Technically Religious
S2E10: Technically Modest

S2E10: Technically Modest

May 26, 2020

Religion has a lot to say about modesty - from clothing to behavior to even thoughts. Much of it is misunderstood from the outside perspective. The concept central to the idea of "modesty" is one of boundaries. In tech, we also have to set boundaries: from who has access to certain types of data to what "work hours" mean to which deliverables are in or out of scope to the tasks are considered part of our regular job. 

In this episode, we'll hear from an entirely new set of voices: Alex Navarro, Faria Akram, and Yum Darling - who will explore the nature of those limitations and how our religious/moral/ethical POV can inform our tech life - and vice versa. Listen or read the transcript below.

Leon (00:32):
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 careers it professionals mesh or at least not conflict with our religious life. This is Technically Religious.
Alex (00:53):
Religion has a lot to say about modesty from clothing to behavior to even thoughts. Much of it is misunderstood from the outside perspective. The concept central to the idea of modesty is one of boundaries. In tech, we also have to set boundaries; from who has access to certain types of data, to what work hours mean, to which deliverables are in or out of scope to the tasks are considered part of our regular job. In this episode we'll explore the nature of those limitations and how our religious, moral, ethical point of view can inform our tech life and vice versa. I'm Alex Navarro and the other voices you're going to hear on this episode are my guests. Faria Akram.
Faria (01:38):
Alex (01:39):
and Yum Darling.
Yum (01:40):
Alex (01:41):
Thank you ladies.
Alex (01:43):
All right. So if you are new to the podcast, we start each episode with a moment for everyone to be able to introduce themselves, have a shameless plug, or basically engage with you in some other form. Uh, so Faria why don't you go first?
Faria (01:57):
Hi, I'm Faria. I'm a mental health advocate, storyteller, dancer, and cohost of a podcast called vulnerable views. You can keep up with what I'm doing in all those areas on my instagram @followingfaria and my website in terms of religion, I was raised as a Muslim and still identify as such.
Alex (02:15):
and Yum.
Yum (02:16):
Okay. Uh, my name is Yum Darling. I am a community manager by day and by night, which is very long. I am a mom to two children. Um, which is why I'm hiding today at my parents' house so that you don't have to hear it. My dog, my cats, my children, and my husband yelled at me all at the same time. I don't really do as much on social media, so don't bother following me. I was born in Israel. So culturally I'm Jewish and I have gone to Jewish schools pretty much my entire life. So that is where the bulk of my, um, religious education is. But, um, spiritually and religiously, you know, I just like learning about religions. So I have a little bit of Buddhist knowledge, which isn't really religion if you're but whatever. And Judaism paganism. So ask why I will be happy to, you know, answer your questions.
Alex (03:06):
And just to round out today's podcast, my name is Alex Nevaro. Again, I am the founder of a creative agency called running their production house. You can find us on Instagram at that same handle. You can also find us on our website, which is that same name or any of your production And I was actually raised as a Catholic by a Catholic mother and a father who was a Jehovah's witness at the time. I didn't stay that way. We'll probably get into that later on in podcasts, but now I identify as a nondenominational Christian. So if you were not able to keep up with those amazingly, uh, short introductions, relax. It's okay. We're going to have everything posted in the show notes for you so you can just sit back and enjoy the conversation and let the amazing ideas flow over you. So, moving on to our first topic of discussion, when you hear the word modesty, what ideas or reactions does that conjure up for you in a religious context?
Faria (04:08):
So when I heard the word modesty, one thing that comes to mind in a religious context is a story of the prophet Muhammad. Peace be upon him. Um, and to those who know the story better than I do, I might mess up some details, I apologize. Uh, but there's a story that he was traveling with another man and they saw a woman who was quote unquote immodestly dressed in some sort of way, right? Um, but the prophet, instead of telling the woman, you know, Oh, you shouldn't be wearing that, or you need to change or whatever. Um, because his friend was just staring at the woman, he, I think took his hand and like moved his friend's face or covered his eyes, um, or averted his gaze in some sort of way. And that's always struck me as really powerful. Cause I think a lot of times when I hear the word modesty, even absent from religion, it's talked a lot about women and what they should or should not be doing. Um, so that story when I heard it as a kid always really, uh, struck a chord with me because it just reminded me that it's modesty is so much more than clothing, right? Which I think we'll talk about as well, but it's also on men to be modest and to do their part on all people.
Yum (05:16):
It's pretty much the same in Judaism. Um, modesty is, uh, how, how did an old friend put it? Uh, it's about women being a team player. And the whole, the whole interaction between men and women and modesty is that modesty equals privacy. Snoot or modesty and Hebrew is about how much you respect herself and how private you would like to be. So it really is the woman, the woman's decision. Now, of course, there are guidelines, if you will, if you would like to, how you could, you could dress modestly. Um, and everyone will have a different opinion on that. I'm sure we'll get into that later. But um, yes, pretty much, pretty much the same story there as Faria. You know, we, we tell our our men, if you don't want to pray in front of this woman who is distracting you, um, go somewhere else.
Alex (06:10):
Well, it's, it's interesting that when we hear the word modesty, it seems like the first thing that comes to mind is, is how we dress or how others are dressed. And that's definitely something that was drilled into my mentality when I was growing up as a Catholic because there are definitely certain rules that you had to abide by when you were entering into the house of God. And so that I feel like what people can relate to whether they were brought up in that religion or not. But um, it's an interesting concept also when we're talking about the workplace because we're talking about modesty. A lot of people sometimes associate that with not being braggadocious. But if you're a woman in the workplace, particularly in the tech industry and the workplace, could it sometimes be a disadvantage for you because you are quote unquote being too modest and you're not speaking up for yourself. Whether it be something like a good idea that you have in a large group meeting or speaking up about a great accomplishment that you've done for the organization.
Yum (07:12):
Sometimes modesty is um, equated with humility and submission and women that are um, more covered up or more modest or even just more quiet are seen as more submissive at home in the workplace, in their religion. And yeah, it can definitely work against you. Women that are that way sometimes get put in that bucket at work, whether people don't listen to them as much or don't take their voices seriously or um, don't give them the opportunity to say something. Sometimes you have to pause and let someone who might not be as loud as you are, come forth and say something meaningful from their perspective. And a lot of time we tend to take people who are more modest, a step next to us and just put them in that bucket of silence and submission and oppression and, and their views kind of go away. And that's sad in religion and in life and in the workplace,
Alex (08:10):
I think it's really easy for people to get an impression of you before you open your mouth. Right? So what are they going to go off of? They're going to go off of how we look and a lot of times for women, how we're dressed, how much we're covered up, how much makeup we have on, you know, if we decided to do our hair that day or night. I mean there's just, there's so many ways for people to sort of misinterpret who we are as a person. And I feel like if we're not mindful of how quote unquote modest we are in the workplace, then are we sort of doing that to ourselves. And then I also think there's a very fine line of that level of modesty because very easily, like you mentioned, young, if we're just naturally loud and we naturally just have this sort of emphatic tone, all too often it can be misinterpreted in a negative way. And I feel like that is something that is very specific to women. So what do we do? Do we need to be less modest?
Faria (09:20):
