Technically Religious
S1E38: End of Season Wrap-Up

S1E38: End of Season Wrap-Up

December 31, 2019

In our last episode of the season Josh and Leon look back at the stories that most stood out and the data that shows how we performed; and then look ahead to what next year will bring. Stick with us as we highlight some of the greatest moments of season one, and chart a course into season 2. 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: 00:23 It's our last episode of the year. And so we're going to do what every major Hollywood production does.
Josh: 00:27 Take a vacation to Hawaii and bring the film crew so we can expense it?
Leon: 00:31 Uh, no.
Josh: 00:32 And then do a retrospective episode so that we don't have to actually create that much!
Leon: 00:36 Okay, so you're half right. Actually, maybe a third, right? Because we're still going to do a full episode.
Josh: 00:40 And no Hawaii?
Leon: 00:42 No Hawaii. So let's dive right in. I'm Leon Adato.
Josh: 00:47 And I'm Josh Biggley. And while we normally start the show with a shameless self promotion today we're going to do an end of the year economy size version. Like we shopped at Costco,
Leon: 00:57 Right, exactly. For all this stuff that we need for the end of year, all our parties and everything like that. Right. So instead of introducing just the two of us, we're going to introduce everyone who's been on the podcast this year. So here we go! Um, Josh, kick it off.
Josh: 01:11 All right, so, uh, Josh Biggley, Tech Ops Strategy Consultant. Now with New Relic. You can find me on the Twitters @jbiggley. I am officially as of this last week officially. ex-Mormon.
Leon: 01:20 Do I say congratulations?
Josh: 01:22 I think so. Maybe there's a hallmark card for it. I don't know, but yeah, no, we officially resigned this week. It came through a Thursday, Wednesday. I don't remember. Uh, yeah, so that's it. We're done.
Leon: 01:33 Okay. All right. And, uh, I'm Leon Adato. I'm a Head Geek at SolarWinds. You can find me on the Twitters @LeonAdato. I also pontificate on technical and religious things at I am still Orthodox Jewish. I am not ex anything. Uh, and in the show notes, just so you know, we're going to list out everybody that we talk about in the next few minutes along with all of their social media connections and the episodes they appear in so you can look them up. We're just going to go back and forth on this one. So I'm going to kick it off. Doug Johnson was on our show. He's the CTO of WaveRFID.
Josh: 02:08 Destiny Bertucci is the product manager at SolarWinds... uh, "A" product manager. They have lots of them. You can find her on the Twitters @Dez_sayz,
Leon: 02:17 And also a program manager at Solarwinds, Kate Asaff.
Josh: 02:21 All right. And Roddie Hasan, Technical Solutions Architect at Cisco.
Leon: 02:25 Al Rasheed, who's contractor and virtualization admin. Extra-ordinaire.
Josh: 02:28 Indeed. Xtrordinair, a Mike Wise president of blockchain wisdom. I see. I see what he did there.
Leon: 02:35 Yeah, yeah. Blockchain wisdom, Wise-dom, right, whatever. Okay. Keith Townsend, who is CEO of CTO Advisor
Josh: 02:43 Yechiel Kalmenson is a software engineer at Pivotal. Yay.
Leon: 02:47 Yay. I'm so glad that you got to say his name again. Cory Adler, who's lead developer at park place.
Josh: 02:53 Rabbi. Ben Greenberg is developer advocate at Vonage.
Leon: 02:57 Steven Hunt or "Phteven" as we like to call him, Steven Hunt, who is senior director of product management at DataCore software.
Josh: 03:04 All right. Leon, you're going to have to help me here because I know I'm going to mis-pronounce this name.
Leon: 03:08 Go for it. It's a hard "H". It's a hard H.
Josh: 03:11 Hame? Chame?
Leon: 03:11 Chaim (Cha-yim).
Josh: 03:11 Okay. Chaim Weiss a front end angular developer at DecisionLink there. I feel like we probably should have done that a little different and not made the guy who does not, um, you know, speak,
Leon: 03:25 No, I think we did it exactly right.
Josh: 03:29 You are a scoundrel.
Leon: 03:30 I am. So, Hey, you can have me say all the hard, uh, Mormon names.
Josh: 03:37 Definitely. Oh, we need to insert some of those. All right, let's talk about numbers cause I mean, I, I, I'm a number geek. I love numbers. You called me out today on Twitter, uh, because I was complaining about a certain hundred billion dollar investment account that has certain former, uh, church that I have or a church that I formerly belonged to, might have. And I was comparing it to the bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Um, our numbers don't have nearly as many zeros.
Leon: 04:02 No, not nearly as much. Um, and the numbers we're talking about are not financial. The numbers that we're going to talk about is just, uh, who's been listening to the episode. So, uh, I think I mentioned the top of the show. This is our last episode. It's number 38 for the year. We got a late start in the year, but we've been almost every week. So 38 episodes, uh, and yay. And you can find us on a variety of platforms you can find us on. I'm just going to do this in one breath. iTunes, Spotify, Google play, Stitcher pocket cast, Podbean, YouTube, PlayerFM , iHeartRadio. And of course you can listen directly from the website at https://www,
Josh: 04:37 Wow, congratulations. That was well done.
Leon: 04:39 Thank you.
Josh: 04:41 All right, so, um, let's talk about who's listening. I mean, or maybe how many people are listening. So as of this recording or prior to this recording, um, we've had 2100... Over 2100 listens and downloads. OVER 21... Does that mean like 2101 or we.
Leon: 04:57 It's anything between 2101 and a billion.
Josh: 05:00 Sweet.
Leon: 05:01 But you have to figure that if it was anything close to say 3000, we probably would have said it.
Josh: 05:05 That that is true. So over 2100 listens and because we like math, that's about 50 listeners per episode. Thanks mom. Appreciate.
Leon: 05:14 Right. It's yeah, it's not necessarily listened nerves, it's just people who've listened. So yes, it could have been both of our moms clicking the podcast repeatedly. Hopefully that's not the case. And in those 2100 listens, the results are that the top five episodes for the year based on the listen count. Uh, our number one episode is also our number one episode, "Religious Synergy". Podcast episode number one is first with 89 listeners.
Josh: 05:42 That's going way back, way back. Tied actually for number one, but not the first episode was episode 12"Ffixing the World One Error Message at a Time." That was a good episode.
Leon: 05:55 It really was. There were some amazing aha moments for me in that one. Uh, number three is episode 17, "Pivoting Our Career on the Tip of a Torah Scroll," which is where I was talking with Cory Adler, Rabbi Ben Greenberg, and Yechiel Kalmenson about their respective transitions from the rabbinate from rabbinic life or just Yeshiva life into becoming programmers, which was kind of a weird, interesting pivot in and of itself. And that had 76 listeners.
Josh: 06:25 Following up to... I mean, that really riveting discussion. I mean, honestly, it, it, it was very interesting to me is this whole idea of a possible imposter syndrome, which apparently I'm imposing on you by making you listen to this episode? I don't know. Um, episode 11 was "Imposter Syndrome" with 71 listeners. Um, I would encourage others to listen to it because it's still very, very relevant.
Leon: 06:51 Yeah. Yeah, there was, again, that was another one where I think we had a few aha moments both in, in ourselves. Like, "Oh, that's right. That's it. You know, that's a good way to look at it. That's an interesting way to..." You know, some and some ways to deal with imposter syndrome, which I think in IT is definitely a thing. Um, and the last of the top five is episode three. So going again, way back, "Being a Light Unto the Nations During a Sev One Call," I think the "sev one call" was what got people's attention. Um, and that had 68 listeners.
Josh: 07:20 I want to point out that this is the first time in my entire career that I have not been on call.
Leon: 07:26 Wow.
Leon: 07:27 Right. I realized that my very first, I mean maybe my second week at new Relic, I was like, Oh my goodness, I'm not on call anymore. I, no one's going to call me when there's a Sev One. It was weird.
Leon: 07:38 Yeah. That's a, that's a, and that's something we're going to talk about in the coming year. One of the episodes is how we have to, uh, almost rewire our brain for different, um, positive feedback loops when we change, when we significantly change our role. And that was something that actually, uh, Charity Majors talked about on Twitter about a month ago is going from developer to CEO / CTO, and then back to developer and how it's just a completely different positive reinforcement model and what that's like, what that does and we'll talk about that. But yeah, it's, it's really weird when you make the transition. Um, as far as numbers, I also want to talk about where people are listening from. Uh, I will say "obviously:... Obviously the, the largest number of our listeners, uh, come from the United States about, uh, 1,586 or 82% of our listeners from the U S but that's not everything. It's, you know, it's not all about the U S as many people not in the U S remind us.
Josh: 08:33 I mean, Canada's pretty far down the list. I mean, the UK came in at number two at 104. So thanks Jez (Marsh) for listening to all of our episodes. Three times. Is that the way it works?
Leon: 08:44 Yeah, something like that. That was the numbers, right? Three again, you know, a couple of our UK listeners just kept on clicking. Um, interestingly, number three position is Israel with 73 listens. So I can think of a few people, Ben Greenberg being one of them, but Sharone Zeitzman and a few other and Aaron Wolf, uh, are people I know there, but who knows where those are. The, you know, 70 clicks came from.
Josh: 09:06 Are you asking your son to click every week as well?
Leon: 09:09 He actually is in Yeshiva. He doesn't have access.
Josh: 09:11 Oh, interesting. So you're not, you're not gaming. All right. I get you're not gaming the system. I appreciate that. Um, so number four, Germany, um, I don't know anyone on German. Well... Nope, no.
Leon: 09:22 Well Sasha Giese, another Head Geek. He's in Germany. Well, actually he's in Cork, but I don't know what kind of, how he VPNs things. So he's either the United, the UK folks or he's the Germany folks. Who knows. Um, let's see. Number five position is Finland with 38 listeners. And then we get to...
Josh: 09:39 Canada!!
Leon: 09:39 Oh, Canada,
Josh: 09:42 28. Um, yeah. Yay. VPN. I'll tell him and I say, okay, so Canadians need to up your game.
Leon: 09:50 Puerto Rico comes in next with 8 listens or 8 listeners. It's hard to tell.
Josh: 09:55 Austria?
Leon: 09:55 Austria.
Josh: 09:55 People listen from Austria?
Leon: 09:59 They listened to us from Australia.
Josh: 10:00 Five people in Austria. Yay. Austria.
Leon: 10:02 Right? And Australia, not to be confused with Austria. Uh, also five listens and number 10:
Josh: 10:07 Uh, Czech Republic number four. All right, with four. I don't know what about in the Czech Republic either.
Leon: 10:13 So I know a lot of, uh, SolarWinds, developers are in the Czech Republic. So that could be, that could be it. So thank you. There's, there's more stats than that. I mean, you know, it, it goes down all the way to Vietnam and the Philippines, and they are the ones with one listen each, I don't know who it is, whoever the person is from Belgium. Thank you for listening. Same thing for France in Japan. But, uh, we appreciate all the people who are listening.
Josh: 10:36 Our Bahamas listeners, all two of you, if you'd like us to come and visit, we've been more than happy to do that, especially during the cold winter months. So I mean, just get ahold of us. We'll arrange, we'll arrange flights.
Leon: 10:47 And, and uh, the two listeners from Switzerland, um, I apologize for everything I might say about Switzerland. I didn't have a delightful time when I was there in 2000. Uh, and I'm kind of take it out on you sometimes, so thank you for listening. Anyway. All right, so where are people, is this, that's weird geographically, but how are people listening? I know I listed out the type, the platforms that we, uh, promote on, but actually people are listening in a variety of different ways. What are, some of them aren't?
Josh: 11:15 So browser, uh, 370, that's almost 20% of you are listening in the browser, which means, Hey, you're listening to us at work. Great. And I'll get back to work and do your job, right?
Leon: 11:23 Well, they can, they can listen while they work. It's okay. All right.
Josh: 11:26 Whistle while they work?
Leon: 11:27 No, listen, listen.
Josh: 11:30 Oh. I thought we were promoting Disney+ all of a sudden.
Leon: 11:31 No we are not promoting Disney+. We are not going to do that. Um, the next, uh, platform or agent that's being used is Overcast, which is interesting. Uh, 235 listens, came from, um, over the overcast platform,
Josh: 11:44 uh, Apple podcasts coming in at 168.
Leon: 11:47 So I'm willing to bet that that's destiny and Kate who are both Apple fanatics and they are just clicking repeatedly.
Josh: 11:53 That's nice. Yay. Thank you. Thank you for clicking repeatedly. We appreciate that. OKhttp. I don't even know what that is.
Leon: 12:00 It's an interesting little platform that some people are using and it's number four on the list. So 165 listens. PocketCasts is 133 listens. M.
Josh: 12:10 My preferred platform, actually a Podcast Addict, a 124.
Leon: 12:14 Spotify, which actually is how I like to listen to a lot of stuff. Spotify has 96 listens,
Josh: 12:19 The PodBean app, 94 listens.
Leon: 12:22 Right. And that's actually how we're hosting. We'll talk about that in a minute. iTunes. So, I'm not sure exactly the differentiation between the Apple podcast in iTunes, but iTunes is at 72 listens. And in the number 10 spot:
Josh: 12:33 Google podcasts where I started listening to a lot of podcasts, 70 listens, and then, I mean the list is pretty long after that, but there's a lot of diversity out there.
Leon: 12:42 Yeah. It's not just like one, one, one, one, one, you know, all the way down after that. I, you know, there's, there's a bunch of them, PlayerFM and Bullhorn and, and CFnetwork and things like that. So...
Josh: 12:51 WatchOS?
Leon: 12:52 Yeah, watchOS people listening to it on their watch, now. It's, you know, I mean, you know, and you've got, you know, iHeartRadio, Facebook app, um, you know, Twitter app. People are listening to us in a lot of different ways, which is kind of issues. So, so what do these numbers tell us? Okay, so those are the numbers, but what are we getting from this?
Josh: 13:08 Um, people in the US like the listen to us on their watches. That would be a connection that you could possibly draw, but probably not accurate. I, the first thing is, you know, we have a long way to go. I think that 2000 listens in the better part of a year, 50 listens per episode. If you just divide it mathematically, um, there's, there's a lot more growth that we can do. So if you're listening and you think, "Oh, you know, it'd be so much easier to listen to this if you just..." Blah, blah, please let us know. Um, you know, we want to make this interesting and listen-able, whether you are listening to it live or meaning, you know, from a podcast platform or you're reading it through a transcript or what have you, please let us know what we can do to make the podcast more consumable for you or your friends or family or coworkers.
Josh: 13:56 If that suggestion is that I don't participate anymore as well to make up more or listen-able, I mean, let Leon know and he'll let me down gently.
Leon: 14:05 Right? And vice versa, vice versa. I could see it going either way.
Josh: 14:09 Definitely.
Leon: 14:11 So, so, right. And I think also the numbers are interesting in terms of the ways that people are listening. And I think that tells us something a little bit about where we might want to advertise or promote. Along the way that, you know, that Overcast was really a surprise for me. I did not expect that. It's not on the list of things that I had targeted. Um, and yet there it is. You know, people were listening to it, so that might tell us where we want to reach out to people.
Josh: 14:33 And it's funny too because both you and I participate a fair bit on Twitter and LinkedIn and we've been known to, I mean both retweet and post about our podcast on those two platforms. I mean, I'm, I surprised because I would've expected more people to be listening, via one of those platforms like Twitter, you know, in tweet listening. So...
Leon: 14:56 Yeah, it is interesting. And maybe that's something we need to find a way to enable more of. I dunno. I dunno. Um, you know, that's, so we're going to, we're going to dig through those numbers, um, and see what else we can find. Again, if you see something in those numbers that we didn't let us know. The next thing I want to do is go relatively quickly through some behind the scenes we've had. I've had some folks ask, "Well, how exactly do you make the podcast?" Um, either because they're interested in doing one of their own or because they just, you know, are interested in that stuff. So, uh, the behind the scenes stuff, first of all, we use a variety of microphones because we have guests from all over the place. So since Josh and I are, are the two primary voices you're going to hear, I use a blue Yeti microphone, um, which I love.
Josh: 15:37 Yeah. And I use a job for pro nine 30, which I use both for work and for the podcast. I think the takeaway here is you don't have to go and drop a hundred or 200 or more on a specialized a microphone if you're just going to be doing a podcast from home. And if you're going to have more than one guest, it gets really awkward when people want to hug up against my face to talk into my mic.
Leon: 16:02 Yeah. At least to some awkward questions, you know, in the house,
Josh: 16:05 right? Yeah. So you know why, why do you have Leon's whiskers on your sweater?
Leon: 16:13 Right, exactly. So yeah, you don't need a lot. Now again, I, I'm really enjoying the blue Yeti. Um, Destiny turned me on to it. Uh, when we first started doing, you know, talk about podcasts and doing them and it was really a worthwhile investment for me, but I wholly support what Josh was saying is you can get good quality sound out of a, a variety of low end low cost microphones. To record the podcast we use cast, which you can...
Josh: 16:40 OK. Hold on a second, can I just, can I point out how awesome it is that a bunch of D&D geeks use a platform called "Cast" to record this show?
Leon: 16:49 Yes. Okay. It is kind of cool and yes, I do. I do have a little bit of nerdery in my head. And I say, "Okay, I'm going to cask now... HOYYYY!" Oh, you'll find cast at Um, so you can find that there and it's really economical. It's 10 bucks a month for, I think it's 20 hours of recording. So for a home podcast you can fit the time that you... And you can export individual tracks or you can export a premixed version or whatever. It gives you a lot of nice granular controls and they even serve as a hosting platform, but we're not using it. And speaking of exporting, I export individual tracks for each voice and then I'll do the audio editing in Audacity, a free tool. It does everything that I need it to do. And if the sound is horrible, it's my fault because I'm, it's me using Audacity. If the sound is amazing and you love it, it's purely because Sudacity is an amazing tool to use.
Josh: 17:50 Wait... we edit this show?
Leon: 17:51 We do. I tried to take out a lot of the ums and ahs and every once in a while we really mess up and we have to go back or something like that. I edit that out. Most of the time. I think episode 11 ended up the unedited version ended up getting posted, but we didn't say anything terribly embarrassing in that one.
Josh: 18:07 We usually say all sorts of terribly embarrassing things that we publish well,
Leon: 18:11 Right, right. The embarrasing stuff is the best part.
Josh: 18:16 Um, so we, uh, we as an ep, as a podcast, we try to be very inclusive and accessible. And, uh, for our listeners who don't actually listen, who are hearing impaired, we use Temi, uh, for doing transcription. And I mean, that's, that's something that I picked up from you, uh, about halfway through this year. And I've really enjoyed that experience. And today as we were prepping for the show, I realized that doing the transcription isn't just for people who are hearing impaired. It's also very much for us. Because we post all of those transcriptions and I was looking for a particular episode, something that we had said in those these past 37 episodes and I was able to go and search on and just find it, boom. Just like that.
Leon: 19:03 Right. So that, that is a, a secondary benefit that I like. Of course I said that we needed to do transcribing because I have a lot of friends who are Deaf or hard of hearing. I also have a lot of friends for whom English is not their first language. And so having the transcript works really well. Uh, and yes, it makes it very searchable. We can go back and find where we said something really easily. You don't have to listen to hours and hours of, uh, of recordings just to see "now, where was it that Doug talked about being the worst person to invite to a Christmas party..." Or whatever, which was hysterical by the way. Um, so yeah, it, it's, it comes in really handy and a little bit of extra work. Um, we host on PodBean, I mentioned that earlier. So that's where the episode gets uploaded to when it's finally done. And PodBean pushes things out to just about everything else. It pushes out to iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, um, a whole mess of platforms. And then I manually repost it to and uh, that does the promotion, the actual promotion of the episode out to Twitter, Facebook, um, and LinkedIn.
