Speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2019, but not about tech

Yet again I’ve had another acceptance on a session that I have submitted to a conference, this time to Microsoft’s flagship conference, Ignite, this year taking place between November 4th – 8th 2019 in Orlando, Florida.

 

I’ve been accepted for 2 sessions, a 45 minute Breakout session and a 20 minute theatre session, both of which will be brand new to me sessions, and whilst both are completely non-technical, they are incredibly important topics in the Diversity & Inclusion track, something that I have been trying more and more to be better involved with.

The first session “Mental Health: It’s time to talk” is going to be an interesting and fun talk to plan, and planning has already started, including planning what tech I need to used to be able to pull together some statistics to share in my session.

The session description is as follows Microsoft Ignite Session BRK1033

The second session “Mentoring: Is it your most powerful networking tool?” is a short theatre session covering my own experience with mentoring and how I am excited with the new mentoring app as detailed in this blog post on Tech Community

The session description is as follows Microsoft Ignite Session THR1044

 

As I mentioned in a previous blog post on my Reflective thoughts on 2018 and a look ahead at 2019  I intend to be doing more and more technical and non-technical writing & also where possible more non-technical presenting as part of a personal long term goal to reduce the stigma of talking and writing about Mental Health, because like many millions out there Mental Health Affects Someone Like Me.

 

You can follow my Mental Health blog site over at @mhasl_me and if you are interested in helping writing content at all then please head to the site at https://mhasl.me and fill in the form linked to on there.

I’m looking forward to getting these 2 presentations put together for a number of reasons, including the following

  • These are both non-technical topics that are both really close to my heart, and well one that you could say is more close to my head than my heart, but it is something that I want to use my technical & non-technical skills where I can for good and this feels like a good extension of where I can start.

Whilst I am looking forward to the next 2 months of planning and presentation refinement, I will also be looking forward to taking some much needed downtime afterwards to decompress properly as  event’s like Microsoft Ignite and other conferences can be draining, especially with the International travel and change of body clock due to the time zone difference.

 

That’s all for now, but I have a few more posts in the works, so expect another new post from me soon enough

Speaking at Ignite on Tour London

You can tell that it’s the beginning of the conference session confirmation season as I’ve had another acceptance on a session that I have submitted to a conference, this time to the London leg of Microsoft’s Ignite on Tour conference on Feb 26th – 27th at the Excel London.

The session that I will be delivering is a new to me session called “Using Azure for Good – the story behind mhasl.me” and is a “from the trenches” story of the technological and architectural decisions made along the way behind the delivery of a completely new blog site that I am in the process of building and hope to finally release in the upcoming weeks.

The session description is below.

Description

In this session I will cover the technical background of a new site that I have developed for sharing stories related to many different aspects of Mental Health and how it is something that affects someone just like you or me.

In this session I will cover

  • Architectural decisions and why I made the decisions I made.
  • The Technicals behind the site and the components used as part of the building, maintaining and development of the site, from Azure DevOps to Azure Resources and how I built a repeatable deployment of the Resources that made the site a possibility from the get go.
  • Security Decisions that I made along the way and why I chose them.
  • Lessons learned along the way
  • And lastly why I think this is a topic that in tech we need to talk more about

 

As I mentioned in a previous blog post on my Reflective thoughts on 2018 and a look ahead at 2019  I intend to be doing more and more technical and non-technical writing with this new blog site as part of a personal long term goal to reduce the stigma of talking and writing about Mental Health, because like many millions out there Mental Health Affects Someone Like Me. You can follow the site’s progress via Twitter over at @mhasl_me and if you are interested in helping writing content at all then please head to the currently deployed placeholder site at https://mhasl.me and fill in the form linked to on there.

I’m looking forward to getting this presentation put together for a number of reasons, including the following

  • This is my first conference talk at a Microsoft run conference. This in itself brings a number of interesting challenges, not least ones related to and centred around my own Mental Health, especially around anxiety and my management of nerves. However this is a (mostly) fun challenge, including setting a tight time boxed deadline to actually get this up and running which means I have to actually start kicking in PDD – Presentation Driven Development as coined by @daviwil and noted in https://twitter.com/BrucePayette/status/723513244342751232
  • The technical side of this is filled with a number of interesting & complex challenges, mainly because in my own desire to  that should have a number of interesting decision points along the way, with a number of them already made and make for a number of different choices, not least in IaaS vs PaaS vs a mix.
  • The non-technical side is a topic that’s really close to my heart, and well one that you could say is more close to my head than my heart, but it is something that I want to use my technical & non-technical skills where I can for good and this feels like a good place where I can start.

