I wrote about this same topic two years ago, and I thought it would be a good time to revisit things, seeing as I’ve been through the grind of parenthood for nearly two years now.
To quote myself:
To me, this memory is a reminder of who I want to be.
I want to be someone I’m proud of, someone the younger me can look and marvel at. To be wise, understanding and a ready listener; someone my child would have no problems sharing his joys and fears with. Someone he can respect and look up to as a role model. Someone he would be able to tell his friends about; that his dad is an awesome fellow who lives life doing the things he loves. I want to be the friend, the geek, the basketball fanatic, the gamer, the photographer, the armchair philosopher, the fussy critic and so many other parts that make up the self.
I would really dread the day when I have to tell my kid something to the order of “I used to love doing blahblah before we had you.” Instant confusion (“Why do you not do it now?”) and subsequent guilt trip (“Am I to blame for this?”).
I want to be my own person, and to die doing the things I love. I have never believed that being an employee, a boyfriend, a husband and a father would mean submerging my own persona “for the long term good”, as Stan once said. That’s utter bullshit to me. Everything is but just a facet of the big picture, and a balance.
And to add another quote from my thoughts on parenthood last year:
All too often, parenthood is seen as a burden, and in today’s society it is more than acceptable to outsource the labour, be it to the parents or paid help externally. Being a full-time parent is physically exhausting and mentally unstimulating at times. It is a mundane routine for the most part, but yet filled with unexpected surprises at every turn. It’s no walk in the park, but if you ask me? It is something everyone should get a taste of.
Like I told Stan the other night, parenthood has come to mean an accelerated maturation in one’s life. It’s about learning to take care of another, about being careful not to make mistakes that could prove costly. It’s about being constantly watchful, constantly learning, and staying calm in a crisis. It’s about learning to the virtue of observation over action, about understanding the situation before trying to fix it. Parenthood is about learning to love unconditionally, to give without expecting anything in return and putting the needs of another above yourself. It’s about responsibility, and learning the simple joys of labour that money can never replace.
Is being a parent an absolute choice between the self and the child? Why can’t we work towards our dreams while being parents?
Granted, some goals are tougher than others. For example, entrepeneurship might be a trifle harder to accomplish when you have to hold a day job while tending to a cranky kid at night. So do things like movie marathons, crazy all-night drinking sessions, and a lot of things that involve either spontaneity or extended periods outside the home.
That being said, is it really possible to put opportunity costs into weighing parenthood? How do you measure a mundane goal that might hold its metric in dollars and cents, when the real value of being a parent lies in the intangible satisfaction, joy and contentment that comes out of seeing your child grow every day, and the simple pleasures of interacting and teaching that make little steps so interesting?
How do we factually report and put forth the benefits of being a parent in an objective manner, when relationships and emotions are tenuous things to begin with? I’d like to see someone quantitively measure and compare for example, the thrill of watching a sports game up live, versus the joy of seeing their little one run to them with a welcoming hug and a big smile, after a long hard day of work. Do you record your variances in heartbeat? The amount of endorphins dumped into your bloodstream? Or perhaps, the level of neuron activity even?
To lament the loss of a dream, only speaks volumes about how hard you tried. Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it, and it’s all about what you are willing to invest into achieving that goal you long for. To use parenthood as an pragmatic-sounding excuse is just that – a self-justification made to appease one’s mind, self-psychosis in believing one had no choice in the matter.
“It’s all for the best, because I must be a responsible parent and do what is right.”
The uncontrollable urge to mouth a vile epithet arises whenever I see oh-so-righteous and noble sounding conclusions like these.
There is always a choice. Never shift the blame for your supposed losses in life to the fact of rearing a child. Instead, ask yourself if you had tried enough to make it happen. If you want it badly enough, nothing can stop you from realising your dreams.
Always remember: the only person that can limit you from living your life the way you want, is you. Not your spouse, not your kids, not your parents, not your peers, and most definitely not your boss. It’s all about whether you want it badly enough to make it happen.
This is what life on a weekday looks like after The Pick and Roll site was launched last month.
- Sleep an average of 5-6 hours.
- Get up, go to work. START GRINDING.
- Answer #TeamPnR emails if I have a few minutes to spare.
- Fix up publishing mistakes pronto if any of the other guys notice something.
- Enjoy an hour of lunch and quiet reading.
- Get off work.
- Enjoy dinner, family time.
- Proofread and format at least three drafts and schedule them for publishing. Leave feedback for writers.
- Attend to anything else that’s required. This varies from discussing new ideas for articles to checking site statistics to sorting T-shirt orders to preparing contests to finding some amazing new plugin to make the site better. For example, I spent about 3-4 hours last night creating the Editorial About page. Or sometimes, it’s just talking with Steve and Terry to get ideas on what needs to be done.
- Check the site to see if any drafts have been unattended to. Making sure nothing gets left on the shelf, very important.
Weekends are sometimes worse, especially if I have spare time on my hands. For example, I probably spent eight hours (minimum) clearing up drafts and tidying bits and pieces all over the place.
