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Catch Up: A Bad Day At the Office

Work in IT for just a bit, and you’ll know that there are some days when everything just clicks, but sometimes (maybe a lot?) it doesn’t. Similarly, there are days when we show up to the synagogue, church, or dojo and we are focused; versus days when every moment seems like a slog through the mud. But… maybe we’re expecting too much. Is it reasonable to expect most days to be unicorns and sunshine and hot java? What does our religious/moral/ethical POV teach us about how we set our expectations for a “normal” day in IT?In this episode Leon, Josh, Doug, and new voice Steven Hunt discuss these ideas and explore whether there are there lessons we can take from one area of our life to the other about how to get through (and move past) a bad day – whether it’s in the office, in the gym, or in the pews. Listen or read the transcript below.

Leon: 00:00 Welcome to our podcast where we talk about the interesting, frustrating and inspiring experiences we have as people with strongly held religious views working in corporate it. We’re not here to preach or teach you our religion. We’re here to explore ways we make our career as it professionals mesh or at least not conflict with our religious life. This is technically religious

Josh: 00:21 Work in IT for just a bit and you’ll know that there are some days when everything just clicks, but sometimes all right, maybe a lot it doesn’t. Similarly, there are days when we show up to the synagogue, church, or Dojo and we are focused versus days when every moment seems like a slog through the mud, but maybe we’re expecting too much. Is it reasonable to expect most days to be unicorns and sunshine and hot java? What does our religious moral, ethical point of view teach us about how we set our expectations for a “normal” day in IT? Are there lessons we can take from one area of our life to the other about how to get through and move past a bad day, whether it’s in the office, in the gym, or in the pews. I’m Josh Biggley. And the other voices you’re going to hear in this episode are my podcasting partner in crime, Leon Adato.

Leon: 01:11 Hello everyone.

Josh: 01:12 Another regular voice on this show. Doug Johnson.

Doug: 01:15 Hello.

Josh: 01:16 And our newest guest to technically religious Steven Hunt.

Steven: 01:19 Hey, how’s it going?

Josh: 01:20 All right everyone. So this is the point in the show where we’re going to do some some shameless self promotion. Um, so again, I’m Josh Biggley. I’m a Senior Engineer for Enterprise Monitoring. You can find me on Twitter at @jbiggley and uh, ya know, is a website that I recently started with my wife for Canadians, uh, who are going through some form of faith transition. Doug, anything you want to, uh, to, uh, talk to us about?

Doug: 01:47 Uh, I’m Doug Johnson. I’m CTO for wave RFID. We do inventory management using radio waves in the, uh, optical shop. Uh, I’ve recently dropped off of just about all social media. So the only thing I’ve got right now is a cooking website called So if you’d like recipes head on over.

Josh: 02:05 Right. Nice. Steven.

Steven: 02:07 I’m Steven Hunt, I’m Senior Director of Product Management at Data Corp software. Uh, you can find me on Twitter at, @SteveWHunt. Uh, and when I actually have the site up and uh, I haven’t let it lapse in payment, you can read my blog on

Leon: 02:24 So it sounds like it’s my turn. Uh, I’m Leon Adato. I’m one of the Head Geeks at SolarWinds. You can find me on the Twitters @LeonAdato and uh, you can also find my blog And for those people who scribbling madly either Ramblings of a Tech Junkie or Cook Loose or any of those, we’re going to have that in the show notes. So don’t, scribble no more. Just listen and enjoy.

Josh: 02:46 I mean, fine. Yeah. Find your zen this, this is going to be a good episode because some of us have bad days at the office, right?

Leon: 02:55 All of us, all of us have bad days at the office. [Laughing].

Doug: 02:57 Regularly!

Leon: 03:00 Right? Um, actually, OK. So, so I actually think we should start a little bit elsewhere, not in the office, not in the tech office at least. Um, but I want to start in with our religious, moral or ethical, uh, or basically non technical point of view because I think that’s where we recognize that things are hard and we are either more or differently prone to address them. Um, what I mean by that is that I think many of us recognize that sometimes worship or prayer can be hard. Um, first of all, there’s the mechanics of it. Um, I know I still, uh, having gone from being not particularly religious Jewishly to being orthodox still eight or nine years later, struggle with just the mechanics of reading Hebrew and knowing what part of the service we’re in and knowing what’s supposed to happen. It, it is still a thing for me. Um, and that’s hard then. But then there’s also moments when just the thing I’m confronting or, or praying about or working on myself about is hard too. Um, I don’t know. What do you, what are do you folks think?