On a side note, but still semi related, I have signed up as a #MindCampaigner and you can too at https://action.mind.org.uk/be-mind-campaigner

 

mind

 

https://i2.wp.com/www.staffordshire.police.uk/media/3270/mental-health-words-icon-clear-2/image/stess_3.png?resize=208%2C208&ssl=1

(Image above copied from link to this article – https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/article/2051/Personal-Safety )

 

I’m looking forward to the next 4 weeks ahead, but I am also looking forward to a few days downtime afterwards to decompress properly afterwards too.

Reflective thoughts on 2018 and a look ahead at 2019

With 2018 now being basically over, its time to reflect a bit, and well lets say that overall in the grand scheme of things it’s been a pretty good year.

Like any year there’s been ups, there’s been downs, there’s been lots of travel, laughter, tears, sun, rain etc etc. All in all, it’s safe to say that there’s been a bit of everything this year.

 

2018 will for many reasons stick out to me for years to come as the year that started building the foundations for my upcoming thirties, and yes you did read that right, upcoming thirties, and here are some of the reasons why (in no specific order, mainly because I could not decide on how I should order them)

  1. I’ve cut down my alcohol intakes by an amount that I am happy with and also started improving other areas of life including my diet, and hopefully other areas of health should improve over time, time will tell as they say.
  2. Got my own place, although I am still renting, I currently don’t share with anyone else which has already been immensely beneficial for my long term mental health. Don’t get me wrong living with someone is fantastic, if they are the right person that is, something that my last house share really hit home on in the weeks prior to leaving with living with someone that had less that basic levels of hygiene and cleanliness and left things like public hair on toilet seats and in the shower, and not just little bits but a serious amount of it, that I never want to share with someone I don’t already know again, if I don’t have to. However it does mean I am the only one doing the dishes and all other cleaning, but that’s something that I can happily live with, as I find cleaning rather therapeutic. This will mean that I will start get back into enjoying cooking and baking, something that I have not felt overly comfortable over the years whilst living in shared housing for above reasons. and this is something that in 2019 hopefully will change. Also, not many will have known this other than those close to me, but I was unintentionally homeless at the beginning of 2018, something that I was deemed at being without need from 2 different councils, and this is something so this signifies a major pso
  3. Got myself a car again, which makes life 100x easier and allows me the ability to improve other aspects of live in 2019, including taking up some form of martial arts and going swimming regularly. How well that goes will need to be seen but that’s a part of the plan, at least for now, I wonder how many miles I will do in travelling in 2019, and I am sure there’s some form of tracking app for that out there, this isn’t something that I have actually looked into further, so suggestions would be appreciated.
  4. I’ve been lucky to work with some amazing people at Dotmailer and look forward to seeing how the future unfolds for the team there as they have a fantastic product and a lot of fantastic staff there and I am so appreciative of how they continue to support the UK PowerShell Community. Also through some of the employee schemes I had managed to get myself a basic but functional electric guitar and some amazing Sennheiser Momentum over ear Bluetooth Heaphones at a sizeable amount off the total cost. Both have been getting good use but that will increase in future.
  5. The UK PowerShell Community has gone from strength to strength and has an extremely positive look out ahead for 2019, with more and more events springing up follow @getpsuguk for further updates & join our community at https://slofile.com/slack/get-psuguk to get chatting with like minded UK PowerShellers especially as we have planning ongoing for PSDay which should be an amazing day. More coming on PS Day early/mid January and you can stay up to date with it at https://twitter.com/psdayuk
