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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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
- I discovered Kubernetes in 2016
- I’ve been a CNCF Ambassador 2018-2023
- 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.