Sunday, July 25, 2021

That one where I almost lost my life but ended up rolling over a 5 year old boy part 1

 You know when they ask you in interviews "What is your most embarrassing mistake" ? Well I always lie and mutter something that I think they want to hear and a false cringe on the face to add dash of believability into the whole story. It's false. That is not my most embarrassing mistake. The most embarrassing mistake I have ever done in my life happened before I was even working. I think this was in the 90s. 

It was the days life was simpler. Mom had her wits with her, before Dementia stole her memories and I could talk with her and dad was still alive. Out of all my school mates I guess I was one of the privilege few who had enough money to join a sports club after school. It was something like paid tuition for badminton. It was called "Pioneer Badminton Club" and we had a coach that taught us badminton. We played mostly during the weekends on "proper badminton playing skills". Coach was this like older guy who was very passionate in badminton and read many books on the subject. He was like the authority in badminton for me. We played in this really spartan place which could easily be used a sauna on hot days and it had another name called the "Green House". Although it was town area but it was situated in a kind of rural part of town so we got to experience what it was like playing badminton in a place situated almost like in the middle of a full blown jungle. 

The place was owned by this family who also played Badminton at this place. 2 girls and a guy. They were really good too. I used to have a crush on the older sister. She looked demure and slender. I liked her and she was part of my boyhood fantasies. Anyway, back to this story, they are only the co-stars of today's story. The main actor (protagonist of antagonist depending on which side you are staring this tunnel from) is the older brother of the family who played both the part of the senior patriarch of the family. He is a truck driver and he is one of those guys that really look the part. Picture an older Chinese guy with the steely gaze of Ironside, not to mention his fiery temper and you will be in the same ball park as me. 

Anyway, I used to practice Badminton with a whole bunch of other guys at this place every Saturday and Sunday and the coach used to come to my house to pick me up. Although it was hot and sweaty, I welcomed the change of pace and scenery it injected into my bored teenage life every week. There were four courts in this place and usually 2 of the courts would be used by our club. We had like almost 40 students at one point so this guaranteed that there will always be some guys who are not playing or training at one time. Those of us are who are "benched" in these intervals would gather outside the court and bond with each other as only teenagers knew how, calling each other names and playing stupid punky pranks on each other. 

It was a idillic, simple and happy life. Funny how the Little did I know that pretty soon all this would almost come crashing down right in front of my eyes. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Why for some it's the end while others it's a challenge ?

 Today I started thinking about how challenges to certain people appear as roadblocks while others they are just challenges and is a problem to solve. I thought it was will power, vision and some character trait, but came to a conclusion after listening, reading and analysing successful people describe the challenges they face and how they overcome the challenge. 

I noticed more than anything they treat challenges as a problem to solve and they look very objectively at the problem. Their feelings or their sense of self are not tied to the outcome of the problem, rather the outcome is just an outcome to be observed to either be successful - stop the problem solving or iterate further and try a different approach to solve the problem. Problem solvers comes from in all shapes and forms, from all sorts of background but this is one of the trait that they seem to share. 

As it is the same to theorise how placing your hand on a hot kettle will be painful when your hand is not really on the kettle it's easier to think in theory when you are not actually in the situation, I think this also needs to be implemented and tried in real life, I will try to do this in my day to day now. It's hard but it's how a problem solver should think.

Do not rely on will power too as it is a limited resource and if it's a situation you to to force yourself to think daily, it is exhausting. It will not last long. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Koan-ing around

 In what I do daily, unfortunately I spend more hours than I care for in very uneventful meetings. You know those kinds that when you go to you either get dismissed for what you say or you end up contributing less than 3 minutes worth of comments. Another down side of this meeting even realising the facts above, the whole world would go topsy turvy when you miss one of these useless meetings. So you can say that I have a lot of free fidget time on my hands. A few hours here, a few hours there really adds up to a lot. So I decided as an extension to my basic tutorials of Rust, I decided to advance to try out my hands in doing their version of Koans called "Rustlings". It's been great ! 