Heck no.
Yum (09:23):
Um, I do think there's this, there's a place for women to stand up for other women in this context. Um, I definitely think men allies are awesome, but sometimes that permission from a man to speak is just really patronizing. Um, so what, what I would say is if you work with a woman who is more modest or even a woman who is on the opposite and is loud and vivacious and does not dress modestly, um, perhaps bringing their voice into a conversation or just pausing and letting them speak. Um, and as a woman, of course, definitely inviting those women to the conversation and into outside life as well, especially in the tech industry. I find you make really close friendships and you, you do things outside of work and sometimes the women who are seen as more religious, I am doing air quotes, uh, are, aren't invited because they're seen as, they would not enjoy this simply because of the way they dress and what we think their religion is.
Alex (10:22):
That's a very good point. I completely agree with that and I feel like that's something that probably both men and women are, are guilty of. Take the time, I guess take the time to get to know someone instead of sort of making an assumption based on how they look or how they appear. So. Okay. Do you, do either of you kind of find yourselves being mindful of this in your own workplace? You know, especially when we're talking about, you know, in the world of it, is there a balance that you try to find for yourself that you're trying to create when it comes to being modest, whether it's, you know, how you're dressed or just, you know, how you are being interpreted by others in the workplace.
Faria (10:59):
I don't think I really take that into consideration to be honest. Yes. I had a great conversation this week where someone told me I should enter every room with the confidence of a white man. And so that's something I'm working on that thing.
Alex (11:16):
Oh my g... that is gold. that needs to be on bumper stickers. I want a tshirt that says that.
Faria (11:31):
Yeah, no, it was very eyeopening. Right. And I think, and we can have probably a whole nother podcast episode on just confidence in itself. Um, you know, right. But I think it relates to modesty, to your point of how you carry yourself. Right. Um, and going back to actually Yum when you were talking about, you know, someone who's loud and vivacious and who, uh, dresses less modesty though modestly, that was interesting to, because I think I know a lot in a lot of loud and vivacious people. So I come, I come from a more conservative Muslim background. My family is pretty conservative Muslims. And I was raised in a small town in a small Muslim community that was pretty conservative. Uh, but I know a lot of loud, vivacious Muslim women who are like that with their personality. But then in terms of dress, they wear the hijab, which is the head covering or the niqab, which covers everything but your eyes. So it's funny cause it's like there. What would you be defining Montessori as, right. So as someone who is more of a voracious, who is more loud and more outgoing, I try to be more quiet and listen to other people I'm working on not interrupting others has been something I've been really trying, actively trying to work on. Because by nature I love talking and I will talk over other people. Um, which is not the right thing to do. So giving others a space to converse and also active listening. So not, I'll admit it, I did the listening where it's like, okay, I'm listening to you because I'm waiting for you to finish. So I can say what I have to say. Cause I have three thoughts in my head right now, but active listening, of holding a space for this person to communicate with my full attention because that is what they deserve.
Alex (13:07):
So, okay. What about,you know, this kind of is making me thinking about just kind of how I was supposed to or not supposed to, I guess maybe how it was expected to behave when I was, you know, at Sunday school or when I was at mass or you know, when I was even, let's say around a certain group of people that maybe only interacted with me when we were at, you know, church gatherings. Um, I feel like for me personally, it was a certain Alex that people interacted with when I was at Catholic functions and at Catholic mass and so on and so forth versus the openness I guess that I found when I started going to Bible groups and Bible studies and, um, functions for the nondenominational church, which for me, that journey started happening when I was in college. And I don't know if you know, that is a Testament to those two religions or if it was just my experience personally, but I definitely would say that I felt like I had to be a certain level of modest when I was being brought up in the Catholic faith versus when I switched over to being nondenominational. Christian. Did either of you have some kind of experience similar to that?
Faria (14:28):
I feel like I kind of did. Um, so yeah, I grew up coming from a more conservative Muslim background I think. And I know not only am I less modest when it comes to talking a lot, but also in, um, kind of my habits of dress. So I was the first woman in my immediate family who did not wear the hijab, the head covering, um, every, almost everyone I knew more for at least some period of time. Some took it off. Um, so from just the very get go, um, it wasn't something I wanted to partake in. And I'm more the type of person who it's hot outside, like I'm gonna wear short sleeves instead of committing to something like that. Um, that's not saying anything about me as a person, good or bad. That's not saying anything about people who choose to dress that way. It's just, I noticed very early on I was different in a sense. So yeah, the Faria that went to the mosque, uh, obviously I wore a hijab there. I covered my hair cause it was a place of God. Uh, I interacted a little differently because, uh, it, it was, it just was a little bit more of a conservative setting and toned down my mannerisms. You know, a lot of it was for Sunday school, so you can't get all my monks just there. I mean you can, but that's how you get Sunday school detention. Your parents aren't happy. Um, so yeah, it was in college actually because I was in the same town for the first 18 years of my life, which I didn't. I thought that was everyone's normal. And then I realized it wasn't, I went to a bigger university with more people and um, not just more people and more Muslims, but a more diverse group of Muslims too. So my family is Pakistani. Um, so I met Muslims from all different kinds of countries and who, you know, different, um, sects too. My family is Sunni Muslim. Um, and I didn't even know about some of the sex cause there wasn't that, uh, open-mindedness I feel like taught to me and my faith journey growing up. And that's where I really kind of started to see how there are so many different levels and how you can be modest in so many different ways. And that's something I started gravitating to. I started to lean more towards, I don't have to cover every inch of my skin to be modest. And that became my personal choice.
Yum (16:34):
Confession time, baby. I'm only went to shool slash synagogue, slash tempo, whatever you wanna call it. Um, for school purposes. My parents lived and I obviously, um, our family lived on a little Hilltop in Israel, in the North of Israel, just South of Lebanon, surrounded by other little Hilltop villages, um, surrounded by, um, hilltops of Arab villages. And I went to school with, um, most of the people in the surrounding areas. And the schools in Israel are Jewish. It's a Jewish state. And we do, you know, celebrate every, every, uh, Friday. I almost said Yoshi, but that would not make sense to most of your listeners. So every Friday we would have a couple of Shabbat at school where you would welcome a Shabbat. We welcome, um, the day of rest Saturday for Jews. Um, and that was my normal at school, at home. Never ever, ever. My mom, I don't, I love my mom dearly and if you're listening, I'm sorry, but she, um, she doesn't cook much or at all. She is a grandma now, but not your stereotypical Jewish grandma because I make all the chicken soup. So we, I had a very different upbringing, what you would call a religious Jew. I would, I was more of a, of a secular Jew with a lot of Jewish history. But my understanding of modesty, um, came so much later, like way into college. You guys like were into college. I went to NC state, go Wolfpack and um, we had this NC state is made up of red bricks. They signed this, I don't know if actually this is a rumor, maybe someone out there can validate, but uh, apparently they signed a contract and got a lot of their bricks for super cheap because they bought so friggin many. Um, so the entire campus is RedBrick including the well known brick yard, which is, you know, made a brick and very slippery in the winter or when it's raining, which is, you know, full time