  6. I’ve joined an awesome team at Black Marble and whilst it’s only been a very short time in the grand scheme of things I can see the role I am in at Black Marble entailing a lot of fun times as well as many technical challenges as well, and as I’ve already found out (and already really knew) the team here is filled with awesome individuals, that have really helped me feel at home, at least in a professional sense. We have an awesome set of highly intellectual individuals which makes for a lot of fun and interesting conversations in the office, that often leave me thinking that I need to pick up one of the many books that we have on the shelves, because you never know when you need to now all the inners of XML from the biggest book we have in the office. That thing is HUGE.
  7. I feel I have managed to kick the bit of Writers block that I had previously had (can you tell from this post lol) and I expect that in the coming months I will be doing a lot more blog writing, some of it on this blog and also on another blog that I am spinning up, called mhasl.me, which stands for Mental Health Affects Someone Like Me, as a place for those that suffer, or support those that suffer, with any forms of Mental Health to be able to come and write about it from their personal experience. This is part of a personal long term goal to break down the stigma of talking/writing about #mentalhealth and I envision that this site could end up becoming a go to for anyone suffering with various aliments of mental health to see that you can have less than perfect mental health and that you can still be extremely successful in life/ Expect to see me blog on here about the technical side of the site including the reasons for making the technical choices that I made for the site, as well as the running and management of this going forward and also blogging over on there over there for a long foreseeable future. I am in process of getting the site all setup atm but you can follow the twitter account I have set up – http://twitter.com/mhasl_me for updates when the site goes live and more details about what I expect the site to be all about in future, including, but not limited to, contributing, moderating and providing an input into the direction of this project.
  8. This year I finally gave Android another go in September when I upgraded to a Huawei P20 Pro, after my last Android the Sony x10 mini was far from impressive but that could have been down to the form factor of the phone more than the OS, and I am in a mixed camp between liking it and potentially moving back to iOS or as is actually likely to happen I might go for a multi device solution once again, something that I will further ponder in the upcoming months.
  9. I have further diversified my taste in music and this year has seen me more into my house/trance than ever before. I’m a big believer that diversifying the media you consume can be immensely beneficial and will be looking forward to seeing what Spotify starts to suggest for me in the New Year and as I have already got a new large Discover Weekly Archive playlist that I make use of IFTTT to put each weekly playlist into an a single playlist that will be something that I no doubt enjoy listening to as I now have over 3 days of potential content to consume I will give it my best to get through in a week or two.
  10. Some other areas of personal life are starting to have a better outlook ahead and fingers crossed for how 2019 will pan out in these, those close to me know that paperwork takes time to be completed, but it does and will get completed.
  11. Probably most important of all points from 2018, is that I’m starting to feel more genuinely content with where I am at in this stage of my life, whilst this doesn’t explicitly mean I am genuinely happier in all aspects of life, in the majority of them I am starting to feel at ease of where I am with them vs where I want to be at and a lot of that has been down to accepting and understanding that for certain things to change takes time and that I need to be more open to planning out sensibly about the actual timelines than I had been previously. This doesn’t mean that there’s not things that I want to improve on that would help me feel more content, but that’s all things that I can work on, at least in time. Therapy may / may not be something that appears in my future, this is something that I am still on the fence about.

So that’s enough about 2018, what about 2019 and what do I envision for the year ahead.