Josh: 04:12 I think that’s, I, you know, that last part, right? And it does, this is one of those moments where it doesn’t really matter if, if you’re talking about your religious or your moral or your ethical pursuits when you have to step back and, and try to do some, some self-examination, some introspection that is really difficult to do. Uh, I just went through some training, uh, for leadership, uh, at my company and it was all about really taking a look at yourself and deconstructing the things that you think you do well. Um, and then this, this wonderful and gut wrenching experience of asking your peers, including, uh, your, your reports, your managers, the engineers who work with you to give you anonymous feedback. I guess I could have really couched that, uh, you know, that list of people by asking people that I knew were going to give me positive feedback. But I mean, isn’t the reason that we engage in those, those exercises is we want the, the harsh critiques. We want to know, uh, even where our enemies know where we’re at. I don’t know that, that’s not something that I’m, I’m sure that people really embrace. Right. How is it normal to want to, uh, to, you know, to have that feedback from others? I mean, is that why we go to deity because we expect, uh, him, her, it to, to give us the, the harsh reality when we’re not getting it from others?

Doug: 05:45 I think so the hard thing for me is really knowing whether you’re doing it right or not. I mean, Leon was saying, you know, there’s, there’s a way you do things in the Orthodox world. Well in the Chris, uh, Evangelical Christian world, there is not necessarily the right way to do it, although, Gosh, yeah, there are enough books on prayer say, to go ahead and, uh, keep you reading for the rest of your life and you’ll never pray again.

Leon: 06:12 [Laughing]

Doug: 06:12 The problem is, you know, how do you, you need to learn how to do it in a way that makes some sense. I mean, I, I keep coming back to God knows everything. Why does he need me to pray to him to know? And I understand that it’s, you know, it’s for me, not for him, but still, how do you do it in a way that gets me into the, uh, you know, the right way to do that. So you know, the how to can get in the way of the actual process itself.

Leon: 06:44 Yeah. I think there’s, there’s many moments when you were like, what the hell am I supposed to be doing here? You know, and not just, not just do I stand up or sit down kind of what the hell do I do, but also like, okay, where, where are we going with this? You know, when my, when, when a track coach says, run that way as fast as you can and jump over those hurdles, then it’s pretty straight forward. But it’s a little bit less clear.

Steven: 07:08 No, I was gonna say that, that’s one of the things that, that, that I struggled with growing up a Southern Baptist when you were mentioning the, the aspect of what, what am I doing here? How I don’t, I, it just doesn’t feel right. This doesn’t, you know, fit. That was, that was something I constantly dealt with. Right. And then coming, coming to a conclusion that, that I just, I don’t have an identification with any deity. I don’t, you know, it’s not something that fits me. And, and I guess if you will, casting that aside, um, you know, it, it, it changed a little bit of the way that I think, the way that I look at it, I, I stopped trying to fit into a mold that wasn’t me and started to be more myself. Right. And that’s something that, that it was, it’s, it’s a, it’s a struggle. It was a daily struggle. It was a very difficult concept to deal with. And that’s where bad days were more consistent at that point in time for me.

Leon: 08:02 And I think there’s a, there’s, to put it in a, again, a workout context, like some, for some people spin classes never gonna work like this, just not gonna, but for those same people rowing or curling or.

Josh: 08:16 Jazz-ercise!

Doug: 08:16 Laying on the couch!

Leon: 08:16 Or


Steven: 08:18 Well, that, that’s, I, I do Crossfit and Crossfit. It’s not for everyone. Right. And a lot of people make fun of crossfit constantly, but, but for me, it fits, it, it, it, it gives me the workout that I’m looking for. It gives me the, uh, the, the, the health benefits that, that ultimately I’m looking for and I just enjoy doing it. But if I were out there trying to be a runner and I am not a runner, it would be a terrible thing. It’d be, it’d be horrible. I would, I, first of all, I don’t know the first thing about running effectively. I look bad. I, my, my times are terrible. And so you, you gravitate to what feels natural to what, what works for you.

Leon: 08:56 Okay. All right. And I think the interesting thing is that when you’re talking about, you know, a health regime, a health regimen, um, that’s one thing, you know, you can, you can sort of find your space. But I think when you’re talking about, you know, religious, ethical, moral, the variety of choices you have is limited. If you feel drawn to, um, whether you feel drawn to a god concept or a philosophical concept, your choices are limited. And so if you doesn’t feel right, you know, that’s again, that’s the bad day at the office. What, what is that like, how does that work in that religious ethical context?

