I’ve been struggling with writing this for a couple of weeks now, but ever since I saw the article over on TechCrunch entitled We Need To Talk About Depression it has been on my mind.
The article talks about some of the stigma associated with depression and mental health in a startup company.
Building a startup is like climbing a mountain and being told you’ll only get the gear you need–harnesses, helmets, bottled oxygen–as you struggle toward the peak. Long hours away from family, responsibility to investors and users, and the fear of failure are extremely stressful and they sometimes coalesce into something more severe.
I’m not a startup founder, but as a TechCrunch writer I’ve gotten to know many, some quite well, and I’ve seen how entrepreneurship can put even the most optimistic people at risk for depression.
It got me thinking about the tech world in general. There are certain stereotypes about tech workers; we work long hours, have no social life, deal with highly stressful situations putting out all of the technical fires that happen within our organizations, etc. Those stereotypes, unfortunately, also turn into expectations. I have always thought that was one of the bigger problems with attracting females to an IT career, this sense that they would be expected to work long hours, be on call for emergencies, and non-emergencies, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, etc. (Granted, there are many other reasons why there are a lack of females in the tech world, but this is not an article about that)
Those expectations would make it difficult for someone dealing with depression as well. As John Grohol stated in response to the above article:
Indeed. When you’re young and feel like you have endless energy, working 80 hours a week (and getting paid for 40) seems like a good idea. But it’s not. It eventually catches up to you, stresses you out, and throws your entire life out of balance.
Some of the articles written around this topic sound like thinly-veiled excuses for the discrimination and prejudice that many have experienced in startup cultures. That because these environments are stressful and demanding, it somehow excuses discrimination and stigma of mental illness.
Here’s where it gets personal to me. I’ve struggled with depression. I’ve attempted suicide before. Sure it’s been years, but this is something that I know I have to be on the lookout for every single day of my life. It’s also something that, while I freely discuss it on my other site, I don’t often discuss professionally. Continue readingTags: Career, Culture, Facebook, IT Department, Ohio, Training
Last week, during our user conference, I was doing a training session, one of the many I presented, on dealing with with confidential data within our platform. One of the points I made was that, at the end of the day someone with the proper skills needed to be the administrator of that platform, and as the administrator, they would have access to anything and everything. Much like a network administrator in any business, you either had to trust that person to do the job, and obey all of the proper policies regarding confidential information, or you had to do the job yourself.
On the other hand, while you certainly have to trust, you can also verify, so I showed the class how to run an audit log, which would show you if your admin had gone into a confidential project and looked at the data. I then opined that if I were in charge of a company and saw that my admin had been accessing confidential information, I would fire them right then and there, because I could no longer trust them.
That might sound harsh but at the end of the day, the folks with admin rights have so much responsibility that having one you don’t trust, isn’t worth it.
Today, I read something that made me want to go back and amend what I said about firing them. You might also want to make double sure and disable their access immediately too!
Ricky Joe Mitchell, 35, admitted that in June 2012, shortly after he learned he was going to be fired, remotely accessed EnerVest’s computer system and reset the company’s network servers to factory settings, essentially eliminating access to all of the company’s data and applications for the eastern US operations.
Before his access to EnerVest was terminated, Mitchell went to the office after business hours, disconnected critical pieces of computer-network equipment and disabled the equipment’s cooling system. EnerVest was unable to fully communicate or conduct business operations for nearly 30 days.
The company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to recover historical data from its network servers. Some data was lost forever.
As if to prove that old axiom about mice and men, roughly 3 years after moving to South Carolina because we wanted to be in the South, we now find ourselves on the verge of moving about as far away from the South as we can without leaving the country.
Yes, my wife has accepted a job at the Oregon State Alumni Association. You can read more about her thoughts over on her own blog, I won’t try and speak for her.
What I do want to say about it is two fold. First and foremost, a bit of career advice. When you build good relationships with your co-workers, or other contacts, opportunities tend to find you. In this case, her former boss in Ohio wound up out in Oregon and approached her about applying for this job. When you combine that with my own experience of being recruited to my last two jobs by people I had met at conferences, the importance of relationships cannot be overstated. Continue readingTags: Career, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Training, Travel
Photo, Training, Travel, Twitter
Awhile ago, I floated the question on Twitter about what it takes to say you’ve “been” to a place. Does walking across a border or an hour in an airport terminal “count”? Where’s the line?
Someone suggested using this definition: that you’ve only “been” somewhere if you had some experience there worth sharing. That, to me, seems like the ultimate point of travel. But too rarely do we hear of such experiences from bucket-listers’ jet-set cousins, what I call the country collectors.
Many of these folks wear the tally of the countries they’ve visited as badges of honor. Adding to the total in as little time as possible often means horribly ill-timed flight connections and a couple of hours spent outside the terminal, before moving on to the next destination. Guinea-Bissau? Check!
Do you feel responsible for your learners and their development?
He spends the better part of that post making the case that yes, teachers, trainers and other educators are, in fact, responsible for whether the students learn or not. I tend to agree with him, to a point.
Yes, if we aren’t making the material relevant and educational enough to truly help those who wish to learn, that is absolutely on us. If the online learning tools are too difficult to use, confusing, or unclear and people aren’t learning anything from them, then yeah, again, that’s on us.
But the student has to bring something to the table too. Continue readingTags: Training