Managing Stress

This has been a stressful time for many people around the world. Working remotely, limited movement, pressure to continue to perform while perhaps being worried about continued employment, these and many more factors have made the last few months hard for many people around the world.

I interviewed Troy Hunt earlier this week for Redgate Streamed and in the introduction, made a joke about his achievements, including being a father and husband. He published a post about stress the next day, revealing that his home life had been difficult last year and he had to rebuild it. I felt bad and sent an apology, because I know how hard difficulties in life can be and the stress they create. It’s also good to apologize to anyone you might have hurt, regardless of intent.

His method of rebuilding was based on friendships, being careful in his decision making, focus on goals and letting other things go, finding a way to unwind (a beer), and taking care of his health. I think those are great things, though driving forward with focus is something I find many people struggling with. Of course, that’s why most people aren’t Troy Hunt and extremely successful in their finances and career.

It’s OK to not aim for what society thinks is important. Owning a company or making millions. It’s OK to aim for simpler goals, but it is helpful to try to drive yourself towards something you are interested in. A friend went back to school and is struggling a bit this summer with work. There are few jobs and very few internships. Instead of getting too upset, this person checked their finances and decided they could get by with minimal work and has tried to spend some time working on learning a language. Not for school, or with a purpose, other than interest as a hobby.

It is important to have some way to relax and enjoy yourself with a hobby, with faith, with fun times with loved ones. Getting away from stress is important, however you may choose to do it. I’d also say that while goals are good and measuring them helps your career, for many of us, a break away from work should be just that. If you have a project or some thing you want to work on, just enjoy the time, whether you move forward or not. The journey sometimes is the best part, and the hopefully the part that helps you relieve some stress.

Steve Jones

Posted in Editorial | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Social: Going Along to Get Along

It’s the eve of the Fourth of July, when the Declaration of Independence is celebrated in the US. I’ve always like this holiday, but lately I find myself less enamored. This section rings hollow:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

Mostly in light of this passage: three fifths of all other Persons.

As a person growing up in the South, I had lots of friend that had Southern Pride, self-described rednecks. I also grew up in near military bases, so there were a fair amount of diverse ethnicities, but still minorities overall. In my high school of about 900, I’d guess it was 20% African American, Oriental, Hispanics, and a few people with Middle Eastern backgrounds.

I mostly had white friends, some because of academics, some because of sports, some because we lived near each other. Overall, friends treated me well.

Some of their friends, no so well. I was fortunate that I grew up on a somewhat isolated street with a couple brothers, one older, one younger. The protected me a few times in high school when some of their friends threatened and physically assaulted me in other neighborhoods. I learned very quickly in middle school that my freedom to ride my bike far from home didn’t mean the same thing as my friend’s freedom.

Later in life, I tended bar in Virginia Beach. I worked in a nightclub at one point, a place notorious for not allowing blacks or Hispanics to come in. Bouncers would find reasons to not let them in, including suddenly raising the cover charge, finding minor faults with their clothes that crossed an imaginary dress code, and flat out telling some they weren’t welcome. Police were our friends, as we gave them free meals often, and drinks on their nights off.

I got hired when the place was sold, since a friend told me the previous owner would never hire me and not to apply. I did, and didn’t get hired before the sale, but did later. Most of the staff stayed on, and I’d say that I was uncomfortable and wary of about a quarter of the bouncer staff, trying to ensure I was never alone. I laughed at their racist jokes and behavior. I sided with their disgust at the riots on Labor Day.

I didn’t make waves, instead doing a good job, making money, enjoying the beach, and getting promoted to assistant manager.

A couple years later, while working there and back in grad school, the previous owner bought the place back. We were all told to come in early one weekday and be ready for a deep clean of the nightclub and bars. As I worked along, the owner asked to seem me just before lunch and told me my services were no longer needed. No explanation, just leave.

The other assistant manager was demoted to just a bartender. I get the desire to have new management, I get the need to perhaps keep less staff. I was the only person let go.

I was the only non-white person.

I can’t prove racism and have no desire to do so. I can only speculate, and I do think that was the reason. I also accept I could be wrong.

I’ve gone along too often, but I don’t think that helps us move forward. We can all grow and change, we can all learn to treat others more fairly and fight our inherent biases, our prejudices. We can always admit we were wrong and move forward. The great thing about much of humanity, and often in US society, is that we give second chances.

I’m not condemning anyone for life, but I also don’t want to put up with discrimination, racism, sexism, and unequal treatment of other humans. You don’t have to like people, but you should treat them fairly.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Daily Coping 3 Jul 2020

I’ve started to add a daily coping tip to the SQLServerCentral newsletter and to the Community Circle, which is helping me deal with the issues in the world. I’m adding my responses for each day here.

Today’s tip is to thank a friend for the joy they bring into your life.

Following on from yesterday, I’m going to use someone that was in the photo yesterday.

Allen, thanks for the company, conversation, criticism, and knowledge you’ve shared with my over the years.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Goal Progress Report–June 2020

It’s time to evaluate where I am with learning this year. I didn’t set goals until March, as I was gone early in the year. This is my first quarter review of what I am doing for myself this year.

I’ve broken this down into the areas from my first post.

Reading Goals

Here were my goals for the year.

  • 3 technical books
  • 2 non-tech, related books

Books I’ve tackled:

Not a great stat, given I’m a third of the way through the year from March. I should have completed a book already by this time, but I’ve been using reading to escape from the stress of the world, and reading these books isn’t too relaxing.

I also pivoted slightly with the #BlackLivesMatter movement to add the third book, which does impact work. That one is going slow, as I need to try and digest the information and relate it to life and work.

Project Goals

Here were my project goals, working with software

  • A Power BI report that updates from a database
  • A mobile app reading data from somewhere
  • A website that showcases changes and data from a database.

Work done is essentially zero. I did a class on Power BI and am working through the book, so this has had some prep, but I haven’t added in any of the books or resources I have to actually set up a website, database, or anything else.

I start building a database of some personal items, but it’s not ready for a report. However, that’s no excuse. I have data generators, so I should just get started. Moving to a new machine disrupted me slightly, as I had to install and configure some software. Not a good excuse, but writing this post at least makes me think about getting going with planning.

Especially with no travel coming anytime soon.

Posted in Blog | Tagged | Leave a comment