23 June 2019

My day job is a mix of programming a search and recommendation engine for a retail grocery chain. We have a home grown engine built by people much smarter than I am, which I now maintain and am actively working to expand into a cloud based offering that also learns from user searches and feedback. I work in a very risk adverse organization, which has many technological challenges. This organization also has a gap in capabilities versus capacity.

I end most days with an unrequited desire to make a positive contribution to both making my client successful and the end user happy with their searches. I really want the user to be successful, and I have to rely on many other developers to also provide their best effort to make the shopper successful in their search for items that they want to buy. I accept that technology will continue to change and challenge me to keep my mind sharp enough to keep up. I also accept that everyone that I depend upon is doing their best to make our customer’s experience as good as possible.

And yet, I know that what I do with my software will never satisfy my intended audience. Some nights I work on small projects that I hope will satisfy my intended audience, this website, my website generator. Here is the rub. Even though I love to manipulate the bits on the internet, I also need concrete things that I can identify with and feel that I have given myself to and made real in this world. I need to grow even when the organization that I toil for does not.

So you have to have a life beyond work. I found that I have perfect life beyond work with my family and my land. Therapy will identify the issues you have with growing up to be a leader in your family. You will also need to know what to do with yourself. I deal with this be doing my best to provide food and shelter to my family. The next post will provide more on this issue.

I have learned through therapy that my work life is not my whole life. What I did not learn was what the rest of my life should be like. I did learn to enjoy the messiness of what I am trying to do as a husband should be a measure of what I am trying to build in my life. My wife and children should know that I am their strongest supporter. Now what can I do to make their lives better?

My answer is to support my family members in any en devour. If it is important to them it is important to me. I also need time for me. I split the difference by raising a 45 by 45 foot garden to keep me grounded. I get to work from home most days so I do not have to spend over an hour on the road to work. However, this plot is more than I can manage in two nights of work after I return. When the kids are off in Europe or scout camp I am the sole gardener.

Do not think I am complaining. The green bean bushes are blossoming, so are the zucchini, squash and cucumbers. The tomato plants (purchased this year) are also showing their sex. The days of pulling weeds from leaving the patch fallow and tilling under the weeds are starting to yield fruit. This time of year makes me feel rooted to the land. In a few weeks we will be enjoying tomatoes and corn of my effort. I wish more of my kids participated in the cultivation.

I feel blessed that my position allows me to maintain fertile land which provides my family with produce. I can also enjoy the crawdads from the creek and the fish that it provides. The technology I live with is really a way to live closer to the land. I am contemplating using my savings to obtain more land that I can educate my children on the benefits of providing for yourself. Seeing your work on the internet is fine, but seeing the flowers on your produce brings so much promise. I know which one brings me the most joy when I can share the harvest with my neighbors and co-workers.