Coupled together with the great error messages of the Rust engine gives another dimension to Rust's Koan - Rustlings. Learn to love the descriptive error messages and you will begin to think of it like your own private Rust tutor. You can get started with Rustlings here:

The exercises are short enough (at least the starting few) that you don't get over invested to the point someone actually notices that you are not paying attention during these meetings. They are however good enough to test your understanding of Rust syntax and language structure. 

It tests you on syntax, logical structure and some basic usage of popular built-in libraries. So, get off your laurels and stop flittering away your hours in useless meetings, instead spend it polishing or sharpening the axe. All of us have the same hours of the day, how we decide to use those hours though separates the wheat from chaff. Happy koaning around ! Also, Koans are very popular in most languages so if your interest is not in Rust just try googling for <you language>+koans and most probably will find something out there that will butter your toast. Hasn't failed me yet. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Some things to stop doing

 Here are a. few things that I am going to try my best to stop doing:

  1. How some relationships can stand in the way of success or goals no matter how much the person that is allowing it to happen says it's not so. 
  2. How mediocrity can be tolerated in service of a friendship.
  3. Trying to figure out how words and actions don't usually come hand in hand. 
  4. Stop looking deeper and continuously evaluating the values of my own goals. 
  5. Going to multiple virtual meeting at once. Like all the ones above this one is not worth it, no matter what I used to think in the past.
  6. Being surprised how mule headed and un-logical people can be when protecting a useless or pointless process. 
  7. Trying to understand why #6 is the way it is, you can ask why but usually the official reason does not make sense anyway. 
  8. Tying my organisational and personal mission to a person. That person might have inspired me towards my mission but that's it. Have a good day. I will take it from here.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Time here is ending ?

    Time here with my team after so long (coming to 3 years), looks like is inevitably coming to an end. Am I pissed ? Damn right I am. We are kind of paying the price of someone's insecurities, he fears we have to go. It's been a journey and unfortunately the journey ends in melodrama. I did not plan for this to be a tragedy or drama. It's supposed to be a feel good movie. How can I spot these kinds of things before actually joining a company during the initial courtship of interviews ? For this one, during the initial stage I did not even detect anything. I just noticed that the A-hole was kind of dismissive during the interview, cutting me off in mid flight during my sentences but the content of what he was saying was positive or neutral at best. I mean who in their right mind would go out and show your worse side during the interview right ? I wish I knew of some questions to uncover Jerk bosses ? I guess something like this would be serviceable ?

Something like this: 

perhaps to uncover bad company cultures ? It's not easy moving from company to company, it's stressful on us too as we are again thrust into the proving battlegrounds of being unconfirmed after surrendering all of your previous progress in the previous company at it's door. I feel naked usually hit hard with culture shock as well as another strong case of impostor syndrome. 

I can tolerate a lot of things where I work, but not being undermined, belittled and dismissed. I just have to keep on asking myself what the hell that I did wrong and which deity I accidentally killed on my way to work one day, as I have no freaking idea. The good side to all of this ugliness though, is I have clarified and understood the things that I want and my mission in life. Guess what ? It's not just purely about DevOps. DevOps at the end of the day is just a tool. A means to an end. What has always interested me is how to create a place of work where engineers can humanely work to contribute their time while still being able to hit company goals. Admittedly I think this motto and goal needs further clarification and refinement. Like the author, this goal needs work and is at this stage still a WIP. 

I hit upon this when interviewing with another company who advertised for a "Senior DevOps lead", could not afford it and at the end of it tried to stretch it's reach by asking me to come up with a "Go to Market" plan which usually are done by teams ... yes teams in other companies. Really Meh-9 wasted my time with that stinker. We should all just maintain a list of Cina Apek companies that should be avoided during interviews. Glassdoor did not help much during this process too as most of the reviews looked positive. 

That's pretty much all I got to say for now, I hope this blog will become my therapist as I pour out my pains, insecurities, anger and disappointments here and out of the ashes of all my pains will come out a better me and hopefully I will finally land somewhere that will appreciate me for what I contribute and somewhere where I grow with the company.