Josh: 20:06 Interesting. And then I think that it's important that our listeners know that we invest between three and five hours per episode. Well, we've certainly gone longer. Some of our episodes and the prep, the recording and then the dissecting, I mean we're probably up around 8, sometimes 10 hours for a particular set of episodes. You know, those two-part-ers that we've done, you know, they've run really long, but yeah, three to five hours a week, uh, on top of our full time gigs as uh, husbands and fathers, uh, and jobs. Apparently we have to have jobs in order to make money and feed ourselves. So yeah, it's a labor of love.
Leon: 20:43 Yeah. My family is much, they're much more uh, solicitous of my saying "I want to go record a podcast"
Josh: 20:48 when they've eaten, you know, regular. Yes. Yeah. They're totally accepting of that. Right?
Leon: 20:53 Yeah. It makes things easier. And you know, the, I think the message there is that if, if you feel the itch to do a podcast, it's accessible. It's relatively easy to do. It requires more or less some free or cheap software. I told you the cast is $10 a month. Um, Tammy, one of the reasons why I like it is that it is 10 cents a minute for the transcribing. So, you know, a 30 minute episode is $3. Nice. It's really, really affordable to do so, you know, the costs are relatively low. Um, between that and hosting and um, Podbean. So it's really accessible to do. You know, don't think that there's a barrier to entry that that money or even level of effort is a very true entry. And that means also that you can take a shot at it, make some mistakes, figure it out. I fully ascribed to IRA Glass' story that he did about, uh, the gap that when you first start to do something, there's this gap between what you see in your head in terms of quality and how it comes out initially that it's not, it may not be what you envision it can be, but you have to keep at it. You have to keep trying because ultimately you'll get there because it's your, your sensibility of, and your vision. That really is what's carrying you through. Not necessarily your technical acumen at the start. That comes later. So that just, you know, it just a little encouragement. If you think you want to do this, absolutely try reach out to us on the side, either on social media or email or whatever and say, "Hey, I just need some help getting started." Or "Can you walk me through the basics of this or that," you know, we would love to help see another fledgling podcast get off the ground.
Josh: 22:28 This is why I had four children. The first three. I'm like, all right, that's uh, uh, obviously I've really messed up. And the fourth one, or maybe I should have a fifth. I dunno,
Leon: 22:38 Who knows? Well, okay. So I, I routinely and publicly refer to my oldest daughter as my 'pancake kid'. You know, when you're making pancakes and, uh, you make the first one and it's like overdone on one side and kind of squishy on the other and misshapen and kind of, you know, that's, and the rest of them come out perfectly circular and golden Brown and cooked all the way through because the griddle's finally up to the right temperature and everything. But the first pancake that first pancake comes out and it's just a little weird. And my daughter is the pancake kid. So, uh, moving on from pancake children and how the sausage gets made, having made the sausage, I think we both have some moments in some episodes that were our favorites. And I'd like to start off, uh, I got a little bit nostalgic, um, about this. So my top favorite moment was actually when we had Al Rasheed on and you and Al ended up getting into this 80's music nostalgia showdown where every other comment was, you know, an oblique reference to some song that was, you know, top 40 radio at some point during the decade. It was by end of the episode. It was just. It was wonderful and awful and cringe-worthy and delightful all at the same time. And I just sat there with my jaw hanging open, laughing constantly. I had to mute myself. It was amazing.
Josh: 23:59 Wow. I mean, Cher would say, if we, "if I could turn back time..."
Leon: 24:05 See? See? It was like this, it was like this for 35 minutes straight. It was nothing but this. Okay. So that was one. The second one was, and we talked about this, uh, earlier with the top episodes Fixing the World One Error Message at a Time. There were just some amazing overlaps that came out during that episode. You know, where we saw that, you know, the pair programming may have had its roots, whether it knows it or not in the idea of chevruta, or partner style learning in Yeshiva that, you know, that was just a total like, Oh my goodness. Like again, an aha moment for me. So that was a really interesting one as we were talking about it and finally, not a specific episode, but just every episode that, that we were together and that's most of them, the time that I got to spend with you, Josh, you know, as we planned out the show, sort of 30, 40 minutes of prep time before we record and we just had a chance to catch up on our lives and our families and things like that and really share it. And that's something that the audience is never going to necessarily hear. We weren't recording and it's just, you know, it was just personal banter between us. But you know, uh, we worked together for a very brief time, you know, at the same company, but then we worked together, you know, on the same tools and the same projects far longer than that. And this was, this really just gave us a chance to deepen that friendship. And I really value that. And to that end, the episode that is, that is titled failure to launch, for me, was really a very personal moment. It was a really hard moment for me where my son was going through a hard time. And as a parent, when you see your kid struggling, it just tears you apart. And both the prep and actually the execution of that episode I think was for me, a Testament to our friendship, you know, in audio like in a podcast. That was, that was you being really supportive of me and helping me think through and talk through those moments. And um, you shared a lot of yourself in that episode also. And, and I think that was sort of emblematic of the, again, the secondary benefit of the podcast. The first benefit is just being able to share these ideas and stories with the public. But the secondary benefit for me was just how much friendship we were able to build and share throughout the, this last year.
Josh: 26:22 And I, I have to remind the audience that your son, he stayed in Israel, right. And he's doing absolutely fantastic. So that time for you and I to commiserate for, to be a virtual shoulder, um, to, you know, snuggle your head on and yeah, t.
Leon: 26:40 That's how the whiskers got there! Angela, if you're listening, that's, that's how it happened.
Josh: 26:45 That is absolutely how it happened.
Leon: 26:47 Don't think anything else.
Josh: 26:49 No, I agree that those, those are the things that you don't really, you don't really value until suddenly they happen. And you realize that for the past year we've spent more time together than probably most of my friends. It's just weird. I mean life is busy and you squeezed friendships in between other things, but this was something that we carved out every week. So, I mean, I got to spend 90 minutes to 120 minutes a week just chatting with you on top of the chatting we did in social media and whatnot. So a 100% super powerful. Um, I often say, uh, you know, my best friend in the world, um, doesn't live anywhere near me. Uh, he lives in Cleveland, so that's great. So I,
Leon: 27:34 And that's the amazing part about the internet in general. But yeah, this podcast has helped. Okay. So those were, those were my favorites. Josh, you know what are yours? I've got the tissues out.
Josh: 27:41 Yeah, you got em? All right. So my first one was recently outing. Um, I'm making you out yourself and your ongoing feud with Adam Sandler.
Leon: 27:52 Sorry Adam. It goes all the way back to college. Uh, couldn't stand you. You are, I'm sure you're a much better person now, but you were impossible to deal with back then.
Josh: 28:01 I mean, we were all, we were all impossible to deal with at that age. I'm just going to point that out. There's a reason that we send our kids to college. Just saying. There's also a reason that some animals eat their young also saying that,
Leon: 28:13 Oh, right. Media was merely misunderstood. She was just having a bad day that many mothers can commiserate with .
Josh: 28:22 Uh, also I enjoy at least once an episode, sometimes more reminding you that, um, you did abandon me after four days to take a role as a Head Geek at Solarwinds,
Leon: 28:37 Mea Culpa, mea culpa, marxima culpa! I'm so sorry. Yes, I know. I know.
Josh: 28:42 I, and I think that that will probably go on my tombstone. Um, "do you remember when Leon left me?" Or something.
Leon: 28:52 Again, hard to explain to your family why that's on your tombstone.
Josh: 28:55 It's going to be a big tombstone door and don't, don't worry. Um, and I think to your failure to launch episode, um, one of the moments that, not when it happened, but in retrospect was sharing with the world that I suffer from depression and uh, and that it's OK, um, that we, and we talked about that later on, we talked about the power of reaching out to people, um, who say, "Look, I, I suffer from depression and it's okay to suffer from depression." And people who know me, uh, and who know me well will know that sometimes it's very situational, but to tell the entire world or at least 2100 people or 2100 listens, um, that I suffered from depression. It, that's fine. It really was.
Leon: 29:41 Yeah, it really, it came out okay. And that actually arose from a previous episode. So the episode we're talking about is "Fight the Stigma" and the previous episode, it just, it was like in passing and it was very to the listener, it was very, you know, noncommittal. It was just, "...and I suffered from depression" and et cetera, et cetera. Actually that was the "Failure to Launch" episode that you mentioned it. And afterward, after we'd stopped recording I said, "Wow, that, that seems so easy for you. Was it, was it a big deal?" And you said, "Yeah, it was a huge deal. Like my heart was beating in my chest!" And, and every like, it really wasn't, it didn't seem like it, but it was a big admission. We said, "we need to explore this a little bit more. We need to go into it." And it was really brave. I know that that's terrible. Like, Oh wow, you're such an inspiration, like don't turn you into that. But it made hopefully made a difference in other people who are listening. But it was really a, a big thing for, for us who are doing the recording.
Josh: 30:35 Yeah. And I will say that, uh, in addition to that depression at admission, this podcast has really been a part of my transition away from Mormonism. I mean, we started talking about this podcast a year before we actually started the podcast. So I was, you know, I was kind of in the throws of it, but I mean 30 to 60 minutes a week of being able to hear other people's perspectives who, um, may or may not, um, share our religious views or former religious views in my case, was really powerful for me and helped me process through my transition away from Mormonism a lot faster than most people. I've, you know, I, in the community, I've seen people that are going on decades of trying to transition away from Mormonism. And I did it in under two years.
Leon: 31:28 Right. And I think, I think part of that, and this is one of the foundational ideas behind the, the "Tales from the TAMO Cloud" series that we've started to do is to talk about people's journeys. Um, you know, both their technical journeys and also their religious journeys. Uh, and to make sure that the listeners understand that life is a journey. I know that's really cliche, that there's a place where you are today that is different from where you stood before at the beginning when you were, when you were growing up that the house that you grew up in, in the traditions in that house are valid and they are a thing. But that may not be what you do now. You may be doing what you may think of as more or less or different. And that's normal that we have multiple voices on here who say, "I started off like this and then I was this and then, and now I am this and this is how I got from here to there." And the, this is in that conversation could be, I started off on help desk and then I was a storage engineer and now I'm working as a, you know, customer advocate or it could be that I started off as, you know, Protestant and then I was disillusioned and I was nothing. And now I'm, you know, born again, evangelical Christian or whatever and people, you know,...that, that those transitions are normal and healthy and not an admission of failure. It's an admission of life.
Josh: 32:50 You forgot to include my transition from working in technology and despising sales to now working in presales and being part of the sales cycle. I mean, I've literally gone to the dark side. It's,
Leon: 33:04 You really have, and you probably going to have to talk about that at some point. Yeah. After Star Wars is out for a while. So we're not spoiling anything for anyone.
Josh: 33:11 Exactly. Right. Uh, I will also point out that it is moments like this that are so powerful for me. I quote you, Leon, in real life. Um, so often that I'm pretty sure people are convinced. I am considering converting to Judaism.
Leon: 33:28 I know that you got that comment, especially when you were still involved in the church and you were running a Sunday teaching programs and you'd, you'd say, and you know, and I think the group, the class would say, "and what is your friend Leon think about that?"
Josh: 33:42 It really was hilarious. It would be like, " I have a friend" and they'd be like, "...and his name is Leon."
Leon: 33:48 Right.
Josh: 33:49 It, it, it was fantastic. Um, and then I think, no, I know that my all time favorite tagline of this past season came from, uh, episode 30, uh, when good people make bad choices and an evolved, um, melons,
Leon: 34:06 I'll play the clip.
Josh: 34:07 That's of wonderful. I think that's better than me reading it because yes, play the clip.
Josh: 34:13 In the Bible. Matthew records " their fruits, you shall know them."
Doug: 34:17 So ironically, we're not supposed to be judges, but we're supposed to be fruit inspectors.
Josh: 34:23 Doug, are you looking at my melons?
Leon: 34:26 I cannot be having this conversation.
Josh: 34:28 I don't know why we played that clip
Leon: 34:32 Because we have no shame. Um, yeah, it was... Just talking about that clip took up a good solid five to 10 minutes of, of solid laughter of us just trying to do that. And that represents some of the joy. So those were some of our favorite moments. If you have some of your favorite moments, uh, please share it with us on social media. We're on Twitter, Facebook, uh, there's, you know, posts again on LinkedIn. You can share it in the comments area on the website, anywhere that you want to. Um, all right, so I want to transition over to looking ahead. We looked back a little bit, um, in the coming year, what are we thinking? Uh, Technically Religious is going to move into and that idea of constantly improving and I'll start off by saying that we're really gonna work on improving the production quality. I think we have some room to grow. That we can get better. I'm, I'm getting better at, again, editing the audio and getting better sound levels and things like that. And that's going to continue. I also want to make sure that we make the time that we're talking as clear as possible. So getting the ums and AHS and those vocal tics out of the way. I think that transcripts are getting better and faster and so they're getting easier to do and we're going to keep on doing that and especially to our deaf and hard of hearing listeners. But anybody who's consuming the transcripts, please let us know if there's something we can do to make it easier for you. And the last piece I'm going to unveil is that we are going to have intro and outro music along with the intro text, so stay tuned for that. We'll have a big unveiling of that.
Josh: 36:03 Does it involve kazoos?
Leon: 36:04 It probably does not actually involve kazoos.
Josh: 36:06 That's disappointing.
Leon: 36:06 I, okay, so we're still working on it. Maybe we can work some kazoos. It's going to have a lot of sound. It's gonna have a lot of sounds,
Josh: 36:13 A lot of sounds. Okay. good. I'm okay with that. Are we also going to leverage Elon Musk's Starlink satellite system in order to broadcast?
Leon: 36:23 If you can make that happen. I'm fully on board with that, but that, that's news to me. But I, yeah, I'm all for it. Slightly less ambitious than Elon Musk's Starlink system would be getting some other guests in and maybe some higher profile guests. Uh, somebody mentioned earlier that Larry Wall has a very interesting religious point of view and also he is the progenitor of the Perl programming language, which I have an undying love for. This is a hill I'm willing to die on that Pearl is still valid and and useful. So someone said, "Hey, you should get him on the show." So I am actively pursuing that and a few other guests whose names you might recognize even if you don't know me or Josh or the circles that we run in.
Josh: 37:04 I just want to say that Charity Majors is high on my list this year. Unfortunately I missed having a chance to chat with charity last week while I was in San Francisco. A charity. I'm so sorry. I realized as I was wrapping up my week that I didn't reach out cause I'm a terrible person.
Leon: 37:21 That's right because you were terrible. That's what it was. Not that you were busy learning the ropes of a completely new job and juggling several responsibilities and things like that. No, no. Just because you're a bad person.
Josh: 37:33 Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. So to make it up for you to you, I, we will invite you onto the show. We'd love to talk about this journey and then to make it, make it up to you for inviting you onto the show. Uh, we will also get together next time I'm in San Francisco.
Leon: 37:50 Same, same. Since you took time to get... So I met Charity when she was at, we were both at DevOps days, Tel Aviv. So Charity, we do not all, both have to fly literally around the globe to see each other and get to hang out next time. So, so there's that. Um, we're going to have some more TAMO interviews. If you are interested in being part of the show, either you want to do a tales from the Tamar cloud interview or just part of any conversation. We would love to speak to you. If you want to be a guest. If you think that you want to try your hand at editing, I will be happy to give up the reins to either the audio or transcription editing responsibilities. Um, let me know, again, reach out in social media and also promotion. Uh, I want this year to be more about getting, uh, Technically Religious promoted better and more so that we can have more readers, more input, more fun, more more goodness. And that leads to something that sorta speaks up your alley Josh.
Josh: 38:48 Well, I was gonna say if someone happens to have $100 billion laying around and would like to sponsor the show, we would be,
Leon: 38:58 yeah, we wouldn't use all 100 billion, would we?.
Josh: 39:00 No. I mean at least at least a billion or so we would leave.
Leon: 39:04 Oh, okay. Yeah. I mean cause we're not greedy.
Josh: 39:07 99 billion? We can totally make this happen on nine, 99 billion. In all honesty. If you are interested in sponsoring the show and we've dropped a number of names of, uh, vendors, uh, during this episode... And not intentionally, we really do appreciate the technology that allows us to deliver the show. But if you're interested in a sponsorship, please reach out to us. We'd be more than happy to talk about you, your products, um, and to also accept your money.
Leon: 39:32 So that's, I think that's a good wrap up. I think there's a good look back at, at 2019 season one. Uh, the next episode you hear will be the official start of season two of technically religious. Do we have a cliffhanger? Is there some sort of, are you going to poise over me with a knife or,
Leon: 39:48 Right. Is this so... Josh, I have to tell you something really important. I'm...
Josh: 39:54 And we fade to black. No, no, no. We're not going to do that. I was waiting with bated breath. I was, I was going to put it in my ANYDo so that I can remember to listen to the next episode.
Leon: 40:03 Yes. Uh, so just to wrap up to everyone who's listening, uh, both Josh and I and everyone else who's been part of the show, uh, thank you deeply. We hope that you're going to keep listening as we kick off season two, and that you will share Technically Religious podcast with your friends, your family, and your coworkers. And while as you listen to this episode is probably somewhat belated, we'd like to wish you:
Josh: 40:25 A Merry Christmas.
Leon: 40:26 or happy Christmas if you're in Britain. Also a Chag Chanukah Sameach.
Josh: 40:30 A happy Kwanzaa.
Leon: 40:31 A joyful winter solstice.
Josh: 40:33 Festivus... For the rest of us!
Leon: 40:37 Thanks for making time for us this week to hear more of Technically Religious visit our website,, where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions and connect us on social media.
Leon: 40:49 You really want to end the year with a Festivus joke?
Josh: 40:51 Well, since we can't be in Hawaii.