  1. 2019 will be filled with writing, more writing and more writing. Part of this will be down to the blogging that I intend to do, but also in my role we end up doing write ups for our clients, this means that I will be doing much more with my writing and looking at improving how I write going further into 2019, perhaps that might be something that I end up writing further about, fancy that eh? But nonetheless, I am looking forward to smashing the writers block and properly get back into the swing of writing once again.
  2. 2019 will be filled with more coding, which also equals more writing, this time I likely will be learning new languages/reacquainting myself with prior languages, like for example PHP which is fitting considering the technical work I am doing with mhasl, which I will write up more on in future as well.
  3. 2019 will be filled with more tech, and more innovative use of tech. I can say that this will likely be a big year for new forms of hardware and software with the likes of Hololens now getting some more traction and how Q# the Quantum computing Language is getting some more traction as well. There are also a number of other areas that are getting more traction in tech including Terraform and the other technologies from Hashicorp.
  4. 2019 will be filled with travel, again this is not just because in my role I travel to clients on sites but also that I will be doing more and more travel for the community work that I do as well. I expect I will be travelling around the UK a large amount for the PowerShell Community but also for other community endeavours as well, good thing I recently got a car again eh 😉
  5. 2019 will be filled with learning, mainly technical but also in learning more about myself and in general just learning more about lots of non-technical items as well, because life is a long journey all about learning and it’s not something that I ever intend on stopping.
  6. 2019 will be driven by Data and AI, and a significant amount of my time will be put into attending more and more Data events including Data In Devon (formally SqlSaturday Exeter) , DataScotland and also DataGrillen which I am really looking forward to. It will be nice to just attend events like these and not be either presenting or organising them and I look forward to catching up with a number of great friends in the #SQLFamily at these events.
  7. 2019 will be much more filled with reading, and by reading I don’t mean Technical reading, but more actual book reading and I’ve recently started reading this – The Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett and I can say that I will likely be reading a lot more of the books by him, as they are very well written and touch on an area that really interests me, the human brain. Dean is a neuroscientist so these books come from someone that really understands the science behind how our brains work, I intend in future to post small articles recommending books that I have read and enjoyed as well. I am also taking suggestions on what to read and if you feel you really want me to read it, especially if it’s technical, then feel free to send a copy to me directly at the Black Marble office, where I am sure we can also add it to the bookshelf, though for non technical please send me a suggestion either via a comment on here or via a DM on twitter.
  8. 2019 will be filled with more physical activities, like swimming, running and also a lot more countryside exploring, I mean I live in Yorkshire and within a 50 mile radius of me there is the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales so there’s plenty to see, visit and explore and now that I have a car that is something that I intend on doing more and more.
  9. 2019 will be filled with laughter and also tears. Like any year there will be ups and there will be downs. That is something that will not ever change, don’t kid yourself if you think you can have 1 without the other, at least not for too long, especially as tears can be both positive and negative, and could come from laughing too much, which is almost always a good thing.
  10. 2019 will be filled with more gigs – I did not do much gigging in 2018 or even 2017/2016/2015 and that’s something that I will be looking to change. I already have bought tickets to Metallica in Manchester ( I do have a spare atm but that’s more for planning reasons than needing more than the 1 as you never know what will happen between now and then) and I have others lined up that I intend on getting tickets for including Leeds, Download to name a few.
  11. 2019 will include more music, both as a consumer and also a creator. I envision that I will be spending some considerable time getting back to grips with the guitar and getting lessons to get better as so that I can play more of my favourite tracks and also start perhaps creating some of my own, who know’s whether that’ll lead anywhere more than just to a bit more diversity in my hobbies, which is never a bad thing.
  12. 2019 will be difficult, there will be more and more upset in the world due to everything that is going on in the political world. Some of this will affect us in ways that we could not have envisioned but one thing will stay the same, the fact that we can get through the turbulence and come out the other side. Please don’t let any political differences change how you interact with others ahead, especially friends and family, views can and should be different, which leads for the possibility of healthy debates.

All in all I think that’s about all for now but I know that with 2018 almost over with, 2019 is looking to be a more prosperous and the beginnings of a very interesting future ahead.

Leave a comment or tweet me on twitter at @ryanyates1990

Re-Awarded MVP for the Third Year Now, time for some reflective thoughts

I nearly didn’t start writing this mainly as I’ve found it difficult to get back into writing, let alone be in the right mindset to want to write at all. This partially stemmed out from struggling with injury last year. Thankfully, 2018 has been much much kinder to me, and I’m glad to say I am no longer struggling with at least the physical injury, that aside I intend to start getting back into the rhythm of writing once again, something that should come more and more frequently over the upcoming weeks and months.

 

That being said, this time around I want to reflect on how I came into the MVP Program, and specifically around how this has positively affected my life and those around me, both closely and those perhaps not so close, both in physical proximity and in my ever growing reach of my networks as they have grown over the last 3 MVP Award Cycles.

