Technically Religious
S1E29: Tales From the TAMO Cloud Featuring Al Rasheed

S1E29: Tales From the TAMO Cloud Featuring Al Rasheed

September 24, 2019

Did you ever wonder why IT diagrams always use a cloud to show an element where stuff goes in and comes out, but we're not 100% sure what happens inside? That was originally called a "TAMO Cloud" - which stood for "Then A Miracle Occurred". It indicated an area of tech that was inscruitable, but nevertheless something we saw as reliable and consistent in it's output. For IT pros who hold a strong religious, ethical, or moral point of view, our journey has had its own sort of TAMO Cloud - where grounded technology and lofty philosophical ideals blend in ways that can be anything from challenging to uplifting to humbling. In this series, we sit down with members of the IT community to explore their journeys - both technical and theological - and see what lessons we can glean from where they've been, where they are today, and where they see themselves in the future. This episode features my talk with friend, sysadmin, Tech Field Day representative, and recurring Technically Religious guest Al Rasheed. Listen or read the transcript below.

Josh: 00:00 Welcome to our podcast where we talk about the interesting, frustrating and inspiring experiences we have as people with strongly held religious views working in corporate IT. We're not here to preach or teach you our religion. We're here to explore ways we make our career as it professionals mesh - or at least not conflict - with our religious life. This is Technically Religious.

Leon: 00:22 Did you ever wonder why it diagrams always use a cloud to show an element where stuff goes in and comes out, but we're not 100% sure what happens inside. That was originally called a TAMO cloud, which stood for Then A Miracle Occurred. It indicated an area of tech that was inscrutable, but nevertheless something we saw as reliable and consistent in its output for it pros who hold a strong religious, ethical or moral point of view. Our journey has had its own sort of TAMO cloud, where grounded technology and lofty philosophical ideals blend in ways that can be anything from challenging to uplifting to humbling. In this series, we sit down with members of the IT community to explore their journeys, both technical and theological and see what lessons we can glean from where they've been, where they are today, and where they see themselves in the future.

Leon: 01:08 My name is Leon Adato, and the other voice you're going to hear on this episode is my friend and recurring guest on Technically Religious, Al Rasheed.

Al: 01:16 Hi Leon. Thanks for allowingme to participate. As you mentioned, my name is Al Rasheed. I'm a systems administrator. I can be found on Twitter, @ Al_Rasheed, and you can follow me or follow my blog, I should say at http://www.alarasheedblog.wordpress.com I'm a Muslim. I believe in practicing good Karma, in remaining conscious of your decisions in life, and in one.

Leon: 01:40 Okay. And if you are madly scribbling down all those websites and stuff, you can stop and just listen and relax. We're going to have show notes so that you can find all that stuff without having to write it down. So let's dive right into it. I want to start off with the technical side of your life. Where, what do you, what work are you doing today?

Al: 02:01 Ah, so currently I'm a systems administrator. I've been in it for approximately 15 years plus. Um, I've got various certifications. I've been, I've worked at all different gamuts. I've been in the education field for IT. I've worked as a federal contractor forITt. I'm a DCVmug leader. I'm also a member of the VMVanguards, the a Vmware Vexperts, Cisco Champion, Nutanix NTC. I'm also Tech Field Day delegate. And most recently I was awarded, uh, with The VMug President's award at VMWorld 2019 in San Francisco.

Leon: 02:37 Right. I was there for that. So that was kind of exciting. That was amazing to see. Congratulations on that one. Um, okay, so that's where you are today. All things virtual. Uh, that's incredible. And it's always a lot of fun to have. For me, it's always fun to have friends who have those bases of knowledge because A) I have somewhere to turn when I have a question, but also B) when I get more curious, I can always turn and say, okay, "what's the cool thing? Like what should I be working on next?" So it's always neat. Um, but you probably didn't start off in all the virtual stuff with 15 years. VMWare wasn't around. So what did you do when you were just starting out?

Al: 03:13 So, just starting out right out of school, uh, relatively new. Uh, I was relatively new to marriage and in my early twenties, I was in retail. And at the time it was a career that I pursued. Also, it was the, um, degree that I pursued in school. Uh, it paid well. It got me through it, provided what I needed at the time, but as my wife and I sat down and started to focus on putting, you know, we were working on a family and then having kids, the along hours got tiresome working from four to midnight and then being back four hours later, uh, gets a little bit old after a while. Again. Weekends weren't off the, there were long days. And as most of us can really relate, whenever you're in retail, a customer service customer is always right. Um, but not necessarily, but you have to take your medicine and accept it.

Leon: 04:05 Yeah, it's a lot of "grin and bear it" kind of stuff. Right. Okay. So that's where you started, but how did you get from there, from that retail space into where you are today?

Al: 04:16 So, um, I took a chance on myself and when I say myself, that obviously includes my wife and at the time my son, he was about two years old. Um, I jumped into IT into a help desk position. It was a relatively low paying job, but it was a starter. It was a starter role within IT and it was a sacrifice that I was willing to make. Um, but at the same time I held onto my retail job in a part time position to make up for some of the money that I'd lost during this transition. And I held both jobs roughly for about five years. So give or take on average and I'm not making excuses for myself. Everybody's got to go through this, but it's, it's worth the sacrifice and the challenge. Um, for about five years I was putting in 60 to 70 hours a week and that included weekends, but, but I knew there was going to be a reward because IT was booming. Everybody was jumping on it. The Internet had just blown up for lack of better way of putting it. And um, you know, I just wanted just like anybody else, a comfortable... I thought at the time, low stress job. But IT can be stressful. We all know that as well. Um, I don't have any regrets. I'm glad I did it. It's definitely elevated me to a point in my life in career, but also provided for my family in areas where I never thought were imaginable.

Leon: 05:36 Great. That's, that's, I mean it's a lot of dedication and as a lot of us who've been sort of through that in that time period, you know, those 10 to 15, 20 years ago or (cough) more for some of us, uh, whose beards are a little grayer, it, you know, there is some sacrifice at the, at the beginning, but you see that there is you, there's a brass ring, you see that there's a reward at the end and so you're not just working for the sake of working more. Um, and that's, that's an important lesson to take away I think. Um, all right, so we're going to come back to that, but I want to, I want to flip over to the religious side. This being Technically Religious. So we're going in order, we talked about the technical, now I want to talk about the religious side of your journey, of your growth. Now I find that labels are really hard for folks. Um, you know, you say, "So what kind of Blah Blah..." whether it's Christian, Jew, Muslim, Mormon, "...like what kind?" And the answer is always, "Well, I'm sort of this and I'm sort of that..." There's, there's always an explanation to go with it. So labels are imprecise, but I'm curious how you would define yourself. Uh, you know, in a religious way.

Al: 06:42 Correct. So as I mentioned, to start off this conversation, I am Muslim, but I would consider myself a conscience, conscious based Muslim, a conscious based religious person. Can I be better? Absolutely. Am I terribly bad? I don't think so. I know my right from my wrong, I try to convey these lessons learned not only to, you know, for myself but for my wife and my kids, but those around me. And um, we just try to focus on positivity, help others out as best as possible. But you know, when I have to, if I have to look myself in the mirror, I do have a lot of room to grow with and uh, there's a lot expected of me and um, I can always improve. But there are, you know, religion is a delicate subject depending on who you speak to. It can be interpreted in so many different ways. So I'm trying to be as gentle as possible when I explain how I approach it. Um, because you know, just some people take it to another level and I, I don't want to A) offend anyone, nor do I want to get into a, a "beef" for lack of a better way of putting it online or on Twitter or however, if I were to see somebody in person.

Leon: 07:47 Got It. Okay. Well I will respect those boundaries too. But, uh, you know, again, I know from our other conversations that you have, you know, a pretty strong point of view for yourself, not for, uh, for anyone else, but you hold yourself to a very high standard and it definitely informs the way that you approach work. And, um, okay, so the same way I asked you about how, where you started in IT and how you got, uh, to, you know, this point in your life. So is this where you are now? Is that where you started? Is that, you know, your sort of level of observance and consciousness, religious consciousness when you started out?

Al: 08:22 I would probably say no. Um, maybe prior to getting married I wasn't as conscious of everything that's around me or what's expected of me as a Muslim or someone that's following any faith. Um, it's probably, it probably has to do with just being immature at the time or just, um, not really keeping those ideologies in mind that I think as you get older you start to realize life is a little bit shorter, especially as you become, especially as you become a parent. Um, maybe you want to become, you know, obviously you do want to act as a role model and a mentor and more so when I was more actively involved with my kids' activities, now that they've gotten older, you know, they want to distance themselves from dad and mom because they seem to know everything. But we were just like them. So, you know, when I was younger I was actively involved in like their sports, their activities, but I didn't necessarily do it for my kids. I also did it for myself in the young people that they were surrounded by. Uh, one thing that I, I really cherish and I, and I can't get enough of it, is if I happen to see somebody, like one of my son's friends who I coach, let's say for example in basketball 10 years ago, so that was my son was 12 years old at the time. They'll approach me and say hello, Mr Rasheed. And I don't even recognize them because they changed. You know, they're now young adults. My son's 22 and he doesn't look like he did when he was 12, but you know, they'll always approach me and they will call me by, you know, my name. But not only that, they'll take a moment or two and say, "You know what, thank you. Because what you taught us and then has helped us grow to where we are now." And when it was, when I went up, when I was involved in their lives at that time, it was predominantly around sports. I am a sports junkie, but I tried to also teach them life lessons and I think they've taken that and learned from it.

Leon: 10:22 Nice. Okay. So, uh, I think we've, we've covered your sort of religious journey or your spiritual journey along the way. Um, now what I want to do is talk about blending the two because I know that for people who have strongly held religious, moral, ethical points of view that work in general, and IT specifically can be interesting. I'm not saying it's a challenge, I'm not saying like it's a problem, but it creates a set, a set of layers to the work that folks who may not have that strong a point of view don't always, uh, have to manage or deal with. So I'm curious as a Muslim and you know, as somebody who's worked for decades in IT, you know, what challenges have you had with that overlap?

Al: 11:12 I think both your career in it and your faith as a Muslim, in my case, they both require an insane amount of patience, especially when you are out of your comfort zone or you don't live in your faith-based country. Uh, I, you know, I've, I've been a US citizen for pretty much my entire life. I've lived here in this, in the States for my entire life. So I've adapted to that culture, that way of life in general. But there are times, especially in IT, and I don't know why it has to be IT-related or specific to IT, but, um, your patients. Yeah, I want to say your faith, you keep faith in the back of your mind more times than not how you are going to react to a certain situation, especially if there is a potential for it to become unnecessarily, uh, provoked or heated.

Leon: 12:06 Okay.

Al: 12:08 Um, I, as you can relate, many of us in, in this industry, As IT professionals, we're acknowledged, we're appreciated, but they don't know we exist until there's a problem. And they will let us know when there's a problem. Nine times out of ten,it's not done in a manner in which you would prefer to be notified there's a problem. And so when you've got a herd of people coming at you and you're already well aware of what's going on and you're attempting to fix the situation on the back end and try to keep it to a minimum, those are the, uh, those are the opport... Those are the moments where you find yourself questioning, not necessarily why you got into IT, but why do we have to go to this level to report something that can be relatively low key and fixed in a quick amount of time.

Leon: 12:56 Right. But I liked it. I liked the word you almost said - it's an opportunity to have a chance to first of all reframe their point of view. And again, as somebody who has a strong, you know, moral, ethical, religious point of view to be that, uh, to be that example, to be that role model. Um, sometimes we do end up representing a segment of the population. You know, I know that a lot of times for people who especially don't know, me personally, I am a 5' 8" kippah and you know, seat seat. I'm just this religious dude who's standing there. And that's what they see. And so I do recognize that my interactions carry a weight that isn't just, hey, Leon didn't handle this well. It, it goes further than that. So you have an opportunity to not only help manage expectations as an IT person, but you have a chance to manage expectations as the whole person who you are standing in front of them.

Al: 14:00 Correct. Correct. And I find it's not, like I said, it's not about me when I put it this way. I think it does apply to a lot of us in IT. Honesty can be a challenge. And I'm not saying that we always have to lie, but sometimes you've got to beat around the bush to put it mostly because if there is an issue and you're upfront and you give the end user who the individual, whoever the individual is, that's asking for an update to the situation, uh, the truth, they may overreact and take it up to another level that's completely unnecessary. And unprovoked. I'm not saying lie, but sometimes, and I hate to use expression beat around the bush, but kind of just give them as little as possible without putting yourself out there in a tough, in a tough area.

Leon: 14:48 Well, and I would also say that there's, there's a way to, you don't have to say everything right. And that counts for lots of people in lots of situations. That truth is answering the question that you're being asked. Um, I will never forget that one of my children asked me, you know, 'Dad, where did I come from?" And so we sat down and had this very long, very specific conversation about biology and when I was done, my childhood, oh cause Bobby's from St. Louis and I realized I was not being asked the question. I thought I was being asked. And so answering the question that, that you're being asked, you know, "what's wrong" is a very open ended question. And if you give too much detail, people can, at best they'll ignore the answer. But at worst you're giving them bits of information they didn't really, they weren't really looking for in the first place.

