The year that was (and the itch to write again)

It’s been more than a year since I had time to write in my blog and that one has a bad tone to it. For the past year, it’s not that I have totally given up on writing, but events led after that offloading scenario with Delta proved to be challenging up to the second quarter of the year that led me to a hiatus.

 

Ideas to write never waned. In fact, most people that I have been with (work, friends, relatives, gym mates, random discussions) would say that I am sort of Mr.-I-have-sort-of-opinion-to-almost-anything-under-the-sun and the train of thoughts never seem to run out. While I kept myself active in different ways (like doing speaking engagements, and all), the randomness of things makes it difficult to write a coherent post for discussion. When things seem to be going back after the turmoil – the biggest event of my life came in when I got word that my petition to work in the US have been granted after so many delays. This further pushed writing to the backlog as I had to go through the things that has to be done as part of the process of moving out.

 

While working in the US isn’t really a new thing for me, I thought planned things would work out and eventually will allow me to go back writing, but  it turned out differently. Trying to go back to writing was overwhelmed with adjustments and things about relocation and starting over again. Random instances when I get to write usually end up with poems, haiku, and “hugot” lines written in pieces of paper, pages in notebooks, and some saved in my phone.  These became my outlet of bursting out unspoken feelings and emotions with the changes that came. For the most part since I have arrived in the US, aside from answering e-mails and calls for projects, my routine involves revisiting the things that I have done before, putting them in a narrative that would frame well my skills and capabilities, highlighting contents of my resume and how these would fit in the requirements of the consultant position companies look for. I would say that this thing is quite easy to tell as I have worked really on these projects plus the fact that I have been doing public speaking before talking about technology and all. (The whole process of being a consultant here in the US warrants a separate post, and would be part of the discussion of the personal project I am working on).

 

 

As things move down slowly towards the end of the year (Thanksgiving and the Christmas season) and me adapting more to my new environment, I had a chance to revisit things that I have been doing before and the joy of writing came up again. Writing at times enable me to speak out my mind when there’s no one else is listening, and allows to have snapshots of the thoughts which can be said as photographs of what’s running in our heads. Likewise, aside from writing, I had a chance to rekindle my passion for photography. The environment I am staying is conducive for me to go places and take photos of their wonder.

 

Moving forward to 2017, it would be a personal goal to reestablish the blog, more of an avenue to express my thoughts, things that I work on and the photos that I love to take. It might take a while to set-up things but taking off (again) from this address would be a start of a new journey for me.  As I close this entry, I wish everyone  a prosperous New Year ahead! Nothing beats the excitement of starting again with the promise of new opportunities and making things better as before!

 

 

WordPress Never Fails To Surprise Me

I barely write the past days in my blog because of my workload in the office. I do actually have a lot of things running in my mind that I wanted to share but most of them are thoughts without a “formal” tone. It’s not that I want to be “formal’ here in my blog but I can’t seem to compose thoughts well when they’re put into writing. Rather, I’ll have someone over lunch or coffee break to discuss perplexing questions and ideas that run into my head.

This morning, while waiting for our work repository to load (which sometimes load slow), I tried to check how many hits that I had the past day and I was surprised with the new look of WordPress. Many times WordPress has surprised me this year – starting with the increased blog storage limit, to the new redesign, and another redesign that I think they’ll be including in the upcoming 2.7 release.

The design is sleeker and more intuitive than the previous version. While I still have to adjust on the new design, the new look seems to be more attractive for me to blog (ergo catalyzed my urge to blog).  Maybe this is what other design engineers/designers tell that the software is the UI. It is the UI that might work or break your software. Before getting too technical, it’s something that I read somewhere else. 😛

newblogdashboard

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On IM Clients

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I have a perplexing question regarding the use of IM clients in the workplace.

Is there a study that correlates that the use of IM clients reduces the productivity of the people using these?

I don’t know but I feel like I am more productive doing my work once in a while getting updates from my friends or colleagues. I would say, it’s the fastest and cheapest way (as compared to SMS) of getting information that I would use for the rest of the day or even in the closest days to come. More often than not, I would receive various messages informing me of changes, updates of the events that I am participating. These messages would either be quick questions/clarifications that is better understood when mentioned personally. While e-mail is another possible alternative, there’s no assurance that the person that you are trying to reach is in front of the computer and maybe with the possible of hoards of e-mail getting into his/her mailbox every minute, chances of getting your message heard/acted upon is very very low. The extra co-curricular events outside the office keeps my sanity stable despite the odd things that happen around.