S1E37: The Dreaded Office Holiday Party, Part 2

S1E37: The Dreaded Office Holiday Party, Part 2

December 24, 2019

The dreaded office holiday party: For many of us, for MANY reasons, this is a situation fraught with difficulties. To go or not to go. To eat or not to eat. To discuss or not to discuss our religious/holiday/personal lives and plans. As IT folks with a strong religious/moral/ethical POV, navigating this ONE (supposedly optional) yearly occurrence can be the cause of more stress than any other event. In this episode we’ll unpack the what and why, and - like the IT pros we are, offer advice on how to navigate through this seasonal obstacle course. 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 So up until a few years ago, I was one of those people where if you said "happy holidays" to me, I would say "Merry Christmas" back because you know, it's Christmas time and you got to put the Christ in Christmas, right?

Leon: 00:45 Sure.

Josh: 00:46 And my wife and I were talking about this just the other day yesterday, I think. And we have decided that regardless of what holiday someone wishes us, our response is going to be, "Thank you. You too." I mean, Holy crap, right? It's like mind blowing.

Yechiel: 01:08 Radical.

Leon: 01:10 What a crazy idea. Just saying thank you.

Josh: 01:15 Ah, and she, she said, "Oh, I posted this to Facebook that I'm going to do this." And she's like, "I wonder how many people are going to be offended?" And I thought, Who in the world's going to be offended by saying thank you?You too.

Leon: 01:27 Okay. And, and the answer is?

Yechiel: 01:29 Well, it's is Facebook, so...

Josh: 01:30 Right. Everybody.

Leon: 01:34 I was going to say, how many hundreds of, of responses about "this is part of the war on Christmas!!" Have you gotten so far?

New Speaker: 01:40 Um, I don't know. I don't go on Facebook, so I have no idea. Uh, I don't, I don't have an account anymore. Um, so I don't know. I get it right. I, I'm with Doug. Um, if, if you, if for you, Christmas is about the birth of the savior. Um, I mean, pro-tip: Jesus was born where there were shepherds who had their flock in the fields. It was not December, just saying. Um, anyway, so if, if that's the time of year in which you get aligned to your faith in Christ, go for it. But don't rob other people of the reason that they like to celebrate. For me and for people that I like to associate with Christmas is a time where we get together with friends and family, where we bring, you know, we, we bring in this idea of being, uh, increasingly generous with, um, those around us where we're reminded that we need to be generous. So it's, for me, it's not really this dueling religion thing at Christmas or, you know, whatever holidays happen to fall around this time of year. It's, Hey, you know, there's this spirit of generosity and camraderie. Let's just get together and hang out. Um, and we don't have to call it a Christmas party. Uh, yeah. All Christmas party planners, you know, corporate offices need to probably hear that message. It doesn't need to be a Christmas party. It can just be a party,

Leon: 03:10 ...a party, right a part... End of year party and stuff like that. But w'ell, again, we're, we're gonna, we're gonna offer some, some insights based on this. Um, so as a non Christian, I think one of the challenges about this time of year also again - that comparative, uh, religion conversation in the worst possible setting ever - is the, the need of some folks to say, "But, but your holiday is just the same as ours!" Like to find equivalence where there isn't necessarily equivalence. Um, you know, Hanukkah isn't, you know, the Jewish Christmas, there's no such thing as a Hanukkah Bush. There is no such thing as a Hanukkah Charlie. That... And it doesn't need to exist. You know, it, it goes into, um, this homogenization of, "Well, everyone can celebrate Christmas in their heart." There's... No, no, there doesn't, no, we don't need to do that. I don't need to be included because that becomes a, unfortunately for me... And I apologize, I'm gonna get a little bit prickly here. It becomes a little threatening for me because that leads, you know, that dovetails into being proselytized to or at, in a very uncomfortable situation. Again, we're talking about an office party and to have a coworker or a boss suddenly raising this, you know, "But, but everyone believes in Jesus." No, everyone doesn't. And, and insisting that I do puts me in a very difficult position where, you know, my desire to be authentic as a Jew and my desire to be employed as a human are suddenly possibly in conflict.

Josh: 05:05 I mean, I, I, uh, I don't know, maybe I'm a bit of a crap disturber but I would definitely recommend brushing up on, um, what historians are now calling the authentic Jesus. Um, and he was a real crap disturber so I mean, you could be like, "Oh yeah, let's talk about Jesus. Let's talk about how he did this and this and..." You know, you know, kicked over these tables and you know, made a mockery of, Oh wait, no, let's not talk about that because that's not really, yeah,

Yechiel: 05:34 Something tells me that wouldn't go towards making the party more of a festive occasion.

Josh: 05:40 I think it would make it very festive, actually.

Leon: 05:42 I was going to say... "festive" in a very completely different way. Yeah.

Josh: 05:47 Josh is never being invited to a party ever again. Right.

Leon: 05:52 There's also an, and unfortunately this has happened to me, this desire again, this does that, you know, "everyone, everyone likes Christmas. Even in their heart, even if they don't know it" there's this insistence of, you know, you just, you just haven't tried it. You haven't tried the right one yet or whatever. And you know, "come take a look at this beautiful Christmas tree. Wouldn't you love to have a Christmas tree? Like this isn't this great?" You know, and right behind it is this wall full of crucifixes and then they take a picture and all of a sudden it becomes a picture of the Orthodox Jew. You looking up at an admiring, you know, a Christmas tree and a wall of crucifixes and it becomes this, you know, 'caption this photo contest'. You know, I'm not interested in being in your picture like that.

Josh: 06:34 "Leon wonders why people put pine trees in their houses." That's, that would be my caption.

Leon: 06:40 You know, it can get really prickly. It can, it can, you know, people, again, people get caught up in the holiday and in their love of the holiday, their enjoyment of holiday. When you discover spin class, which Joshua and I have said, you know, CrossFit is a cult,

Josh: 06:54 It is.

Leon: 06:54 know, and but the desire to have everyone else involved in CrossFit or you know, veganism or whatever it is, like you love it so much, you need other people to love it. Just as much.

Josh: 07:09 I will have, I will say, and maybe this is completely counter to what we've been talking about, but I have received a Christmas card from a Muslim friend this year already. Very first one I received. Um, and I have neighbors that are Muslim and they will without fail bring us a Christmas gift. We even have, we have a, uh, some Muslim friends, um, who were neighbors that are now friends cause they've moved a few blocks away, but they will make the Trek over to our house every year to bring us. Um, uh, and I authentic. Um, I, I believe they're from uh, Iran. So they will bring us an authentic Iranian festive dish to share at Christmas because they know that it's important to us. I, I don't know how to take that whole corporate thing though and make it like human beings act so good to one. Another one on one is when we get into these large groups that suddenly things get real awkward. Right?

Yechiel: 08:14 Actually that's, that's an interesting point that I think like that people don't understand that the so called war on Christmas, um, like Jews, Muslims, we don't care that Christians celebrate Christmas, you know, good for you. Uh, it's fun. It looks nice and everything. Just don't make it the default and assume that everyone celebrates Christmas. Don't tell. Like when you tell me Merry Christmas, I'm not going to get offended. Of course, I know you mean well, but that's not my holiday. That's not what I celebrate. But on the other hand, I don't mind wishing you a Merry Christmas if I know you celebrate it and I don't mind sending you a Christmas card.

Leon: 08:49 The example that's used a lot and I like it is, is the concept of happy birthday. That if you know, if it's birthday, we all show up. We tell Josh happy birthday, but we don't feel the need for everybody to say happy birthday to everybody else. It's not everyone else's birthday. So you know, it's your holiday. So Merry Christmas. Absolutely. You have a great time on your birthday, on your holiday. Um, but don'tto Yechiel's point. Don't insist that everybody celebrate, you know, their birthday on your birthday because that's not how things work.

Josh: 09:23 I think after this episode we're going to have to start a business where we hire ourselves out as event planners for corporations that want to be both unoffensive or I mean reasonably unoff.... Nevermind. It would never work.

Yechiel: 09:40 It's still 2019, you know.

Leon: 09:43 Okay. So something that we hit on earlier that I just... Is interesting to me is again, trying to be unoffensive. One technique that especially HR departments try to do is again, to create this false reciprocality of things. So, you know, "We're going to put up, you know, trees, they're holiday trees, they're holiday wreaths, they're holiday baubles, you know, hanging from the ceiling and everything. But in order to be inclusive, we're also going to put a menorah next to the tree. I am here to tell you that at no time is a menorah next to a Christmas tree, an image that makes any sense to anybody except perhaps the people working in HR. It's not a thing. It does not make me feel more included. You know, again, Hanukkah was three weeks ago. Chad don't need to have them menorah there. You're not, you know, it's, it's your holiday. And, and I've actually gotten into conversations with HR, not in my current job. It was a while ago when I was a little bit more loud mouth about things and perhaps had less impulse control. You know, they... right! Less than I have now. I know it's a shock. And I actually got into it with the folks in HR and they said, but they're not Christmas decorations, they're holiday decorations. This is, there is no holiday that I celebrated anytime of the year that has decorations like this. Please, you know, let's be intellectually honest about this.