Al: 15:47 No, that's, that's a valid point. As the kids say TMI, too much information. I totally get it now as we've gotten older, but I know we've mentioned on previous segments on your podcast, I've acted as a mentor in my career in IT, and one of the pieces of pieces of advice that I give to young people getting into IT is keep it - and with all due respect - keep it simple stupid, the KISS method. Don't go out of your way to offer the end user, whoever you're explaining this to, an opportunity to twist your words around or maybe they just don't quite understand what you're trying to explain to them and then they can convey it incorrectly to someone else that could elevate it to a just a very challenging awkward position to be in.

Leon: 16:32 Okay. So any, any other challenges that you've had again with your ethical, religious, moral point of view, blending that with your IT experiences?

Al: 16:42 Um, communication is very important to me. Everyone should have an open door policy. Um, feedback should always be provided in good and bad situations cause we can only improve from it. Um, there are times where if you are going back to the honesty key point, if you are honest and upfront, there is a tendency, not, not necessarily all the time, but the occasionally that it could backfire. And um, it's, you know, the old expression, "you have to play the game" or "don't hate the player, hate the game." I don't like to be that way. I don't think anyone wants to be that way. And it's not something that I would encourage anyone to go down that path or act in that way. Um, but you know, it's a delicate balance and you just gotta be aware of your surroundings, but do it morally and ethically without not only, you know, putting yourself in a bad position, but your team as well. At the end of the day, you're a team. You have to function as one and, uh, we have to improve collectively.

Leon: 17:39 Right. And, and again, you want to answer the question you're being asked, you want to offer the, you know, that those pieces of information don't overshare because at the end of the day, people, you know, they have a quick question. They want a quick answer usually, especially when something's really happening in IT. You want to be able to be brief and be brilliant and be gone.

Al: 18:01 Yes, right. And all but, but be authentic, be original. You know, it's going back to what you just said and don't try to create something that you're not cause that that hero mentality sooner or later we'll come back and get you. And before, you know, you have a reputation of being that type of person and it's not something that anyone in IT or any, any, any career for that matter wants to be. Because once you've been singled out or blackballed or considered this type of individual, it's really hard to recover from.

Leon: 18:35 It definitely can be. All right. So, so that's sort of the challenges. But, um, I'm curious if there have been benefits or surprises, uh, or just, you know, positive things that this overlap between your religious perspective and the IT work that, uh, you've had. If there's anything that, that you've experienced over the last 15 years.

Al: 18:54 I think getting more involved more recently in the, the community in general, that the community, regardless of what platform it is, has been inspiring for me. It's opened up so many doors and created so many friendships, including with you and Josh on the podcast. Uh, it's refreshing to know that there are individuals out there that care for one another, not only from a professional aspect but from a human perspective as well. Because, you know, we work to live and we'd hate to work or we'd hate to live to work. And so I, I, that's something that I've learned over the past few years is, you know, you can put in 70 hours, but it's, and that's fine and dandy, but sooner or later it's gonna catch up to you. And before you know it, you're not going to be happy professionally. If you can't do your job in a 40 hour a week. And, and I get it occasionally you have to over your, you know, you have to overextend yourself. You have to sacrifice an hour or two here and there. But when it becomes a consistent part of your life, when you're putting in 70 hours a day, you're defeating the whole purpose of everything that you've worked so hard to get to.

Leon: 20:00 Right. And again, I think that the, some of the guiding principles of our, our faith lives start to put, to put that into a particular framework of, you know, what are you doing this for? What's the point? Um, I was listening to someone speak the other day and they said, you know, if someone showed you a machine that was a perfectly self running machine, "Look, I turned it on and it never, it just completely feeds itself!" And you'd say, "That's wonderful. What does it do?" "Well, it does that, it just, it runs and it, it, it keeps itself moving and it keeps itself oiled and it's self repairs and stuff." "Yeah. But what does it do?" "Well, that's what it does. It just, you know...", You'd say, "Well that's cute, but a machine that works so that it works, it doesn't even make me a cup of coffee. It doesn't, you know, Polish the dog or like that. That's sort of a pointless, a pointless machine." And if we've become that pointless machine where we are working so that we can work so that we can keep working so that we can work, it's that sort of never ending loop. And I think that again, our faiths point us toward like, that's not it, that's not what you're supposed to do.

Al: 21:06 I was just going to say, sorry to interrupt you, but then you do lose sight of faith when you're working night and day and all you do is think about work, work, work. And I don't want to come across the wrong way. Um, I, you know, I would hate for someone to characterize me in a different manner. Um, but I, you know, I, I'm a hardworking individual. I'm diligent, I'm thorough. I'll do the best to my ability. I am a team player, as I pointed out earlier. But you know, at the end of the day, I want to come home and separate work from life.

Leon: 21:37 Absolutely. And I think that when you have that, when you have that ethic, everybody except the most, uh, abusive or small minded people will respect you more for it. Okay. So any final thoughts? Anything? If somebody listening this and saying, "Wow, that sounds just like me except, you know, he's way further ahead than I am" or whatever. Like what lessons do you want to share? What final thoughts do you want to leave everyone with?

Al: 22:02 I would say based on where my path has taken me, you should always take a risk on yourself, especially if you've got an opportunity to do so. Uh, without, you know, without risking a lot, you'll realize sooner than later that the effort that you put into it, you'll be rewarded for it in time. Um, if you sit back and wait for someone to do something for you, nine times out of 10, it's not going to happen, but do it the right way. Um, seek help, uh, become a part of, you know, the various community groups. Um, occasionally, you know, you've got to volunteer because you've got to give and take. So you can't have everything, uh, put out on a silver platter. You've got to put in the time and effort, the blood, sweat and tears as they say. But a don't make yourself miserable doing so. And when I reflect back, I, I don't really have any regrets, uh, with what I chose to do at the time. I'm happy I'm, I'm, I've gotten to this point in my life and in my career, but moving forward, I, I still want to elevate and I still want to grow. And, um, I'm looking for that next challenge in my career. And, uh, if that opportunity presents itself for the right reasons, and if that a organization finds, um, that I am the person that they're looking for, you can always reach out to me. I'm more than willing to have a conversation.

Leon: 23:17 They'd be idiots not to take you. I will, I will go out on a limb and say, Al, it is always so much fun to talk to you. Uh, I know we're gonna have you back on the Technically Religious podcast here in the near future, but thank you so much for taking some time out of your evening to talk with me.

Al: 23:36 Thank you as always, and I appreciate your time and support and if there's anything I can do for you, the podcast or anybody in general, you've got my contact information, you're more than welcome to share with me if they reach out to you directly.

Doug: 23:48 Thanks for making time for us this week. To hear more of Technically Religious, visit our website, http://www.technicallyeligious.com where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions and connect to us on social media.

 

S1E28: Release to Production, Part 2

S1E28: Release to Production, Part 2

September 17, 2019

The phrase “release to production” conjures a very specific set of thoughts and even emotions for folks who live, breath, and work with technology. Some of those thoughts and feelings are positive, while others are fraught with conflict. At the same time, those of us who are active in our religious community experience a different kind of “release to production” - releasing our children to the production environment of our faiths, whether that is teaching abroad, missionary work, or adult religious education that takes our young adult across the globe. And like our IT-based production release experiences, we watch our kids transition into chaotic systems, where parental observability is minimal even as the probability of encountering unknown-unknown error types grows. This week we continue the discussion from the last episode, where Leon and Josh to look at what our IT discipline can teach us about how to make this phase of the parental production cycle easier. Listen or read the transcript below.

Kate: 00:00 Welcome to our podcast where we talk about the interesting, frustrating and inspiring experience we have as people with strongly held religious views working in corporate IT. We're not here to preach or teach you our religion or lack thereof. We're here to explore ways we make our career as IT professionals mesh or at least not conflict with our religious life. This is Technically Religious.

Leon: 00:24 This is a continuation of the discussion we started last week. Thank you for coming back to join our conversation.

Josh: 00:31 You know, there's a moment in my and my childhood that I think accurately reflects my approach or how I got into IT. And I really wished that I could have had somebody at the top of Devil's Run with me who could say, "Look, now young Josh, this is not a good idea." So you have to picture this. It's this, the largest hill in my neighborhood and Ontario and it is a, a run that goes down, hits a flat top and then goes down again, uh, into this grassy meadow before there's a highway. And there are trees that are grown, that are grown in across the path. And here I am, I'm probably seven years old, right? This is the 80s. There are no bike hel, there are no like bike helmets. No. And I'm on my BMX, right. Uh, no suspension. It's not like I was, you know, dry, uh, riding a mountain bike with, you know, eight inches of travel on the front end and three in the back. Like this is teeth chattering. And I friends and I of course are at the top of this run. No one locally is Devil's Run. And I'm like, I can totally do this. And so I set off down this hill and about, oh, about a third of the way I realize I'm in trouble. Not only are my fillings rattling out of my teeth, right, but I, I'm, I'm losing control. And then I hit the middle, this, this flat top and I'm like, oh, I can. And then I hit the second part of the hill and I'm flying down. [chattering noise] Just the chatter the entire way I get to this meadow. And I realize that there's a fence coming up. Cause that's the only thing between me and the highway. I slam on my brakes. If you've ever slammed on your brakes and a grassy meadow, you do not stop. You just slide. I crashed headlong into this chain link fence. The next thing I remember was my friends standing over me. "Hey, are you okay?" I don't know how long I was out. They, they walked down, um, Devil's Run after seeing my spectacular run. I wish, I wish that someone had said, hey, you know, you should probably take a different route to the bottom of this hill. But I got there really quickly and that's kind of like my IT career. I got to my it career really quickly. I'm only 40 (ahem!) something and I've been in it for 21 years and there are a lot of people that are a lot older than I am that, you know, they did the, they did the traditional route and didn't get into the right t career until they were 25 or 26.

Leon: 03:10 Sure. Right. And Yeah, the subtitle for that. And for some of us, perhaps the epitaph on our tombstone will be, "Mistakes were made. Lessons were learned", and that's...sure!

Josh: 03:25 There was a lesson to learn in that?

Leon: 03:26 Yeah, there probably was. There's a few, few functional lessons. So in the category of "Mistakes were made. Lessons were learned." And really it was the, the impetus for this entire episode, uh, my son is, uh, actually about to be on his way back from Israel. Um, I'd like to point out that he left last Wednesday, uh, for a year of yeshiva and he's coming home. Uh, it was, uh, a challenge from start to finish. He got there and things were not as he expected. Um, I will, I will say that he is a fairly resilient kid. He's done traveling. He's, you know, he's been to a high school yeshiva program that wasn't at home. Yes. There was some, um, some homesickness that was certainly involved. Yes. There were normal dorm shenanigans that occur in every dorm situation, you know, "Hey, I want that spot. You can't have that spot!", You know, that kind of stuff. But, uh, there was also a set of circumstances that were not related to that. They also were not of the caliber of civil unrest, mind you, but, um, just a lot of things that didn't match the set of expectations that he had going in. And by the time we got the better part of a week in, he was so miserable and so unable to, to change his frame of mind that nothing was going to work. And we also realized that everything that we wanted for him, everything that we, and by we, I mean my wife, myself and him, were going to get out of this experience at yeshiva wasn't going to occur. And even if it did occur, it wasn't worth or greater than the challenges he had faced already and the challenges that we're clearly still going to occur while he was there. So we made the decision this afternoon and, um, got a ticket and he's, he's gonna fly home tomorrow. So this is effectively the same as you know, catastrophic failure and a rollback in, you know, in production. That you have your change control window, you have everything plotted out and things simply nothing installs or deploys the way you expect it to. And you find yourself at 2:30 AM with three more hours on the change window to go saying, hmm, no, we got to pull the plug, roll it back and we'll try again some other time, but we have to sit back. So that's, that's the story. Um, so let's, you know, so let's talk about this in an IT context.

Josh: 06:11 You know, the, this is a tough one, right? Because in in the IT context, if we have to roll back our change, the change management folks are going to ding our change scores, they're going to say, "Hey you, you failed to deploy", and I will say that my current employer is changing that mindset. There is no longer a, a ding for rolling back a change because it means that you did your T-minus an you were executing and you recognized that this is not going to work the way that we wanted it to work, so we're going to roll it back because we want to protect the customer. Or in this case, you want to protect your, your child. You.

Leon: 06:54 Right.

Josh: 06:54 You're like, "Look, you being at yeshiva is just not going to work. We're going to bring it back, we're going to re-plan, and then we're going to redeploy and probably in another direction." I mean, we've talked about this before, right? Sometimes you have to walk the path that you were not supposed to walk only as far as you needed to so that you could realize it's not the path and then come back and walked confidently down the path that is the correct path for you. Much like me pursuing my, my law degree just was not going to happen.

Leon: 07:24 But you never sat there and said, "What if? What if?" No, you, you had enough of the what if to say no, no, no. I know. I know what that one was. Yeah.

Josh: 07:32 I also wanted to be a stockbroker. I made it, I made it to the first class of my, or the first lesson of my first two classes and I was like, no, I do not want to be a stockbroker. Did you know the stock brokers have to do math?

Leon: 07:46 Yeah, yeah, yeah. You're doing a lot of it.