Researching further, I saw the following line in a study regarding the use of instant messaging:

The same attributes of IM that create new opportunities for workplace interruption can also enable users to manage interruption more effectively, and our empirical analysis suggests that employees are more likely to do this than experience IM as disruptive. From this perspective, IM use reduces interruption by allowing users to create communication practices that minimize some types of interruption and negotiate the timing of others. Employees can engage in briefer, more frequent interactions in order to get quick answers to work-related questions with minimal disruption, to participate in loose, flexible collaboration, and to coordinate more intense interactions to protect time on task for higher-order activities. Personal communication while at work is also more frequent among IM users. (emphasis mine – superpatrick)

Now I wonder what will I do on my idle moments. No, it’s not that I don’t do my work but I finish work in the shortest time possible and I am proud to say that I deliver my job with the less bugs possible ahead of schedule time. Oh well, another classic example of office politics and it sucks bad. If they think IM is really disruptive, I guess they should address well associates who shout at others just to get their attention. THAT IS OBVIOUSLY IS MORE DISRUPTIVE not just professionally but ethically. You don’t address people by shouting and I guess no one deserves to be treated that way.

Edit: This link is related to my post. To wit his line:

Employers seeking to decrease interruptions may want to have their workers use instant messaging software. Research shows that when IMs are used as a substitute for other, more disruptive forms of communication such as phone, email, and face-to-face conversations, they lead to more conversations on the computer, but briefer & more productive ones.

-and-

IM certainly does have a place in business. But there’s more work to be done to define just what that place is.

Interesting. Unfortunately, I am just a lowly associate bound to follow orders.

A Year After

It’s official, a year has passed in my stay in Emerson – and still going. I just find it surprising how fast time flies by and as a milestone, this is my first company where I stayed at least a year. My two previous work experience is either end of contract (yes, without any hint of bitterness.) and LBM.

Despite of its imperfections, what keeps me with Emerson is the nice company of people I am working with, the work that I really enjoy doing (which can be used as a tool for future LBM :P) and of course the perks of staying like the Dos Palmas trips, Team-based teambuildings even with a meager salary (hear! hear!). My manager is one of the best managers I ever had (I actually had 3 so far and he’s on the top spot!)

I look forward to staying in Emerson while enhancing and improving my skills and processes with the work that I am doing. This could be for months, years, I don’t know. All I know is that I enjoy where I am and what I am doing. 🙂

Back From Dos Palmas

I had a short respite in Dos Palmas, Palawan last weekend till Monday. I didn’t spend anything from my pocket to get there (except the airport terminal fees) since that’s a company sponsored team building event. As a self-confessed traveler myself, I never let this chance to slip away as Palawan is known as the last frontier of the Philippines. It boasts being the cleanest city in the Philippines and home to more than 1800 islands and islets.

Dos Palmas isn’t really that cheap but if you have the means, it’s a really must-see place. You can enjoy the hospitality given by the staff and I would say that you’ll have a worry free stay there. The courteous staff, the sumptuous food, facilities is superb. We don’t even have to check-in/check-out of the airport as they would be the one doing those for you and upon arrival, before you enter your room, your bags are already there. Other facilities that you wouldn’t thought exist there is WIFI, electricity, tap water, etc. In fact, to keep things in order, they have their own waste water facility that treats waste water coming from the island.

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Should diaspora be still an option?

My mother bugged me again yesterday morning when I was eating my breakfast. She was about to leave for Bataan to visit some of my relatives. The “mama’s boy” (she likes to make lambing to me always) that I am, she told me “Patrick, mag-abroad ka na para makasunod ako” (Translation: Patrick, work in other countries so that I can follow). The resilient me said “Nye, anong gagawin ko doon? ‘Masaya’ naman ako sa trabaho ko” (What will I do there? I am quite ‘happy’ with my work – take note of the qualified quote on ‘happy’). And so the traditional discussion went on and the usual me just said “yes, whatever, uh, ok” and then she left.

Not that I don’t look forward working in another country (actually several persons whom I consider “close” already know where I am going when the time comes – thanks for our HR people who catalyzed my LBM aka “Looking for Better Management” mode) but the recent economic situation tells me that it is better to stay. Inasmuch as I wanted to save more for the bachelor’s pad I am eyeing, seems like it is more logical to stay here in the long term scenario – work and have a parallel income. I do have a “part time” project as I want to build a portfolio of my self-made web applications which I will use to boost my planned ISV business. Of course, I would always want to have a business of my own not because of joining the bandwagon of people who wanted to start on their own nor I do have large funds of starting one but I think this is one of the best ways to further improve my craft not only as a developer but also as a manager of my own.

Continue reading “Should diaspora be still an option?”