Josh: 11:09 Even an authentic question. What would be your preference? So my heritage or my beliefs trend toward Christianity. Um, would you prefer for Christmas to just be, "Hey, like this work going to have Christmas stuff?" Um, but then how do, how do we handle it on the other side? Like, do we need to have a celebration for every holiday? Because I have noticed some companies doing that, right? They will, um, celebrate, you know, Diwali, they will celebrate, um, you know, Hanukkah, they will celebrate, uh, Kwanzaa. They will, they will have every single holiday represented. Is that the right route to go

Leon: 11:57 To have an ofrenda for Dia de Los Muertos? Like yeah, I mean, so again, we're going to have, you know, we're going to have a section where we try to solve this, but I think that that what you're getting at is there seems to be, I'm not saying there is, but there seems to be two options. Do nothing or do everything. And I think there's some other options there. But my preference, and this is my personal preference, this is independent of a religious outlook or whatever, is that if the company feels it's important to make a display around the December time frame, great. You're talking about Christmas, go do it,

Josh: 12:38 I like that.

Leon: 12:38 Don't, don't pretend. That that would be my thing. And I am very much from a Jewish standpoint, I am very much a please include me out. Like I am actually more comfortable, personally, not having a company that isn't intrinsically a, a Jewish knowledgeable, uh, group of folks try to put something together, which is always back to the food conversation. You're going to work really, really hard trying to buy kosher food and you're not going to do it. And I'm going to tell you you missed and you're going to be offended because you tried so hard and I'm just ungrateful. So in the same way, like you're going to try really, really hard to decorate for my holiday and something is going to not match up somewhere you're going to. "But, but they were Hanukkah tree decorations. Doesn't that work?" You know, like no, that the tree was the problem, you know, and someone's going to feel frustrated that they had put this effort and I'm still being ungrateful.

Josh: 13:36 I think if we were to look at this from the reciprocal, right. And so last week, Leon, we talked about your trip to Israel. Um, if, if we weren't in North America, if we were in Israel, would I, should I make the choice, um, to be offended by Jewish celebrations or celebrations of my Muslim coworkers because Christianity is not the predominant religion, right? Like, I, I, I think I, I think we need to think about things in that way, stops, you know, I need to stop saying, well, you know, because Christianity is the predominant religion in North America, blah, blah, blah, and say, well, what if it wasn't, how would I want to be treated? And then just act like that. I mean, there I go, trying to solve a thing. I know.

Leon: 14:30 Okay. And it sounds like we're in the problem solving section, which is, which is great. And I think it's, it's about time, but actually I haven't lived in Israel enough during the holidays to even know what offices look like during any of the normative Jewish holidays Yechiel, I don't know if you have any experience with that.

Yechiel: 14:48 Following Ben Greenberg's Twitter account. Um, it seems companies will have a Hanukkah party. Um, I don't think they have Christmas parties. They probably have a new year's party cause that's just universal. I mean, obviously everyone celebrates Hanukkah in Israel or at least the 80% of the country that's Jewish. So yeah, I would say Hanukkah and Israel is sort of like Christmas in America where it's just everywhere.

Leon: 15:08 It's just a different times, different times of the calendar.

Yechiel: 15:12 in terms of how pervasive it is.

Leon: 15:14 All right. So Josh, I want to circle back to the question you asked before. You know what, now we're speaking directly to the company, what, you know, what are the correct options, what can we do to fix this? And again, we said there's the do nothing, which I think is an option. Right? You know, we're talking about the dreaded office holiday party, so we can say don't have them.

Yechiel: 15:33 I'm definitely on that team. I mean, but that's due to not just a religious reason. Just you know, all the reasons you mentioned like also at the beginning of this stage, like I don't know, I feel like they're more trouble than they're worth. I mean before I got into programming, I worked at a Jewish company in Williamsburg and they didn't have a holiday party. Instead they gave a present around the, they would give everyone a pretty nice, decent, decently priced present around the holiday time. In addition, they also give like a holiday bonus around Passover and Sukkot, which was totally not tied to your performance bonus, which was a completely different thing. Like everyone would get, it was small. I think it was like $250 maybe, but it was just a nice extra, something special. I just think employees would be happier if instead of spending all that money on a party that no one wants to go to anyway, it would find some more creative way to use that money. But yeah, we're not talking about our work. Let's talk to companies who are having a party.

Leon: 16:28 Well. Okay, but again, not doing it and you've just offered some alternatives of, okay, so if we're not doing that, like what, what are we doing? Do we just say it's a regular set of work days and you know, tough luck because that feels, to use a Christian concept, it feels free. Scrooge ish. 'Bah humbug.' You know, so, but you just said you recognize...

Yechiel: 16:48 Well, correct me if I'm wrong, most holiday parties aren't on Christmas, are they? I mean, at least not on the companies. I've been to.

Leon: 16:54 Correct. No, no, no. They're there. Usually the lead up to...

Yechiel: 16:57 I mean, Christmas is a day off and new year's is they off. And sometimes the week in between is also off. So it's not like a regular work to, anyway.

Josh: 17:03 So I'm completely on board with you heal on this one. I think that companies should really ask themselves, "Do we need to hold a a holiday party or Christmas party?" So I, you know, I work for new Relic. New Relic is a global company. I have colleagues that are in Europe and you know, me and Canada. Colleagues stretched across the United States. How do you get people together when a significant portion of your workforce works remote from their home offices? I mean, I can have a party, but it's going to be a party of one.

Leon: 17:41 Oh, right. which may be the best party of all.

New Speaker: 17:44 Right? So instead, um, I like the of saying to, um, to your employees, like "look in lieu of a party because it just doesn't work logistically, here's what we're going to do. We're going to give you some money you can do with it. What, what ever you want. If you want to use it to, you know, um, augment your, your own earnings, great. If you want to go out and donate it to charity, great. If you want to shred it, you, you do whatever you want with it." I mean, that allows people who want to amplify their, you know, their Christmas celebrations to do that or if they time it, right, their Hanukkah celebrations or their no celebrations at all.

Leon: 18:33 Right. Okay. I'm just going to go in and I'm going to, I'm going to strongly correct you in this one. If you as a company decide, you know, if you as an individual who's received cash, your immediate urge is to shred that money. Please consider sponsoring an episode of Technically Religious. We will... Just send it to us. We will dispose of that money for you appropriately.

Yechiel: 18:57 Alternatively, you can just sign it to me. I have a professional shredding service on the side. It'll be shredded completely. Nothing will be left within a few minutes.

Leon: 19:05 How many kids do you have?

Yechiel: 19:07 Five.

Leon: 19:08 Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So that is, that is effectively shredding your money. Yeah. Right. It's, you know, diapers and tuition. Yeah. The whole thing. It's, it's gone. It doesn't, don't worry about how it got gone. Okay. Sorry, I just need to jump in. Like shredding money. No. Sponsoring Technically Religious. Absolutely. Or sent it to Yechiel and you know, you can find his information in the show notes.

Josh: 19:28 Did you just equate giving, uh, giving us money to sponsor an episode with shredding your money?

New Speaker: 19:34 No, I'm saying it's a BETTER option.

New Speaker: 19:36 Oh, okay. I just wanted to make sure that you weren't insinuating the sponsoring an episode of Technically Religious was as worthless as, shredding your money.

Leon: 19:44 No, not, I would never say something like that! Um, also as we were preparing for the episode, um, we also talked about again, part of the challenge with the holiday party is all the emotions and all the um, sort of expectations that come with it. And those are layered on top of the emotions and expectations that we have at this holiday time of year overall. And I think that someone brought up the idea of not having... Having a party just don't have it now have it, you know, at another time of year you can have a, you know, I'm not a big fan of Christmas in July, but having a summer kickoff holiday party, a pre-vacation pre, you know, to use the European term pre-holiday holiday party might be an interesting idea. Or you could do it at the company's fiscal end of year. If it doesn't match up with the calendar end of year. You could do that. So I think it would make the accounting department even more excited that their, that the, the rhythm that they hold to is something the company now acknowledging in a meaningful way.

Josh: 20:49 I had friends that would celebrate the summer solstice and the winter solstice. Now granted the winter solstice happens to fall very close to, you know, the Christian Christmas. Uh, but you know, Hey, celebrate with them both. That's two parties, right?

Leon: 21:09 Right at the, at both of them. And you can do the standing the egg up and you can do all those different things. Um, right. That would be, yeah, that's it. It's as meaningful or as exciting as some of the holiday traditions that we've developed over the last 50 years in America as well. So any other solutions that we have to offer organizations or HR departments that are trying to figure out this problem called the office holiday party.

Yechiel: 21:34 So I would say assuming the holiday party is not going away, I think the one single thing that can go the furthest towards making parties feel more inclusive to everyone is cutting out the alcohol and not just for Muslims or people or Mormons or people who won't drink alcohol for religious reasons. I think just like so many of the problems that can come up at parties are either caused or exasperated by the presence of alcohol and people having a little bit too much. I think just that one little step can just go to a huge way towards making so many people feel much more comfortable.

Leon: 22:12 Right. About attending at all. But yeah, absolutely.

Josh: 22:15 Yeah. That, uh, T to that point, we're not just, it's not just a religious thing. You've got recovering alcoholics who maybe don't want to out themselves as recovering alcoholics at this holiday party, to all of their coworkers who maybe aren't friends, they're just coworkers. Um, you've got people who maybe have lost someone to drunk driving or have a spouse who's an alcholic. It's just the, the things that you on, um, that you uncap by having a, and again, this is a mandatory attendance right? There's, you must attend this holiday party cause you're part of the team, right? Josh, you like you're, you're going to show up and then we're also going to make this a alcohol-laden event. It just really problematic. Uh, you know, back when I didn't drink, I would attend events and then would always leave early. Always leave early because I was just like, okay, everyone's had enough alcohol that they're not going to remember that we left. And then you just leave and then just, it becomes a, an abbreviated evening for you. You know, you don't get to enjoy. I'm one of those people who I will go to a party. Yes, they are. I am an introvert. Mostly. They are rather exhausting for me. But I will go because I do enjoy getting out of the house every so often. Um, and just, yeah, I, I'm, I'm with you Yechiel. I, let's, let's either really curtail the alcohol or just not serve it at all.

Leon: 23:50 Yeah. I'm, I'm a big fan of don't serve it at all. Just don't, okay. Any final words before we wrap up?

Josh: 23:57 Um, did Adam Sandler's a song, um, about the Hanukkah song, uh, offensive, offensive or not?

Leon: 24:06 I, it is not part of my, uh, Hanukkah playlist. It's, it's probably right up there with, uh, what is it? Uh, the, the Christmas donkey...

Josh: 24:15 Dominic the Italian Christmas donkey. Yeah.

Leon: 24:18 Yeah. No. Yeah. It's still also a no.

Josh: 24:20 Okay. Yeah. I, I just, I was asking, I was curious. Yechiel, do you listen to it? Is Leon the only curmudgeon here?

Yechiel: 24:28 Um, I would say it was entertaining, but yeah, I wouldn't say it's part of my Hanukkah celebrations.

Josh: 24:37 Perfect.

Leon: 24:40 Thanks for making time for us this week to hear more of technically religious visit our website, http://Technically, where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions and connect to us on social media.

Leon: 24:52 Hey, Josh, how was the last Christmas party you attended?

Josh: 24:55 I passed through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln tunnel.

Yechiel: 25:03 Wait, is there sugar in gumdrops?


S1E36: The Dreaded Office Holiday Party

S1E36: The Dreaded Office Holiday Party

December 17, 2019

The dreaded office holiday party: For many of us, for MANY reasons, this is a situation fraught with difficulties. To go or not to go. To eat or not to eat. To discuss or not to discuss our religious/holiday/personal lives and plans. As IT folks with a strong religious/moral/ethical POV, navigating this ONE (supposedly optional) yearly occurrence can be the cause of more stress than any other event. In this episode we’ll unpack the what and why, and - like the IT pros we are, offer advice on how to navigate through this seasonal obstacle course. Listen or read the transcript below.

Dez: 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: 00:24 The dreaded office holiday party. For many of us, For many reasons. This situation is fraught with difficulties. To go or not to go? To eat or not to eat? To discuss or not to discuss our religious, holiday, or personal lives and plans? As IT folks with a strong religious, moral and ethical point of view, navigating this one (supposedly optional) yearly occurrence can be the cause of more stress than any other event. In this episode, we'll unpack the what and the why, and - like the IT pros we are - offer advice on how to navigate through this seasonal obstacle course. I'm Leon Adato, and the other voices you're going to hear on this episode are my partners in podcasting crime. Josh Biggley.

Josh: 01:05 Hello, hello.

Leon: 01:06 And perennial guest voice. Yechiel Kalmenson.

Yechiel: 01:09 Always a pleasure.

Leon: 01:10 All right. As has become our habit, let's go ahead and do some shameless self promotion. Um, Yechiel as, as still the nominal guest, you know, you've been on this, I think this is your fourth episode, but we'll still call you a guest. We'll treat you with respect like a guest. Go ahead and start off and tell us about yourself.

Yechiel: 01:28 All right. Uh, so I'm Yechiel Kalmenson. I'm a software engineer at Pivotal though by the time this episode drops, we'll probably be VMWare already, um, you can find me on Twitter @YechielK, my blog is RabbiOnRails.IO and I identify as an Orthodox Jew.

Josh: 01:43 Great. Josh, how about you? All right. I'm Josh Biggley. I'm a tech op strategy consultant with New Relic. You can find me on the Twitters at, @Jbiggley. I have no blog or really no presence on, on any sort of a non social media platform. I am also not on Facebook, so I'll look for me. I'm, you can find me. I'm hanging out with the post-Mormons and with the ex-Mormons nowadays and that's my religious identification.

Leon: 02:09 All right. And I'll finish off this section. I'm Leon Adato. I'm a Head Geek for SolarWinds. You can find me on the Twitters @LeonAdato. I pontificate about things technical and religious at And I also identify as an Orthodox Jew. So before we dig into, uh, the things that we are talking about, I wanna clarify what we're not talking about because there are things that everyone kind of dreads about the office holiday party, um, that are not gonna be part of this conversation. And you know what I mean is, for example, this mentality of 'what happens at the office party stays at the office party', you know, you know, party it up. We're just gonna forget about it tomorrow. We're not going to talk about it. Like, I think a lot of us dread that, but that's not specific to us. What are some other things that are just sort of common to any office party or anybody's dread of that?

Yechiel: 02:59 Well, for me, as an introvert, parties in general are a drag. Um, I can't stand them. If I can spend the night at home, why would I spend it with a bunch of people I don't want to spend time with anyway? So, but that's all introverts are like me, so....

Leon: 03:14 Right. Okay. So yeah, definitely if you are of the quiet, quieter type ramping up for this is um, a challenge. Okay. What else?

Josh: 03:22 I mean, I really struggle with the, 'you have to show up' mentality for really for any corporate event. If I don't want to be there or I choose not to be there because I have other priorities, don't make me attend. So Christmas parties, holiday parties, you know, new year's parties, just if I want to be there, I'll be there. If not, don't take offense that I don't, that I don't want to be there. I mean, I didn't marry you. I'm married, my wife.

