What Do I do?

I find this to be one of the most fascinating questions we ever seek to define.

I always like to say, “It depends.  Who is asking?’

The easy answer is I am a consultant.  Is that vague enough?

A lot of the additional response is always framed by the answer to my question, “Who is asking?

I bake.  That is one of the things I do.  Heck, I even made money doing, once upon a time, in a land, far far away.  We call it Kansas.

As a baker, I had to know how to read a recipe.  The recipe provides you the things you need to make something yummy.  Alas, that is but part of what is needed to bake.

Baking is a science and an art.  There is skill involved in creating a work of art from scratch.  This is why I have the utmost respect for those who can do it and make it look so easy.  Although it was amazing, I needed to find a way to make more money, a wee bit easier so that I could take care of the other responsibilities in my life.

I took this skill set of reading the recipe, accurately interpreting it and creating the masterpiece and began applying it to other things in my life so I could finance the rest of my life.  Somehow, slowly I became entrenched in telco, which is where I remain today.

Adolescent Parenting

First demographic data point – I was an adolescent parent.  My eldest child was born before I reached the age of 18.  I don’t fit into the the roughly  two-thirds of adolescent women who have children out of wedlock, I was married to the father.  That doesn’t mean he was incredibly helpful, employed full-time, or engaged, but at least I could check that box that said married.    Another dot!

Adolescent Parenting -Evidence:  

Not long after the birth of my daughter, I realized the father just wasn’t going to live up to all of the ‘pie-in-the-sky’ promises he had spun to me on those date nights not that long before, so I set out to right at least part of the wrong I had done to myself.  Subconsciously, I began choosing the path toward being demographically incorrect.

I was still in high school when my daughter was born.  High school and pregnancy don’t mix.   Due to some decisions earlier in my life I was faced with the adventure of having to complete the requirement for physical education the last semester of my senior year.  Needless to say, that requirement wasn’t met and I didn’t graduate.  Here I was, a young mother with a dreamer husband, facing the world without the basic credentials necessary to get a job.  Not a good plan.  I fixed that.  I got my GED and began studying to achieve a degree in Accounting.  Accounting is the language of business, so there would always be a job somewhere, not to mention I was clueless about how to write a check or balance a checkbook at the  age of 18.

Things were looking up.  I was working part time at the school.  My daughter was healthy and happy.  The husband was still a dreamer and decided he didn’t like being a cabinetmaker, so he was going to explore his options.   His options, as it turns out, were to watch daytime television while I worked by butt off.  One would think that this option would decrease the need for daycare so I could pursue the path that would improve future circumstances, but that wasn’t the case.  The daycare costs were killing me and at this point my measly wages -($.1.10 per hour) – were what was feeding our little family.  This didn’t meet the bills.  Fortunately, as part of the options exploring, we had moved in with his parents, so at least we didn’t have rent consuming the bulk of my pay.  I was going backwards rather quickly – student loans, daycare, clothing the baby.  I went to the bank.  Before I was married, I had worked a lot of jobs and was quite the saver.  When I had married, I brought those assets with me.  I was shocked to find my accounts drained.  My husband had become my ‘legal guardian’ as he was over 21 and I was still considered a minor.   In his capacity as my ‘legal guardian’ he chose to ‘guard’ my funds.  To this day, I don’t know where they went, but there are quite a few creditors out there that could probably point you in the right direction.  There is a pang deep in my soul when I think about that day and how it changed my view of him forever.  I write this off as naive.  I was young and dumb.  We have all been there.  It is what we do with that choice that makes the difference.

At first, I chose to ‘sick-it-out’ for the ‘sake of the children’ and my personal religious beliefs on marriage and divorce.  One day about the time my daughter was 18 months old, things began to change.  This situation was not improving and I wanted out.  The father of my children gave me an out.  I reached out to my family and explained to my father that I hated to admit it, but he was right and I needed out of the marriage.  This was the best thing for my daughter and myself and I would find a way to make it work.  It is one thing to be a ‘deadbeat’ and entirely another to be a ‘cheating-philandering deadbeat’ who is dragging us down with him.  There was a lot of that ‘father-daughter condemnation’ discussion.  There is nothing worse than being a head-strong teenager who has to go back to her loving family and tell them they were right all along.  I sucked up my pride and humbled myself.  I chose to do the right thing, given the best information available.  He was gracious and took care of me; he got me the best attorney he knew and we met.   There was a statement made during that meeting that would forever influence every decision I made for the rest of my life:  “This isn’t about you, it is about the children.  You and <insert ex-husband’s name here> are the adults.”

I overcame the fact that I was an adolescent parent by realizing I was an adult at the tender age of 19.

Demographically Incorrect

We are demographically incorrect.

We know it.  We are proud of it!

While talking to my mother it hit me that this is the best descriptor of the family we have become.   It all lives in my head, in my hard drives, in the pictures yellowing in the ‘bear box’ in the bedroom.  On paper, it just doesn’t work, but it worked.  Articulating how we got from A to B might just help.

First step – define your terms.

Demography  is a great place to start.

First data point – dot – I am a member of Generation Jones.   Not really sure how much I care about that label.  But is as good of a demographic point, as any, to get started.

Here is the sad part, I began looking into exactly what ‘Generation Jones’ really meant because of an absolutely fascinating reference on a wikipedia page that needed a citation.   I found a decent citation, but I cannot find the original article, thus why the reference landed here.  ARGH.  Damn ADD!

Random Observation

Why would someone use ‘private browsing‘?

Got it….

Man – my age is showing.  We called this “porn browsing” for so long, I forgot about it had a real purpose…

Good thing to remember while performing final acceptance testing – adoption rollout? – of new systems.

First line in new adoption play book!

Gutsy Move!

Gutsy Move!

Disclaimer – currently I work at T-Mobile as a consultant.

But this post is an observation based on the market conditions.

Legere – I will be honest, I was concerned when he was announced as the leader.  I have been here before!    Consolidation in the telecommunications industry has been the one constant in my career.  Heck, even prior to my career!

However, the market seems to approve.

File Naming Standards

This is one thing I am very good at establishing.  At the crux of every data element there is a file that contains what you need to know.

This standard is typically defined by the task at hand and who is doing the task.

My goal is always to simplify this traceability to the lowest common denominator.

My personal bias:
People use files and views.
Systems use records.