Work

Video: Parachuting into Drupal Crazy

This week I spoke at the DBUG Drupal meetup in Denver about an unglamorous but very important thing that comes up for any technologist: turning around applications that have, for one reason or another, left their users unhappy.

I also had no idea that DBUG meets in a TV studio and is broadcast live on public access TV and the web. Thankfully, my doctor has me on some really good blood pressure meds.

My talk covers some of the strategic, technical, and personal things that people can do to fall back in love with their Drupal applications again. (The non-technical aspects are really applicable to any software.)

(I start my talk at the 19 minute mark.)

I want to thank DBUG for inviting me, and Aten Design Group and Denver Open Media for their sponsorship and work to make this event happen.

Slides are at http://zeke.ws/DrupalParachuting .

Keep life priorities in balance: Check.

In my personal life, I’ve always been one to prefer spontaneity over structure; relaxation over regulation. For a long time, I’ve clung to that at home as a way to compensate for all the organization that’s crucial in my work. But this summer, I’ve been trying something more deliberate to keep a balanced daily life. Every day after work, I make sure to do a few things: Continue reading

Zeke’s Life, Spring 2010 edition: Be Here Now

I don’t know where the last couple of days have gone, but I want my weekend back!

I haven’t been posting a lot about daily life this semester because I am lucky enough to actually be very consumed with school and the career search. I really didn’t expect things to hit me so hard all of a sudden, but I’ve been going seemingly nonstop since January or February. For the most part I’ve been handling it OK, though I’ve definitely had to shift gears on my daily routine.

One unfortunate truth is that I get so distracted having my desk in my bedroom that it’s pretty hard to be productive from home, so I find myself kicking myself out of the house a lot to get stuff done – to the CSU library if the time is right, but more often than not, I’m at the Alley Cat, Fort Collins’ 24/7 coffeeshop near campus. I quickly gained my FourSquare mayorship, I’ve had more than one precarious 4 AM bike ride home in varying levels of snow, and I am not going to tell you how much money I spend there. (The cost of the coffee and food is far offset by my productivity gains from the removed distractions.)

Currently on my plate are two big midterms and one case study on my own while working together on a huge paper and presentation with another group. Somewhere in there, I also need to find room to squeeze in a freelance project and the hunt for a job (Not knowing what I’m doing a month from now? Not the greatest feeling!) Despite all that, I feel like I’ve been ramping up the workload so steadily now that I can still manage to get stuff done without self-destructing. It’s interesting, though – I really haven’t felt this intense, stressful-yet-exciting kind of routine since my last senior year, back in high school. Back then I was juggling AP exams, college applications, understaffing at work, and a family with a 14 year old and a 4 year old at home. The situation has changed, but it’s the same old story: I’m super busy, but it’s almost all really worthwhile stuff that has me excited for what lies ahead.

I’m still actually working on the answer to what does lie ahead. On the practical level, I’m looking for systems analysis, sales engineer, and web developer opportunities in Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins and San Francisco. But I’m wondering a lot more about long-term stuff: what do I want my life to look like? Do I want to move to a big downtown area and try the urban yuppie lifestyle? Do I want to travel? Do I go back to Spain or do I take care of my massive international “to-do” list? Since I’m at a point in my life where I have the freedom to make those decisions, I feel like I should really think a lot about them before I commit myself to one path for a while, since I’m just finishing up this 4-year “chapter.”

I find myself thinking back to a walk I took a year ago alone on the dunes of the Sahara: it was there that I felt the most clarity and perspective I’ve ever experienced. That wasn’t really a “what am I going to do with my life” kind of moment; it was more like a time where all distractions were removed to the point where all that remained was the pure essence of being in communion with all that really matters in the world. A few months later, I was back in the daily grind when this line from Six Feet Under hit me like a ton of bricks:

All we have is this moment, right here, right now. The future is just a fucking concept that we use to avoid being alive today. So, Be. Here. Now.

I never expected to get a serious philosophical revelation from an HBO show, but it really does explain it all. The stuff I have going on isn’t necessarily irrelevant, but it’s really important to me that I don’t get lost in it. I want to go after a lifestyle for my future. My goal is not to save for retirement, or be super successful, or be the best person in my professional field. I don’t want to burn out on stress to the point that I need a vacation to recharge my spiritual batteries. I want to work towards making every aspect of my life: personal, professional, social, financial, spiritual, whatever – into things that enrich my life and the lives of everyone around me. And that’s it. Anything that doesn’t work towards that probably shouldn’t be there.

Post-baccalaureate life: The view from September

(I said post-baccalaureate in case there’s a secret Double Word Score box in this blogging program 😀 )

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do when I get out of college, and three options I like have presented themselves:

  1. Peace Corps. I’m applying now, and trying to figure out if I fully grasp the magnitude of the commitment I’d be making.
  2. Nontraditional job- freelancing, contracting, or startup work. This would give me some freedom when it comes to workplaces, schedules, and might let me do some of the other things I’ve gotten the itch to do (mainly travel and music). Then again, the unsteady source of income might totally stress me out. I bet I’d figure it out pretty quickly though.
  3. Find a good full-time job that doesn’t drain my energy and hopefully could fund some serious hobbyist music at night. I could also see trying to do this abroad in Spain, if I can swing it somehow.

I like all three. I’m in no rush to choose (besides getting my Peace Corps application stuff in on time) and am actively researching opportunities for them all. Feel free to let me know if you have any suggestions as well!