Thursday, May 29, 2008

No Regrets?

I've been surrounded by endings and beginnings this spring. Just last week, my sister graduated with her Master's from Hopkins. It was a remarkable accomplishment considering the fact that in the last 9 months, her stairs have had 'tacks in it, and splinters, and boards torn up...'*. I've moved from one project to another, I'm driving a new-to-me car and I'm moving to another city. After the congratulations come in, one question that I've asked of others and myself is, 'If you had it to do all over again, would you change anything?'

It's funny, because, most people's first response is, 'No' followed by, 'My journey is what made me who I am today. I wouldn't be 'me' if I hadn't gone through what I did.' That seems noble, strong and resiliant...until you really dig deeper.

Ever since I saw the Devil's Advocate in the theater many years ago, the notion of 'choice' has always resonated with me. We all make choices. Some of which can make our road more or less bumpy. Can you learn life lessons without the bumps? Can you be a well rounded, grounded, aware person without having made the 'wrong' choices? For me, the answer is yes. Would you do it the same way, again? Not if I could help it.

There are experiences that changed me in ways that did NOT make me better, and it was all because of my choice. I never hear anyone say that.

There are classes that I would have taken, jobs that I would not have taken, men that I would never have called, admirers that I should have ignored and others that I should have paid more attention to.

I think the reason many people claim to have no regrets is that it is groundshaking to acknowledge that the hurt you experienced or trauma you suffered was your own fault. I wrestled with that. The natural inclination is to find someone to blame, but what if that person is staring at you from the mirror? How do you recover from that?

For me, after trying to rationalize (ration out the lies - according to my pastor), having the epiphany, being weakened by the realization, then climbing up out of the ashes, I find it to be empowering.

There are choices that I will NEVER make again. The beauty of being over 30 and then over 35 is that you really understand what your grands meant when they said, "there is nothing new under the sun." You begin to see the patterns and playbook with 20/20 clarity. At least I feel like I'm getting to that point.

The thing about growth is that it does hurt sometimes. But, I don't believe the hurt has to be at your own hands. For some people, this may be the most effective way to go about it. For me, not so much. I'm not hard headed. I'd rather learn from your mistakes, than be the one making them. Thank you very much!

So, if someone were to ask me, 'So Penni - Congratulations! Would you change anything if you had it to do all over again?'

I'd simply reply, 'Thanks and absolutely!'


*This is from Mother to Son by Langston Hughes. It's a poem that I had to memorize when I was 9 (5th grade reading class - Bmore public schools weren't always the worst. :-))

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Picking Boogers

So, I just started a new project this week and right now, I'm sitting in an orientation meeting with my new team. The program lead is sitting right next to me. It's awkward enough to have to make eye contact with someone sitting so close to me, as he discusses my role. What's worse is the fact that he has this dime sized flat white booger hanging from his left nostril.

It's staring at me!

Everytime I look up, there it is, calling my name, drawing my attention to it.

In my mind, I point at it and scream, 'ewww'.

But, what I really do is keep my head down and try to look ANYWHERE but to my right.

It looks dry, like a coconut flake. Mental note to wein myself off of coconut cake.

I guess I should be greatful that it doesn't look like guacamole.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Where Do Mature IT People Go?

I mentioned to one of my girlfriends that I happen to work with a handful of attractive men now. But, they are all a good bit younger than me. If I were to judge by their swagger alone, I'd put them in the 28/29 range. Then, I took a second look around and noticed that it's not just the cute guys that are younger. The women are younger too. In fact, if I were to guess the percentage that is over 32, I'd say it's less than 20%.

Is this just a consulting phenomenon? Or is it just IT consulting? One of my other girlfriends that is a different kind of consultant, said that she never really noticed before. I reasoned that maybe it's because she's been one of the youngest.

The last time my boss was older than me was in 2003. The last time my boss was significantly older than me was in 1999. Lately they've been from 4 to 9 years younger. I don't mind taking direction from someone younger. I think what gets to me is that these people may be making more money than me. LOL (Being a 'boss' at my company doesn't necessarily mean you are earning more.)

Where are all the over 35 IT people working? Is it just that consulting is a 'young' man's game? Am I just going to fall off the face of the earth one day and end up in some kind of other world break room, sipping red bull with a bunch of IT pro's that graduated from college (not high school or middle school) in the early 90s? In our building, we have an elevator that gets stuck. The next time I'm on there when the doors don't fully close and I can catch a glimpse between floors, I'm going to look carefully. Maybe that's where my peers are.

I'm not even sure why this matters to me. Is this just my job clock ticking?