A getting to know you exercise

In November, I went down to Raleigh to meet my team for planning meetings and team building. For a few of my teammates, this is our first face to face interaction with each other ever. My boss wisely gave us a relatively simple assignment. Create a slide sharing what we’ve done this year and want to do next year (which I’ll share to an extent in a later post). Create another slide listing three things that make us who we are (born in a unique place, grew up on a farm, etc.) and three things we’re professionally known for. The assignment seemed simple enough, but it turned out to be way better than I thought it would be. It fostered a shared knowledge amongst the group about each other that I think others could benefit from using potentially.

First, the two slide limit felt constraining. I wanted to use a standard template because I legit loathe thinking about layouts, presentation, etc. I used that as an excuse to build two slides to describe who I was and what I was known for. Second, choosing three things that make me who I am was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Narrow what makes you uniquely you down to three things. Also, I implied the context that it would need to help coworkers understand who you were better.

Three images that represent who Chris Short is

For my first slide, “Three things that make me who I am,” I chose three visuals to aid my coworkers better understand who I was at my core. The first image is a thermal image detecting increased blood flow to injured areas of the body. I do not recall my exact wording, but I made the following notes.

  • I am a disabled veteran
  • Please do not thank me, I did what anyone else in my position would’ve done
  • Please instead take that energy and e-mail your Congressfolk and ask them if they’ve visited their local VA facilities lately

The second image is a bolded, red fifteen (15). Fifteen intersects in my life in several ways.

  • I started working in IT at the age of 15 as an MIS Technician for a textile manufacturer in western North Carolina
  • I grew up playing the card game cribbage; the number 15 is important in that game
  • I’m a Florida Gator and have been since childhood; Florida football legend Tim Tebow’s number is #15

The third image is a newspaper folded over and photographed in a way to highlight the word, “truth”

  • Integrity and Truth define who I am
  • I grew up a big fan of the 1980s Superman; Truth was the first word in his tagline, “Truth, Justice, and the American way.”
  • I will do what’s right when no one’s looking; I’ll do what’s right, don’t worry (or maybe do worry)

I do recall making a few specific points on the “justice and the American way” part of Superman’s tagline:

  • Fuck the “justice” part because there is no such thing about…
  • “The American way” demonstrating to me that it is indeed truly just.

Three things Chris Short is professionally known for

The second slide contained three logos that I think a lot of folks reading this blog will be familiar with: Linux, Ansible, and Kubernetes. My professional career stands on a lot of different things, but these three projects define mine in a foundational way. I made the following notes to steer whatever conversation would ensue.

Linux

  • My first Linux was Red Hat Linux 5.1 (not RHEL, Red Hat Linux)
  • I got my RHCSA on RHEL 6 after getting out of the Air Force
  • I have loved Linux and open source for decades
  • People come to me for the why behind a lot of things in Linux and OSS

Ansible

  • I discovered Ansible in 2014
  • I have stood up Ansible in multiple work centers and have taught Ansible and git to more people than I can remember
  • I joined the Ansible team in 2018 and am a Certified Specialist in Ansible Automation
  • Ansible Operators are dope; ask me about them if you haven’t seen anything on it yet

Kubernetes

  • I discovered Kubernetes in 2016
  • I’ve been a CNCF Ambassador since 2018
  • If you want to amp something up with CNCF or get something done in the Kubernetes community; let me know

Hopefully, this is useful for folks to use during their face to face or team meetings in the future. I got a lot out of creating my portion and way more out of listening to my coworkers.


See also