Leon: 03:50 And, and I think closely related to that is that that this time of year, you know, the holidays, Christmas, whatever, you know, new year's is a challenge for a lot of people for a lot of reasons. It stirs up a lot of emotions and not all of them are positive. And I think that an office holiday party where you feel like there's an expectation to put on a particular kind of attitude or face is also challenging for a lot of folks. Um, and also I think that, uh, having to constantly explain yourself about why not drinking or not eating or not whatever, again, this time of year is challenging for a lot of folks on, on that physical level of how they interact with, you know, food and drink and things like that. And that can also create a lot of stress. But that's not what we're focusing on here. We're looking at the things that are specific to having a strong religious, ethical or moral point of view. Um, so I wanna I wanna dovetail into that and I want to say that those strong emotions that I just mentioned. You know, that this time of year can have very strong positive emotions for people about family, about memories, about their religion, and you layer onto that the expectations of a party because it's being hosted, it's being organized, it's being, it's meant to be "bigger and better than last years or ever before!" And all that stuff that creates a scenario where people can take offense to things in a lot of different ways. And those of us who have religious boundaries can unexpectedly encounter those, you know, those offense triggers in ways that don't happen on a normal day. So again, let's, let's talk about what are those things, what are things that we've either tripped over, we know exist about the holiday party for us.

Yechiel: 05:44 So food is obviously a big one. Um, and you know, there's a different kosher, halal, whether you are a vegetarian, whatever you are. Um, and I think it's even worse when, when someone will, will go through the effort to try to make you feel comfortable and they'll order or something which they think is acceptable to you. So they'll Google and find the nearest kosher restaurant. But just because the restaurant identifies as kosher online doesn't mean it's actually kosher. And then it's not just, you know, if they didn't order anything and I didn't eat nobody would notice. But here "I ordered this, especially for you here, you know, have some, it's just for you." And then I have to explain that kosher is not always kosher.

Leon: 06:25 Right? The one I hear a lot is, but "it said it was a kosher deli." I know kosher was in the name. Kosher style is a thing.

Yechiel: 06:33 It's bagels and lox. How much more kosher can you get than that?

Josh: 06:36 Right? Well, yeah, I was going to say that, um, you know, growing up Mormon, the awkward part was, were really, it was the alcohol thing. Festivities and alcohol go hand in hand together. Um, so I remember, especially as a teenager going to parties and people being like, Oh look, I bought you a near beer. Or there's this great debate in the Mormon community,

Leon: 07:03 What are they think... Do they hate you?

Josh: 07:08 Uh, may, maybe. Uh, but then there's this whole, this whole debate going on in the Mormon community around a sparkling Apple cider, uh, for your new year's Eve celebrations. Like, do you want to have champagne or do you just want to look like you're having champagne? And then if you're looking like you're having a champagne, are you giving the very appearance of evil? And I'm like, Oh my goodness, it's just so complex. Uh, and, and then you have, that's within your own family. You take those same conversations and have them at an office party, aaarrrrggghhhh. So much harder.

Leon: 07:46 The other thing that, that we're hitting on is also there's a level of trust or mistrust and there's sort of, you know, as a religious person, there's a healthy level of skepticism I have to have about the food around me and about the people presenting it. Not because I think that they are inherently untrustworthy, but they are inherently not, not necessarily knowledgeable. So for example, a few episodes ago we talked about at conventions and, um, Al Rasheed talked about how, you know, people will say, "Oh yeah, there's, there's nothing in here. There's no, you know, there's no wine." And then you find out that it was sauteed in wine. But because the wine was burned off, that person felt that there was no alcohol in it. And so it was fine. And so there's no way to ask in a way that isn't either an FBI interrogation or really offensively skeptical to find out about, uh, even the vegetables. Like, okay, so did you cut these with a completely new knife or were you cutting bacon right before you cut, you know, the celery, because that would be a prob.... Like I can't, I can't trust that and nor can I ask enough questions to get to the heart of it kind of thing.

Josh: 08:57 Who does that? That's just unsanitary.

Yechiel: 08:59 But the vegetables are always on a cheese platter, so that pretty much cuts it.

Leon: 09:04 Right. That's a, that's a, yeah, there's a problem right there. Um, I was at a, uh, office...] At an office party at a manager's house and they were doing some sort of game, icebreaker, whatever. And the prize that they would hand out is this, you know, little holiday chocolates and, they handed it, to me, and you know, I was just being a good sport and I, you know, took, and I said, "Oh wow." You know, I'm looking for the hechsher. I'm looking for the symbol that would tell me if it was kosher. And I actually said, "...which would be ironic since it's, you know, in the shape of a Santa Claus." If it was. There are, by the way, chocolate that is in the shape of a Santa Claus that is completely kosher. It's fine. So I was just sort of amused by it, but immediately the wife of the manager was so earnest, she says, "Oh, well take this one isn't the shape of a snowman. That must be kosher!" Like that. That's not how that works. But now I'm in a position where I have to, you can't laugh at the boss's wife. I know that. But she said something that was kind of ignorant and now I either have to laugh along with it, just go along with it. Or you know, there's, there's almost no winning in that one.

Josh: 10:10 I mean, from on the other side of that, as, as someone who for many years has hosted a Christmas party in my home. Um, last year we didn't host one. And this year there's, we've had people ask, "Hey, are you having, you know, your Christmas get together?" Cause that's a, that's a big deal, right? It's an open house. We invite all our friends and uh, you know, people from our, our former congregation, uh, and our neighbors. And so this year we're, we're not, uh, we've decided we're not, we're going to have a few select people over small gathering. But as someone who hosts, you also have to realize that you're going to do things that are awkward at whatever gathering you have. Um, and you just have to learn to not take offense. I don't know. Ah, th and this is why office parties are so different than parties in someone's home with people you don't work with because your friends, You can, you can say things like, "Hey, Josh, um, no, a snowman isn't kosher. And let me explain why..." And I'm going to be, I'm going to be paying rapt attention. "Oh really? Oh, I get it. Oh, that's cool." Whereas your boss's wife may not be so interested in getting the, you know, the religious lecture or lesson or however they interpret it.

Leon: 11:32 There's other things that I think aren't necessarily on people's radar. Like, you know, music is another one. You know the number of times where people like, Oh, I just love this. Don't you just love this song? It's like, "Swear to God, I've never heard this song. Never. You know, and no, I don't want to sing along to it." And you know, even trying to, so in Judaism there's a thing about men not supposed to listen to the live voices of a woman singing in the same room kind of thing. Like there's just, you know, it's one of those things that's considered, you know, for modesty and for, you know, just keeping things a little bit separate. But how are you gonna explain that again to the boss's wife? Like, please don't sing the song that you love that I've never heard.

Yechiel: 12:16 Any event that includes karaoke is an automatic "Nope." for me.

Leon: 12:21 There we go. Okay.

Josh: 12:22 Stay out of the Philippines, Yechiel. Stay out of the Philippines. Yeah, they love karaoke. Uh, so I guess that means that, uh, me singing "Dominic, the Italian Christmas Donkey" is completely out.

Leon: 12:35 Okay. That song is horrible on so many levels that, uh, I just, yeah, don't ever that, that one's not okay. Um, for reasons that are not religious or it's just, it's just bad. It's just offensive. So last... One of our previous episodes recently, um, Cory Adler was talking about, uh, a coworker who started at the company and they were sort of delighted... He was... the coworker was Muslim. Corey is also Orthodox Jewish and they were so delighted to find all the similarities. And one of the similarities they hit upon was at the Christmas party. This coworker brought his wife who was wearing a hijab and you know, the full Pakistani clothing and everything and everybody wanted to say hi and shake her hand and give her a hug and all these things. And she was just sort of shrinking through the evening. And Cory just came up and said hi to his coworker and just said hi to his wife. And afterward, his coworker said, "It was so nice to have you there. You were the only one who got it. You're the only one who knew." And, but you know, that story aside again, you know, these office parties where you're meeting people's significant others and there's an expectation, and people are feeling festive and feeling friendly and perhaps feeling drunk and whatever. And you're trying to manage boundaries. You know, for a whole lot of reasons. It makes the party a challenge.

Josh: 14:03 Can we talk about the, the, the Mormon, um, idea. And this is not just a holiday thing, but it's, you know, so praying over meals is a thing. Uh, in, I think, most religions, um, but pre Mormons have this, this, uh, funny thing of, um, praying that food will, um, give us strength and nourishment regardless if you're praying over, um, you know, a, a nice, uh, meal of, you know, quinoa and vegetables or if it happens to be, you know, jelly donuts and root beer, it's always, you know, praying for, uh, strength and nourishment from this food. So for some people, whether you're not religious out and just like prayers or you know, don't like, uh, any sort of grace being said or if you are like me and you know, your, your ex-Mormon and it, it just makes you laugh when people are praying for this food to somehow be magically transformed to be nourishing for your body. It's donuts. The only thing it's good for is eating and enjoying.

Leon: 15:19 (laughing hysterically) I'm, I'm laughing because my, my daughter who runs a bakery out of my house is preparing to make something on the order of like 800 donuts in the next couple of weeks. And so the idea that my house will be filled with basically non,

Yechiel: 15:34 it'll definitely nourish your gut, that's for sure.

Leon: 15:36 It's gonna. It's, yeah.

Josh: 15:38 You just tell her to just pray over them that they will be for strength and nourishment and then they, there'll be no calories left in them.

Leon: 15:46 Yeah. Yeah. The, the mythical and the mystical, uh, no calorie donut. Yeah, I don't think so.

Josh: 15:54 Prayers are just weird. Just awkward. I mean, and then the reciprocal is also true. If you go to a meal and you have a religious belief where you want to pray over your food, but nobody else is what do you do?

Leon: 16:08 And there's a piece of that which is, and I think we'll get into it more, but Christmas is a time when a lot of Christians feel like this is when their Christianity should be the most on display. Like this is the time when they can really turn it, you know, turn it up to 11. And so getting everyone involved in a, in a prayer, a prayer which invokes imagery or names or concepts which are not only foreign to other religious cultures, but in some cases antithetical to other cultures. You know, so now do, do I stand quietly in the corner? Do I leave the room? Do I... No matter what I do, anything short of participating could be seen as offensive because this person has so much invested in this moment.

Josh: 16:57 Not that history has, uh, will support me on this. But I feel like the easiest way to do this is don't be so invested in your religious beliefs that you, that you're going to take offense when no offense is intended. Um, and I, that goes both ways. I grew up, my, my very best friend when I was a young, quite young, up until about fifth grade, and when I moved away, uh, he was, um, uh, Jehovah's witness and you know, and I, this was back at least in Canada where you sang the national anthem and you said the Lord's prayer every Sunday morning in school, right? Uh, so they, they look, we're all adults here. If you need, if you want to step out because something is happening that you don't want to partake in, step out. Just like if I show up at a holiday party and someone starts doing something that I find offensive, whether it's you've, you've, uh, you know, you've drunk too much and now you are a drunk, um, or you know, uh, someone is doing something that I find inappropriate, I am going to leave. That's I, and if I can come back, I will. But if not, I'm not going to come back and you're just going to have to deal with that because you made your choices. I make mine. I mean, we're all adults like that.

Leon: 18:18 Yeah. And, and the, the point I think of, of this particular conversation is navigating the heightened expectations and emotions around the holidays and around, you know, the, the party. I think that these moments, these particular moments become imbued with a heightened sense that, you know, isn't there for a lot of other things or can be imbued with a heightened sense. And I think that's the challenge.

Yechiel: 18:45 And then you have the corollary to that where, um, where people will try to be inclusive and they'll be like, "Oh, okay. So, um, Yechiel, why didn't you lead us with a Jewish prayer?" And I'm like, "no, I, that's not what I want to do right now. I do not want to lead this room full of people on a Jewish prayer. I'll say, my Jewish prayer myself, thank you very much."

Leon: 19:08 Right? Right. Or, or my personal favorite. "Hey, can you bring them, can you bring, you know, that candelabra thing, can you bring a menorah? And, and light it at our party. And that way you'll have something here too." It's like, um, "Hanukkah was three weeks ago. Chad," You know, uh, no, we're not doing it. But again, there's, I'm not saying you can't say no. Josh, to your point no is a perfectly fine answer. You know, Hanukkah was three weeks ago is also perfectly fine answer. The challenge is navigating other people's expectations and again, I think, uh, the holidays just sort of amp things up.

Josh: 19:49 I, I definitely agree. I th I hope that... No, before we end this, we definitely have to come, we have to come up with that list of things that we need to do, like the ground rules we need to set. Right. And one of them definitely needs to be, "I am not going to take a fence unless you intend to offend me."

Leon: 20:07 Right? If you say, "Yeah, I meant for you to be offended, then then all bets are off, right?

Josh: 20:12 Yeah. All bets are off.

Yechiel: 20:12 And when in doubt, just ask, you know, "Did you mean to offend me?

New Speaker: 20:15 Yeah. That's, you know, I'm having a hard time with it, right? Oh, there's all sorts of mature, you know, careful communication that we could do every day in the office, in fact, that would be very helpful. Um, and this is just another opportunity to practice that, but, well, okay, we'll get to that because as good IT professionals, we are into solving things. We'll do it. The last piece, and I'm just gonna echo something. So Doug Johnson - who's another frequent voice that we hear on Technically Religious - and I have known each other for probably close to 30 years now. And Doug has been on this program saying as an evangelical Christian how much he hates Christmas. He is, he is like the worst representative of Christmas. And he, and a lot of it boils down to everything we've been talking about, but the flip side of it. Christmas isn't Christmasy enough for him. Meaning what the holiday party, what the office holiday party is, this watered down, commercialized hallmark version. And he wants nothing to do with it. He really, you know, his point, and he said this before, is, is "You want to have Christmas? Let's talk Jesus. Like let's just do that!" That's, you know, let's get rid of the guy in the red suit. Let's forget about all that stuff. He really wants to have the, the adult version of the holiday, which also makes people very uncomfortable. And so he finds himself not invited to Christmas parties frequently as well.

Josh: 21:38 I think that this ties very nicely into, um, an idea that we wanted to talk around that this, uh, my religion, uh, on your holiday or you know, your holiday on my religion.

Leon: 21:49 Yeah.

Josh: 21:50 So up until a few years ago, I was one of those people where if you said "Happy holidays" to me, I would say "Merry Christmas" back because you know, it's Christmas time and you got to put the Christ in Christmas. Right? And my wife and I were talking about this just the other day. Yesterday, I think. And we have decided that regardless of what holiday, someone wishes us, our response is going to be, "Thank you. You too." I mean, Holy crap, right? It's like mind blowing!

Yechiel: 22:27 Radical.

Leon: 22:29 What a crazy idea. Just saying thank you.

Speaker 4: 22:33 It. Ah, and she, she said, "I posted this to Facebook, that I'm going to do this." And she's like, "I wonder how many people are going to be offended." And I thought, "Who in the world's going to be offended by saying thank you. You too."?

Leon: 22:46 Okay. And, and the answer is??

Yechiel: 22:49 Well, it's this Facebook, so...

: 22:50 (conversation fades out)

Leon: 22:52 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.

Roddie: 23:02 Thank you for making time for us this week. To hear more of Technically Religious visit our website at where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions or connect with us on social media.

Leon: 23:15 Hey, Josh, how was the last Christmas party you attended?

Josh: 23:17 I passed through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gumdrops, and then I walked through the Lincoln tunnel!

Yechiel: 23:26 Wait, is there sugar in gumdrops?

S1E35: Tales from the TAMO Cloud with Chaim Weiss

S1E35: Tales from the TAMO Cloud with Chaim Weiss

December 10, 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 Programmer Chaim Weiss. Listen or read the transcript below.

Doug: 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: 00:24 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. My name is Leon Adato and the other voice you're going to hear on this episode is Chaim Weiss.

Chaim: 01:15 Hi.