in North Carolina and you can't walk without slipping. So you have to be real careful what you wear because when you slip on brick, it's not just going down, you're going down, legs up. And we had the lovely Brickyard preacher who used to stand on his little, I don't know what it's called, a box. Um, I'm sure there's another name for it. It was, it's, it's just a little, it's a cute little box with a little, um, podium. And he used to yell at people walking by about, um, the, how much they are sitting and where he thinks they should go and isn't it lovely? Great. I feel like I feel like they're pretty universal. And I was walking by wearing my normal young clothes, um, which at the time was probably like gym shorts and a tee shirt on my way to biology class, thinking about what I'm going to dissect today. And he like yells at me when I walked past whore and I'm just like, I'm 18, I don't know what you're talking about. Oh no, you guys, that was, it was hurtful. I don't, I w you know, totally not what I was expecting. Of course it was raining that day and I slipped and fell legs up right in front of him. Luckily there were, there were some very burly, um, football players that were walking right behind me who like pulled me up and started walking me away. And there's two things you should probably know about me. One is I can control my temper and two is I have no filter. So, um, something like this could be really bad for all parties. So thank you. Burly football man that I never met again for, um, you know, probably rescuing me from being arrested. Um, but yeah, Brickyard preacher dude taught me about modesty and taught me about how modesty sometimes is in the eye of the beholder and sometimes it's in the eye of the be the bearer, if you will. Yeah. So, so that was really an eye opener for me.
Alex (20:40):
That's really interesting. I think maybe you bring up about, you know, when, when we're talking about modesty in terms of our appearance and more specifically what we're wearing or not wearing. You know, that's an interesting question is it's the person's responsibility who is wearing the clothing or is it the person's responsibility? Who is Ewing the clothing? And then, you know, to take that a step further, if we're going back to the story that Aria shared earlier about, you know, sort of averting your eyes, if you will. Um, and I'm going to attempt to say this correctly, so young helped me if I, if I bought this, but when it comes to the ha ha that says, thank you that says don't pray in front of an in, modestly dressed woman and we have to divine define those terms. Right? So is it, are those terms in the IBD holder or the terms in, you know, the person who's wearing the clothing and then to take that even further, maybe go cry somewhere else?
Faria (21:38):
Um, yeah, so I think I'll go, I don't know too much about Judaism, so not speaking to these specific rules or trying to offend anyone. But when you say that Alex actually reminds me of my favorite Bollywood movie or one of my favorite Bollywood movies, there's a line where, um, the, the lead actress or whatever is talking to her sister and she's like, why did you wear that to the tumble? Everyone at the temple was staring at you and her sister's like, well, if everybody in the temple was staring at me instead of God, that's their problem, not mine. Um, and I was just like, yes, cause I love that scene. Um, and I recognize that not everybody has an opinion. Uh, but I do, I, you know, with that, I think it opened up that I lean more towards, it's, uh, on the responsibility of not the person who is dressing her appearing that way. But the other, because I think yes, modesty is, is very, can be very physical, right, in terms of dress, in terms of makeup, things like that. But my take is you don't know that person's intention behind it. Right? Like I, my mother, I think the first time Yama was really bonding with your story because, um, I mean, I love my mother a lot more than I'm sure you'd like that preacher, but she called me like a whore once I was 16 and I wore red lipstick for the first time and she said, uh, she said I looked like a streetwalker. Uh, but she said it in ODU, so to add some color to this podcast, her exact words were [inaudible], which means you look like a woman of the night, which meant hooker. And I was like, thanks mom. I'm 16 and you and dad said I could wear this and now that I've worn it, you're mad. I'm so sorry.
Alex (23:09):
Faria (23:10):
Yeah, I know. Yeah. She was like, why do you look at woman on the street? I was like, I didn't even know what meant like hooker. Like that part came later. By the way, I was like, I am a woman and we're about to start one of the night. Yeah. I was like, I am a woman and it's night and we are about to go somewhere. Like it didn't click till later bless my baby Faria heart. Um, cause I was like, where are you mad? Yeah, man. I'm just like, it's fine. It's fine. I was like, wait, but she seems upset. So I lean more to the side. That is, it's the responsibility of the person who is seeing or witnessing any other type of dress or the person who is dressing quote unquote modestly or modestly. Because I think intention plays a big role in that. And we don't know people's intentions, right? We don't know what's going on in their head, but what we do know is ours, our thoughts and feelings and what we can control is our actions and how we choose to react or handle a situation that we feel is in modest or too modest or however you'd put it.
Yum (24:05):
I'm just going to say that once I was the, the on the side of the be-wearer, it is in the eye of the bearer. What he or she thinks is modest. Um, but I think I've switched to the camp of both.
Alex (24:18):
Oh, interesting.
Yum (24:19):
Yes. And it's been a very recent switch you guys because of this very last 2020 Superbowl that I have switched.
Alex (24:29):
Are you referencing J-Lo and Shakira?
Yum (24:32):
I am. In fact, yes. First of all, let me preface this by saying that I have a huge amount of respect for them and for Adam Levine who was, you know, the year before shirtless, the energy that my Facebook stream had that night and probably for a week afterwards commenting on what they were wearing, how they were dancing, what they were doing, what they were saying really kind of struck me as, you know, it doesn't really matter what they were thinking they were wearing. Everybody else is hating on them except for not because those women are in their forties and fifties and they look better than I do right now. So really I wasn't hitting on you, Shakira and J-Lo. I love you and just going to share a little tidbit with you. Part of my fitness routine is pole fitness. So seeing J-Lo up on that pole is like my life's goal. Really? Yeah. Do you see her in hustlers? I did. In fact here in hustlers, I've done one of my classes before. It is not easy girl. It is what got me in shape after two babies. Um, the core strength that it takes and the arm strength and the back strength don't even get me started. This is way, way, way, not what we were talking about before this podcast. I asked, um, my mom's group who are very varied in their beliefs and in their personalities and I respect all of them a whole lot. What they thought about modesty in general because we did have a thread talking about whether we covered our children's eyes during the halftime show and kind of what we landed on was, you know, what was really to blame was camera angles. And I'm going to bet that the person behind the camera who's deciding where the camera's going to go and what it's going to look like was not a woman. So at the end of the day, at the end of the day when they're saying, well she shouldn't have jello, shouldn't have done that. Like widespread slide. Excuse me, how are you going to slide without whites, without like widespread legs? People who have never tried to slide are saying this, but people who are saying that because, Oh my gosh, the camera was right there. Who put the camera right there? Ladies and gentlemen, not the ladies. So I think, I think there is a something to be said for the people who are watching to bring it back to Israel. There was a situation in the military where um, Israel wanted religious men to serve in the military and Israel. Everyone at 18 serves and religious men often get exempt to go study. And Israel said, nah, actually you're going to go in and be part of part of the military. You're going to serve as well for your three years. And they said, we can't serve or we can't. So they have their, they have, um, the more religious men have their own little, um, segment in the Israeli military. So we do try to accommodate. But they said they couldn't come to a, uh, event because there was a choir at the beginning and that had women in it who were wearing skirts that did not reach their knees and that would, that would give them inappropriate thoughts and they therefore they could not go and then they wanted to get out of the military altogether. Pretty much what I'm saying here is I do think that it, I think sometimes it gets mangled, but it is both who is wearing it and what we feel about it and whether we feel modest in what we're wearing versus what, um, Faria you can look at me when, you know, when we're together in a room and be like, Holy crap, that shirt is a low cut and that's, you know, your prerogative and I can't stop you from thinking that. And it's fine if you think that I'm still gonna wear the shirt.