Josh: 07:48 I didn't, I just thought they made money. It was weird. I had the things you don't know when you're 21.

Leon: 07:53 Yeah. Yeah. This is difference between counterfeiters and stockbrokers.

Josh: 07:56 Oh, weird.

Leon: 07:57 There's a joke there. I, I'm not good enough for financials to be able to finish that joke. So feel free to like leave a comment on the podcast about like how the, what the punch line for that would be. Um, so, so when we think about rollbacks to production, I think in it context it happens. But then we think about, all right, what can we do? Not just to make sure that this thing doesn't fail in the rollout, but how we can change our, uh, it culture, our it processes so that rollbacks occur less often. And you brought up a really good example, um, you know, as, as a true DevOps aficionado, you're going to invoke the holy name of Netflix.

Josh: 08:36 Of course, right? Netflix. Netflix is "The" company when it comes to, hey, let's break things. Uh, they introduced this idea of chaos monkey and it was actually built on a platform that allowed for this continuous, continuous deployment model and they would inject these problems. Uh, so the idea was that they wanted to see what would happen when there was a quote unquote random failure. Uh, so they, they developed this, this platform that was shut down an instance and did it impact us? And if it did, oh, that's interesting. Why did it, ah, let's go investigate. And so they would do the root cause and then resolve it. Um, chaos monkey has gone a step further now. Uh, one of the, one of the inventors of that methodology and of that platform has developed a platform called gremlins and gremlins are, are, I mean, they're exactly like those little evil creatures that were in the bad eighties movie that we watch over Christmas of the same name. Right? They're like, "Terminate an instance? Uh, no, no, no, no. We're going to rail the CPU in your box. Oh, we're going to fill a volume. Oh, we're going to steal your swap memory!" Um, that whole idea of let's, let's inject some failure into that deployment model just to see what happens. That's what I think is really important.

Leon: 09:57 Um, so, and just to clarify for folks who may not be familiar with the term or as familiar with IT, this isn't just breaking things for the sake of breaking things. This is breaking things to then see what the effect is and build a product that is more resilient to these random breakages. And not only that, but to build teams that think in a very particular way about what could go wrong. Um, just to extend the Gremlin concept even further. I heard that, I'm not sure if it was at Netflix or somewhere else that the chaos monkey visits the humans.

Josh: 10:32 Oh boy.

Leon: 10:33 Um, right. And does not inject chaos into them. But what it does is, uh, somebody will show up at somebody's desk right before a release to production and say, you are really, really sick right now. You have to go home for the rest of the day with pay, but you have to go and the person will say, "But, but, but I was part of the release team." Like I, we know, we'll let you know who, what happened tomorrow. Good luck. You know, this has been a visit from your friendly neighborhood chaos monkey. So you know, what happens when a particular person isn't available. And of course, again, the, the, you know, the next day they go back for a postmortem and say, well, because you know, Sarah wasn't there. Um, we didn't have somebody who do that. Oh, that's really interesting. Um, since I know that Sarah is very committed to being able to take vacations and actually be sick, sometimes we probably ought to figure out how we can have some redundancy in our human processes. Um, you know, so that that doesn't affect us when it matters.

Josh: 11:33 Um, I just want to point out that the last week, my team of three, I quickly became a team of one and it just, you know, PTO and a great opportunity to go out and meet with a vendor and suddenly Joshua is running solo. Um, right. We survived, although we like to inject chaos just for fun.

Leon: 11:53 I'm not saying chaos isn't entertaining when it occurs to other people. [Laughter] It's was it Mel Brooks who said the difference between comedy and tragedy, if you fall down a manhole cover, that's comedy. If I get a paper cut, that's tragedy. So yeah, the chaos monkey is great, but uh, it's, you know, when it happens to somebody else.

Josh: 12:15 So how would we apply this then, Leon to, to our families, right. Uh, I think I have some experiences that my family has gone through in the past decade, right? My daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis, uh, had back surgery. She's got, uh, 21 inches of titanium rod on each side, or sorry, 16 inches of titanium rod on each side of her spine. Uh, 21 or 22 titanium screws in her back. And, um, she did a, uh, Trek which, and Mormon, uh, in Mormon culture, I wouldn't say theology, Mormon culture. Um, they reenact a, a pioneer journey, so they have handcarts and they, they drive them. She did that. Uh, 3.5 months after back surgery. I mean, my son on a mission, um, you know, was diagnosed with Tourette's, which made conversation very hard. Now he's out doing missionary work and loves to talk to people. Um, and then on my own, my own family, right. I, I suffer from depression and I, my, my work toward getting promoted happened to coincide with a really difficult depressive episode. Um, so I mean, I, I, for me and my family, I think that those experiences have taught us this. And I do love baseball. So this, yes, as the baseball analogy, when life is throwing you curve balls, just swing away. I mean when people look at those things, we were like, "Oh, well, you know, Josh, you know, he, he has, he has depression", but when you swing away at those curves and you, you know, you pull one out of the park, uh, for me that, that, uh, allowing that chaos into our lives, uh, it allows, it allows the acknowledgement that, "Yeah, I don't have control over this thing, but I am still going to take an active, active role." But I mean, how do I take that and how do we instill that into my kids. Obviously I, I've done it, but I, I mean, I don't know how I did it.

Leon: 14:13 So I think you're, I think the analogy is good and I think the point is good that Netflix said, look, failures are going to occur. So, the only way we can get better at them is to keep experiencing failures and keep on growing from them. But we're not going to wait for the failures to happen to us. We're going to actively seek those failure modes. Now that doesn't mean uh, again, quoting Barbara Collaroso, uh so, uh, class if you don't cross the street. But if you don't look both ways before crossing the street, something bad could happen. "Jenny, go run and show them!" Like you don't do that. So, but as you, you can't watch, but I almost almost made him spit coffee out of his nose. Um, or whatever you're drinking probably wasn't coffee. Um, so I think that finding situations for our family to go through with which are less than perfect, which are, um, perhaps a little fraught or have the potential to be a little bit fraught, whether that is, you know, moving, I mean, just simply, you know, moving, moving to a new, a new home to new school, to new city, I think that causes a lot of families, a lot of, uh, concern. What are we going to do to the kids? We're going to teach them how to move. We're going to teach them that things change. Um, I think moving every month is probably a little excessive, but I think we can look for those as opportunities, not just as challenges. Um, if you know, somebody in the family speaks a different length, is able to speak another language. I think having that person insist on speaking it and allowing the rest of the family to adapt to that. Um, I've seen families where one parent speaks only one language. The other, so the family I'm thinking of, he's from Spain. She is from Switzerland. They speak all the languages, they speak together, so they each speak Spanish, French, German or schweizerdeutsch in English. They speak all of those. So Dad speaks to their daughter in Spanish only. Mom speaks to the child in schweizerdeutsch only. And they speak to each other in front of the child in French only.

Josh: 16:22 Oh my goodness!

Leon: 16:23 So that the kid understood that there were different modalities to speaking. When I'm talking to Daddy, I have to use these words. When I'm talking to Mommy, I have to speak up these words and if they're both here, I have to use these other words. But it taught the child to sort of mental resilience. Um, that I think is admirable and I've seen families do it that way. I've also seen families do it where dinner time is, you know, Spanish time. We're just at, at this meal, this is the only language we are going to speak. Good luck. You will not damage your children doing that. Uh, pulling from my own personal experience. Uh, the way that the Adato family takes vacations is relatively unique. Uh, I'll try to tell this briefly, but um, when we go on vacation, we don't tell our kids that we're going, we don't tell them where they're going. We don't tell them how long they will be gone. What I mean by that is that my wife and I plan the vacation like you do, but we don't tell our kids anything about it. It's done completely in secret. And then on the day that we leave, we usually, uh, wake them up around three o'clock in the morning. A lot of our vacations are driving vacations. So we wake them up around three o'clock in the morning and sing to them [singing] "We going on on an adventure. We're going on!" As the kids got older, they would swear at us more as we did that because we were waking them up and then they know what's coming. We'd load them into the car in their pajamas and we start driving. About 20 minutes in, we'd start giving them clues and we'd continue to give them clues, uh, for the next four or five hours. When they were young, this kept them occupied and out of the "Are we there yet?"-mode since they wouldn't know are we there yet? Cause they don't know where there is but the clues were not particularly helpful. For example, we were going to Boston and some of our clues was like the little magnet tiles. You know there was a one and a two... One if by land two if by sea? [groan] There was also, there was a Minute Maid orange juice container that was cut out in the shape of a guy for the Minute Men. And, uh, we also had a little stone and a matchbox car... For Plymouth Rock. Yeah.

Josh: 18:33 Oh..wow....

Leon: 18:33 Since I said we were going to Boston, all of that made sense. But since we didn't, they, they sometimes got really obscure. Like we went to Israel, we did take a trip to Israel and one of the clues there was a model airplane with holes drilled in it. Um, which did not mean as my son announced loudly to the plane that we're going to crash. [Laughter] Um, instead I was, I was trying to make a joke about the holy land, so... Right!?! Right. So these clues, these clues are not easy or, or helpful clues. They're really just obnoxious clues that keep the kids paying attention. So, but the point is, is that as we go on vacation, like a whole vacation experience is one of guessing and trying to figure it out and, and having fun with it and learning to enjoy the uncertainty of it. Um, because at the end of the day, I think that's the part that we as parents and also I think, uh, you know, we as young adults who were failing in different ways and, uh, our kids who are young adults and failing in particular ways, I think that's the challenge is "Wow do we face and, and address uncertainty?" How do we, you know, "I thought it was going to go like this and it's not, and now what am I going to do about it? Um, you know, I don't know what to do. This wasn't part of my, my game plan. So now what?" And sometimes the answer, the right answer is rollback come home, regroup. You know, sometimes that is the right answer. Sometimes the answer is, you know, sidestep. Okay, so lawyer isn't going to work, but you're not going to not work. You're not going to not do something. So, alright, how do I take a side step into another career? I think that that's what it comes, uh, comes down to, is facing that uncertainty and having strategies for when those uncertain moments crop up.

Josh: 20:32 Thanks for making time for us this week to hear more of Technically Religious, visit our website, TechnicallyReligious.com, where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions and connect with us on social media

Leon: 20:46 Test in Dev? Not me! I test in prod. What could possibly go wrong?

Josh: 20:51 Narrator: Apparently, a lot. Nobody was surprised.

 

 

S1E27: Release to Production

S1E27: Release to Production

September 10, 2019

The phrase “release to production” conjures a very specific set of thoughts and even emotions for folks who live, breath, and work with technology. Some of those thoughts and feelings are positive, while others are fraught with conflict. At the same time, those of us who are active in our religious community experience a different kind of “release to production” - releasing our children to the production environment of our faiths, whether that is teaching abroad, missionary work, or adult religious education that takes our young adult across the globe. And like our IT-based production release experiences, we watch our kids transition into chaotic systems, where parental observability is minimal even as the probability of encountering unknown-unknown error types grows. In this episode, Leon and Josh to look at what our IT discipline can teach us about how to make this phase of the parental production cycle easier. Listen or read the transcript below.

Leon: 00:00 Welcome to our podcast where we talk about the interesting, frustrating and inspiring experiences we have as people with strongly held religious views working in corporate IT. We're not here to preach or teach you our religion. We're here to explore ways we make our career as IT professionals mesh or at least not conflict with our religious life. This is Technically Religious.

Josh: 00:21 The phrase release to production causes a very specific set of thoughts and even emotions for folks who live, breathe and work with technology. Some of those thoughts and feelings are positive while others are fraught with conflict. At the same time, those of us who are active in our religious community experience a different kind of release to production. Releasing our children to the production environment of our faiths, whether that is teaching abroad missionary work or adult religious education that takes our young adults across the globe and like our it based production release experiences. We watch our kids transition and to chaotic systems, where parental observability is minimal, even as the probability of encountering unknown, unknown error types grows. In this episode, we're going to look at what our IT discipline can teach us about how to make this phase of parental production cycle easier. I'm Josh Biggley and the other voice you're going to hear on this episode is Leon Adato.

Leon: 01:19 Hello everyone.

Josh: 01:20 Hey Leon. Um, so as we always start our podcasts, uh, let's do a little shameless self promotion if you don't mind.

Leon: 01:27 I, I never mind shameless anything and self-promotion either. So, uh, I'm Leon Adato as you said, I'm a Head Geek at SolarWinds. Uh, you can find me on the Twitters @LeonAdator. I also blog and pontificate on my website www.adatosystems.com. And my particular religious worldview is Orthodox Jewish.

Leon: 01:52 Fantastic. And for those who are new to our podcast, I'm Josh Biggley. I'm a Senior Engineer of Enterprise Monitoring. You can find me on the twitters, um, @jbiggley. You can find my faith transitions community at www.faithtransitions.ca, where you will be redirected to our Facebook group. Um, I am currently a post Mormon transitioning into being an ex Mormon. That's where we start. So, uh, Leon, we've both had some, uh, some challenges, um, that I think have precipitated where we're at with this particular episode.

Leon: 02:28 Yes.