Leon: 01:16 Hey there. So thank you so much for joining on this particular episode of Technically Religious. Before we dive into things, I want to, uh, do a little bit of shameless self promotion. Chaim, tell us a little bit about who are you and where you work and where people can find you.

Chaim: 01:30 Yeah. Hi everybody. Hi, I'm Chaim Weiss. Here right now I am a front end angular developer working at Decision Link. We're doing some front end work. If you want to get a hold of me, I'm, I'm on LinkedIn. Get messaged me. Say hi.

Leon: 01:43 And how do you identify? Like are you Buddhist? Are you Hindu? Like what's your religious point of view?

Chaim: 01:48 Yes. Oh yes. And I am a, I consider myself an Orthodox Jew.

Leon: 01:52 There we go. Okay. Boring because I am too. Can we get some variety here? That's all right. But at least birds of a feather. And I should do, I should do the same intros. Uh, my name is Leon Adato. I'm a Head Geek at SolarWinds. Yes, that's actually my job title and SolarWinds is neither solar nor wind. It's all geek. Uh, you can find me on Twitter @LeonAdato. Uh, you can also hear my musings and ponderings that I write about, uh, on the website As I said, I also identify as Orthodox Jewish. And if you're a scribbling madly trying to write down all those websites, don't bother, just sit back, relax, enjoy the conversation that's about to occur because, uh, we'll have some show notes and all the links to everything we've talked about is going to be in there so you can just relax and leave the driving to us. So I want to start off with the technical side of things. Um, tell me a little bit more about what kind of work you're doing today in technology.

Chaim: 02:48 So right now today I'm doing some front end work building a website. We have this app, awesome app, and it's actually kind of a startup really started doing really well, but they need a website, everyone needs a website. Everyone needs an app. We're doing the front end work. I'm in the JavaScript world of programming. It's programming. Programming is awesome. There's front, then there's backend, done it all. It's all awesome. I recommend it to everybody, I think. I don't understand why everyone doesn't do it.

Leon: 03:14 Right. Everyone should be a programmer. Everybody. You! You're a plumber. You should still be a programmer. Yeah. Yeah. And did you start out as a programmer when you first thought about a career or you know, you just start someplace else?

Chaim: 03:29 Actually, I'm funny you ask, I started, I started my career. I started teaching. I was here in local and Cleveland. I was teaching in one of the, one of the religious institutions in the Beachwood Kollel. I was there for a number of years and throughout those years I knew nothing of tech. Everyone said, "You needed something in tech? Don't, don't ask. Chaim. Oh, he doesn't know what he's doing." Uh, last time, how often was I on a computer? Almost never. Microsoft word. Maybe. I knew nothing of nothing. I, I w I mean, I was, I was, had a great time. I was doing my teaching all my teaching I wanted to do, but had very little attack. Very little. No computers. I wasn't um. I had a flip phone, a flip phone! Nothing. Imagine I didn't even have an email address, can you imagine?

Leon: 04:22 Ya. Luddite!

Chaim: 04:24 Yeah. Yes. I had nothing but after a few years, there was an amazing, incredible course that I took. It was of course, the, the amazing Head Geek of SolarWinds, the, the handsome, famous Leon Adato decided he was going to open up a computer course and say, "Hey, I know you guys." It was a few friends of mine. He said, "I know you guys know nothing about computers, but it's easy. It's not hard. You just need a little direction. "So he sat with us for quite a few weeks and taught us the ropes. And slowly but surely we were like, "Yeah, this is easy and big sense. Oh this, Oh, of course. And this is more than easy. This is fun. This is exciting." As we went on, as the weeks went on, we got more and more learned more and more until eventually I got, um, basically an internship out here in Cleveland and, uh, another fantastic place at FireCoding also here in Cleveland. Great place. He was mentoring and teaching. He had awesome clients. So I really learned to work ropes, real world programs and there are a lot of great programming and, and it really took off and I'm super happy. I did. Uh, I really enjoy what I do and I have fun doing it.

Leon: 05:34 Nice. And thank you for the kind words. I appreciate. I'm, I'm, I'm over here blushing.

Chaim: 05:38 I, I'm, I'm totally serious. It was fantastic. It was really great.

Leon: 05:42 Yeah, well it was a, it was a really unique group of, of guys and that's the topic of a completely different podcast episode. I'll, I'll, what we need to do is get everybody back on and talk about those days. But, um, everybody worked really, really hard and they had, um, some really good brain power behind them because that's the only thing that that was gonna... That was the only thing that was going to get you from, from there to here. So you, you started off, like you said, with nothing much more than a flip phone, not even an email address. And now you're programming front end, back end, angular, javascript, .net. You know, the whole, the whole stack.

Chaim: 06:20 The works!

Leon: 06:20 That's, you know, that's fantastic. Um, so I wanna take the same set of questions and turn it around and talk about religion. Starting off with where you are now. Labels are hard and a lot of times when you ask somebody, "So, so what are you?" You know, somebody says, you know, "I'm, I'm Hindu or I'm Muslim" or whatever. It's like, well, what does that mean? Like what kind are you? And that's where a lot of the, "Well, I do this, but I don't do that. But there's this, but there's that." It's, it's more nuanced than a single title or label. So tell everyone a little bit about what Orthodox Judaism means for you. Like how, how that comes out for you.

Chaim: 07:02 Yeah. So Orthodox Judaism, it's, it's, I've been doing it forever and before I was born.

Leon: 07:09 (laughs) Infinitely I've been infinitely doing it?

Chaim: 07:12 Yes. Yes. I, I, yeah, I was born doing it. I grew up doing it, went to school, doing it. For the first part. I, I don't, I don't even know of anything else until, until I got to see the other big part of the world. I thought that's all there was. Um, I, I went to school that was religious. I went to high school, Orthodox, religious, and that's what I'm doing. Everything was doing, it was just all about the rules, the laws, and following it all. So as I went on, um, I learned more. I, "Hey, there's, there's more to the world". And it was in the beginning as I was going out into the world, seeing things from other people's perspective, I have to understand, Hey, I know I'm Orthodox. They're not, they don't understand what I'm doing. They don't understand my customs. They don't even, they don't even, they even think they think I'm, I'm Amish.

Leon: 08:00 This is a common, it's a common mistake.

Chaim: 08:06 Yeah. Well it's really happened.

Leon: 08:08 So that's an interesting point that your religious experience has been fairly consistent from, from birth forward. But I'm curious even within that, you know, did you find yourself, you know, when we grew up in our parents house, we take on their level of observance regardless of whether we were talking about, again, Islam or Judaism or Christianity or whatever, you know, our parents' houses, our parents' house, and that's what happens. But when you go out on your own, did you find that there was your own particular spin? Maybe, you know, you were doing some things more strictly or less strictly or not even on a spectrum of, of more or less, but just different. Did you find that that changed as you grew, as you started a family, those kinds of things?

Chaim: 08:50 Um, interesting question because really, um, in religion, in, in anything specifically religious for anything that means something, you have to make it your own. Um, so if you, you want to be genuine, you want to be genuine. If you're just doing somethings out of rote because you always did it, it's not going to have as much meaning yet. You have to understand things and you ha you have to, you have to understand thing and do, do it for what you want. Right. So that'll automatically, sometimes you'll be different. On the other hand, I'll always understand that things are just out for me. People that are older, you are smarter than you. They know better. So yeah, no you don't. We don't just say, "I'm, I'm, I'm going to start this myself." But yes, I try everything. I go out of my way to try and do things different to, to understand, yeah. I go out of my way now that I was on my own. And married, had a family. Yeah. I'm doing things like... I don't want to do things just like before. I want to do it my own because I want to understand, I want it to be real. I want it to be genuine.

Leon: 09:48 So we talked about the technical, we talked about the religious and I'm curious about now you've, you've been in tech for how long now?

Chaim: 09:57 Close to three years.

Leon: 09:58 Three years. Okay. So fairly early in your career, you know, um, we have some people on here, uh, on the podcast who've been doing it for you know, decades. Um, you know, some, uh, you know, moving on in some cases to half a century, um, in time. So, which is, you know, kind of mind boggling, but those people are around. So even this early in your career, has there been any situation that you found with the overlap between your, you know, religious life, which is a strongly held point of view. It's not just a nice to have, it's off on the side. It's sort of central to your life. So has there been a point where that created a conflict or a challenge or a hurdle that you had to get past to make it mesh with your technical career?

Chaim: 10:45 Yeah, definitely. Until, until my career until three years ago. Right. Everything I did, I was teaching that was religious. When I jumped into, into the tech world. So that's, they care about deadlines. They don't care about religious.

Leon: 10:58 (laughs) That IS the religion. The religion is "get it done"

Chaim: 11:02 Yeah, exactly. So yeah, th th there were definitely things... There are definitely conflicts. And besides the conflicts, the people who are working with, they didn't even know about my conflicts. They said, "well, of course we're working late into the night Friday. Why wouldn't you?" They just don't understand. Now I know, Hey, I'm really just like, I can't work late late Friday, Friday and Friday night. We have, the sabbath, we can't... We can't do that. There's your conflict. But what I did notice, at least in up until now in my short career, people are great. Um, so for, in my situations, everyone's totally understanding. Everyone's, everyone's out to be, to be nice. I mean, you don't walk over anybody. You say, "Hey, I'd love to work it out. I have to make sacrifices. I'm going to work Saturday night to finish what I need to do for Friday." And everyone's okay with that. They're just, people just don't know. People love to hear. People love to listen to. People love to learn. They say, "Oh, you're Jewish. Oh, what does that mean? What does that mean to you? What do you have to do? What are the rules? Oh, you can't work Friday, Friday night. Oh wow. Really? The whole day, like, like no cheating. Oh my."

Leon: 12:06 (laughs) I love it. No cheating. Yeah. My other favorite was "Every week?". Yeah. Sabbath comes every week. It's amazing like that.

Chaim: 12:14 But, but people are accommodating. It's super nice how people who are, who don't share my views, don't, don't observe what I observed there. They're out there. Ultimately, you just ha if you're out, if you're open, everyone can get along. Everyone can be accommodating. You just have to be open and be clear and be straight, and then it's just, it's really great to have people work together.

Leon: 12:35 That's wonderful. Okay, so that was, those were some of the challenges and how you, how you overcame them. I'm curious if they were any... That almost sounds like this, the second part of the question, which is, you know, were there any unexpected benefits or surprises where your religion actually ended up being a, a benefit that you didn't expect it to be? I think sometimes when we come into the technical workplace we think that our religious life and you know those restrictions are always going to be negatives, are going to be challenges or hurdles that we have to get over. But every once in a while there's something that just pops up and it's like, "Oh wow, this is like, this is like a secret super power. This is, this is a skill I didn't expect was going to be usable or leverageable in the workplace." I was curious if you've had anything like that.

Chaim: 13:19 Um, so actually well there's the obvious one that since I do, I do religious holidays, so non religious holidays, I'm free to work on. Awesome. Beside for that and the Beachwood, Kollel, one of the things we did was we constantly, we were constantly learning, constantly studying, analyzing, going back and forth. The, the fighting, the, the figuring out to getting to the, uh, to the bottom of things that totally... That. Well, at least programming and I'm sure he played an all tech. Basically it's analyzing problems, coming up with solutions, figuring things out that that's what it is. And I knew that I could do that. That was great. Oh yeah. Figure out this problem. It's super exciting. I could do that. There was, it was totally fun and I, I've done this before, so that was pretty cool.

Speaker 2: 14:03 yeah, you've, you've never done, you've never done this before, but you've done this before.

Chaim: 14:06 Exactly

Leon: 14:07 That's, that's the, it's a wonderful discovery when you realize that this, this whole set of skills that you'd honed for a completely different reason are applicable in this different context. That's wonderful. Do you have any final thoughts? Anything that you want to leave everybody who's listening, you know, with a little nugget of wisdom or just your experience or anything like that?

Chaim: 14:28 The only thing I'd like to say is that I know I could tell you 15 years ago I did not think of, I did not think I would be here today. The world of tech was, was out of my horizons. I do not think it was possible to me. I was in a totally different world, but here I am. Really? You can do anything. It's but specifically the tech is. It's, it's there. It's out there for the taking and go for it.

Leon: 14:48 Wonderful. All right. Hi, I'm thank you so much for joining me.

Chaim: 14:52 Thank you so much for having me.

Josh: 14:54 Thanks for making time for us this week to hear more of Technically Religious visit our website, where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions and connect with us on social media.

S1E34: The Frisco Kid Rides Again

S1E34: The Frisco Kid Rides Again

December 3, 2019

In the fall of 2019 a series of fortunate events led Technically Religious contributor Leon Adato to take a journey of a lifetime. He transformed an unexpected convention trip to Barcelona into a mission to bring a Torah back to the US from Israel. Like the movie that this episode is named for, along the way he experienced unexpected challenges and met larger-than-life characters who helped him on his way. Listen now, 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. Is IT professionals mesh or at least not conflict with our religious life. This is Technically Religious.

Josh:                                      00:24                     In the fall of 2019 a series of fortunate events led Technically Religious contributor, Leon Adato, to take a journey of a lifetime. He transformed an unexpected convention trip to Barcelona into a mission to bring a Torah back to the U S from Israel. Like the movie that this episode is named for, along the way, he experienced unexpected challenges and met larger than life characters who helped him on his way. I'm Josh Biggley and the other voices you're going to hear on this episode are my partner in crime, Leon, Adato.

Leon:                                     00:57                     Hello.

Josh:                                      00:59                     Alright, Leon. You know how this goes, time for some shameless self promotion. So tell us who you are and where we can find you.

Leon:                                     01:06                     Fantastic. I am Leon Adato, as we've said, probably three times already. I am a Head Geek at SolarWinds. Uh, you can find me on the twitters @leonadato and you can also read my pontificating about monitoring and other things at and I identify religiously as an Orthodox Jew.

Josh:                                      01:26                     Wonderful! And I'm Josh Biggley. Uh, this is the first time I think we've officially announced that I am a TechOps Strategy Consultant with New Relic. Uh, super excited about that. Started two weeks ago and I feel like I'm living the dream.

Leon:                                     01:40                     Mazal Tov, mazel tov!

Josh:                                      01:41                     Mazal Tov indeed. Uh, you can find me on the Twitters, uh, @Jbiggley. Uh, I've actually shut down all of my, all of my um, non-work related discussions maybe I'm just tired of social media. I don't know. Um, but I do identify as post-Mormon. Um, so Leon, you, you had a trip.

Leon:                                     02:02                     I did. I did. And, but before we dive into the particulars of the trip, which is sort of the central part of this episode, I want to talk about something that I think is near and dear to a lot of it practitioners, which is travel hacking.

Josh:                                      02:16                     Oh yes, yes, please.

Leon:                                     02:18                     Because a lot of the, a lot of the parts of the trip that I took were predicated on or were built on my ability to, um, travel both comfortably and also efficiently. Um, you know, not being independently wealthy as I think all of our listeners are. And if you are a listener and you're independently wealthy, please consider taking a sponsorship. Um, we would love to, we'd love to have your support. Um, in any case, uh, I wanted to take a minute and talk about some things that I've learned over the last five and a half, almost six years as a head geek doing a lot of traveling. And Josh, I know that you have stuff to contribute.

Josh:                                      02:57                     I'm actually going to do a lot of listening here because, uh, as part and parcel of my new job, I'm going to be doing a fair bit of traveling. So, uh, I mean I'm going to take some notes. Uh, wait, no, hold on. We're going to put the details in the show notes. I'm not taking notes.