Alex (27:51):
So taking, taking this concept back into the workplace, if we're talking about let's say the it version of modesty, is that really just boundary setting and then, you know, is it, are we sort of setting these boundaries to sort of protect people from themselves, whether that be, you know, security risks or whether it be potentially preventing you from getting eyed for a promotion because your direct supervisor is getting the wrong impression from either your low cut shirt or maybe the fact that you wear ripped up tee shirts and jeans to work every day. When is it okay to have boundaries setting in the workplace when it comes to modesty?
Yum (28:35):
So I think IT is a really interesting, um, subsection of people. Uh, especially. So I come from a, um, small business SaaS background and the people I worked with came to work in leggings and ripped up jeans. And, um, every time the company wanted to give us a gift, it was a hoodie. Like this is the kind of people that I worked with. And they were, they were expecting the same for me. There was never an expectation that I get very, very dressed up to come to work. In fact, some of the women who did come to work more dressed up, and I'm not talking like more modestly because those t-shirts come up to your neck. So it's not, it's not that kind of a problem. I'm just talking about like, you know, sharper. I'm more sharply dressed. They were seen as the ones that were trying too hard. Yes, they were most of the time busy, uh, sales women and they needed to feel the part in order to speak the part. You know, nobody sees them, um, where we do most of our sales by phone, but it was important for them to feel that way. And I do think that more and more we are coming to a place, work and life are intersecting in a way that it hasn't before. And I think boundary setting is probably one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves. Um, I don't know about you too, but I'm a millennial and what we, what we kind of grew up on was a work life balance. But I heard on a radio talk show that gen Z is actually talking about work life blending where they want, um, they want businesses to be more okay with their life and their work really being one thing. If you expect me to answer an email at 7:00 PM, it's okay for me to go to the doctor at 10:00 AM and for you not to know about it. See what I'm saying? Like it's, it's more of a blending than it is a separation, which is what, which is what we were taught to want. Right. They were like, you're going to find a nine to five and then you're going to leave your work at work and go home and do your thing. Um, as a community manager, that's impossible. I answer emails all the time. I answer emails on PTO. Not that I should, but I do. Am I inviting people to treat me a certain way? Probably and I should probably stop. That's kind of, it's kind of expected of me at this point. At what point do I say I have this amount of self-respect, which is related to modesty, because modesty is having enough self-respect to dress in a way that shows that you are not trying to be overtly sexual or overtly whatever, or maybe you are good for you.
Alex (30:58):
So is it maybe because your boundaries are, have become less modest that now this is sort of what's expected of you because this is the impression that you've given to people and that's what they've perceived in terms of your availability, in terms of, you know, your work life blend or balance or lack thereof. You know, is it sort of we're setting these boundaries by determining how modest we are with our time, with our words, with our actions, with our dress. So kind of like what you were saying earlier, I think that it does fall back on us a little bit, but it's still also in the eye of the beholder. So I would agree actually. I think it's both
Yum (31:49):
Welcome to my "both" camp. Population 2: you and me.
Alex (31:52):
but when it comes to it, you know, there are definitely certain scenarios where being more modest is without a doubt. A plus. Right? Like if we're talking about security measures, if we're talking about, um, just really kind of helping people to protect them from themselves, cause you may not be a malicious user, but you may just be a user who's too busy and trying to do too many things at one time and then you become a security risk to the organization and you should have been a little bit more modest about your passwords.
Yum (32:21):
Yeah, I think you're right Alex. I think, um, companies need to be very modest with the access they're giving their users. And I think users need to be, um, respectful of the boundaries that they're setting and the boundaries that their work is setting. I know a lot of times we get, um, for laptops from the companies that we, that we work for. Um, and perhaps, um, being respectful to yourself and being respectful to the company and not using that laptop as your personal machine and inviting in, um, security risks that way. Or even just, you know, at the end of the day it can go in and take a look, see and see everything you've Googled for the past. You know, however long you've been working for the company and do you really want that? Cause I don't,
Alex (33:05):
right, right. In case in case anyone was unaware that that is going on at their workplace, it's definitely happening. And you should, uh, adjust accordingly.
Faria (33:16):
Okay. I'm going to be honest, I have a lot of Buzzfeed articles, the ones that are like incentivizing you to buy this thing under $15 because you need it in your life and it's because they pop up and I'm like, bookmark, save, go look and buy all the things later. So yes, sorry. Office people
Yum (33:32):
Faria that is, that is the least of their worries. Um, as a, as a side gig, I am a writer slash, editor and um, my biggest issue is I'm Googling how to murder people, but we can talk about this some other day.
Alex (33:47):
So would you say that, just to kind of bring this back and kind of round it out, is there something from your faith or your religion that maybe I think IT could learn from or maybe even that you've taken that principle or that idea and it's carried over into your professional life?
Faria (34:11):
Yeah, I would, I would say don't be afraid to be open-minded and challenge what you've been taught because I feel like this is like, you know, take a dog or take a drink every time she says she came from a conservative background. But yeah, like I didn't question things for 18 years. Right. Um, and just kind of accepted what I heard and believed, which was all great and wonderful. Uh, then maybe not the best fit for me. Right. So I think also as someone in her early career, um, I'm at just my second company right now out of college. So, uh, being new, kind of in that early career stage, there was a lot of, uh, maybe X, Y, Z is exactly what I need to do to advance or to meet the goals or to do the things. And I get afraid to challenge or to speak my mind or to say something different because that's not the way it's always been done. Um, and so yeah, just kind of learning to be open and to trust myself I think is something that resonates with me in modesty or in faith. And also in the workplace.
Yum (35:13):
I'm actually going to draw from my, um, educational experience about theology in general. Um, and, and across many, um, the many religions that I've learned about both pretty in depth and just surface level, almost every single religion way of life. Um, anything, whatever you want to call it, spirituality has, um, some sort of need either privacy or or sneeze or modesty or whatever you can call it. And I think, um, companies can learn from that as well, especially in it. Every company should have their proper use of computer bylaws and rules of engagement within their company and an understanding that people come from different backgrounds and it's not always easy and it's not always comfortable. Um, and sometimes it gets real awkward if you meet, for example, uh, a Jewish man who will not high five or will not shake hands or a Jewish woman who won't, um, give you a hug, which is apparently, you know, accepted or expected of, of women. Nowadays, I think that's, that's this generation's you should smile more. But I do think that, uh, every company should understand modesty, understand self-respect, understand boundaries. Um, we'll see when we get there.
Destiny (36:33):
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 to us on social media.