I’m looking forward to spreading the load out more among the editors, and to spend less time slogging like a workhorse every night at this. Not complaining though, it’s more of a labour of love than anything else.
The other upside: I’m starting to write more at Celtics Down Under, which is one of the reasons I started the site to begin with, but ironically got sidetracked into doing so much of the other stuff essential to running the site, writing got sidelined. Hoping I keep the writing up this time!
So I was getting this cache issue with WP Super Cache, where it was refusing to serve the generated cache file. Enabling debug threw this error:
03:39:38 /category/articles/test/ No wp-cache file exists. Must generate a new one.
03:39:39 /category/articles/opinion-columns/ In WP Cache Phase 2
03:39:39 /category/articles/opinion-columns/ Setting up WordPress actions
03:39:39 /category/articles/opinion-columns/ Created output buffer
03:39:40 /category/articles/opinion-columns/ Output buffer callback
03:39:40 /category/articles/opinion-columns/ No closing html tag. Not caching.
Checking the source code on index.php made it clear there was no timestamp on the page, so what the hell?
Referring to this WordPress support thread made it pretty clear something else was interfering with the way the HTML was being generated, so I began disabling my recent plugins one by one.
Lo and behold, the caching test performed fine soon as WP HTTP Compression was disabled. (Not a knock on the plugin by the way, I’m just pointing out what happened.)
Test your cached website by clicking the test button below.
Fetching http://pickandroll.com.au/ to prime cache: OK
Fetching first copy of http://pickandroll.com.au/: OK (1.html)
Fetching second copy of http://pickandroll.com.au/: OK (2.html)
Page 1: 2013-10-05 13:57:49
Page 2: 2013-10-05 13:57:49
The timestamps on both pages match!
And the world was right once more. Kudos to Darrel aka Big Mellz for his sharp eyes on noticing the bug, because it was only happening on the archive pages, rather than the index page, which always seemed to be fine.
As always, IT is the the one aspect of business operations that is first to go under the knife for budget cuts, and the last to get approval for funding. Justification is tough, and management often believe that “things will work out” while keeping their fingers crossed.
To maintain effective BAU (Business As Usual) in a business –especially on an enterprise level– a certain amount of planning is definitely required.
Human resource planning
Despite the incredible level of automation we can achieve these days with server-side scripts and cron jobs, some duties remain in the realm of the administrator. Having your IT staff cross-trained in cases of emergency is always a good idea, especially during periods of crisis. Life happens, emergencies occur and people invariably absent themselves from work. Failing to plan for such contingencies, is effectively failing to ensure your business runs as usual, especially if time-sensitive tasks are required.
Having DR (disaster recovery) plans is a must, if we are to avoid extended periods of outage. Whilst emergency firefighting obviously works to a certain level, having process in place to handle scenarios that have been anticipated would be much more effective.
Standby hardware, backed-up configuration, replicated data, all of these are essential to the recovery and continuation of business.
In short: maintaining a positive outlook at work is good, planning for the worst is much better. Show your clients you are prepared to carry on with business, rain or shine.
Planning for growth is an essential key to preventing needless panic. Key indicators should highlight the need for upgrades and provisioning of required resources like bandwidth, network capacity, hardware and so on. Take into allowance the fact that things take time. We all like the idea of instant gratification, but the harsh reality of life is often otherwise.
Instead of blinding yourself, learn to recognise the truth and look ahead. Plan early, plan well.
Documentation and processes
The last aspect, which is often forgotten even by the IT staff, is supremely important and yet treated as a nuisance all too often. While often a time sink, change management and documentation allow transitioning of information between staff members in an easier manner, rather than relying on a face-to-face knowledge transfer. The human memory is a vague and easily smudged storage device on its best days. Write the relevant processes down, make sure coherent guides are drawn up to facilitate understanding, or even serve as reminders.
As mentioned, documentation too takes time, and this is something that is sometimes forgotten by management. There is always a focus on getting things done, but time should always be allocated in making sure all infrastructure setup and processes are written down in a manner that can be easily understood and used.
Buddy: Stepped out of most programmes.. just hangin’ back… Can siam one all siamed.. looking for transfer to HQ though.. just to have a look at how planning at that level goes..
Me: Cushy office job ftw
Buddy: Cushy. But not entirely without worries. Its freakin’ tiring.
Me: Ah well. Find me an easy job that pays well in singapore lol.
Buddy: I think I’m just looking to swap a diff type of shit. Change of shit, may make life a tad more interesting.
Me: It defs would, at least you’ll be entertained and pissed at the same time, rather than being bored and pissed
Buddy: Man. New revelation everytime we chat. I presume you still log things down. Write down that shit change shit thing!
Buddy: I just realised after 3 decades of my life, i have a problem with hyphens. Hy fucking phens!
Me: not your friend, that thing. At least you don’t use it all the time! Sounds like Hy fucking mens.
Which would make the previous sentence incredibly funny:
“I just realised after 3 decades of my life, I have a problem with hymens.”
Buddy: Log THAT SHIT. HAHHA
Here you go buddy, your reference for the future.