Leon:                                     03:11                     Very good. Okay, good. I, you know, and we forgot to mention that earlier, so that was a nice way to slide it in there. The first point, especially when we're talking about non US/Canada travel is all you need to do is get to Europe. Everything else is cheap. Once you do that, just get to Europe. I think a lot of Americans, and I'm assuming also Canadians, um, think, well, I'm going to go from, you know, France to Italy to this and they feel like they have to book it all out from the American perspective and you can, it's going to cost a lot of money. The reality is that just land anywhere in Europe, it doesn't have to be your final destination. It doesn't even have to be on your itinerary. Wherever it's cheapest to land get there because once you're on the continent at that point, getting around is ridiculously cheap. You live, for example, uh, you can get a one week pass on the train system for about a hundred dollars US and that allows you to get on and off the train as much as you want. So you can go from city to city and if you get someplace and it's like, wow, I didn't even expect to be here and it's beautiful here and I want to spend more time, fine, stay here and get on the train tomorrow or the day after or whatever. Also, there's a lot of cheap airlines, um, easy jets, one of them, but there's others. So again, just get into the region and from there you can build your trip off of that. Another thing is airline travel points are your friend and therefore, um, you want to work those points. And just to give you an example, a round trip ticket from the U S to Israel on United. I happened to be a United flyer. That's my airline of choice a is 80,000 points. Round trip from Barcelona is 30,000 points. You know, I was already, as we'll get into, I was already going to be in Barcelona, so I was able to build off of that to go do something else. Credit cards are a great tool for travel if they make sense for you. I'm not insisting that people get involved in credit cards. You get into credit card debt. I know that it's a slippery slope for a lot of folks, but the reality is that there are a lot of cards you can get that come with a signing bonus and you get 50, 60, 100,000 points. That's a European trip right there. Just that, you know, especially if it's a credit card that you know you're not going to use after that and you've got the, the willpower to do it.

Josh:                                      05:25                     I liked that actually. I did. I didn't use that piece of advice. Um, when I started my new job, I, I, I am an Air Canada flyer because I'm in Canada and there's really two airlines, so yay. Star Alliance partner. Um, right. Got out, went out and got myself a credit card. They gave me, uh, a bonus for signing up and then a bonus if I spent more than X number of dollars, which wasn't a problem because it's also their credit card, I used to reimburse all my expenses.

Leon:                                     05:50                     So as an IT pro, as long as your company doesn't have a thing against it, use that credit card. First of all, you get all of your perks if you use that card rather than the corporate card. And yeah, you get, even if even if the dollars are going to be reimbursed, you get the points for the miles. And to your point, especially if you know you're going to do a lot of travel, take a look at, you know, a lot of credit cards and a lot of airlines have a card that gives you club access. It costs. For example, the..., I have the chase United card. It is I think $400 a year for a fee. Now, $200 of that are refunded to me if they're travel related. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about taking a taxi or an Uber or Lyft or a hotel room or an extra bag that I'm checking in or whatever, whatever it is, those $200 get reimbursed right off the top second. If I need to get something like nexus or global entry or TSA pre that's covered, you're automatically covered with that, but on top of it, it gets you automatic access to the airline club and the reason why you want that there's, there's the living, the high life aspect, right? You walk in there, they treat you nice, you free drinks, there's food, there's even showers and stuff like that. That's nice. However, that's not the perk. The perk is that there's a different category of travel agent who works inside the club and I really believe that those agents are exclusively graduates of Hogwarts, school of witchcraft and wizardry because they will make things happen that can't happen anywhere else. I have gotten can't, you know, flights canceled, bumped off my flight, missed my flight, whatever. And I walk into the club and I tell them, Hey, this happened and type, type, type, type, type, Mr Adato, I've got you on the very next flight. There wasn't a very next flight. There is now. Oh wow. I mean like they literally conjure a new airplane. I don't know. They're magic people. That is worth the price of the card right there is having that, that fallback. So that's another thing. You had something about your status.

Josh:                                      07:57                     I mean, I don't do a lot of traveling, but I am, I got silver status, um, uh, on Air Canada this year and I am five segments away from getting to gold status when traveling first, getting on the plane before, um, you know, zones three, four and five is pretty awesome because everyone wants to take their non-checked bags with them. So everyone's trying to cram their carry-ons. So you get in early, you always are gonna find some carry on space second, um, you, you're going to get your pick of seats. I mean, not first class. Sometimes you get a first class upgrade, but you're going to get that premium economy. Um, so you actually have leg room. Um, and I mean third, you just want the ability to access some of the perks that come along with it. Like, Hey, if you rent at the Marriott hotels, you automatically get, um, 250 or 500 points. Little things like that. And I think that's another hack. Let's make sure we're stacking our, um, our rewards. You know, if Air Canada and Marriott have a, an agreement which they do, um, Hey, um, fly air Canada and stay at a Marriott hotel. Fortunately without even planning it, I always fly Air Canada, uh, or star Alliance partner. And I also, um, usually stay at a Marriott hotel, uh, when it makes sense, uh, only because it was really close to, um, you know, our, our previous employer, um, and made just perfect sense and there was, it was a great rate. So yeah, I mean, find those, find those synergies and uh, and work them.

Leon:                                     09:33                     I will also say don't get sort of psychologically locked in. Sometimes it doesn't work. Sometimes you can't fly your preferred airline, you can't do that. But you know, have an eye for that. And then the last thing, and this is something I think as Americans were less, I don't know, less comfortable with, is the whole cell phone thing. You know, because America is so just geographically big and the carriers cover such a large range. I think once we get into the European theater, uh, the idea of what do we do with my cell phone comes up now, I will tell you I solved this this year by moving to Google Fi which rides on top of networks in almost every country. And so I didn't have to think about it. I landed and literally got a message. "Hey, good to know that you're in Switzerland right now and we've got you covered." Like literally a pop up on my phone came up and said, but as a non-American, you know, what advice do you have?

Josh:                                      10:27                     The advice that I've always been given and that I know that a few friends of mine who travel extensively always say is, um, don't roam Europe. Yes. All the cell phone companies. And including, you know, bell who I'm now with so that I can call the U S without unlimited calling. Um, they will tell you that you can roam for like $12 or $15 a day. The reality is don't roam. If you're going to be in Europe for any period of time, buy a SIM card. Um, I mean there's, they're like $25 for unlimited calling, uh, uh, a very generous helping of data. Uh, if you're going to use all of that, you should probably get out and see the sites a little more.

Leon:                                     11:09                     So my son, this is going to factor into the longer story, but my son is, uh, in Israel in a hundred gig data SIM card is effectively $12.

Leon:                                     11:19                     Oh, come on!

Leon:                                     11:19                     If you're going to be there for a week or two or whatever it is, and you're going to use a hundred gig of cell data yet, like you said, you're doing your traveling wrong.

Josh:                                      11:28                     You are definitely travel or you're, or you're traveling all sorts of, right. I don't know. Maybe you're live streaming.

Leon:                                     11:34                     Yeah, maybe a live streaming. Sure. Okay.

Josh:                                      11:36                     Streaming your entire trip. I mean, not, maybe that's a thing.

Leon:                                     11:38                     Okay. So that's, that's, you know, part one, travel hacking, just general travel hacking ideas. And some of that will factor into the story. But I, I think we want to pivot now into the story of me bringing back the Torah. Um, again, the Frisco kid for those people who aren't familiar is a wonderful movie with Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford story of a sort of a naive rabbi from Poland who travels across America to deliver a Torah to, uh, San Francisco. Uh, I felt very much like that along the way. Where it started was that I was set up to go to VMworld Europe this year, which is in Barcelona. And when I realized that that was a thing, I immediately decided I was going to take a cheap flight to Israel to visit my son who's there at Yeshiva.

Josh:                                      12:22                     No, wait, hold on, Leon. Yeah. Um, I think last time we talked your son was struggling with Yeshiva.

Leon:                                     12:29                     Yeah, he was. And in fact, um, when we talked about it, he was coming home. Like that night there was a flurry of activity. There were some correct course corrections made and some assurances made. And in fact he was able to feel comfortable staying with 15 minutes to spare.

Josh:                                      12:46                     Wow. Fantastic.

Leon:                                     12:47                     Yeah. So he was there and you know, he's doing, he is doing much better and growing and learning and doing the things that you want to do. But I was going to be there and I thought this is a wonderful chance for me to check up on him and see what he gets to see. And so I did that. And like I said before, the flight from Barcelona to Israel is significantly cheaper than the flight from the U S so it made a lot of sense. You know, I found the cheapest code partners that I could find and I got those flights booked. And so I mentioned to my, to my rabbi, just in passing, I said, Hey, I'm going to visit my son and he's, you know, in Israel. And he said, Oh, if you're going to be in Israel while you're there, can you bring a Torah back with you? And I said, well, yeah, sure, I guess. Sure. And he immediately, his entire tone changed. Like he was surprised like, well you mean it like will you ask me to, sure. Is that, are you sure? He must have asked me if I was sure five times until finally I said, what are you not telling me about this? You know, because I thought I'm bringing a Torah back. Is there something else I should know? Is there some major risks that I'm unaware of? What's what's going on

Josh:                                      13:47                     Now, to be clear, we are talking about the first five books of the old Testament. Right?

Leon:                                     13:53                     Right. So, so in this context, when I say bringing back a Torah, it is the scroll and we'll have pictures of it in the show notes, but it's just, it is, it is a, you know, scroll of parchment may, it can range in size from let's say, you know, two feet long and you know, kind of like, you know, eight inches wide and maybe 10 pounds and it can get, they can be larger than that, but,

Josh:                                      14:14                     okay. Well I just wanted to make sure that Torah wasn't code for, I don't know. An alligator. But apparently you can't bring on the airlines. I, I,

Leon:                                     14:24                     They really don't allow emotional support alligators anymore.

Josh:                                      14:28                     Oh, weird.

Leon:                                     14:29                     I know. I know. Um, so yeah, it's, it's a fairly specific object and, and non-dangerous it doesn't bite or anything like that from an it perspective because we want to talk about the technically part as well as the religiously parked. I was immediately struck by what happens when you volunteer for a project that nobody expects you to say yes to. My rabbi had made a comment sort of as a, and I took it seriously and all of a sudden he was sort of stuck like, what do well, but nobody would say yes to that. And, um, you know, we, I think many of us have been in that situation with projects where it's like, Hey, who wants to do X? You know, who wants to write that ebook? Or who wants to, yes, please. May I? And I was like, no, you don't. You don't really want to do that. I'm like, Oh yeah, I totally wanted to.

Josh:                                      15:16                     Uh, I think we all definitely need a Leon Adato on our teams to, uh, write all the documentation, uh, in fun ebook style.

Leon:                                     15:24                     Yes, absolutely. Um, I think that, you know, for any tech writers who are here, you can men, you can talk in the comments to this post on and say I'm available and I will volunteer to write eBooks also, you know, uh, volunteer meaning pay me. But, um, so I think from an it perspective though, there's some lessons that we can pull from this just even at this point in the story, you know, volunteering for things that other people consider to be a hard job is a really good career idea.

Josh:                                      15:53                     Yeah, I would definitely agree with that. Over the last five and a half years. Um, well, I mean, let's bring up the story, right? Hey Josh, it'd be really awesome if, you know, you joined, you know, Cardinal Health and you know, came to work for Leon Adato and then four days later someone quit on me.

Leon:                                     16:15                     Okay. It was to become head gig and SolarWinds. Like, I couldn't not take that opportunity, but yes, I,

Josh:                                      16:22                     Yeah, but yeah, it's saying yes to opportunities even when they're hard, like, Hey, will you fill Leon shoes? I'll try it. It works out really well. And that really set me up for, for my entire career at a, at Cardinal Health, right. I as a non-cloud engineer, I was the co lead of the cloud community of practice as a just an engineer, uh, air quote, just an engineer, not a senior engineer. Um, I was the enterprise monitoring representative on the smash committee. It's not a whole idea of always be learning and you don't know that you can or cannot do something until you volunteer to do it and Hey, why not do it in a, what should be a safe space, um, of work. Yes. It means putting yourself out there. Yes. It means being risky. Yes. It means you have to trust your colleagues, but Oh my goodness. If you're going to try something, try it with the tactical support of a really strong team.

Leon:                                     17:19                     I also want to say that, you know, I got a lot of pushback from, from my Rabbi. Are you sure? Are you really sure? Do you mean it? Sometimes that's a warning sign. Sometimes when people say, you know, when nobody else is volunteering and the person in charge is, is really looking for that confirmation, it's a clue that this is not, you might've missed something. So ask questions. Not just the people in charge, but ask other folks, you know? But at a certain point, you also recognize that what appears to impossible or odious or frustrating kind of work that may not be how you see it. And that means that that's your superpower. So again, I love writing. I really do. And so while we're, a lot of other people in it will say, you know, write something. Are you joking? I'd rather take a fork through the eyeball. I'm like, I really wish I had more time to do this. That just happens to be the thing that I like. Recognize when that's the case and run with it.

Josh:                                      18:19                     My super power is apparently financial models. Right? Which is totally weird. Since I failed math in ninth grade. So Zack Mutchler and I who were colleagues up until two weeks ago, despises financial models. He never wants to do that. And I'm like, Oh my goodness, please. Yes, let me, it's, it's my grounding place. If I can figure out how it works financially, then I'll go and figure out how the technology works. So, um, yeah, I, I will volunteer to do financial models any day of the week. Yeah.

Leon:                                     18:50                     And that's something I would never do. Right. Okay. All right. So, so fast forward, um, you know, VMworld Barcelona is wonderful and I wrote some blog posts about it and then I, you know, went from there to Israel and had a great week with my son and had a great time. And I even got a chance to speak at cloud native day in Israel. Um, so I had called a friend of mine, Sharone Zitzman and said, "Hey, I'm..." She has kids. and she's Israeli, " I'm going to be there with myself. What's really fun things to do?" And she said, "Oh, you're going to be there. I'm running a convention. Can you speak?" Like Sharon, that's not why I, that's not what I called you for is to do another convention talk. But here I am. So I did that. Now, what's interesting about this, and this is relevant to this story, is that, um, the morning of the convention, it happens to be a Tuesday, uh, Israel executed an airstrike that killed, uh, uh, Palestinian Islamic jihad commander. And, uh, I know that it gets political. It gets into, you know, the whole middle East politics and things. So a trigger warning up front about that for people who feel strongly about it. But there was a, uh, an airstrike that killed this Islamic jihad commander and that triggered a retaliatory strike of 160 rockets that were fired from Gaza into Israel. And six of those reached Tel Aviv, which meant that the talk I was giving in Tel Aviv, you know, might not happen. And we were on our way from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and I was getting emails that, you know, despite the fact that businesses and schools had been ordered to shut down, the convention was permitted to continue. Um, and then I got a call from the organizer who said, "You know, if you don't want to come in, if you're not comfortable, if it makes you nervous, I completely understand." Nope, we're on our way. It's fine. You know, 160 rockets, just another day in Israel. Here we go. So I went in and, and gave the talk and that was fine. So the next day, Wednesday I'm set to fly home. It's me, my luggage and the Torah. Um, so I need to describe in a little bit more detailed what this is. So the Torah is a scroll, it's on two wooden dowels. And um, like I said, it can be anywhere from say a foot and a half to three feet tall or long and you know, six, eight inches a foot wide when you roll it up and everything. So that's wrapped up, you know, packed up nice and tight and bubble wrap and wrapped in plastic and put into a a duffle bag that I can take with me. Then there's a box that goes in because, uh, some Torahs are just the scroll, but some come in their own sort of self contained container and this is called an Aron. So when I use that word from now on in the Aron is the box that comes in and this is a circular box. It's about two and a half, three feet high, about a foot in diameter. It's usually made out of plywood and covered in silver and has all sorts of literally bells hanging off of it. Uh, so that's, that's also there. Now the, the Torah itself cannot be checked as luggage. You treat it with respect and you know, I wouldn't check my grandmother is luggage. I'm not going to check the Torah, his luggage either. Um, so that has to come with me on the plane. Uh, you don't have to buy it its own seat, but you do have to bring it with you on the plane. It can't be checked as luggage. The Aron, the box can be checked as luggage. So that was all packed up. Also, it was wrapped nice and tight and foam and bubble wrap. And you know, a layer of plastic just to keep it all self contained. And that was in another duffle bag. And the Torah itself, uh, it turns out was about 25-30 pounds and the, our own was probably closer to 40 pounds.