S2E09: Tales From the TAMO Cloud with Jesse Nowlin

S2E09: Tales From the TAMO Cloud with Jesse Nowlin

May 5, 2020

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 the founder of TABGeeks, Jesse Nowlin. Listen or read the transcript below.

Leon (00:32):

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 careers as IT professionals mesh or at least not conflict with our religious life. This is Technically Religious.

Leon (00:53):

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

Leon (01:39):

My name is Leon Adato, and the other voice you're going to hear on this episode is Jesse Nowlin.

Jesse (01:45):

Hi everyone.

Leon (01:45):

As is there a want on Technically Religious. We don't make the uh, audience wait to hear all the good stuff the juice news about our guests. So Jesse, you've got a moment here for shameless self promotion. Tell us who you are, where you work, what's going on in your life, and just remember to tell us, uh, what your religious or ethical and moral point of view is somewhere in there.

Jesse (02:06):

Yes. So first off, I'd like to say start by saying, thank you for having me. It's an honor to be on your podcast and on the other side of the mic so to speak, I've got my own podcast as well. Just finished recording an episode. So it's fun to be on the other end now, or on the receiving end of this, I am the founder and head geek at a company called Tab Geeks, which is a conference for a small to mid-size IT support professionals. We focus on a sponsor free show that is focused on the content and not a pitch session, which many of the largest shows are, or only on a particular type of product line. Whereas most people in small to midsize companies, you've got everything from working on the printer to the coffee machine is under your purview. And there really isn't very much in the way of other conferences out there that are addressing all of those in a show.

Jesse (02:59):

So we've built a community in the conference, uh, focused on training on those particular topics. Again, it's sponsor free. Our stage is kind of like, uh, the Holy ground. You can't go up there if you're a sponsor. We don't even have sponsors on, uh, on our, uh, we don't even have sponsors at the conference at all or in our Slack channel, which is a, another safe space for IT to be able to just come ask for for help and uh, and even vent sometimes and my day job because that's not enough to keep me busy on top of being a father of two kids under three, I also am, I am also the CTO of a 500 employee real estate company that has about 75 offices across three States and I manage all of that with a team of five IT professionals. And I as you go into this, in the beginning of the podcast you asked me to mention the religious affiliation. Obviously that's the point of this podcast. I am an Orthodox Jew and I have found that for me, being able to take that break every week is one of the things that has helped me to avoid burnout and has helped keep me sane in this industry.

Leon (04:07):

Awesome. Okay. We're going to get, definitely get into that more. Um, any, how can people find you on social media if they wanted to find you someplace, where would they go?

Jesse (04:16):

Yeah, so I'm on all the major platforms. I am @MrJNowlin on Twitter or @TabGeeks. If you want to check out the uh, the tech community that we've got on LinkedIn, I'm just Jesse Nowlin, Facebook, I'm just Jesse Nowlin and uh, I'm active on all of them posting all kinds of content. We've also got our Tab Geeks website is And our Slack is

Leon (04:46):

Fantastic. All right, so I'm going to round this out. Uh, I am Leon Adato. I am my actual title, my official title is head geek. Uh, I took the job sight unseen when they told me that was going to be able to be on my business card. I work for a company called SolarWinds, which is another solar nor wind. It's a monitoring software vendor because naming things is hard. You can find me on the Twitters @leonadato. I pontificate about things both technical and religious at and I also identify as an Orthodox Jew. And if you are frantically scribbling that stuff down, trying to figure out whether it was two W's or three or whatever, uh, stop. There's going to be show notes with all the links to everything that we're talking about today. Uh, so you don't have to do that.

