Who are you?

How do you define yourself?  Someone commented today that I should just be myself.  What does that really mean?  Do I identify as a BI Developer, a Professor, a Dad, a Husband, all/none?  In today’s society do I really need, can I really, identify myself?  Having two (mostly) adult kids, walking through the process of school and college, I sometimes don’t know what to say or do for fear of offending anyone.

I think one of my defining traits is the need to help people.

The environment I’m currently working in is really conducive to that notion, especially since the phrase “How can I help?” is a major part of our culture.  I’ve mentioned it in other posts, but the notion that the word Samurai means ‘to serve’ has always appealed to me, especially since I’m a big fan of anything Japanese.  To me, as a middle-aged white male, I feel like it’s my duty in some cases, to be a voice for fairness, equality, and hopefully, change.  I really liked the notion that some people were wearing kilts at PASS Summit to support Women in Technology(WIT) and I wanted to show my support.  Thankfully, I have a mother who likes to sew and had already made a kilt for my son (he does a lot of live action role-playing).  Having people ask me at the event what it was for and why I was wearing it felt really good, not that I was spreading the word of WIT, but that I was hopefully making some people think about equal treatment.

I like to talk.

When I was a kid, I was the silent one.  My Mom had to turn around in the car multiple times to make sure I was there when we left the house.  You have to understand my Mom – the woman can get a wall to talk back and hold a conversation.  She’s the type of person to walk into a room of strangers and have recipes and life stories from most of them by the time she walks out.  She didn’t want me to not have social skills, so whenever we’d have a family party, I had to pick someone new and talk to them for at least 15 minutes.  At first, wasn’t a fan, but I have to say it definitely paid off in the long run.  There are definitely times when I’m nervous or excited that I talk too much, but I enjoy talking about things that I’m passionate about.  I think that’s why I’m enjoying my gig teaching so much.  I get to talk for 4 hours a week to a room full of people who are interested in the subject matter (hopefully).

I want to pass on knowledge and experiences.

Teaching really allows me to do this more and more.  I had a student last semester who started as one of the louder ones in the class.  He came to be about mid-semester and started asking some really good, poignant questions about what we’d just finished talking about.  Realized he was a lot sharper than his behavior had led me to believe and by the end of the semester, thanked me for being able to not only convey the subject matter, but a lot of business knowledge along with its pitfalls, office politics, how to get what you want by asking the right people, nicely.  I feel like if I can teach the technical and soft skill basics to students early, maybe I can help them overcome or avoid some of the things I had to go through as a young developer.

How do you define yourself?

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