Josh: 02:28 Um, and as we were having the discussion, I was thinking I do love poetry. Uh, I mean, uh, it's a wonderful thing. I, I found a poem by Robert Burns is from 1786, uh, entitled "To a Mouse". And I, I'd love to, I'd love to have someone else read a portion of that because you know, the, to get the Robert Burns from 1786 just right, uh, is important. So let's listen to that now before we begin.

Poetry Reading: 03:00 [Thick Scottish Brogue accent].

Poetry Reading: 03:00 But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane, In proving foresight may be vain: The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!

New Speaker: 03:17 All right. So I love that particular, uh, part of the poem, you know, this, uh, Robert Burns wrote this poem, um, after plowing a field. And, uh, as he was going along, he noticed that he tore up the, the den, uh, of a mouse and, and that caused him to reflect on it and write this poem. And for us, we have these, these plans that we lay out, we, and we spend so much time invested in them and then the chaos of the world grabs a hold of them and tears apart.

Leon: 03:53 Right. And there's a few things I like about this that first of all, the poetry is, is heart stopping. It's just amazing. And, um, but I also like the fact that Robert Burns was plowing his field. He was doing a very normal sort of work-based activity and yet he was also bringing his other, I'll use the word higher, I don't mean it in any sort of, you know, uh, value statement way, but he was using a more thoughtful part of himself to it. You know, how many people are mowing lawn or you know, just walking through, you know, a cut through and they knock over it, you know, a nest of some kind or whatever and it's like, yeah, whatever, and you know, move on. But here, this really obviously caused him some real introspection. And I think that that is a wonderful analog to, uh, what we do as people with a religious, moral or ethical point of view as we go through our it lives is that we, we don't divorce one from the other. And that sometimes moments within our regular work day lives cause us this, this reflection. I think it's important to, to clarify that when we talk about releasing to production, you know, tongue in cheek, because we're talking about our kids. This isn't just, you know, kids going off to college or getting a job or growing up, although it is those things. But it's particular to folks who live a, who live in a faith-based lifestyle. Um, you know, there's some very specific things that I think our kids do that kids from a more secular background don't. For example, uh, you know, my kids went to either yeshiva or seminary after high school, you know, or going to go, or in the process of going. And you'll hear more about that later. Um, you know, that's, uh, one or two or three years of purely religious education, not indoctrination. It's, you know, real deep dive into the, um, philosophy, theology, you know, asking a lot of questions, challenging the thinking that they'd grown up with learning the rest of the story kind of stuff. And there's also, you know, depending on your faith, there's mission work, there's a student exchange programs, there's teaching abroad, there's, you know, gap year programs, all of which send our kids away. But not, again, not in the way that I think at least I think of a secular experience, what my secular experience was, which was you graduated from high school, you went to college, uh, or maybe a trade school or whatever it is, and you got a job and, and you had your life. But that's not really what we're talking about. We're talking about really releasing to a different kind of production system.

Josh: 06:38 You know, and it's interesting, I find that a lot of people are starting to embrace this. Maybe alternative -- is that the right word for it?

New Speaker: 06:47 It is. Yeah. It's another option that I think wasn't considered by our parents when we were growing up. If you happen to be of a certain age.

Josh: 06:56 Yeah. When my daughter graduated from high school last year, she was not the only person in her graduating class who was taking a gap year and who was doing something during that gap year. Going to work during gap here, you hear about that a lot, but taking that gap here and doing what my daughter did, which was go to Haiti, um, during the, you know, period of civil unrest that was going on, that was, that was interesting.

Leon: 07:28 My son...

Leon: 07:30 It might have been interesting for her, but I'm sure it was interesting in a whole different way for you and your wife.

Josh: 07:35 It was uh, uh, we should talk about that in the future. It was a, it was a very, yes. Interesting is a good word for it. You know, and my son is a, is my son is on a mission right now. He comes home in a couple of weeks, which we're super excited about, but I, a bunch of kids took, took a year off, you know, one went to France, one went to Brazil as part of the Rotary Exchange program. So I, I'm courageous. I'm, I'm excited for this future generation in my graduating class, which wasn't nearly as large as my daughters. I think I had 45 or 50 kids in my graduating class, but I was the only one who was going off to do something other than go to college or university or go to work. So I, it is, it is a very unique thing that we have because of our faith. There's a problem here though, and I, I, I do want to talk about this. So, you know, having grown up, um, having grown up Mormon, in fact, we just had some friends, uh, some friends, uh, uh, family members of friends, I guess is the right way to put it. Who stopped by unexpectedly and they said, "Oh, by the way, we know your son Noah, you know. We're from Utah. Here's how we know Noah. We met him while he was there." And so we got to talking about their family and they said to us, "Well, our son is, is and has just proposed to his, his girlfriend, they're going to get married." Well, when you're a Mormon, you know that at 18 you become eligible to go on a mission. And so we said, oh, he didn't serve a mission. Now this, this couple doesn't know that we're no longer practicing Mormons. And you could just, you could see that just that flicker of disappointment in their eyes because, uh, there's that. "Yeah, we're from Utah and we know that our kids are supposed to go." So Leon, let's talk about what happens when, when we spend our entire lives trying to launch our children with their support...

Leon: 09:36 right.

Josh: 09:37 ...into, into a specific path and the T-minus plan fails.

Leon: 09:43 Right. And, and I liked your phrasing. You know that it's a launch plan and T-Minus, and you know, remember that the, the astronauts in the capsule are not unwilling participants in this. They're, they're just as engaged in trajectory and speed and velocity. They may not be the final arbiter of some of those things, but they are absolutely involved in those plans in our kids. While they may not be the, the final arbiter of how they get where they're going or how quickly they get where they're going or whatever, they're active participants in helping plot the course. Um, so I like, I just liked the phrasing. I think that's really good. And Yeah, let's talk about when things don't go. So, I think that if things don't go as planned, uh, the first question, at least that I'm thinking is, "Did I, you know, was this a failure on my part to plan at all, you know, correctly, appropriately? What did I miss?" I, I think that that's, as a parent maybe sometimes your first go to what, what did I do wrong? You know?

Josh: 10:46 I think that makes you a good parent.

Leon: 10:49 Oh, really? Good. Really good. I know,

New Speaker: 10:57 No doubt.

Leon: 10:58 Um, yeah, but if that is the one criteria that the self doubt, then absolutely I have, I have piles and piles of good parenting. Yeah.

Josh: 11:09 Well, and I think that's important though when we look at our, when we look at our children and we try to ask ourselves, why didn't things go to plan? We immediately look at ourselves mostly because we can, we can change ourselves. We can't change our children. We can sit them down and we can lecture them for hours on end, but about 15 minutes and they're just going to stop listening. You know? I...

New Speaker: 11:35 If you get that much, that's where.

Josh: 11:36 I was. I was hoping for a good day. Uh, yeah. I, I love the phrase "Analysis Paralysis". It's something that I hear an awful lot at work, especially as we're using all the Buzz Word Bingo, key phrases, right? Agile and DevOps. And I've heard a new one the other day DevSecOps and I'm like, now we're just making upwards. It's great.

Leon: 11:59 If you're playing along at home. Right? And you haven't downloaded the beat. You can download the Bingo card from TechnicallyReligious.com.

Josh: 12:06 Um, but I, I think that we can get to that point where we look at sort of the look at our lives and the lives of our children. We expect them to do with some very rigid things.

Josh: 12:15 And when they don't, w things start to fall apart. We doubt ourselves. We doubt our children. To me, that feels a disingenuous to the art of raising children. Going back to, you know, to the Bible, right? Cain and Abel, uh, you know, Adam and eve have these two kids can enable, you know, great kids grew up while together. And then, you know, one day Cain kills Abel. Did, did Adam and Eve, you know, did they see that coming? Or they're like, "What do we do wrong?"

Leon: 12:42 Right.

Josh: 12:45 "Geez, maybe we shouldn't have left the garden!?!" Uh, you know,

Leon: 12:49 [Laughter] Maybe that, yeah, that was, that was an unplanned, that was, that was its own, you know, production, early release to production issue. Yep.

Leon: 12:57 Um, here's...

Josh: 12:58 That's what happens when, when Alpha goes to prod, although it worked out really well, so...

Leon: 13:03 Yeah, well, it can, but it also can not. Um, and there's even, there's even a question there, just if we're going to invoke Cain and Able that, that, um, Cain may not have understood. Look, Abel was the first person to die at all. He may not have understood that killing was a thing. Um, and in the original Hebrew, uh, the precursor to that moment is they were out in the fields and Cain said to Abel "And Cain rose up and slew Abel" There's, there's a missing, there's no texts there. Now as, uh, a person with two brothers. I can tell you with absolute certainty that I know I have a good, I could make some good guesses about what Cain said to Abel, that would cause Cain to lash out. You know, it caused that conflict to occur. Um, however, we don't have textual, uh, textual evidence of it. But the point is, is that, um, again, that probably wasn't, uh, Adam and Chava, to use the Hebrew names. Um, wasn't their plan for, uh, what their kids were gonna grow up to be or to do. Um,

Josh: 14:27 What, what about, what about the attributes of our children though?

Leon: 14:30 Yeah.

Josh: 14:30 I mean, oftentimes we look at our kids and we want to see the very best than them, but if our kids don't follow our plan, and I will admit, I am one of those kids that did not follow my parent's plan. In fact, uh, after I got home from Las Vegas, I explicitly things to, uh, I want to say to make my parents upset. But when my parents said, don't do, I, I went ahead and did it. So when they said, hey, you know, you shouldn't get married at 21, I was like, no, I'm getting married at 21. Hey, you shouldn't go. You know, you should not go to a school, um, to do that. Oh yeah, no, I'm going to go to school and I'm going to work full time. Uh, I mean, we're going to tell the story a little later, but it's just, does that mean that word? Well, what does that mean about our kids? What, what does that mean about me? I'm, I'm gonna lay it down on the couch now. And you can tell me.

Leon: 15:24 Right. So I think there's a, there's two aspects of that. First of all, um, I think as parents we also put way too much stock in this moment. This is the formative moment. If I don't get this right as a parent, it's all downhill from there. Leon, she's going into kindergarten. I know, but it's everything hinges on her getting into the right kindergarten and her learning her abcs, she was slow to walk. You know, we have to make up for that! I think she's gonna do play time just fine. You know, I, I think that sometimes we, we forget that, you know, as much as we have recovered from, you know, setbacks and failures, both big and small and our lives, our kids are going to also, and, uh, there's, you know, and the hard part is because we're sort of passive observers of it, there's a quote, um, Elizabeth Stone said it, uh, "Making the decision to have a child. It is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." And I think that sums up not just the experience of parenting for, for some folks, but also the, the level of pressure that I think that we, we feel we put upon ourselves that, you know, again, that kindergarten moment has to be perfect because it's my heart there that you're dealing with. But the fact is is that our kids are far more resilient than an internal organ. Um, usually, mostly mostly, at least I choose. So that's the first piece. I think the second piece is they are often more capable than we recognize because when we see them, we see the totality of our experience with, with them from their first moments until this moment. And we, we experience all of those at the same time. So it's hard to remember that the person standing before you now is a relatively capable near adult depending on how old they are, who is tougher than most of the times we give them credit for being simply because we're also seeing them in diapers as we are watching them drive away in the car. Um, so I think, I think those two things are always at work in the head of a, in the head of a parent as there again, quote unquote launching their child. Um, I think there's another though that that comes up, at least for me, when things don't go according to plan, which is, you know, I begin to wonder after I've doubted myself, I begin to doubt my kid. Does it mean that they weren't committed, that they gave up too easily? Um, you know, nobody wants a snowflake millennial for a child. Uh, even if our children millennial, we certainly don't want them to be un-resilient. Um, or worse, we worry that maybe they're not taking it seriously or even worse than that, that their being utterly dismissive and disrespectful to our effort. Not to mention our money. Like, yeah, whatever, you know, they're sending me halfway across the world, but I can always come back. It's no big deal. They got, they can cover it.

Josh: 18:33 Right, right, they've got the platinum card. Right.

Leon: 18:35 Right, right. It's just money. So you know, and you've spent months, you know, trying to get the, you know, doing the school paperwork and doing the, like you've done all that stuff and all of a sudden it doesn't, doesn't go as you expected it to. And you know, there's a lot of those feelings that sort of swirl around.

Josh: 18:55 Yeah. I, I do want to address something about kindergarten. So my daughter is starting university this week in kindergarten. So in Ontario there was junior kindergarten. She was three and a half when she started because her birthday is later in the year. She almost got kicked out of kindergarten because she would not talk and she refused to leave her little cubby where she hung her coat. She would sit in that and would not participate. And the school called us and said, hey, like maybe this isn't the right thing for her. Maybe, maybe she shouldn't be at school right now. This, this is the girl who hopped on a plane and flew to Haiti. This is the girl who when they said, we might have to send you home from Haiti because you know, there's civil unrest. There is literally writing in the streets. It was like, no, no, no, I'm not going. And now she's headed off to university and I would have never imagined it. So yes, my daughter was a snowflake in junior kindergarten. I get it.

Leon: 20:04 [laughing]

Josh: 20:06 ...because they don't stay that way.

