July 2007 Archives
Eriko, Jerry, and I went to Vancouver, BC on Saturday. We spent about 8 hours in the car in exchange for about 8 hours in Canada - most of which were spent with Naofumi, Eriko's cousin. We went to Stanley park, the aquarium, walked around downtown, and hung out at the Oakridge Mail (unfortunately it was raining.)
I finally had an opportunity to listen to some of the longer podcasts; I found this one particularly interesting. In it William talks about his new book and fields questions regarding the problem of inevitable nuclear proliferation. I haven't exactly done research on this subject, but William was very unbiased and rational in his approach towards analyzing the problem. I recommend it for anyone tired of one-sided media coverage of this issue.
(I don't have a category for podcasts - I guess I'll have to read the book!)
Jerry demonstrated the first use of his new sign language word - "more", which he does by bringing his hands together (after making a cone with each hand.)
I think this is quite noteworthy because it is the first use of an action or feeling rather than just a noun.
Jerry does have signs for plane, gorilla, bird, and hat: plane is where he holds his hand up high over his head; for gorilla he beats his hands on his chest (or more typically, his stomach); for bird he moves his pointer and thumb together (like beak); for hat he hits his head with his hand.
This little guy is growing up so fast. He's such a good natured kid - I really enjoy spending time with him. We went to the park tonight and I found out he was able to cross the wooden bridge by himself - and he went on the big slide for the first time by himself too!
From this wikipedia article:
The Seven Blunders of the World is a list that Mahatma Gandhi gave to his grandson Arun Gandhi during his last days. The seven blunders are:
* Wealth without work
* Pleasure without conscience
* Knowledge without character
* Commerce without morality
* Science without humanity
* Worship without sacrifice
* Politics without principle
My tenure at Isilon is starting to be a real struggle. It isn't that the job has become significantly more difficult or that the hours are more pressing. In a lot of ways, I'm doing less actual work - but the additional responsibility weighs on me throughout the day (and evening... and night.)
I think I'm affected by a few things - career direction, a desire to spend time with my family, and general wear-out. More and more I feel like the management direction is not what I should be in at this time. It isn't that I'm not learning a great deal; I am - how to govern my time, set goals, plan for the future, be accountable, and interact people. When I describe that, it seems obvious that I should be into my job. That leads me down the path of ownership, lack of focus, etc. While I love Isilon's technology and think it is a game-changer in the marketplace, in my management position I am becoming more and more removed from that technology. I'm about people and process and growing the organization - but I don't particularly care for big companies. So while I seem to be a natural leader, perhaps I need to be closer to the technology than I am.
My current position draws on my time in strange ways. I'm up early to deal with our remote office and often stay late to deal with customer issues. This isn't all the positions fault - I'm a workaholic and its hard for me to stop thinking about work. I'm torn whether I should reorient myself such that I have less responsibility and am just a 'cog' in the machine or whether I can truly find a work/life balance. Can I really leave work at home? Can I find some way to interact with the remote team in the morning and yet still have some time for Eriko and Jerry? Can I deal better with the constant weight of responsibility and accountability that I feel?
Finally, I'm a little tired. I've been at Isilon for almost 5 years. I've never been in any place that long - not high school, not college, nor any previous position. I like a certain amount of change in my job and I'm not feeling it. Now, it isn't fair to say that things haven't changed - Isilon has come from a startup with less than 30 people to a company with over 300. I've progressed from a lowly quality assurance engineer to a director of software. Perhaps I'm worried (or have realized) that the growth curve is slowing down? I have no desire to be a senior director of software - why? Like Mike Hargrove, I feel like I've lost the passion.
This all leaves me in quite a quandry. It would be fiscally irresponsible for me to leave Isilon at this point in the game but I also can't proceed without finding a way to reinvigorate myself. I have to go the distance here - that gives me the financial flexibility to pursue other dreams, such as getting a PhD, buying a house, or living in Japan.
This is all easier said than done, of course. I'm in the mid-point of my 5 day "weekend" and have absolutely no desire to head into the office. Just writing these thoughts and thinking about work makes me feel like time is slipping by too fast.