Tag Archives: Personal

I went on Holiday (Vacation) and Managed to Switch Off!!

The jet lag has almost passed… I’ve nearly caught up with the backlog of messages on my various social platforms… expenses are almost done… and i’m about to hit Outlook and clear my email inbox. Yes, I’ve just come back from nearly 4.5 weeks away on holiday (vacation) and barring a few conversations on Teams with my team, I managed to switch off almost 100%… In fact this is my first blog post in more than a month!

To be honest, this is something that I thought I would ever do and on one side I feel somewhat ok about it… while on the other I have a case of mild agita over needing to catch up and get back into the groove of work life.

“Don’t F*cking Tell me to Switch Off!!!”

This was the original title of the post (modified to soften the blow) and mainly relates to the bucket load of messages and comments telling me to switch off while on leave as I started this trip. This is something I have experienced throughout my career and I see it all the time when people make the “mistake” of checking into Twitter, or posting in Slack when they are on vacation.

There is almost nothing I find more frustrating than people telling me (or others) how to spend my time… be it on holiday or otherwise and especially when it comes to work related matters. I’ve written before about work/life balance and how I have struggled to achieve that over the years and in fact the whole work/life balance in IT has become a real topic since then and there have been many people that have written about their own personal struggles.

To that end, when people tell me to switch off, I tend to respond with what is stated above and the immediate thought that resonates in my mind is that I’ll switch off when and if I damn well please! And if I don’t, then that is ok as well! If I feel balance and I am ok in myself, then it’s something that is in my control and not the place for others to try and dictate to me.

Regardless… I Did Switch Off

When it comes to my thoughts around switching off… it comes down to the fact that my hobby is also my job and my career. Tinkering is how I learn and an important component of learning is staying connected and engaged with the various online communities and content sources. This is why I find it hard to completely switch off. I don’t deny that there is a physiological side to this which equates to an addiction… it’s well documented that we thrive on the hits of dopamine that come from social reward.

For us as techies, that social reward is linked to emails, messages, Tweets, likes, hits, views etc. I’ll be honest and admit that I do crave all those things as well as social interaction with my workmates. However as I settled into my holiday I began to replace the need for technical reward with that of personal and family rewards that generated different types of dopamine hits.

 

The max hit came while at a local village feast in Gozo where memories of my childhood trips to Malta came flooding back… and as I ate my third Imaret I was at max switch off level and knew that I had succeeding in doing something I thought not possible! Total disconnect!

I captured that moment below in the fourth picture… this is for me as a reminder of where I can get to if I ever feel the need to switch off again.

Ultimately I was able to not touch my MBP for work all holiday and I let myself drift away from my connected world without much thought or fear of missing out… for the most 🙂

I still did a bit here and there, but not nearly as much as I had thought. Now that I am back, it’s time to get into the connected world and get back to what I do… stay engaged, stay connected and stay switched on!

2018

Looking back over the past couple of years I haven’t written a forward looking blog post about the year ahead since 2015 and as I sit here working through my notes on the first workday for 2018 I though that for the good of myself, I should have a think about what I want to achieve out of this year. A lot of people I know and people’s who’s blogs I follow the industry are very big on setting personal goals for the year, but that’s something that I don’t traditionally like doing. It’s not that I don’t have a plan or that I like to randomly see where the year takes me…historically I like things to kinda roll on.

If I think back over the past couple of years…or more specifically since I started working for Veeam I have achieved and ticked off a lot of personal goals. If I think about last year and the opportunities I had. Top of the list was that I delivered a VMworld Breakout Session and be part of a main stage demo in front of two and half thousand people at VeeamON which certainly ticked the boxes in terms of public speaking events.

Beyond that I learnt a lot about working in a Marketing Organization and the behind the scene people engine(s) that keeps a successful software company like Veeam rolling. I learnt how products are positioned, how collateral and content is developed and also how to interact with different areas of the business as products are developed and marketed. Being the Technical end of a Marketing Organization is an interesting place to be and there is a balance that I learnt needed to be had to bridge the gap between the technical and the non-technical.

Travel was something that I didn’t mind doing and as I pointed out in one of my last blog posts from 2017. I adjusted to the travel well, and without question I am looking forward to my travels in 2018. The one thing that did catch me out was the impact that it had on content creation and tinker time. That was a lesson learnt and I am extremely motivated to ensure I work in and around the travel to ensure I pick up my game compared to last year.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about work/life balance and the challenges of working from home and that is something that I am always aware of. Last year the balance was pretty much spot on, so this year I’m hoping that it remains the same…because if that balance isn’t kept everything else could be considered a waste of time!

In terms of what I want to try and achieve this year:

  • Continual Personal and Career Development (don’t rest on the past, continue to push and strive to better myself in every way)
  • Excel at my job and strive to always improve (this helps me, my workmates, customers and the company)
  • Get at least two quality blog posts out a week (not for the sake of it but to create great content)
  • Deep Dive into at least one Technology per month (This is paramount for my job and career)
  • Read at least one book a month (I’ve never been a big reader but need to push myself here)
  • More Home Automation (think this is on everyone’s list but something that I want to do as a hobby)

I’m sure there is more and I am also sure I can be more specific but for the purpose of this exercise I’ll leave it at that list.

As I start to settle into the new year I will be thinking about how I can continue to move forward both professionally…together with my my team as we shift from Marketing to Product Strategy bringing with it new challenges and opportunities to learn new skills and contribute to Veeam’s success…as well as personally as strive to be content about where I am in life with family central to that.

Here is to 2018!

#GoodbyeLament