New Speaker: 20:07 Yeah. And psychologists will call that a telescoping. When you look at your three year old who's eating paste and saying, oh, it's never gonna. And it's like, no, don't telescope. It's okay. The fact that they do it now doesn't mean that they're always doing it. Or as another great parenting educator, Barbara Coloroso said, um, "I've never yet seen a high school senior walk down the graduation aisle with the shoes on the wrong feet unless it was on purpose." You don't need to tell your kids to put the shoes on the right feet. They can figure that part out for themselves.

Josh: 20:40 I, I, so I have, I have another story. If you know when you have lots of children. I have four. When you have lots of children, you have lots stories. Yes. I have a son who suffers from the, how did we put it? "Anything is possible when you don't know what you're doing"-itis.

Leon: 20:59 Right. I've worked for managers who suffer from it also. So it's a fairly common uh, affliction.

Josh: 21:04 Yeah. It, it's, it's surprising and to, to be fair, part of the, the beauty of youth is that you have no sweet clue what you can't do because you've never tried to do it. But some times the things that you're trying to do are so wonderfully outlandish that you probably should not do them. I...in my own life, I wanted to be a lawyer. In fact, I still would love to be a lawyer. That whole going to school for four years and then having to go to law school for two or three years and then having to article for another three or four years just does not appeal to me. I go figure, I kind of like making money, uh, and, and eating.

Leon: 21:50 I was going to say, it's not the money part, it's the eating steady part you become kind of addicted to.

Josh: 21:56 I have. I have, yeah. My, my waistline can attest to that. So all, all through high school I was planning on being a lawyer. So I got to my, my senior year and in Ontario at the time. You went to grade 13 which was a college, a university prep year. So as I'm entering my, my university prep here, my guidance counselor calls me in and says, Hey, you know Josh, I'm looking at your, your transcript, you've got all the IT courses that we offer and you know, what do you plan on doing? I said, well, I'm going to be a lawyer. So good, but if that doesn't work out, maybe I'll do IT. And he said, well, you know, you really need to take math. I said, no, no, no. I got all the math credits I need. I, as I look, I know I'm going to be a lawyer. I would not be on this podcast if I was a lawyer.

Leon: 22:53 True. True. As much as I, as much as I have, I enjoy our friendship. It wouldn't be that it wouldn't be Technically Religious anymore.

Josh: 23:00 That's right. Yeah. It would just be awkward at that point. So I mean, I did it the hard way. I, I didn't take math. I'm also, although I like math now, I did not like math in high school. I was a little hesitant to admit to liking math, but I do like math and I really struggled. I mean, I wanted to be in IT as my backup plan. I didn't realize it was going to become my primary plan, but I really hated math and I hated the math learning experience.

Leon: 23:35 Sure. So I just want to, I want to frame some of this, you know, talking about your son and, um, you know, his belief that he can do anything, even if he doesn't have sort of the basic background, I think is a good analog to you wanting to be in IT and not liking math. But I think that lots of folks who are in it come at it from different directions. We know that. And, uh, math can be a challenge. And I think that there's sort of three ways that you can look at addressing it. Like, how do we address problems in IT? So there's sort of the, the easy way, which is to learn everything about that problem. Right. I know that sounds like the hard way, but learning it upfront is actually the easy way. Whether you're going to a vendor course or you're taking a training class or whatever it is, learning it, you know, from start to finish in that order is the easy way. The hardware is actually learning as you go, you know, and trying to do at school of hard knocks and you know, crashing it and rebuilding it and crashing and rebuilding it and you know, not knowing what you don't know and finding out six months later that you actually spec'ed the systems incorrectly and you have to go back to your director and ask for more money because you did it wrong the first time or whatever. Like all that, that is the hard way to go. I think there's a, there's a smart way to go, which is using tools to compensate for our gaps and knowing that, having humility to know when to use those. So, uh, you know, for example, uh, I'm, I'm, I like networking and I am fairly good at networking, but like Cisco Nexus devices are a whole other class of networking that was not there when I initially got my CCNA and Routing and Switching and, uh, trying to manage your monitor those devices is really challenging. But there's, there are tools that can show me what's wrong with a Nexus installation so that I can get past those gaps in knowledge and skill and experience without the hard knocks and without having to take, you know, three months of classes just to get up to speed on it.

Josh: 25:47 Hmm. Interesting. Uh, I, I am also afraid of, uh, of the Nexus. It, it, to me, I see one of those large spaghetti, horrible monsters with a billion arms. And that's all I can think of when I think of an axis.

Leon: 26:01 Right. It's the not invisible flying spaghetti monster. Yep.

Josh: 26:04 Not Invisible at all. It's actually kind of horrifying. Uh, so if, if we were to then like, maybe modify this for people like me. Yep. Um, how would I handle this today? What would the advice be to Josh from 1995-ish?

Leon: 26:24 Yeah. Right.

Josh: 26:25 Oh Dang. I'm old. ...from 1995-ish.

Leon: 26:30 [Laughter].

Josh: 26:30 And explain how, how I can be successful in it. Um, even though I didn't like math.

Leon: 26:38 Okay. So I think that, um, again, easy way, hard way, smart way. The easy to go learn it. Now, part of the problem is that you didn't have the math credits in high school to get into a school immediately that had it, you know, like you couldn't have hacked the coursework. Um, but you know, in America we have, you know, community colleges, sort of those smaller local colleges that are easier to get into. And a great way to get a leg up on stuff is just to take a community college set of community college courses one or two years and get into it and get those skills up and then transition to a more, um, challenging school where you're gonna get the depth experience.

Josh: 27:21 Oh, nice. Yeah. So, and in Canada we call those a two and two. Right? So you do a two year of college and the Canada college is different than university and then there is a matriculation agreement where you can get into usually third year, um, provided that you successfully completed the coursework in the first two years.

Leon: 27:40 Right. So that's, that would be the easy way. The hard way would be not to go to college at all and not to get any training, but just to open your own IT business and uh, learn as you go, you know, break things as you go and probably fail that business and then you get into IT. Having had all that wonderful painful experience, that would be the hard way. Right?

Josh: 28:06 Yeah. I, I did it kind of that way. I mean, I didn't start a business, but I got married at 21 had an instant family, was, my wife was pregnant a month later I went to school, worked midnights, um, and then got a job working 60 hours a week while trying to get my MCSE. Is that hard?

Leon: 28:24 Okay. That's, there's hard and then there's heart failure.

Josh: 28:28 Okay.

Leon: 28:28 And that's, yeah.

Josh: 28:30 Okay. Heart, heart failure. It is then!

Leon: 28:31 One order of myocardial infarction please. Coming up! Yeah. So yeah, that's, that would have been the really hard way. Um, and some of us do that and I think that there's, again, the smart way that in between way, which is, um, as much as we say that IT requires math, it doesn't require all math. It requires a very specific set of math that if you take a little bit of time to understand the area of IT you want to get into, then you can focus on just learning the math you need for that area. Right.

Josh: 29:09 I'm a, I'm a big fan of that model. I wish that my 18 year old self could have a discussion with my 40 (ahem!) year old self and I could say, look, you can do this now. I get it when I was 18, things like Khan Academy or, uh, you know, Code Camp didn't exist. But wow, kids today, if, if you know the thing that you want, the thing that gets you really excited about math and it's not going and taking trigonometry then learn the math that gets you geeked. For me it's statistics. I really love stats.

Leon: 29:46 Right. And I think that that's another thing that, um, you know, the difference between non young adult, our non young adult kids is that, you know, what are they gonna have to do this Algebra?!? Because it's ninth grade curriculum and you're going to do it. I don't have another answer. This, this is stupid. I'm never gonna use it. Can't argue for or against that, but it's still in a curriculum and you're going to do it like that is the parenting conversation. But with our young adults, we can say, look, if you love this thing, if you love doing this thing, whether it's it or business or whatever, there's going to be math involved. But you just have to learn that. But if you love this thing, you're going to love the math that goes along with it. And if you don't love it, at least you're going to tolerate it. So being monitoring Geeks, both you and I, you know, math is also not my strong suit. It's not something that I naturally gravitate toward the way that some of the other voices we have on the show, like Doug, you know, Doug Johnson who really does love math, you know, that's, that's a different, that's a different thing that love of pure math. But I really enjoy the math that I get to do when I'm scripting, when I'm pulling statistics out of devices for monitoring, when I'm building new visualizations. That math really gets me going because I know what I'm doing with it because it has an application. Um, so that's, you know, that's what we can say to our adult or young adult kids is even if you think you don't like it from school, "Uhhh, it really bad!" The fact is that you will like it because it's part of the thing that you're telling me that you like,

Leon: 31:25 We know you can't listen to our podcast all day. So out of respect for your time, we've broken this particular conversation up, come back next week and we'll continue our conversation.

Doug Johnson: 31:34 Thanks for making time for us this week to hear more of technically religious visit our website, technically religious.com where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions and connect to us on social media.

Leon: 31:47 Test in dev?! Not me! I test in prod!! What can possibly go wrong?

Josh: 31:54 Narrator: Apparently, a lot. Nobody was surprised.

S1E26 Step By Step

S1E26 Step By Step

September 3, 2019

We often want to see results all at once, or at least quickly. But that's not usually how it works. In this episode Leon, Josh, and returning guest Al Rasheed explore how the philosophies of slow growth in other areas of our life - from religious to healthy living - inform our expectations with regard to gaining new skills in IT. Listen or read the transcript below.

Josh:      0:00        Welcome to our podcast where we talk about the interesting, frustrating and inspiring experiences we have as people with strongly held religious views working in corporate IT. We're not here to preach or teach you our religion. We're here to explore ways we make our career as IT professionals mesh or at least not conflict with our religious life. This is technically religious.

Leon:     0:22        We often want to see results all at once or at least quickly, but that's not usually how IT works. How do the philosophies of slow growth in other areas of our life from religious to healthy living inform our expectations with regard to gaining new skills in it? I'm Leon Adato and the other voices you're going to hear on this episode are my partner in podcasting, Josh Biggley.

Josh:      0:42        Hello, hello.

Leon:     0:44        And returning guests. Al Rasheed,

Leon:     0:46        Hello, thanks again for having me.

Leon:     0:48        Welcome back again. Um, okay. Before we dive into this topic, uh, as always, we wanted to have everyone, uh, take a moment for shameless self promotion. So Josh, why don't you kick it off?

Josh:      0:59        Hey, so I'm Josh Biggley, I'm a senior engineer in the enterprise systems monitoring space. Uh, you can find me on Twitter at @jbiggley or if you want to follow the chaos of my, my faith journey, uh, you can go to FaithTransitions.ca where you'll be forwarded to our Facebook group.

Leon:     1:16        Fantastic. Al, tell us about yourself.

Al:           1:20        I'm Al Rasheed, I'm a systems administrator here in northern Virginia for a federal contractor. Uh, you can find me on Twitter, @Al_Rasheed and in my profile for Twitter you'll also, uh, you should find my blog URL.

Leon:     1:33        Fantastic. And as a reminder, uh, all those links and everything else we talk about in this episode are going to be in the show notes. So you don't need to scribble madly and just rounding things up. I'm Leon Adatoo, I'm one of the head geeks at solar winds. You can find me on Twitter @LeonAdator and also I blog and just pontificate about life in general, uh, at AdatoSystems.com so you can find me there. All right, so, uh, we're going to divide this up basically into two sections, talking about growth and personal growth in the religious philosophical context first. And then in our IT life second, but in religious context, I think it's important for us to frame out what is there to grow in, in terms of religion or philosophy? I think, I think a lot of folks feel like, well, you know, you just, you show up, you sit down, you listen for a little while, and then ya go, you know, have some fried chicken or whatever. Like what, what is there to do better in religion? What are your, what are your thoughts on that?

Josh:      2:31        You know, Leon, I honestly, I think that, um, the whole premise of religion is about being better. Um, again for the listeners, right? We know that, uh, I was Mormon and Joseph Smith, who was the founder of Mormonism, uh, famously said, and I'm probably going to do a terrible job at paraphrasing him, but, um, no religion, um, that is, you know, worth its weight. Um, that doesn't require a man to sacrifice and become better, uh, should be practiced. So the idea being that if you're going to do religion and you're just going to stay static, why do it that at all?

Al:           3:08        Right. And I, I think there's some people who do show up, you know, look, I belong because my parents belong to this church or synagogue because my grandparents belonged here. I'm just, you know, I, that's, that's why I'm here. You know, I just show up because that's what we've always done. But to your point, I think it's, it's not, I'm afraid to say it's not the right reason, but I think it's not a very productive reason to be there. Um, I think also, depending on your religious, philosophical point of view, and this is definitely philosophical, I think that people who say, I'm not religious, I'm spiritual. There's still an element of this. There's some mechanics involved. Uh, I know for myself, and I talked about it in a previous episode, uh, I still struggle learning Hebrew, just making the sounds. Uh, it wasn't a language that I was comfortable with growing up. Uh, I was comfort with a couple of other religions, a couple of other languages, but not, um, Hebrew. And so I really just, the decoding of the non-English characters has really been a stumbling block for me. So, and I know that, you know, other religions have Latin Al uh, we were talking about it earlier, that, uh, in Islam, you know, Arabic, that's, you know, I don't know whether if you don't speak Arabic, I don't even know how, how do you manage? Like, can you, can you do the prayers in English? Is that all right?