Josh:                                      22:24                     Oh wow. Okay.

Leon:                                     22:25                     Along with my overloaded suitcase cause it had all the convention crap I had collected and a couple of things my son wanted to send home with me and a pita maker that I bought while I was in Israel for my wife, like one does. Right, right. All right. I just need to remind you at this point in the story that I had booked my flight, uh, my flights back and forth before I knew I was bringing the Torah. And it was also predicated on this convention trip. So my flights were Barcelona, Israel, and then Israel, Barcelona and work was paying for the Cleveland, Barcelona, Barcelona, Cleveland leg. So I had these two separate trips that, that dovetailed, that I booked before I knew I was bringing a Torah. And the second thing I wanna remind you is that there were 160 rockets fired from, you know, Gaza into Israel the day before I flew. And the reason I mentioned this is because of the flight home was on Turkish airlines.

Josh:                                      23:13                     I mean... what???

Leon:                                     23:13                     It was on Turkish airlines. Yeah.

Josh:                                      23:16                     So a Jewish dude.

Leon:                                     23:18                     Yeah. Orthodox Jewish dude flying on Turkish airlines. Okay, I'm going to give this spoiler Turkish airlines rocks. They are amazing people. Uh, they, everybody was delightful and lovely. So I'm just going to, I'm going to put that out up front. Okay. However, I didn't know what to expect. I also want to point out that, um, it, Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, the, the airport in Israel, all of the check areas, uh, are on the same level when you walk in the door, except for Turkish airlines, which is two floors down and off to the right in its own little section. And that section is predominantly a Palestinian Arabic travelers going back and forth. So I'm traveling as, as incognito as I possibly can. For those people who've seen me. I have little fringy things hanging out of my, uh, you know, out of my shirt, the tzitzit, those were tucked in a, I wear a kippah, but I was wearing a ball cap over it. I just wanted to be like as nonchalantly American as I possibly could be. Just again, didn't want to be in people's face, especially given what was happening, you know, that day and the day before. I get up to the checkout counter and delightful, a Palestinian young lady is checking me in and I give her the our own first because if there's gonna be a problem with my tickets, because I have three, I have three bags. I was only supposed to be traveling with one, they're overweight. There's a lot of extra charges on me. I want to make sure the, our own gets on before, you know, before anything else happens. So she asked me "Mah zeh?", what is that? My Hebrew is very, very bad. So in English I, I said "it's, um, it's a box that a Torah goes in?" I'm not sure if any of these words are going to have any meaning to anybody. And she looks at the duffle hanging off my shoulder and she says, "Zeh sefer Torah?" that bag over there, that's a safer tour. That's a, that's a Holy Torah? "Ken". I said, yes. "Ah, very good." She puts a fragile sticker on the bag that has the our own on it and she says, please take this off. We will use special handling for this. And then she takes my other bag, which is overweight and she puts a heavy sticker on it and off it goes. And then she takes my other bag and off it goes and I have my credit card out. I said, "I know this is going to cost." And she says, "There is no charge."

Josh:                                      25:34                     Waaaaaat???

Leon:                                     25:34                     I know. I literally said, "no, no, I just gave you three bags like I have to pay for these " She says "No, no, no, it is all good." Okay. And then she hands me a card, she says, this is a pass for the VIP lounge. Please enjoy.

Josh:                                      25:49                     Wow.

Leon:                                     25:50                     Okay. So now I have to take the Aron to special handling. So I take it around the corner to the special handling air. It's where it just right there and these two Palestinian guys are, you know, you know Israeli Palestinian, Israeli guys are there and uh, they open the bag and it's of course wrapped in bubble wrap, wrapped in plastic wrap and whatever, and they put it through the x-ray. Now I just want to remind you, it is a, a wooden box wrapped in silver wrapped in bubble wrap, et cetera. What's that gonna look like on the X Ray? It's gonna look like a big metal tube. So these guys, these guys like we're going to have to open this up. It had been so carefully, professionally packed and look, you're going to do what you're going to do, right? You've got to do it. So they open it up and they're like, yup, that's exactly what we thought we were gonna say there. And then immediately pull out their own roll of bubble wrap and they wrap it up just as good as it had been before. Just boom, boom, boom, wrap it up, put it back in the bag and off it goes. Like no problem. No. You can also say that, you know, tourists coming back from Israel is something that is seen a lot at Ben Gurion airport. That's a pretty normal thing. So, okay, so I get through the rest of security. I get to the lounge, I have a delightful time in the lounge. Um, get on my plane. My flight is going on Turkish airlines from Tel Aviv to Istanbul. Of course, that's the, the, you know, hub for that. Change. planes, go from Istanbul to Barcelona and that's where I have to change flights again. So I'm stay overnight in Barcelona, get up the next morning, come back to Barcelona airport, and I'm basically doing the same thing all over again. I get into check in this time it's United and, uh, this time everything's going to happen except it's going to happen in Spanish. Now my Spanish is better than my Hebrew. Uh, it's not great, but it's better than than that. And so I get to the line and uh, you know, get through the line and I get up to the guy at the counter and he once again, you know, I hand him the Aron and I put it up on the conveyor and he says, "well, what's that?" All right, I'm talking to you in a predominantly Christian country. How am I gonna explain this? "Uh, it's a box that, that a Torah scroll, a Holy scroll goes into," I'm, I'm trying to figure out how to say this. And he spoke English, but I'm still, and he says, "Oh," like recognition dawned and his face, he hands me a sticker that's his fragile, he says, would you like to put that on here? Okay, fine. So I put the sticker on, he says, "okay, please take it off and we'll special handle it in the moment." And he takes my bag, the overweight one, and he takes the other bag and I pull up my credit card cause I'm going to pay. And he's like, "no charge." Like what is this? No, no, no charge. And again, he hands me a pass. He says, "here's a pass to the VIP lounge, please enjoy."

Josh:                                      28:32                     Oh my goodness.

Leon:                                     28:33                     Okay. He gets up. Now there's a line of people behind me. He says, please follow me. So I follow him. There's, there's other people, you know, it's not like he left the line waiting, but you know, I follow him around to where the special handling area is. And he says, please "put this up on the conveyor." Like he's standing, he's standing right there, but please put on me. So I put on the conveyor and I put it, apparently the wrong direction, "would you please turn it?" And I realized at that moment, he's not touching this thing. So I turn it and it goes and it goes on and he comes down and as we're walking back, he says, "We see this sometimes Shalom."

Josh:                                      29:06                     Oh my goodness, I've got chills. Leon chills.

Leon:                                     29:09                     So I go through Barcelona airport security and, and here I get stuck again because the Torah again is wrapped in bubble wrap, whatever. It's just this big blob on the x-ray. "Que es esto?"Kay the guy says, uh, "Halbas Ingles?". No. Okay. Here we go. There's, there's a phrase that you have that I try to say it's really bad. So for those native Spanish speakers, please feel free to mock me. "Una objeto religioso" it's a religious object. "Yo no comprendo." "Una scrol de Bible?" Like now I'm running out of words here to describe what a Torah is to the security dude in Barcelona airport. And so he calls the supervisor over and they have a quick conversation and she looks at me and she says a word, which if you're ever in Spain is the most important word you can possibly know in Spain. It's Vale. Vale means okay. In the same way that we would use it, it's a question. It's an answer. It's a statement. It's everything. Vale. So I say "Vale??" and she says, "Tu puedas va. Vale", You can go. Okay. So I go, I go to the, I go to the lounge, have another delightful time. I get on, uh, the airplane. I should mention one of the other things, one of the other issues. Remember I said the Torah can't be checked as baggage. So each time I'm getting on the plane, I'm worried that they're going to gate check this extra piece of luggage, this Torah, because it can't go. Never happened. Each time I would go to the flight attendants say, "I'm really sorry. I know this is sort of oversized. It's, it's a few inches larger than normal carry on, you know, but it's, it's a religious object." Again, I'm, I'm describing it in, in non-Jewish terms and it really, and they're like, "no problem. Put it right up there. It's fine." Like it was not a problem at all. Um, but back to your point about being able to check on early, it really helped to know that I was one of the first people boarding, so there was going to be overhead space. It made a difference in this case. So we're flying in and uh, you know, Barcelona, New Jersey, I land in New Jersey at Newark airport and that's when I realize I have this incredibly valuable object. How do you claim a Torah at immigration? Like how do you,

Josh:                                      31:21                     how do you claim?...

Leon:                                     31:23                     ...What is it worth? So I'm real quick texting a bunch of people like people do this, how do you do whatever they say? It's not worth anything to anybody else. Yes, you're right. We would pay a lot of money for it, but it's not actually on the street worth anything, so just don't claim it. It turns out however that something else happened. I have global entry. Back to the travel hacking. I have TSA pre. I also have global entry, which means that I can go through the really fast lane when I come in through the country, but I also on my phone have the TSA app, which allows you to do the claim form on the plane four hours ahead of landing and put everything in there and then the record's already in there. However, don't do both. It turns out that if you do both, it creates a conflicting record in immigration systems that if you're, if you have Global Entry, you simply use global entry, use the paper form and go through. I didn't know that, so I did both. So I get through personal immigration and they say, Oh yeah, if you're going to do, you know, so I scan my phone app and I show them my Global Entry and they're like, the Global Entry doesn't count because you did the phone app, it's going to create a conflict. Don't do that. So okay, fine. So then when I'm pick up my bags and I'm going to go through the check, I go through global entry and the guy sees the phone app and he spends a good solid like two minutes. "Why did you do that? You already have Global Entry. Why did you do the TSA App?" "I didn't know it was going to create a problem." This is... "Just please next time don't do that." And he waves me through an off I go. He didn't ever look at the fact that I had four pieces of luggage, you know, I'm a single guy going through, didn't even pay attention to that. He was more concerned about the fact that I had made an IT error.

Josh:                                      33:06                     Lovely, yes, you had done the steps out of order. Incorrect. The problem exists between the keyboard and the chair, obviously.

Leon:                                     33:17                     Right? So, right. PEBKAC rules. I am clearly the ID10T error of the day. That was the problem, not the toy, the ancient Torah scroll and the silver case and that, that wasn't okay. So I get through and uh, I get home and uh, one of the lessons to, to spin this back around again to the more technical is that I had, I knew the entire flight plan. I knew each of the steps along the way. I knew that I was gonna have personal security at these places and I was gonna have luggage security at these places. I knew I was going to have all these things. I had my steps in a row, but I, I took each step as it came. I didn't take a hiccup or an issue at one moment as a sign of things to come. Good or bad. I really, and I think that as IT professionals, we also need to think about that. That, you know, we have a project, we know what the project plan is. Things are going to work, other things aren't going to work. That doesn't mean it's a sign of how the whole project is going to go. That each moment is its own moment and doesn't necessarily have bearing on the next moment to come.

Josh:                                      34:28                     Yeah. I, when we think about how, how do you build a resilient system, there are two things that you factor in. One is a system that is resistant to failure and a system that can quickly recover from failure because there is no such thing as no downtime. It does not exist. There will always be failures, right? And as IT professionals, we need to figure that out, not just in the technology but also in the way that we execute projects in the way that we execute our careers. I mean, it's all about that personal, professional resilience. Failure is going to happen. Roll with the punches

Leon:                                     35:12                     And you know, don't, yeah, don't imagine the punches aren't going to come, but just because one step along the way knocked you down doesn't mean every step is going to knock you down. It's not. Um, so we got it back to America. Um, in the show notes, I will link to the live tweeting I did of the entire process and a picture of the Torah itself so you can see it in its, in its new home. But after I, I got back, I went over to the rabbi's house and the rabbi's wife and I were, and she said something very interesting and I have to give you a little bit of history. So as I mentioned before, um, the kind of Jewish we are or the culture that we come from is the Spanish Jewish culture. So that means that, uh, after the expulsion of the Jews from Israel in 72 CE, after the second destruction, they settled in Spain and they lived in Spain until about 1492 during, you know, the Inquisition. And then our family, my Rabbi's family and my family settled from Spain into Istanbul and they lived in Istanbul, in a little town outside of his temple until about 1920. And that's when they came to America. So when I got everything back and I was sitting at the house and I was talking to her, she said, you know that Torah stopped every place our family lived. And I got chills. It went from Israel to Istanbul to Spain to America. And if I had said to you, Hey Josh, you know, I just want bring a Torah back but I want to do this really, really cool thing. I'm going to stop every place or a, you would tell me, Leon, you are way overthinking this and just bring the thing back and be done with it. But it just happened. It just, you know, it just worked out that way.

Leon:                                     36:49                     And again, from an it perspective, I think it speaks to that serendipity of life, whether that's religious or it or otherwise. Sometimes you know and have this in caps, you know, things happen for a reason. Trademark, copyright, all rights reserved. Things do happen for a reason. And it's okay to know that that happens. And sometimes you say, I'm just going to see how this works out. I'm going to let things happen. I'm not going to try to control the outcome. I'm not gonna try to make it be something, I'm going to let things go and, and just let it be. I didn't intend for that to be, my travel path, but it did. And, and the experience was that much richer because of it.

Josh:                                      37:33                     You know, I, I had an interesting, uh, moment over the past month or so going through the interview process with new Relic and talking to a number of my current team members who were on that interview panel and explaining the journey that I had toward being someone who is, uh, an enterprise monitoring practitioner. And I realized in recounting the journey over the past 20 years that my very first job than IT laid the, the framework for me becoming a, a monitoring practitioner. I worked for a small company, uh, in Michigan that focused on call center software and they designed software that would connect to your PBX, uh, for your call center and would allow you to monitor the phone status of all of your agents and then would correlate all of that data up onto a big screen. That would allow you to run reports. It did call center monitoring my very first job and then my next job had an HP OpenView workstation and then my next job had an HP OpenView work station that I replaced with SolarWinds. It's a wonderful journey. Uh, I, that's, it's, it's weird. I think like you and your Torah story, uh, your Torah journey, you didn't realize the importance of that journey until you paused for a moment to reflect on the journey that you took. And I, I think we have to do IT as well. Sometimes we're so focused on where we want to get to that we forget where we've come from and the power that comes to us. I think that's important, right? Right. What we value in our IT lives. We have to take time to look back what we value in our personal lives and our religious lives. Yeah. You know, I think I'd like to end Leon with a quote from, uh, Ralph Waldo Emerson. So he, you know, prolific writer, um, wrote a series of essays and a second series and an essay entitled experience. He said "To finish the moment, to find the journey's end and every step of the road to live. The greatest number of good hours is wisdom."

Destiny:                               39:46                     Thanks for making time for us this week. To hear more of technically religious visit our website, technically where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions and connect to us on social media.

Josh:                                      40:00                     So you brought a Torah back from Israel?

Leon:                                     40:03                     And all I got was this t-shirt...I mean, this podcast story.


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