Leon (05:31):

Just sit back, relax and let the awesome wash over you. Um, okay. So I want to dive into the structure of this now. This is the tales from the TAMO cloud. You know, where we talk about our journeys both through the world of tech and religion. And I want to start off with the technical stuff. So tell me a little bit more, you sort of gave us a sketch, but tell me more about what your work is on a day-to-day basis, whether that's with Tab Geeks or as part of the real estate firm, you know, what is, what is your daily job look like today?

Jesse (06:01):

So day to day, uh, during the day I'm at the real estate gig as I mentioned before, and that is managing a team of five people, uh, which is a challenge of handling the amount of employees that we have to support with that amount of people. That's not the greatest of ratios from what I've been able to see in my research. Um, I've recently been doing a lot of research into this area because we, over the last couple of years, the real estate company grew, uh, pretty much tripled in size in the last three years. And I came on about four and a half years ago and when I started, it was just me and one other guy and he had been shipping computers in from Vegas to California when they would break. And it was literally like a 10 day turnaround time for a computer that had, that had gone down. But if you're not, not counting, of course the costs that it would take to ship it, the downtime costs and the fact that the people didn't have anything to work on in the meantime.

Leon (06:55):

I'm sure the end users were delighted with that. I'm sure they loved every part of that.

Jesse (06:59):

To be honest. They didn't really know anything better. They were using Pentium 4 computers on a, um, Exchange 2003 mail server. And this was four years ago. This is, we're now in 2020 is, you know, in terms of, uh, the, the forever evergreen content of podcast world. We're now in 2020. And this was only a couple of years ago. I've only just, uh, recently managed to get rid of the Windows 2000 domain that's been running for a long time because there was just so much other stuff that needed to be done. Uh, the first thing I did when I came on was up the internet from a 80 meg shared cable coax internet line to a 200 meg synchronous, you know, proper internet connection and get everybody off that exchange server and onto G suite. So I'm a, I'm a big G suite fan and um, you know, so that's, that's pretty much what's going on in the day job. We um, have been working, in why I mentioned that I do a lot of that research or have been doing a lot of that research is because, we scaled so much, we haven't really had time to catch up. We were just duct taping things almost literally just to get them working. And so now we've been taking time to pull back and reorganize and create policies and procedures and actually get this stuff standardized. And uh, I hope to actually write a book on this one day. Managing a small to mid size IT department.

Leon (08:19):

That's fantastic. Okay. So that's where, where you are today,

Jesse (08:22):

right. So that's the day job and that I come home, eat dinner, well come home and put my kids to bed, eat dinner and then work for two or three hours a night on Tab Geeks doing podcasts and content and stuff like that. And you asked, um, you know how I got into it and you know, where, where all this came from. I've been into tech, uh, since I was a kid. I've told the story before on my podcast that I was, uh, my earliest memory is as a three year old, I had a toy truck that I absolutely loved that broke down and what else was I to do other than to take it apart and try and fix it and sure enough, and I don't know how I did it, but I took it apart and mess around with some wires, put it back together and it turned on and it worked.

Jesse (09:03):

And that was, you know, that set my brain on fire. I was like, Hey, there's really something here. And then throughout my formative years, so to speak, I was one of the kids that would just pick up computers off to the side of the road when people would throw them away. Of course, back then people didn't really have in mind data privacy. So there was all kinds of stuff on their computers, which made it very entertaining to look through as a teenager or pre teenager. Um, and I would basically just take these home and build my own home lab and then, uh, build environments that would get viruses on the computers and I'd work on destroying them and then try and figure out ways to figure my way out of the holes I was putting myself in. And then in high school I started my own company fixing computers and the rest is history, self-taught all the way.

Leon (09:49):

Wow. Okay. So that, uh, that explains both where you started and how you pretty much how you got from here to there. So, cause I know that a lot of people who listen especially to the TAMO series, uh, are interested to map their own career, whether they're at the beginning or the middle or, or even, you know, near the end where they're just passing along knowledge themselves, um, to hear how other people got through it. So let's turn, let's turn things around a little bit and let's talk about the religious side. You mentioned the top of the show that you are an Orthodox Jew. And I would like to clarify that labels are really challenging that when you ask somebody, so, so what are you, more often than not, you're going to get an answer of something like, well I, it's a little complicated, I'm sort of this or sort of that. So understanding that any, you know, two or three word label is not going to be able to capture the full complexity and nuance of your religious life. Um, how do you define your expression of Orthodox Judaism today?

Jesse (10:48):

Well, it's kind of the same way that I describe my title as IT manager. Despite being CTO and highest ranking a it professional in the business is that, you know, it depends what you're doing. Titles are, especially in this industry, in the tech world, titles are all over the map. It depends the size of the company you're at. It depends what you are tasked with or what you've picked up over the years. And you know, religion is the same way. At least for me, it's, there's a lot of things that we're told to do. Some of it it makes sense. Some of it doesn't make sense. Some would, some people would say none of it makes sense. And uh, you know, it's, it's kinda just figuring out really what works for you. And what works for me is having that time every week where I have the Sabbath and from sundown Friday night to sundown on Saturday night, I'm totally disconnected and I will read, you know, uh, secular books.

Jesse (11:39):

I've been an avid fiction reader my whole life, but a couple of years ago when I realized that IT management was really a direction I wanted to go in, uh, and coinciding with a book reading challenge that my sister-in-law and some family members and I set upon to do a book a week because we're all crazy.

Leon (11:57):

cause you have nothing else to do. Right. You needed a hobby.

Jesse (11:58):

Nothing better to do. Yeah, exactly. So it turns out when I read a nonfiction, I don't read it nearly as fast as I read fiction. So I did not succeed at that challenge. But I, I challenged myself further by saying, Hey, I want to see if I can actually learn something this year instead of just reading, you know, 52 books, which is easy. I could do that. And um, it really broadened my knowledge and accelerated a lot of the things that I was working on in my career because I was taking the time to do that.