Steven: 09:33 It mostly takes you were you working through you, you, you have to come to terms with who you are, what you feel, what you think, um, and, and that helps you ultimately, uh, reconcile with whatever that is that, that, that’s bringing you down at any given time.

Leon: 09:51 Okay. So, so other bad days, uh, in the non tech office w uh, what are some other experiences you guys have had?

Doug: 09:57 We were just talking about, you know, finding, finding your, uh, your, uh, regimen, your what religion you’re going to be, but you know, once you found the one that works for you, everything’s all perfect from then on, right?

ALL: 10:12 Exactly.

Doug: 10:14 Those are the bad days that man, I mean like all of the, so I’ve picked the one. All right. I’m an evangelical Christian. I, you know, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve, I take, took the pill, I bought the, drank the Koolaid, whatever, you know, but not to the point where I..

Leon: 10:30 …have had the frontal lobotomy.

New Speaker: 10:33 Exactly. I, it’s just, you know, I, I still think I still have my freaking Philosophy major that just makes me question everything. And there are just some days where it doesn’t go well. Um, I mean I, I actually haven’t been going to church lately cause I’ve had some health issues. I’ve had this vertigo thing last time I went to church, this is, you know, I’d been stable for awhile and I got there and I drove to church and I got there and the church was getting set to start and all of a sudden the room started spinning. What do you do? So I went over to the prayer corner, which is outside there and put my head down and close my eyes and I look like I was praying through the whole service for the service and everybody thought I was hyper-spiritual but I just, you know, the room was moving.

Leon: 11:22 [Laughing]

New Speaker: 11:22 So it’s, you know, after, after 25 minutes the drugs kicked in and I was able to go home and that was my last big service because I had a bad day at the service, not because of the service, but just my body chose that it didn’t want to do that that day.

Leon: 11:39 I think one of the big things there was that you didn’t let it throw you. Like, I think some people would say it’s a sign, you know, or something like that. You didn’t let it know, no, this is just my body being my body.

Doug: 11:49 It’s all right. Oops. And like I said, there’s some people who, who saw me that day, but I think I’m really, really spiritual now.

Josh: 11:54 Interestingly, the one of the hardest days that I had in my religious observance. Uh, and for those who have not, um, have not listened to any of the previous episodes first, shame on you. Go back and listen to all of our backlog. Yeah. I grew up Mormon and I, I was, uh, I would say I was an Orthodox Mormon, sometimes ultra Orthodox for 41 ish years. And I was reminded of the moment that I realized that Mormonism didn’t work for me anymore. Uh, I was on Facebook today and I saw a woman in one of the support groups that I, that I’m in who posted having read some things and she’s like, “I have realized that my entire world is a lie”. I can still remember the exact moment. I can remember where on the plane I was sitting. I can remember where I was looking at and like looking out the window, I remember kind of like, you know, the lighting, like everything in that moment when I realized that walking away from Mormonism was the thing I had to do, that there was no going back. That was a hard day. And that’s one of those pivotal moments and I think we all have them. At some points in our lives. And Steven, I loved hearing that, that you had a moment where you went, “I don’t think I belong here anymore and I have to walk away”. We all have those moments where we either choose that we’re going to stay and we in, we entrench ourselves because it’s what we want or we have to make a decision to walk away. You cannot live in the upside down. It does not work. You, you, you have to live in reality. Uh, and if you get pulled back into that, that gray space in your life, you have to confront it. And that, that’s my, I’m a, I’m very passionate about people embracing their pursuit of whatever it is. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the cult of Crossfit and yes, Steven, it is a cult. I want you to know that.

ALL: 14:00 [Laughing]

Steven: 14:01 You’re 100% correct. It, it absolutely is,

Josh: 14:05 But whether, you know, it’s, it’s the cult of Crossfit or the cult Christianity or the cult of Mormonism or, you know, whatever it would ever, those beliefs, those indoctrinated beliefs are, you have to decide if you are going to live them or if you’re going to go live something else. Uh, the people that I found most frustrating when I was a Orthodox Mormon was the people who were like,”Yeah, you know, I really, I’m okay with these parts, but I don’t really want to do the hard things. And, you know, showing up to church on Sunday is kind of fun and it’s, you know, but I don’t want to put the work in!” And I’m like, “You know, you gotta put the work in!” So yeah, you gotta do the hard things.

