing the shit out of it…

Work situation today… okay my esteemed colleague, a male is struggling with my errr… let’s call it energy. We are poles apart in personality, I am confident (often faking that bit still), vibrant and generally follow a “let’s get this shit fixed” approach, he like rules, meetings, discussions and for god’s sake do not change anything!!!

We actually get on we’ll as people, he’s pretty sweet, very prim and proper, well mannered in general, I swear like a sailor and take no prisoners. But we sing database lyrics to Disney tunes and he seems enthused by my madness. So we get on.

Today however after a confrontation from him about a decision I’d made to publish data documentation to our developers on an intranet site, I snapped. I’m on week 7 in a new company and so far have learnt, after his 4 year tenure, my counterpart has not really implemented all that much. His documents are ignored, people just do what they want. I’m on week 7, me and the developers get on (boobs might be helping my case here) and they actually like that I listen to them and guess what…. we all dream the same dreams… we all want to make our lives easy so we spend less time working out how we fucked it up last time when we’re fixing it this time.

The trouble with this guy is that when he sees me doing something that’s in my remit, he panics, he doesn’t know what it is and feels like I’m doing something that makes him look bad. And then the machine gun like questioning begins. The why, the constant need for me to justify an idea, he needs to discuss and agree everything I do, disputes the fact this is my area of speciality and he has his own. When I justify my actions his response “oh that’s okay we’re aligned” or “oh we’re on the same page” etc. This guy likes to waste hours in a meeting arguing about things we can’t see when a picture will tell you a thousand words and save you some hours of frustration.

Today I snapped. My reply after the 20th question and the reassurance (to himself) that we’re aligned, “Yes I know we’re aligned, seriously stop saying that after everything I do, this is an enhancement of what we have already!” And yes I sounded exasperated. Much to the entertainment of the surrounding developers. My Hadoop project, it’s mine and it’s exiting, he just can’t keep his damned nose out. So I cut him out of my discussions because quite frankly he just confuses everyone and wastes time. My response… you’ve got a million other things to do, I got this shit handled, don’t worry and just trust me.

I call this “only child syndrome”, little sister just emerged and she needs her own domain… she’s your equal and you’re gonna have to share your toys. You can either fight for daddy’s attention and I’ll always win because I’m damned cute… or play my game and we’ll share the toys and daddy will give us both the attention we need… guess it’s his choice… but he’s learning… little sister isn’t gonna be second best, the competition will be healthy, but piss her off and she’ll Game of Thrones the shit out of it! See I’m emerging as a combination of Sansa Stark with my red hair and “I’ve had enough of this shit” attitude, Daenerys with my “mother of dragons I’ll free your slaves and they’ll join my army” management style and my Aria Stark style “you’ll regret this when I’m feeding you a pie made with your first born sons” before killing you. There’s always gonna be a bit of Red Witch and some Cersi thrown in for fun! Perhaps next time I’ll just refer to him as “Little Finger” or continue with my retorts of  “You know nothing John Snow”. Either that or exclaim winter is coming and send him off to defend the wall….