Jesse (12:24):

And a lot of that time where I was able to do that was because of the Sabbath. Because I'm not using electronics. I'm not on Facebook, I'm not on Twitter, I'm not, you know, reading some article that that is sitting in my queue of things to read or one of the 8,500 tabs that are open on my browser at all times. And you know, things like that have really been both a strength for me. And also sometimes frustrating because we've got a lot of holidays where you're also not allowed to do the whole technology thing. No work, no driving, no computers, no internet. And uh, there's one story that comes to mind since we are talking about being religious and tech, is a couple of years ago it was one of the high holidays I believe. And there was something going on at the office and they just, they couldn't crack it and they couldn't figure it out.

Jesse (13:14):

And they were working with the service provider trying to get an internet back and going and something and like they refuse to talk to anybody because they weren't the authority on the account. And they actually ended up saying to the tech who was on site, let's go for a ride. And they drove to my house and said, can you tell this guy that he can talk to us please and what he's supposed to do. And I was like, all right, fine. No problem. Because it didn't break the rules. Technically I wasn't, you know, getting on my computer and doing it. I was just saying, okay, here's how this and this is connected and yes, you are authorized to do whatever they need you to do.

Leon (13:45):

Wow. Okay. So we'll, yeah, we'll, we'll, we'll dive into some of that in a little bit, but okay. So that's, that's where you are now. That gives us a good sense of where you are now. The question is, is that the environment that you grow up in? Because when we start out, we were sort of, you know, we, we are in the environment that we're born into usually. And for most of us, we don't start to question it until, you know, our teens or maybe a little bit earlier, maybe a little bit later, maybe never. So the question is, where did you start out religiously? Does it, you know, uh, did it look like what it looks like today?

Jesse (14:20):

So until age seven or eight, I was a practicing religious Christian going to church every week. And that's because my father's not Jewish. My mother left the faith when she went off to college. And, um, you know, that's just, that's where we were at that point in life. And I remember being a five year old when my mother told me that we're Jewish. And I was like, okay, whatever. You know what that means? Cool. And then, um, a couple of years later, uh, she was looking for some more meaning and with some of her family and kind of getting back to her roots and realized that she had a lot of questions that were really related back to her roots in Judaism. And the questions that she was asking was based on the stuff that she had learned when she was a kid in Jewish school. And, uh, we were paired up with a rabbi in, in, uh, somewhat near to our house at the time.

Jesse (15:11):

And they started, you know, the process of, not necessarily the process, but just kind of talking and, and learning, learning together. And, um, at some point it became clear that we were learning a whole lot about being Jewish and what that meant. And then we started doing those things. And a couple of years later we moved to a more religious area, which was back where my mom had grown up in the New Jersey, New York area. And then I, that was when I was 10, we entered into a major Jewish community and a, a proper Jewish school, which had like, I don't know, 600 kids in it, which for me coming from rural New England at the time with a school that had, I dunno, a hundred kids in it total was quite a culture shock. And I knew none of the language. I knew no Hebrew and not that everything was taught in Hebrew, but it's still the, you know, they teach the texts and stuff like that that you're, you're trying to translate.

Jesse (16:02):

And I had a serious handicap in that. And what ended up happening to me is interesting and it's probably something that that helped me a little bit later on is that the school I had entered into, uh, for the grade I was in at that time for Judaic studies, they actually held me back two grades. And then because I'd moved around so much getting there, I had to repeat fifth grade on the secular side, but advanced on the Judaic side. So now I had three years of friends and people that I knew in those grades, which then translated into a very wide network as we grew older and went off to school or when it's college, went off to study and you know, abroad we do a gap year in Israel. So I knew just a ton of people and you know, networking is really everything or almost everything in this business. And that really gave me a great foundation.

Leon (16:53):

So that definitely, uh, tells us your whole progression from, from there to here. So that's interesting. So now being in the world of tech and having the strong religious point of view, um, a lot of times we find that we're, those two things are brought into conflict that are IT life. And, and you were mentioned one case already where our IT life sort of encroaches on a religious life and sometimes vice versa, sometimes our religious life encroaches our IT life and it makes it challenging. So I'm curious if you have any other stories. Cause you did tell the one about having to drive the technician. Somebody had to drive the technician to your house, just so you could give approval, but, uh, were there any other situations you can think of that, uh, where the two things were brought into conflict and how you resolve them?

Jesse (17:34):

Well, as I was saying before about the high holidays, um, for anybody who knows anything about Judaism and the high holidays, the entire month of October or September, wherever they fall is basically nonexistent for me. I'm like, nothing can happen during October is dead during the month of October. Don't try anything new, don't want, don't look for any new projects. We're going to make zero progress. And that is okay. Um, I recently had several, uh, religious Jewish people on my team and, um, for various circumstances they were reassigned or left to, uh, to move or, um, to look for a new position. And I diversified my team a little bit because, um, you know, not that I was trying not to hire Jewish people, we actually didn't have really any of them, um, apply, which isn't surprising we're at a small Jewish community in long beach, California. But it was helpful that I actually did not hire Jewish people for my entire team because now I have some of that coverage where they are there and I don't feel uncomfortable telling or asking somebody on my team who is Jewish but isn't religious.

Jesse (18:43):

Hey, can you do this thing over the weekend that I can't do because somebody has to do it when I really shouldn't be telling you to do that. Right? So now I don't have that conflict internally. Um, you know, it's, it's things like that that crop up over time that you really wouldn't think is an issue and then all of a sudden you're on vacation for Passover in a different country and there's nobody to do tech except the one older IT guy who's been there from the beginning who is just completely overwhelmed now and has do everything himself.

Leon (19:15):

Right. And, and that was a point that we covered. Um, in our very first episode we called religious synergy where you realize that having that mix of people from different, um, you know, faith experiences allows you to see the world from multiple perspectives but also lets you get things done in a way that you couldn't if it was all homogenous. So, yeah, that's, that's definitely, that's interesting. I like it.

Jesse (19:36):

Yeah. I like to joke around that the time between Christmas and New Years is my most productive time of the year. Yes. Everybody goes on vacation and I get some work done.

Leon (19:45):

Right. It gets real quiet for everyone, but you and you can finally get that flow time, that mythical flow time that people talk about all the time.

Jesse (19:52):

Yeah. Well that's when I catch up from October.