Leon: 14:45 Yeah. And I think that there’s, there’s a difference. I’m going to challenge what, what’s been said. A little…

Josh: 14:50 No, Crossfit is a cult.

Leon: 14:50 [Laughing] Ok, I’m not challenging that part! 100% in agreement, but I think that there are moments when you realize that something is simply not you but I think that a lot of folks, um, you know, especially in relilgious context, because it, uh, feels somewhat optional, uh, but in other contexts as well it, uh, to what you were saying Josh, its a little bit challenging, its a little bit uncomfortable and so I’m not going to do it. And, and, so I have a story about that. I was, uh, walking out of Synagogue, and there was somebody who was new, and you always know the new people, just because they are, uh, new, and, uh, the regulars are the regulars. And this new person has just shown up and they were there and, uh, they were walking out and the Rabbi said, “So, you know, what’s your name?” and got to know him and, so, “How ya doing?” And the person, very honestly, said “Ya know, I just wasn’t feeling it. It just wasn’t working for me. Maybe this just isn’t my thing?” And, I’ll never forget, my Rabbi gave him, sort of, THAT look. You know, that stern, over-the-glasses, look, and said “You know, aren’t guaranteed two-scoops of epiphany in every box of Shabbat-Crunch cereal.” Ya know, you’re, you don’t, maybe you have to put a little work into this before you gonna feel it in some way. And, and, I want to put out that a bad day in the pews, a bad day, um, especially when it is one of your first days, A), is gonna happen, but sometimes it’s not a bad day, but it’s just a regular day. That those euphoric days that, maybe, we were sold on thinking we were supposed to get every single time, Doug, to your point, ya know, “Boy, I can’t be as religious as that guy with his head down in the corner! Wow, he was really intense! How do you do that, I didn’t feel anything like that!!” Ya, he wasn’t feeling it either, but you didn’t know that.

Doug: 14:50 [Laughing] It’s true!

Leon: 14:50 Umm, ya know, I think that, that you have to recognize that, that those are some days! Umm, whether they are every day or most days or just a few, ya know, you can’t show up just once to the gym and walk out looking like “Arnold” or whatever. It’s gonna take a little bit of work. So, uhh, right, wrong, different, what do you guys think?

Doug: 14:50 I think that, sometimes, the expectations are that we’re going to an awful lot more of those epiphanies than really we should expect. One, one of the things that interests me, because, I, I read through the Bible more than once a year. I mean, just continually reading through it, and I am amazed how rarely God talks to even the people that, I mean, Abraham, he, he would speak to Abraham and then he would go off doing his God thing somewhere…

Leon: 14:50 [Laughing].

Doug: 14:50 …for 20, 25 years. And Abraham is just chugging along. Most of us, if God doesn’t appear to us in a dream and at least once every three weeks we, you know, get worried about it. It’s like, no, you’re not gonna have that many epiphanies. You just, you need to just sort of keep at it.

Josh: 18:01 I think that’s an interesting point, right? Yeah. Sometimes when we go into situations, whether we’re, you know, we’re pursuing a new, uh, political belief, uh, I followed the Greens for a long time, then left and now I’ve headed back. Or whether you’re, uh, you know, uh, a moral philosophy, religious observance, we see the people who have been practicing that, uh, that lifestyle for years and we have this expectation that we’re going to walk in and suddenly be like them. We’re going to know all the right things to say, we’re going to know all the right things to do. We’re going to know what not to do. Um, you know, apparently bringing a Styrofoam Cup to the Green Party’s, um, meeting as a bad idea, you, those sorts of things, right?

Leon: 18:48 Who knew!?!

Josh: 18:48 Right? Um, you know, shuttle left the, a 12 cylinder Jag at home, but those are the things that aren’t, that are hard. And we have this, we have this, this, uh, instant gratification problem, at least in Western society where we expect that because we want it and because we really, really want it. It’s just going to happen. And that hard work isn’t there. But I, I will. And I’m going to put on my parent hat now. So I’ll tell you that the, the most, uh, difficult things that you do will often be the most rewarding. I, I, I know I’m making fun of that, but it really, the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life have been the things that when I overcame them were really the most satisfying. And I think that that’s for religious observance as well. If it works for you, do it. Um, I mean, don’t be a jerk, but cause that’s a bad thing. We already [stumbling] Nah, I’m not gonna go there. I’m like, do, do the thing that is hard because you know it’s the right thing to do.