Al:           4:26        Yes, you can. And there are, there are some countries that are, you know, Indonesia for example, their primary language isn't Arabic. Uh, but they've got a, a heavy base of Muslims and you know, there, there are means to every way.

Al:           4:40        Okay, okay. I wasn't sure if it was, you know, Arabic or, you know, go home and practice until you can come back, you know, whatever. So at least it gets good to know. But it's still, I think there's also, you know, if you want to study Torah or Quran or whatever, ultimately, or, uh, The hunchback of Notre Dame or the Upanishads or whatever, like studying it in the original language is, is the goal because things are always lost in translation. So you still have that linguistic skill element to it. Um, regardless, um, there's other, there's other things though that I think we, we try to improve on just in terms of showing up and being religious. Any other ones that you, you guys want to shout out on?

Josh:      5:27        And so, uh, one of the things that that Mormons do, um, we go to are the temples. Um, and so in the temple, um, just like every other temple, uh, attending faith, there are rights and rituals that are performed and uh, you know, they're, they, they have a very specific methodology for them. Um, I mean, when I attended regularly, um, when I was living in Las Vegas, I would go every single week and it was goal to learn, uh, verbatim, the, you know, the required, um, statements that you make, um, as part of that ritual. And it's interesting, you know, you think, well, why would you do that? Because if you make a mistake, there's somebody there to help you. I mean, if they're not going to say, "Oh, geez, Josh, way to go, you screwed up, get out."

Leon:     6:18        You've ruined Mormonism for us!

Josh:      6:21        Right, that will come later,

Leon:     6:23        ...later in this story.

Josh:      6:26        Um, but it's, it was one of those things that it made me feel, um, it made me feel as though I had to accomplish something as though I had, um, I had been devout enough to, to memorize this thing that, you know, you hear it once as part of this worship service that lasts about two hours. Uh, our, sorry, I guess we heard two or three times, but it, you know, it's a fairly long phrase that you have to say and it's not like you can go home and practice it because in Mormonism that thing is not, it's not written down anywhere. Um, that you can read outside. The only place you can study it or hear it is, is in the temple. Um, so to get to a point where, and even now, you know, 20 odd years later, I still can remember it. Um, it, it just, it was one of those things that helps you focus or at least was intended to help you focus on the divine. Um, so, you know, what can you do better at in religion? You can find the things that help you focus on the divine, whether it's, you know, the recitation of a specific prayer or, um, some sort of right or ritual. Um, or even just for some people just showing up at church. I mean, that's a good thing if you want to be religious.

Leon:     7:39        Right, and, and in, again, in talking about the things that people take step by step, that, that's a good point is I hear a lot of people from various faith, uh, again, philosophical areas saying, "I just need to learn how to focus better", whether it's meditative, um, or focusing on the prayers, what's happening, not getting distracted and having a side conversation. Um, you know, being able to keep your, your focus focal point of attention longer. That is definitely something that a) people work on, b) people get very frustrated about because they can't do as well as they want to. Um, and c), to your point also deepens their experience, uh, you know, in what they're doing. So that's, that's a nice one. Um, I, I also think that there's just learning, and this is slightly to your point, Josh, what happens when?, You know, is this the standup part or the sit down part or the walk around the room part or the, you know, just knowing this is where we are, because not knowing, again, not knowing, doesn't ruin Shabbat right now.

Josh:      8:47        For a minute there, I thought we were doing the Hokey pokey,

Leon:     8:49        Right. Although sometimes it feels like it. Like at no time do you know, did anyone ever turn to me and say, okay, Leon, you, you just broke Shabbat. We'll try again next week. That doesn't, that doesn't happen. But knowing what's going on and feeling, uh, feeling fluent in it and competent in it allows you not to have to worry about it. It allows you to focus on some of those deeper issues

Al:           9:13        Or a sense of being a part of something, a meeting and accomplishment. Um, but there is a certain sometimes level of intimidation if you don't feel like you're meeting those expectations, especially when it does come through religion.

Leon:     9:27        Right. And, and I, I wanna say that in most cases, our co-religionists are not putting pressure on us. They're not judging. They're not holding these in insanely high expectations. Sometimes they are, sometimes, you know, they're that person. Uh, and that's its own set of challenges. But most of the time I think it's really what we think, they think that...that gets us. So, yeah, it's a good point though.

Josh:      9:57        So I have this really bad habit of, uh, thinking about things that I did in my life and I remember them with crystal clarity and they don't matter to anybody else. For example, I remember the time that a group of, uh, of, uh, classmates and I were walking into the front of my high school and there was a flat cigarette package kind of laying on the ground and I went to go kick it with full force, you know, thinking I was just going to scoot it along the ground and I completely missed and the force carried me up into the air and I slapped down right on my back.

Leon:     10:35     Charlie Brown!

Josh:      10:35     It was classic!

Leon:     10:38     Classic Charlie. Arrgh!

Josh:      10:40     And I remembered that with crystal clarity. I don't think anyone else who was around, I mean, they all laughed at me, but nobody else remembers that. And that's, that's like religious observance. If you screw it up, nobody's going to remember and good, good chance that, uh, you know God or however you name your, your Diety, they're not going to remember either.

Leon:     11:05     Well, okay, so I'm just going to walk that one back a little bit. God will remember everything, but God will not judge one context.

Josh:      11:13     Right. You know, God does say I remember your sins no more. So I don't know.

Leon:     11:19     There's, okay, there's a difference between holding you accountable and remembering them. Uh, but I think that, you know, in the same way that we as parents look at our children when they do something really silly and we remember it, but we don't, we don't look at it. They're like, "Oh yeah, you're the idiot who did that thing." You know, it, it just becomes part of the, their overall character.

Josh:      11:41     I think we remember them and we hold onto them for when they get married. And then at the celebration afterwards, we tell the stories. That's why we remember them.

Leon:     11:52     And we have pictures.

Josh:      11:53     Yeah. I don't know. Does that make me a bad parent?

Leon:     11:55     No, no, because Al shaking his head "No!"

Al:           11:59     No, that's what life is all about. So you can look back and reflect and laughing and joy collectively.

Leon:     12:06     Right, right. Exactly. Okay. So, uh, what else in a philosophical context, what, what else about it is, is, is growth related or again, this slow growth step-by-step?

Josh:      12:17     I mean, what, what do we want out of life? When I was a, a Mormon missionary, um, I remember as I was preparing to go, my father saying that there were three golden questions, right? It was a, where do we come from? Why are we here and where are we going? Uh, and that like that, "Why are we here?" that, man, that's a heavy question. Like, really what do we want from life?

Al:           12:42     But, but that question and that thought is ever evolving. Um, it's, it's, it's, you know, there's times where, and some of the points that I'll focus on, I want peace. I want a, you know, clear conscience. I avoid negativity. I don't want to be remembered as, um, someone that got in a way or someone that wasn't helpful. I want when I'm done for the day, for example, in the office, I know when I leave, I've done to the best of my ability and the time. That was a lot of to me. Um, additionally, um, if you've got a sound mind, you have a sound body and those two go hand in hand. Uh, especially in IT, we all realize IT is, we're very blessed. It's a, it's a great, uh, way of making a living, but it can be challenging on both sides, uh, mentally and physically and, and additionally, um, you always want to be happy, but you want to be happy, not only in the office, but you want to bring that happiness home because if the home isn't happy, then you've missed the whole point. And um, you bring that negativity. There's a potentially bring that negativity, negativity home, or if you take it to the office and the whole mood just goes tumbling down. And lastly, you want to, everyone wants to be successful, but it has to be done in the correct way. You have to be a thorough through your hard work, but be honest, doing so. Um, but also in always focused on trying to bring people up as opposed to bringing them down.

Leon:     14:09     Right? And those are all really good framing ways of framing what we're doing and what we're growing toward. But I also think those are good examples of, of areas of our life that when we, when we fall short or haven't yet achieved a particular level that we have in our mind, that creates an enormous amount of frustration for us. You know, just taking health as an example. You know, when, uh, you know, if, if we are exercise, uh, prone, if we, if we like to exercise and uh, we've pulled a muscle or whatever and we need to give something arrest. I, I, I grew up in a household where lots of people in my family played lots of different sports and there were injuries and I just know there was an enormous amount of frustration waiting for those injuries to heal. And not wanting to wait and wanting to get right back to it. And I'm losing so much ground and you know, or as we get older, perhaps, you know, I can't do what I used to do. And all those things weigh on you. And again, to the, to the point of this, uh, this episode, this podcast, is that we have to find ways of pacing ourselves, finding the right pace for the right moment. Because otherwise, you know, like, you know, health, it's not what I want it to be. Okay, fair. But at the same time, it is what it is, what it is. That doesn't mean you settle for it, but today your health today is your health today and you have to come to terms with that so that you can get to your health tomorrow, which hopefully will be better, which hopefully will grow. Um, but denying or, or railing at it, I don't think is gonna help you get anywhere.

Josh:      16:02     Yeah. Yeah. I would really want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I mean a old Arnold, new Arnold, whatever, like.

Leon:     16:08     I was going to ask, 'Which one?", like seventies Arnold.

Josh:      16:10     Yes.

Al:           16:10     Or the latest terminator movie, Arnold?

Josh:      16:13     Yes, I mean all of them are improvements on the current, uh, Josh Dad Bod. But it's just not worth pursuing for me. I do not want that level, but I am in awe of people who are willing to put the time and effort in. And, uh, you know, the previous episode we talked about how Crossfit is a cult. And I still do believe that however, I am completely amazed at people who do Crossfit the, the feats of strength and endurance, that those, those dedicated individuals pull off their mind boggling. I, I'm absolutely, I, I honestly, it's overwhelming for me to watch them perform.

Leon:     16:57     Okay. So, so I just want to clarify though, just because we understand realistically that, that we, you and I, at least I'm leaving out loud at this one. You and I at least will never get to the Arnold Schwartzenegger, uh, you know, pinnacle of health, the, the 80 year old Arnold, um, pinnacle of health. Does that mean we don't start, does that mean like, oh well I can't, I will never be natively fluent in Spanish, so why bother?

Josh:      17:23     Yes.

Leon:     17:25     Really?

Josh:      17:25     No, I mean someone had to say yes. There's always gotta be the opposite.

Leon:     17:29     Oh, ABC -- Always Be Contrarian.

Josh:      17:32     Yes.

Leon:     17:33     Okay.

Al:           17:33     If I could share one example, it's not about me, but, um, you know, I've put on some weight in the past few years. A lot of it is attributed to my lifestyle. Um, I will blame, I, it's my responsibility. I accept ownership for it. But about five, six ago, I was actively jogging. I didn't care how fast I was doing it. I was doing it for the sake of getting out there. Uh, and it was, it was, there were two factors that were involved, obviously physically, but mentally it cleared my mind every time I went out.

Josh:      18:05     Yeah. Sorry, I'm reading a great book. Uh, and I mean, shout out to my coworker and friend Zach Mutchler for recommending this book, but, uh, and I'm going to talk about it a little later in the podcast as well, but then this book entitled Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. He talks about that the runner's high, that, that thing that you get when you run in. I honestly, I have never, no, I shouldn't say never. When I was younger, I was a cross country runner. Um, and that runner's high is real and it is very much a, it is a chemical reaction. Uh, and it puts your body in your mind, um, in, in, in harmony with one another. And as I'm talking, I'm thinking, "Josh, you are such a hypocrite because you don't run and you don't want to run." But, uh, there are, there are other things that I think can establish that same, a harmonious balance and maybe without, you know, the impact to my knees and my back and my feet and all those things.

Leon:     19:11     And that goes, and that goes back to what I was saying about, you know, health or whatever, you know, "Ugh, I can't run anymore because my back" my like, okay, but look, what can you do? How can you get that? Um, and just, you know, for the record, I'd never had a runner's high. I'm also, I just, I don't know why I put him in the same category. I've never had meat sweats. So those are two goals that I think that I still want to try to figure out. If I could find my way to, um,

Josh:      19:33     The latter is not going to happen with the former. I made the..

Josh:      19:36     No, no, no, no, no. They, they cancel each other out. Correct. And also meat sweats is a very expensive proposition. We've talked talking about kosher meat. Okay. So, um, it doesn't mean just because we may not be able to attain the a particular goal, whether that's a runner's high or whatever, or, you know, I can't run because of my knees. It doesn't mean you don't start or start something. It just means that you're realistic with yourself. You're gentle with yourself about it.

Al:           19:59     Right. And if I could add to it, sometimes the juice is not necessarily worth the squeeze. So you've gotta have a considered approach. You have to consider everything that's involved and be thorough and analytical while considering these choices. And you know, as we, as we get older, um, patience is critical. So we have to practice it because, you know, I forget with the, it was Joshua or Leon that just mentioned this is a potential for, you know, a higher risk for injury. As we get older. We're, we're not that spring chicken. Like, you know, like we'd like to hope we are and um, you know, you just have to be smart and wise with your decision making.