 

My journey to becoming a Microsoft MVP came early on into my IT career, but also in comparison to many around me, my IT career is relatively short, in which I have only been in active IT based roles since December 2012, a little over 5 & half years, but in that time I have been extremely lucky in some of the roles that I have managed to be able to work in, whether that be working for organisations like Barclays & University of Manchester, or being a part of the Organisation team for the 2016 PSConf EU event, or being able to revive the UK PowerShell User Group Community, and as a recognition of the community work I have done I was Awarded the MVP Award in April 2016 as can be read about in the preceding posts https://blog.kilasuit.org/2016/04/01/congratulations-2016-microsoft-mvp/ –  https://blog.kilasuit.org/2016/04/01/fooled-ya-today-i-became-a-mvp/ & perhaps the more serious https://blog.kilasuit.org/2016/04/07/awarded-the-mvp-award-what-this-means-to-me-and-the-future-for-the-community/  as well as my renewal thoughts last year https://blog.kilasuit.org/2017/07/04/mvp-award-renewal-time-my-renewal-new-recent-mvps so it was only natural at some point I would write something similar this year.

 

However the journey in the years leading to becoming a Microsoft MVP came at a time things were chaotic, to say the least, in my personal life & I knew from my interest in understanding Psychology & my own Mental Health, something that I’ve been focused in learning more and more about since my early teens, that I needed something that was not only consistent in life, but something that I could really push at and find passion in. That something has consistently been centred around my working life, with a huge part of my working life requiring more in depth knowledge of a service or services which actually really boils down to my thirst for expanding my knowledge in a wide variety of areas, technology is just one of many of these areas, as mentioned above, but it is the one I have centred my career around.

 

My desire to learn, a desire that hasn’t disappeared and likely never will, pushed me down a path that forced me, or more accurately actively encouraged me, to apply a fair amount of time & effort into not only getting into the IT communities centred around the area I was in at the time (2012-2014 means predominantly SharePoint) but to also expand outside of those communities as well into areas including but not limited to, SQL Server, web development and more later on and approaching 2015 time frame, the PowerShell Community.

It was at this point I made 1 single choice, a choice that at the time was essentially a huge gamble for me, and this was played in part due to the fact that I was struggling at the time, as i said previously things were personally chaotic, and due to the chaos I was undergoing I ended up suffering with a case of social anxiety, which was brought on by the immense stress that I was undergoing at the time. This would then occasionally lead to me having small outbreaks of mild but distressing panic attacks. These would typically happen in crowded places like Shopping Centres, Train Stations, and later on at User Groups and Conferences. However they initially only happened so sporadically that I took very little notice of them, but as time progressed they became more and more common and with that they also got more intense.  but I quickly learnt coping mechanisms to manage them. I could have taken myself to the doctors and got some form of prescription of anti-anxiety medications, which mainly tend to be of the benzodiazepine family, or referred myself to for some counselling, which looking back I could have really done with at times over the years, even if it was just as a further helping hand to get me through everything.

Let this be the beginning, of what will be a long reflective look on the troubles of the past, and of the troubles that lie aheadm with  more to come in the

#TalesToDewsbury

New-Job -Role Consultant -Company ‘Black Marble’ -Start September

Well the Title says it all in as few words as possible but I wanted to just expand briefly on this new chapter.

As of the beginning of September I will be leaving dotmailer after a fantastic 6 months here and this was a decision that was not easy to make as there are many interesting & exciting things happening at dotmailer in the upcoming few years & as such they are currently undergoing a huge increase in their tech team, I would reccommend that if you are looking for a new role in the London/Croydon area & are interested in DevOps and working with a predominantly all Azure environment to have a look at the roles that they have advertised at http://careers.dotmailer.com for further information. I will miss the team at dotmailer as it’s a very good working environment, has some interesting benefits and has a very interesting future ahead of them.

That may lead you to ask, why leave? Well the answer to that comes down to only a very small few factors, with the main one being that as much as I have enjoyed London and Croydon, I am a more comfortable being based in a more country like surrounding. So with this in mind the move to Black Marble made a lot of personal sense in that regard as well as alot of professional sense as I will be working along side some other familiar UK MVP faces, including Rik Hepworth (twitter) Richard Fennel (twitter) Andy Dawson (twitter) James Croft (twitter) James Mann (twitter) & MVP & RD Robert Hogg (twitter) – These are just a few of the people at Black Marble and I am looking forward to working very closely with Chris Gardner (twitter) on more and more PowerShell for the community in the upcoming months.