Leon (19:54):

Yes. Well, there, yeah, there you go. Yeah. And you start the year sort of on an, on an even playing field, um, at least until it gets to Passover and then, you know, everything goes out the window again. Um, which is what we're facing now. We're actually recording this just the beginning of March. And, uh, I think for a lot of us Orthodox Jews, we see Purim is just a week away. Passover is just peeking over the horizon and we're like, Oh, I don't know that I'm ready for all of this yet. Um, in any case. So the flip side of those challenges is that sometimes unexpected benefits pop up that, that either our perspective or our training or something about our religious or ethical or moral point of view offers us an insight or a capability in our tech work that we wouldn't have otherwise had and certainly wouldn't expect it. I was wondering if you had any situations that were like that.

Jesse (20:46):

As I was talking about in my intro, uh, I've been, I have moved around a lot as a kid. I've been in different cultures and I, as many Orthodox Jewish people do, at least from the Tristate area, they go and study abroad in a Yeshiva or a religious school in Israel for a year. And that can give you some wonderful experiences. For me, it was a particularly difficult experience because I'm not the scholastic type. I actually didn't go to college. I've just been in it in my whole life and I'm, you know, community taught, self-taught and have managed to, to make a career out of it. And um, going and traveling around different parts of the world gave me an appreciation for what is now our reality in cloud computing and always on, always available access to different, um, solutions because I was in Israel where, and it's funny to think about it, but because they don't have work on Fridays because you know, Saturday, Friday night to Saturday night as the Sabbath.

Jesse (21:47):

Thursday night is the party night. And so if you're trying to work, which I used to do remote work for an American company, if you're trying to work on Thursday night, the entire country goes on the internet. And then again, Saturday night the entire country goes online and now Israel, I mean over the years they've increased their, their bandwidth, but they have one pipe that goes over the ocean that comes over to all of the wonderful servers providing these services in the US or in the other direction to Europe. And it gets abysmally slow and things are not necessarily available over there as readily as they are over here in the States. And so having to come up with creative solutions, even five, six years ago, have given me insights to kind of how to build out a distributed team here because I was forced to think about, okay, well if I connect this service to that one, my Google voice calls my Skype number and Skype will work in Israel, then I'm able to combine these services and I can have an American phone number or if I want to stream the Superbowl or if I want to, you know, be able to use a different services over there, whatever.

Jesse (22:54):

I'm able to do that by stringing these things together. And it's that kind of mentality that, and we're sort of raised with this, you know, when we're learning some of the Judaic stuff that the discussions that they have is kind of the logical mindset. A little bit of a Spock thing going on there to borrow from Star Trek a bit because we are a bunch of geeks, you know, is, is thinking things through and kinda, you know, massaging the system to get what you want out of it. And it's those experiences and you know, I'm sure that other people from other religions have similar stories or different things that have given them those inspirations. But because I've dealt with so many people from all over the planet and so many different types of systems, and I even did a stint doing a networking for the Israeli Defense Forces for the Israeli army, uh, working on some archaic systems in some state of the art systems. It's all given me the opportunity to have a lot of experience with a lot of different things, um, in my relatively short career.

Leon (23:52):

Fantastic. All right, so any final thoughts? Anything you want to share with the audience? Anything you want them to remember about you? How can they find you? You can remind them of that, you know, any, anything you want to leave us with, words of wisdom?

Jesse (24:03):

Yeah. So you know, religion is community and um, you know, community in IT is difficult especially because a lot of IT people are introverted and are not necessarily able to relate with a lot of other people. And oftentimes just being able to have that time with your family where you get together or as I like to joke, we have Thanksgiving every Friday night. Gives you the opportunity and the ability to unplug and unwind. And you know, one of the big topics that is tearing through the industry right now, and we actually have a session on it at our Tab Geeks conference coming up is burnout. Burnout is an enormous issue for IT professionals because if it weren't for things like the Sabbath where I am forced to disconnect, I would literally be on my phone, on my computer seven days a week. And you know, there's some something pulling at my, my brain.

Jesse (24:57):

It's a puzzle. I'm trying to figure it out. That is our nature as IT professionals, that's how we work. We want to solve these things and oftentimes won't be able to sleep until we do. And having that time, whether it's time with family time, where you set those boundaries or in our case where you know, God, so to speak, said that we're not allowed to do things. Or at least, you know, we extrapolate from what God actually said, that we're not allowed to do those things. Gives us the opportunity to, you know, have that back to earth connection and to, and to really take that break that is necessary. I think that for me as I'm becoming more of a manager that focus on family and the focus on the importance of taking time off to be with family and the fact that we're forced to, and it gives me the insight, not just in tech but also in management, that those are the things that are important and help keep me sane.

Jesse (25:50):

And so as I'm managing my team, it's important to remember those things and that other people need those things as well. And you will have people that will try to just work all the time. And um, there was a company, uh, Buffer actually, which is a very transparent company. They're a social media scheduling tool. They've been very famous about having total transparency and everything that they do and they talk about all of their internal operations, which would be nerve wracking as hell for me, but Hey, why not? Um, they, they said that they give everybody unlimited vacation and nobody took it. They had to turn around and tell people, here's $1,000, I think it was even per family member, you must take a week or two weeks, whatever it was off per year and we're going to pay you $1,000 per family member to go and get away because that's important, and I think that's what's really been able to help me stay so focused and still and so engaged in IT over the years.

Jesse (26:48):

If you want to hit me up on social media, I am always very active and always happy to to meet new people, talk to people. I think that networking is very important. We have a, in Judaism for Jewish people out there, we've got that game, Jewish geography, which is basically our version of how many degrees of separation. And in the Jewish world, especially because everybody's related to everybody else who has lived all over the world or went to school in Israel with, you know, somebody else, it's been a huge benefit to be able to reach in and tap into some of that network. And, uh, you know, networking is, is really something that helps everybody, uh, get ahead and just learn together, which I think in today's day and age where it's so hard to keep up with cybersecurity and all of the vastness that is the, the tech industry.

Jesse (27:33):

The only way we can do it as if we work together. And so, you know, networking is important. And the reason why I'm saying that is because I want you to come and say hi. And on Twitter. I'm @MrJNowlin once again, and Tab Geeks is @TabGeeks. That's T. A. B. G. E. E. K. S, which, I'll let you in on a little secret actually stands for tech and business geeks, because we exist at the intersection of both.

Speaker 7 (28:10):

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