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The Power of the Humble Pint and the Community when things are difficult!

Disclaimer This isn’t a fun post (to read or to write) and nor is it a technical post – this is a reflection on the last few years and is in its very nature quite a personal post. I expect that there will be some kick backs about this post in future and I would humbly ask that you try and imagine yourself having been in my shoes at the time of these events happening and also at the time of writing this post.

If this isn’t the sort of thing that you wish to read then I would advise that you don’t carry on from this point and find something else more fitting to your taste.

 

Sometimes I have those moments where my thoughts can be expressed along the lines of “Fuck this I’m getting out of IT” or in other cases it can be put forward even simpler “Fuck it – I’m Done with all of this”

Now I know that likely read in a way that is different from the actual truth behind it but this is something that we in IT (and generally in Adult life) tend to be expected to sweep this sort of emotion under the carpet as if it doesn’t actually exist. For me this is no longer acceptable and I will not hide my emotions away like this especially when I am struggling to deal with it all and I, like many others in similar situations have to find our own ways of coping with the daily struggles and the tipping points that we each have.

My tipping points have always been centred around home-life stability – something that most people take for granted, however for me this has been something that has been in almost constant flux since I was 16. I’ve had some good spells where things have been stable for almost 2 full years but I’ve also had the other extreme where things have been extremely volatile for a time which could typically be anywhere up to 6 months or so.

This being an area that I;m frequently reminded of I decided in the spirit of writing this post that I would do some data digging and work out a few things around my home life that could be determined as statistically interesting – or at least it was to me at the time and it has been something that I have been thinking of doing for quite some time now, so when better to do it than when I want to write about it.

So I’ve only worked out places I’ve lived since (just before) I turned 16 (I’m 26 in 2 weeks and think that 10 years is a good measure point) and I haven’t split all hotels out into separate rows in my Spreadsheet – if I did that then I feel that it would skew the data but for my own amusement I will likely do this at some point in future.

However the crunch really comes down to the numbers and I have found the following facts – some of which shock me now by looking at them

  • I’ve lived in roughly 24 different places in 10 years – this includes adding spells of stays in hotels, hostels and even a spell of time spent in my car/s
    • I’ve rented 11 places – these I had actual tenancy agreements in place
    • I’ve lived in 8 different forms of shared housing – this doesn’t include any spells of living with family or those that would be classified as family
    • I’ve lived in 4 places that were the direct result of being made homeless – although this is technically skewed as the only time this happened was when my ex partner, son and I were all made homeless – Other than this I have received NO HELP from any UK Council Housing department as I am seen as “Not in Priority Need” according to their data charts
    • I’ve spent 4 different spells where I’ve basically lived in hotels prior to this weekend (as it will be spell number 5 now)

The duration of the average spell is roughly as follows

    • Days per place = 152
    • Weeks per place = 21
    • Months per place = 5
    • Years per place = 0.42

 

The Longest spell is as follows

    • Days = 663
    • Weeks = 94
    • Months  = 21
    • Years  = 1.82

 

So where does this fit in with the Title of this blog post?

Well I suppose it really all started for me in September 2013 when it became the right time to make the decision to move away from everyone that I knew and try and start afresh closer to work and part of that was to work out how to end up meeting new people. Thankfully I learned of the SharePoint User Group, of which I’ve become a regular attendee at, as well as a few other groups thanks to them having Meetup groups, these included LeanAgile and DigiCurry to name a few.

This was the type of surrounding where I realised I felt that I was comfortable with meeting new people and I strongly feel that though these groups (& the resulting conferences I’ve attended too) I’ve made some amazing friends along the way and at some point I came to the conclusion that I would most likely still feel comfortable on the presenting side of the groups and not just as an attendee and that started me off on the journey as stated in this post and followed up in this post , this post and this post.

However its not all been fantastic throughout the years but having found various communities that I enjoy attending, I have somehow managed to scrape through all the difficult moments and made it this far however it is now getting to the point where the number of “Fuck this I’m getting out of IT” or “Fuck it – I’m Done with all of this” days are getting somewhat out of balance with what I’m able to maintain. A key part of this is again due to my current housing situation, aka a downright mess.

With this in mind I suppose what I’m getting at is that without the communities that I’ve become a part of I’m not sure I would be able to write this post.

Also over the last few weeks I’ve been asked around the why’s & how’s I manage to juggle it all. The short and simple answer is that all these communities are essentially a part of the extended family to me and with this I feel that at times I want to see and help direct the communities growth for the benefit of the community members much akin to how a parent would do the same for their children, something that I currently cannot do for my own children.

As I see the communities as extended family I plan things around “the next event” which has been a major driving force keeping me going over the last year.

So with all that in mind there may be times ahead where I’m struggling and especially more so with the Core items in life but that wont ever stop me from continuing the work I put into the community where it is still feasibly possible. There may be times ahead where I may need to unfortunately let conferences/user groups down that I’ve promised my time to speak at but this as things stands is an unfortunate bi-product of the situation I currently find myself in and if I can in anyway mitigate having to do so then I will, but currently it is looking like I may have to cancel everything that I have planned ahead, which is frustrating and infuriating especially when I’ve been looking so forward to the events I’ve got planned over the coming weeks/months.

 

2016 was supposed to be the beginning of an amazing year where things fell into place, however 3 (almost 4) months in and its feeling like 2013, 2014 & 2015 all over again.

 

It’s 4:12 and I really shouldn’t hit publish on this article but I feel that it needs done – Yes I’m 25 and Yes I Suffer from depression, but that hasn’t stopped me achieving a hell of a lot in the last few years and I don’t expect that to change. I can and will get though it no matter how difficult the roads ahead are for me.

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