Alas this also means I will be moving back up north which means that the Manchester PowerShell User Group will at some point in the upcoming months be totally resurrected.

I am extremely excited for the future and what it brings, although there are still some things that are not solidified yet, like where exactly I am moving to, what I am looking forward to is getting stuck in to this exciting challenge.

There were a few people that I had some conversations with about this prior to making the decision, the benefits of having a trusted network as always is critical to making good sensible decisions like this one, and those conversations were immensely beneficial to me in coming to the end decision.

I will miss the team at dotmailer as it has been a fantastic time here, including (attempted) weekly games of football, which will be one of many things that I will miss, though I don’t expect to be too much of a stranger to the team in the upcoming months with PSDay and the other London User Groups ahead.

So without much further to add, Let the immense fun sarcasm of moving commence, hopefully this will be a last move for some time to come.

Awarded the MVP Award – What this means to me and the future for the community

The MVP Award is defined by Microsoft as the below

Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs, are community leaders who’ve demonstrated an exemplary commitment to helping others get the most out of their experience with Microsoft technologies. They share their exceptional passion, real-world knowledge, and technical expertise with the community and with Microsoft.

This means that within the different areas of the Microsoft Stack there are those out there that really believe that the world can be a better place when we come together as a united front and share the knowledge that we have.

This can be knowledge that we have gained through personal experience of working with the products that we find the most interesting and beneficial to our personal & professional lives or though being there as a point of call for other members of the community to reach out to.

One thing about the MVP Program that has always struck me as an amazing program was the willingness of the MVP’s to do what they can to help you, even if it doesn’t immediately help them in achieving anything, often giving away a decent sized proportion of their own time to do so and in reflection on receiving this award, over the last year I’ve been doing the same, although completely unware that I had been doing so.

I have attended a number of different events in the last year (for more details check out the Where I Have Been page) and have met a tremendous number of amazing people at all these events. It was the framework for the SharePoint & SQL User Groups within the UK that lead me to start thinking about reviving the PowerShell User Groups and I have blogged about this in this post and I have enjoyed every minute of it.

The future for the UK PowerShell User Groups looked good however with being Awarded MVP last week the connections that I will make from being part of the UK MVPs will hopefully allow for the User Groups to grow in the coming months/years so expect there to be news of new User Groups forming in the coming months across the UK.

To help the groups grow, I’ll be putting together an “Organisers Pack” which contain useful information and a collection of the tools, contacts and general tips required  which will help those interested in running a local group get it off the ground – however if in doubt get in contact with me.

 

However there is another aspect to receiving the MVP Award that I want to touch on briefly. As part of the MVP Program the MVP’s get the opportunity to help out in more community focused events, some ran by Microsoft, others ran by the community and others ran by non-profit organisations or the education sector. Giving back to the immediate communities is always going to be high up on my list of priorities however I am really looking forward to working with some of the bigger and more personally touching social opportunities over the next year.

 

This does mean that my calendar will be much busier but for me the end result is always going to be worth it.

Finally – A small shoutout to those that have supported me over the years and especially the last year and although I will not name anyone in particular, I’m sure that those people already know who they are!

2016 – 1 Quarter Down and 3 more to go and the Fun has only just begun!

C’Ya Manchester – Hello Derby!!

After yet more changes in my housing see my previous post for a bit of background link – I have decided to settle in Derby and this has been for a few very good reasons.

  • I’ve got a good group of friends here.
  • Manchester, London, Nottingham, Birmingham & Wolverhampton are all short train journeys away and I’m expecting to spend more time between them in the coming months ahead.
  • I almost moved here back in January – but I decided to try and give Manchester another go from the work perspective and this seemingly wasn’t to be the case

However I made a good group of friends in Manchester at the various events I’ve been to there over the last 2 years (more so the last year – see this page for more details) and I’ll still be trying to attend some of the amazing events there when it is feasible.

This is yet another new chapter in the book of my life and it is one that really should allow me to lay the foundations for the future a bit easier.

3 & half Months into 2016 and it feels like its the beginning of yet another new year.

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.