Josh:      20:36     I think as my previous story demonstrated, uh, even when I was younger, I was at a higher risk for injury. Um, so people like me probably just should not do sports. I mean I tried out for the football team and got hurt in the first practice. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanks Leon.

Leon:     20:54     Not a problem. I can just look, I mean, you know, we're only so tall and we were only so, like, there's just, there's a reality there. Right?

Josh:      21:02     It's true. It's true. It's so, you know, as I think about how would I go from a, you know, my glorious Dad Bod to Arnold Schwarzenegger, I think that the article that really got us kickstarted, um, talks specifically about how to do that. And it's this idea of these micro shifts. Um, and that if I'm going to, if I'm going to decide that I want to achieve a goal, like, uh, speaking Spanish, am I going to become fluent in Spanish tomorrow? Uh, unless I can pull a matrix and get jacked in and it downloaded. It's not going to happen. Although if that exists out there, um, my, my contact details are in the show notes. I want it.

Al:           21:47     [Laughter]

Josh:      21:47     Um, it's the micro,

Leon:     21:48     I know Kung Fu.

Josh:      21:49     I know. I mean, I don't actually put that past you, Leon. You also know how to do sword fighting, so...

Leon:     21:57     Well that's true.

Josh:      21:59     But I think it's still those micro shifts, right? Do what do we change today so that tomorrow we're better? And whether we're talking about an intellectual pursuit or a religious pursuit like that, that's where we go. I can't be the same today and tomorrow as I was yesterday because then I haven't improved. But if I improve in those, those very, uh, nominal ways, the collection of those, I mean, I think this is called life. The collection of those experiences gets me to my destination.

Leon:     22:28     And that's, I think that's a key is, is both recognizing and appreciating the value that those small micro shifts, um, can make. Uh, just reminds me when we were, uh, we were in Jerusalem and my family and I, and my son was, uh, about eight or nine when we went. And one of the the one of the features about Jerusalem when you're going down to the Kotel to the wall is there are a lot of people asking for charity. They just, you know, sort of sit in chairs on the steps down and stuff like that. And, and, um, my son had a pocket full of, and he was very excited. He had a pocket full of Israeli coins, some shackles, and he was really happy to use them and whatever. And this woman asked for, uh, you know, this woman had her handout. And so he was really excited to be able to give charity like that. So he handed her and she looked at him and I, I apologize because it does not cast her in a very good light. She looked at me, she says "This, this is nothing." And we were all taken aback by like, it'd be one thing if a grown adult handed her a penny, you know, like what do you think you're doing? But this was a little boy who, you know, probably didn't understand what the value of the coinage, you know, together ...And, but I, my son was so brilliant, he, he looked at her and says, "But they add up!" And we just, we walked on. But that's always stuck with me is, you know, how many times are we the person with her handout saying "This is nothing." And how often do we need to be told, like my son said, "But it adds up."

Al:           24:08:00               But his intentions were well.

Leon:     24:10:00               Right, right. No, no, his intentions were pure. And I think that that's the other thing, when I want to learn Spanish, when I want to go for a run and I make it, you know, three houses down and then I can't keep going or whatever. It's not, oh that was nothing. You shouldn't, why bother even getting up, putting your shoes up. No, it adds up. Okay, so you made it three houses tomorrow. Make four houses a week from now, make four houses, who cares? You went for a walk. You know, I think that we have to be gentle with ourselves in that way. Um, you know, we, we talk about our religious philosophy and I think we're all aware that all our religions teach, uh, teach kindness, you know, be kind to others. But we forget that that also includes ourselves. That we need to be kind to ourselves and we would, we, who would never be that brazenly mean to another person about their progress. If someone said, hey, can you tutor me in this thing? We would never get in their face about how poorly they're doing or how slowly you have long it's taking or how slow they're going. We would never do that. But at the same time, our own internal mental self-talk can be really, at least for myself, I'll speak for myself. My, my internal self-talk is brutal sometimes. It's really, really painful.

Josh:      25:24:00               One of the most devastating experiences I've had in my life and in my entire life was coming to that moment. And we, we talked about it on the last podcast where I knew that I could no longer be Mormon. It wasn't that I thought, "Oh, well this Mormon thing is hard. It was holy crap, I can't do it." Followed shortly thereafter by "Why didn't I know this sooner?" And, uh, my, uh, Maya Angelou, who is a preeminent, uh, African American poet, said something that it touches my soul every time I read it. And she has been misquoted by so many people, so this is the actual quote "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better." And to me, that really is the key, right? That is the thing that unlocks the ability to continue to grow in life. Uh, without it. If we were to hold ourselves accountable, um, for the things that we didn't do or that we did when we didn't know that we should or should not do them, we would be, we would be gripped by that guilt of a failure. Um, or that, that guilt of acting. Um, I mean, yeah, if you didn't know you, you couldn't be held accountable. And that, that's the key for me. Uh, and I, that goes to everything, right? It's not just my religious pursuits, but I mean, I make mistakes at work all the time. Uh, and that's usually just, you know, I in the first hour of my day and the, the key is, did not, "Did Josh make a mistake?" It's, "Did Josh make the exact same mistake that he made yesterday and that we taught him how to not make again, did he do it over and over again?" And that to me is, that's how we measure progress, right? I mean, we're not ever going to find the perfect person, the perfect IT pro, they do not exist. There are no rockstar candidates out there.

Leon:     27:37:00               Um, so I wanna I wanna point out that in a previous episode Yechiel Kalmenson, uh, mentioned that programming is basically the state of going from, going from a state of brokenness, complete brokenness to a state of functionality. Not the other way around. That when you start out with a clear screen, basically what you're saying is the entire program doesn't work. And as you begin to add lines of code, you're adding things that do work. So, you know, I, I think sometimes we think it's, it's working and then I broke it. You know, Josh, to your point, I made mistakes. No, no, no. You showed up in the day, you know, beginning of the day and everything needed your help. And so you just started working your way through those things. It's again, a way of us being gentle with ourselves. So one more thing I want to just throw out there before we transition to the IT version of this conversation is that a, so my oldest son is on his way to YUeshiva. He graduated high school and he's on his way. And part of his post high school curriculum includes, uh, an entire section of what's called Mussar and Mussar is self-improvement. Um, so just imagine going to college and having an entire section of your class of your curriculum dedicated to being better, being a better you. And some of the hallmarks of this, uh, program of this movement is that first of all, you're gonna work with a coach. You're going to work with a Rabbi and you're going to talk about who you are and where you are now and who you want to be. And the, the key pieces that the, the Rabbi that you're working with is typically gonna tell you to do something insanely small. Like really, we would almost look at it as being in consequential, you know, put your right shoe on before you put your left shoe on. Like what? No, just do it. Just, that's the improvement. That's what you're gonna work on. Like are you, I just told you that I have trouble like with gossiping. Yeah, I know. I know. Put your rights, you on your left, you want. And some of it is just terraforming your brain to accept doing things differently. But some of it is back to the point that was made earlier. You know, making small changes in some cases are the only kinds of changes you can make. But making sequential small changes, again, it all adds up. So I find that wonderfully inspiring that there's an entire movement that looks at things this way.

Josh:      30:14:00               I like that thought process. I like, um, I think in the times with other respect that we live in now, I think a lot of more people should focus on that aspect.

Josh:      30:22:00               Yeah. And once we picked that idea of doing, um, that opens up new pathways, I everyone remembers that scene from, uh, Indiana Jones, um, where he, he's going for the, the Holy Grail. Right. And he comes to that, that chasm between, you know, the two doorways and he can't see the path. Right. And then he's got to take that step out. I mean, okay. It's kinda kitschy. I get it. Um, but that really is our life. Sometimes we have to step, no, let me rephrase that. Every time we have to step out so that we can gain the perspective of the road that we've walked on. And sometimes, I mean, especially if it's Monday morning and you're, you're, you're me, you're going to come to a point, uh, and you're going to step out and you're going to realize that's not the road that you are should be walking and you get back up and you go back to bed. No, I mean that doesn't happen too often, but you, you have to realize sometimes you have to step down the wrong road to know that that's the wrong road and it does mean having to backtrack a little and then you walk a different path and that's also okay. You are not going to make the right choice. But if your every day making those small incremental changes, then you don't have to unwind, um, a lifetime of change to go down the path that is actually the right path for you.

Al:           31:50:00               Baby steps.

Josh:      31:50:00               Baby steps.

Leon:     31:52:00               Are the only steps. Honestly, that's not the only ones you can take. Okay. Let's, let's take all of this into the IT context. Um, you know, again, the idea of step-by-step and incremental growth and learning what, you know, what experiences do we have in it that reflect this outlook? What experiences do we have that either standing contradiction to it or work against it or support this idea?

Josh:      32:17:00               I just have to point out that every time you say step-by-step, uh, Martika's Toy Soldiers runs through my head every single time. I just, I, I can't undo it.

Al:           32:28:00               That's your, that's your ear worm for this podcast.

Josh:      32:31:00               I was thinking Backstreet Boys or what was the other boy group that had that Song Step-by-step,

Josh:      32:36:00               uh, Boyz2Men, no, not Boyz2Men,...

Al:           32:37:00               N'Sync!

Leon:     32:40:00               There we go. All right, so we are now fully dated in our eighties. Worry. Very good gentlemen. Very good. Okay. Okay.

Josh:      32:48:00               Can we, can we revisit that idea? The idea that there is no Rockstar job candidate and what can we s let's stop assuming that you can take, you can fire somebody and then go find the perfect and, and I'm air quoting my brains out right now for all of our listeners, that you can find that perfect candidate. There is no rock star. The rock star is the person that is sitting there who has contacts in your company, who knows you, who knows your goals, who knows your ideas, ideals, train them, give them the support, and they will be calmed that rock star. But nobody, nobody walks in off the street and goes, yeah, I can totally kill this.

Leon:     33:34:00               So I just want to point out that just an episode or two ago, a Doug Johnson, another voice on the podcast who used to be a DJ. He was actually the number one rated, uh, news time DJ in Cleveland for a while, for a few years there. Um, he said, I, "I've met rock stars. You don't want to be them." Like they're not, they're not people that you should aspire to. Certainly not people that you want to hire. They're not reliable in that way. They're, you know, they, they play by completely different rules. They're fun to watch, but they're not somebody I would want on my team necessarily when we're talking, when we're thinking about rockstar personalities, that's not exactly what we're talking about. So, yeah, I want that whole phrase, that whole term just to go away.

Al:           34:23:00               Yeah, I know. And it button, it's taught in other professions as well. Inevitably we're always surrounded by that hero, that person that wants to put themselves out in front of everybody else. But sooner or later that hero comes tumbling down in their true colors and their intentions come crashing down on them.

Leon:     34:41:00               Right.

Josh:      34:42:00               Um, it's, it can be a challenge professionally, especially if you're in a team centric environment because you find yourself, and I can only speak for myself, but again, we've probably all been in this situation. It's hard because you want to bite your tongue, but on the other hand you want to say something and point out this person. Yeah. And so it's, it's a balance and you have to take those considerations and in fact, what's most important for you but also your team members moving forward.

Josh:      35:10:00               I mean, once again, Martika comes to the rescue, right? Step by step, heart to heart, left, right, left. We all fall down like toy soldiers.

Al:           35:18:00               This guy's on fire.

Leon:     35:19:00               Oh my gosh, that's amazing. Um, very good. Yeah, I think that, uh, um, uh, again, the, the concept of rock star is, is not a healthy one. It's not healthy to try to conceive of yourself as one of those kinds of personalities. And um, certainly often not healthy to be around. And I want to differentiate between a quote/unquote a rock star and somebody who, uh, the term I used as a force multiplier, you know, somebody who is so effective in what they do, that they make the people around them better as well. They lift everyone up. Um, not through necessarily technical prowess. It can be through enthusiasm, it can be through a positive outlook. It can be through just being really, really good at documentation or being really organized about things. I mean that that can be its own force multiplier, but a Rockstar is, that's not, that's not what's meant when employers say, I'm looking for a rockstar candidate. And that's not the same thing as a force multiplier. Somebody who actually makes you better "for being in the team with them.

Al:           36:29:00               Right.

Josh:      36:31:00               Um, okay. So other things about it and this idea of slow, steady growth. What else? What else? What other thoughts do you have?

Al:           36:38:00               I mean, for me personally, I think you need to think things through. Take your time, put in the effort and collaborate and communicate with one another. As the old saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day", but on the other side, sometimes you don't know what you got until it's gone. So, um, never take things for granted. Um, be kind, uh, be willing to assist one another and don't do it just to say that you did it, but do it with good intentions in mind.

Leon:     37:06:00               Right. And, and to your point about, you know, the hero personality eventually comes out, so does yours. Yup. So even though you're biting your tongue, even though you're holding back, even though you want to say something and whatever, you don't need to because your intentions will come out, will be, you know, will be seen by the people who need to see it. And I realized that that is, uh, a faith statement. And I realized that it is not 100% true in every workplace environment. There are toxic environments. I'm not, you know, I'm not naively suggesting there aren't a, but I will say that in, in a healthy work environment, you don't have to work that hard for people to notice what you're doing. And if you're not in a healthy work environment, okay, now we know what needs to get worked on.

Al:           37:51:00               Right. But you can be efficient at what you do and do it at a high level without going over the top and bringing attention to yourself.

Al:           37:59:00               Correct. Correct.

Josh:      38:00:00               I just want to point out that the 80s comes to the rescue again. I'm like, Cinderella's "Don't know what you got till it's gone". "You don't know what you got until it's gone. Don't know why what it is. I did so wrong. Now I know what I got. It's just this song and it ain't easy to get back. Takes so long."

Al:           38:21:00               And that's actually where I got it from that line because when you guys started with the rolling stone, it's on, uh, the, the, that's, I immediately thought of that Cinderella Song for whatever reason.

Leon:     38:33:00               There we go. Okay. This, this episode is, it's got people gotta have ear worms coming out of their ears. That's great.

Josh:      38:39:00               It was brought to you by the 80s,

Josh:      38:41:00               Right? Right, the 80s and, and, and Top 40... Top 40 radio. So, uh, I think there are some things that in it we have to assimilate quickly. We have to, you know, get this knowledge or get this skill down really fast. But I don't think that is certainly not always and not necessarily even often the time. I think that the lifelong learning that is implied by a career in IT. And I do truly believe that. I think that if you want a career in it, you are committing to being a lifelong learner. And I think that means in many cases, taking a long view of how you're going to learn something. And you know, one thing that comes to mind immediately is programming. Um, you may learn a couple of programming verbs. You may learn a couple of, you know, you may be able to go on and stack, Stack Exchange and get some snippets of code that you can slam in there. But in terms of really learning how to program that is going to be, you know, it's going to take you a while. Um, and Josh, I think, I think you can attest to that.

Josh:      39:43:00               Oh yeah. Every single day mean Google is the way that I survive what I have to script it, the, that and uh, and Zack, that's how I survive.

Leon:     39:55:00               Okay. But, but at the same time, I've listened to you over the course of months talking about your, your coding, scripting skills and they are improving. You know, you're not, you know, you might not be a Zack or you know, Doug or whatever, you know, that level. But those are people who have been programming for a while. And that's the thing to remember is that you are on the, you're near the start of your journey and they're not, um,

Josh:      40:18:00               Don't make me quote Martika again!

Al:           40:23:00               [Snicker] Sorry.

Leon:     40:25:00               [Laughing] Alright, go ahead. Go.

Josh:      40:27:00               No, no, I'm not going to call I, I mean don't literally don't make me quote Martika again. That's just step by step thing. We, We can't go there again. No, you're, you're rightly on a I am. I am far better today than I was five years ago. I, I, I remember the moment that, uh, my manager, uh, five years ago was actually our manager. He said to me, "Josh, uh, this team needs this monitor built in SolarWinds, this, this SAM Component Monitor. And the best way to get it done we think is in PowerShell. Um, we'd like you to do it. And I'm like, PowerShell. Google, what is powershell?

Leon:     41:08:00               [Laughing] Yeah, right!?! Bad sign, bad sign!

Josh:      41:08:00               And it took me a week to write this one line cause I was like, oh crap. Like I don't even, I don't, I don't know what the PowerShell is. I don't know if it's installed like nothing. And I'm much more comfortable now. So yes, you are right. I have improved and I think we need to remember that. Um, on the flip side, I'm going to say that one of the things that always has always come really naturally to me is being able to tie the technical side of what I do to the business. So, I mean, one of those lifelong skills is just because you are a technical person does not mean you don't have to know about the business. You hav..., I mean, invest the time. Okay, look, I get it. People are not always going to glom onto, uh, doing spreadsheets and financial analysis of technical solutions like me. Those things really get me excited. Like, that is what I live for.

Leon:     42:06:00               I love you so much for saying that. And, yeah, I think that all it people need to at least have a little bit of fluency, like, you know, and speak a little Spanish, speak a little business.

Josh:      42:17:00               Speak a little 'C-suite'

Leon:     42:17:00               Um, it doesn't mean you have to become a pointy haired boss. It doesn't mean that you're going to become, you know, evil incarnate. Um, but it does mean the ability to translate technical information into a business relevant context is enormously important. Ah, Bob Lewis, who used to write one of the, uh, Op Ed pieces in InfoWorld back in the day when InfoWorld was, uh, printed on actual paper and delivered using actual post, uh, you know, uh, post office people. Um, he said "There are no IT projects. There are no technical projects, there are business projects with a technical component to them." And if you don't understand that you are always going to be working across purposes to the people who actually pay for things. And they're going to continue to say no because they don't understand. You haven't helped them to understand the value of what you're asking them to do. And not saying it's not important. I'm saying you haven't explained it.

Josh:      43:17:00               I'm cheering right now, me and at least two other people.

Leon:     43:21:00               But the thing is is that that isn't a skill that you need to assimilate all at once. It's something that you can practice a little bit at a time and grow in somebody who's at the start of their IT career probably isn't going to have enough context or experience. That doesn't mean they can't try, but somebody in the middle or later on in their career is going to have seen a lot more business situations, met a lot more business leaders and really will need that fluency to go along with the cachet of their credibility and their experience, so they can justify the projects and the tools that they're probably talking about at that mid or even late point in their career. So what else, what other things in an it should we be gentle with ourselves in terms of not beating ourselves up because we don't know it right away, but that doesn't mean we stop working on it. That we continue to work on it.

Josh:      44:12:00               You have to know how to tell good stories. Honestly, if you cannot tell a good story, and I don't care if you're in the C-suite and talking about a business case or if you are, I'm over with the, you know, the lead architects and talking a technical case. You have to tell a story. And to that end, I have a story to tell. I spent the past seven months, uh, as part of a leadership development, uh, program at, at my company and they had pulled together 20 people from, uh, you know, the ranks of 16 or 1700 other IT, uh, folks and then a whole bunch of customer service folks. And they brought us all together and they said, okay, look, you 20, you have been nominated because you are the high potential high performing employees. Over the course of the seven months we did this project and we, we pitched out on the second last day of this program to our peers and we, you know, we had spent a lot of time putting together this, uh, this pitch, this, uh, this presentation and it. Fell. Flat. Oh my goodness. And I thought like, work, we're good. Like they were good engineers, we're good customer service people. Like we know how to present. And we sucked. So that night we all got together, you know, late after our long day of training. And we rewrote our presentation and we focused on the narrative of the story instead of just trying to dump data into people's heads, we brought them along on the journey and people, oh, like we nailed it. Uh, so I think that that idea of, yes, I need to convey to you all the important details needs to be interwoven so beautifully with, let me tell you why these details are, let me help you understand why these details are important to you. So, yeah, learn how to tell good stories,

Al:           46:09:00               right? I, I, I often find myself and we've got an intern, an intern that's currently working with us. Um, his first, uh, experience in IT. I always use expression with when I'm describing something with him, I'm painting a picture. I want you to see it for yourself. I want you to comprehend it. I want you to understand that. But let me know if there's something you're unsure of because if I'm not explaining it properly, I'm not doing my job and then I'm failing you.

Leon:     46:35:00               Right? And, and also say your work with Tech Field Day. I mean, that's what tech field day is all about, right? A bunch of it thought leaders and experts in a room all telling stories to their audience about what they're seeing. Um, you know, it painting that picture, allowing the reader to live vicariously through your experience, to see IT through your eyes. That's, you know, that's what makes you so valuable in that tech field day context. Um, and, and y, you know, you're invited to be part of that group. So that's, that's it. That's the skill.

Josh:      47:07:00               I think that Al has demonstrated that. The other thing that I, I think takes a career, a lifetime to build and that is to be a leader and not a manager. You talked about establishing that vision for this, this new, uh, individual who was in IT letting them see for themselves. That is what good do. Again, I talked about this book, leaders eat last, why some teams pull together and others don't. By Simon Sinek. It was recommended to me about a week and a half ago by a coworker and friend, Zack Mutchler. I have been devouring this book ever since Zack made this recommendation. To me it might be the to the detriment of my career because it sends, set some pretty lofty goals for what leaders should be. But, oh, that idea of, uh, rallying people around the, uh, the thought, the idea of the vision is such a powerful narrative. And there certainly, we should talk more about that book. I'm going to put that out for an idea cause there are some great, um, some really great parallels between that book and, uh, our, our religious beliefs. A future episode to come.

Leon:     48:19:00               You heard it here first.

Al:           48:20:00               Yeah. Right.

Leon:     48:21:00               All right. Anything else in the IT context? Anything else that, uh, you know, slow growth step-by-step applies.

Josh:      48:28:00               So the, the article that they kicked us off, um, had a quote in it and it was right at the end of the, the article and it said, "Stop just wanting to get things done and start, becom..., Start wanting to become the person who gets things done." And that, that goes to that really incremental changes you can achieve. And I think Al, you talked earlier about achieving a certification, you can achieve that. You can, I can learn how to quote "program in Python" or I can learn how to quote, "speak Spanish". You know, "Yo quiero Taco Bell" is Spanish, but I am, I don't actually know how to speak Spanish. Um, so be the person who, who brings about change by, uh, by your actions, those small and simple things. And that will really, that that's, that's where we get enlivened and then we become better people. We become better coworkers, better friends, uh, better spouses, uh, you know, better brothers and sisters and I mean the world world's better place. And then the eighties kicks in.

Josh:      49:36:00               I definitely draw motivation from people that come back to me, uh, and it could be five, six, seven years, however long from now, but they'll come back to me and say, "You know what, that moment that you explained something to me and it wasn't done in a technical way, made the difference for me in my career." You shine light where maybe others didn't or they weren't aware of how to do it. And it just like a, and then you said it earlier, Josh, and as well as you Leon, it's just painting a story, telling a story, being relatable, not talking down to a person but talking to them.

Leon:     50:10:00               Right. Sharing with a person. Yeah. Um, yeah. So Josh, to your point that, that last quote about, uh, just stopping, I'm going to get things done. Um, a friend of mine, uh, who would tutor kids in at both ends of the intellectual spectrum. So she tutored, uh, special needs but also tutored, um, kids who would be classified as geniuses. And she was working with one sixth grader who was, you know, quote unquote a math genius. And the kid himself said, well, you know, I could just skip a couple of grades and you know, get to ninth grade and start, you know, and just work there. And my friend said, why, why do you want to do that? You know, if, if you want to do that because you see the, all the really cool math is in ninth grade and you want to get there sooner. I'm right there with you all help. But if you want to, if you want to just get this done so that you can, you know, play video games, it's not worth it. You might as well stay in sixth grade math and just skate through it because you're not doing it for any particular point. Do you want to get math done so that you can focus more on, you know, physics or English or something else you want, you want this off your plate, you have more time for something else, fine. But if you're doing it just to get it done, I just want it done. I want it out of my way. I don't care about it intrinsically. It doesn't represent anything for me and I don't have any plans to do anything else either with it or, or in place of it then then what are you doing? Who are you? You know, you're the person who skipped two grades of math to play World of Warcraft. Like that's not, it's not a thing. So, um, I think about that in the same way. You know, I want to be the person who got to do this other thing. I want to be, you know, I want to get ahead so that I can do more. I can enjoy more.

Al:           52:01:00               Yeah. You're striving to excel and achieve and you've got a desire to continue to improve.

Leon:     52:09:00               Okay. So any final words? Any final thoughts before we wrap this up?

Josh:      52:12:00               Uh, in the, uh, the immortal words of the wonderful Australian rock band INXS,

Al & Leon:           52:20:00               [Snickering & laughter]

Josh:      52:20:00               uh, don't change for you.

Al & Leon:           52:27:00               [Hysterical laughing]

Leon:     52:27:00               [Laughing] No, go ahead, keep going... [More laughing]

Al:           52:27:00               [Laughing] It's a good thing. People will see this, but they'll just hear this.

Josh:      52:31:00               This is good. Don't change...

Josh:      52:37:00               [More laughing] No, no, it's great!

Everyone:           52:37:00               [Laughing so hard we are crying now]

Leon:     52:37:00               [Laughing more, trying to get under control] Ok, ok, I'm muting myself. Okay, go ahead Josh.

Al:           52:37:00               [Laughing so hard he is snorting]

Josh:      52:37:00               [Breathless laughing, pounding the table]

Leon:     52:37:00               Josh?

Al:           52:37:00               [Laughing] He walked away. He couldn't take it! Now he's got me looking up an INXS on my phone. Nevermind. Right.

Leon:     53:01:00               [Laughing] We're going to leave you guessing. Read the show notes. We'll find out what the quote was. Thank you so much, Al. It's good to have you back.

Al:           53:07:00               My pleasure.

Leon:     53:08:00               [Much more laughing] I love you like a brother. Okay.

Josh:      53:11:00               [Laughing] See you later guys!

Josh:      53:13:00               [More laughing] Pleasure to meet you Josh, thank you. Beautiful.

Speaker 5:           53:14:00               Thank you for making time for us this week. To hear more of technically religious visit our website at TechnicallyReligious.com where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions, or connect with us on social media.

Leon:     53:26:00               You can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you might find you get what you need.

Josh:      53:32:00               Wait, did you just quote the Rolling Stones?

Leon:     53:35:00               No, that was, that was from a wise old man.

Al:           53:37:00               Mick Jagger is wise??