Leon: 19:55 Yeah. Um, okay. So, so Steven, I’m going to call you out a little bit just cause, uh, I know that weightlifting is one of the things that you do and uh, I will fully admit that I do not, um, if I say that I’m in shape, it’s simply because round is a shape.

Josh: 20:07 Amen.

Leon: 20:07 It however everyone else in my family were weightlifters and powerlifters and football players and things like that. I was the runt of the litter. And, um, so I, I know just from osmosis about it and there’s always that moment when the, the new, it’s always guys, the new guy walks into the gym and you know, either loads up way too much weight on the bench press or just is, you know, arms are puffed out, chest is puffed out. And, in a bad gym, everyone steps away in a good gym, everyone steps forward, but they’re all aware that this guy is going to hurt himself or someone else or the equipment. Worst of all the equipment. Um, and I dunno, Steven, if you have any experiences with that.

Steven: 20:54 I mean in, in Crossfit constantly, right? It’s where the Crossfit is known for poor form, bad movements and people doing it wrong, like doing lifts wrong. Um, and, and to your point, a, a bad gym is, is one that lets you keep doing it. They’re like, “Hey, that guy is, you know, he’s, he’s here, he’s lifting”, uh, or “She’s here. She’s lifting”. Um, the good gym is the one that says, hey, take a, you know what you’re doing right here. Let’s make an adjustment. And the people that, uh, that want to get better, that they want to make that evolution, they receive that criticism. Well, the ones that, uh, think they know what they’re doing and don’t want to hear any, any constructive criticisms, they may not show up next time or they may lash out at you, um, that there may be steroids involved there. I don’t know.

Leon: 21:48 [Laughing] Or just, or just bad temper. I mean, it doesn’t always have to be drug induced. It can just sometimes even learn, you know, just a jerk. And, uh, and I will tell you that that is not, um, absent from the synagogue as well. Sometimes people come in and they’re, uh, clearly uncertain about what’s going on. But when someone tries to offer a helping hand, they, uh, respond poorly.

Josh: 22:11 I had no idea. Steroids were a problem in Judaism.

Leon: 22:13 Right? [Laughing] Yeah, they’re, they’re not. [Laughing] Right. Okay. So, so I think we’ve run down, uh, bad days in, uh, the gym, the Dojo, the Pew, the synagogue, et cetera. I want to pivot to what a bad day looks like in it. Um, because you know, just what, what does it look like? Because I’ll start it off. You know, some days the machine actually is out to get you, no matter what you try. Um, I, I don’t know why I have had experiences where over the course of hours or sometimes days, I experienced rapid multiple system collapse. And what I mean by that is that a hard drive on my laptop dies and also two of the four monitors on my desktop system die and the the washing machine dies and something goes out on the car. Like all systems begin to crumble around and like, all right, I, it must be me this week. I’m just not going to touch anything else. I, I dunno if you’ve had that experience, but sometimes the machines just don’t like you.

Steven: 23:24 It was just a revolt that day.

Leon: 23:27 I wish. And if they had just told me that that’s what it was or that I was revolting, I would have left them alone. But no, I had to go buy a new hard drive and monitor and you know, all that stuff.

Doug: 23:37 I mean it happens that way. I always people, people are, we’ll be working on something say, well this is going well and I’m going, “Oh, you just jinxed it.”

ALL: 23:47 [Laughing]

Doug: 23:47 “Why would you ever say that?” You never say it’s going well because you just set it up to go the, the, the, the computer gods are now going to go ahead and throw a lightning bolt and it will take out your hard drive or something along that line. It just, you can’t do that.

Josh: 24:04 I once did a SAN upgrade and I think I have, I’ve actually shared this story, um, on the, on this podcast. So, I did this SAN upgrade, um, at my last employer, um, it was for our vmware environment. We are a managed services provider, so we had a bunch of hosted vms. Um, and like most companies, you know, you did backups, but we hadn’t really tested all of our backups so we didn’t actually know if our backups worked. Started the SAN upgrade. Suddenly we had no, no drives anymore. Uh, the whole SAN was gone at 20 hours later. I’m on the phone with both vmware and the SAN provider and both engineers said, “We have nothing for you. I hope your backups are good.” I mean, you get real religious when your entire, I mean like everything is gone there. There were no LUNs. Uh, yeah, that, that is probably my single worst day at the office. And that was a long day.

Leon: 25:08 Right. I’m talking about the demo, talking about the gods, the tech Gods. Um, I’ve always found it amusing and slightly horrifying that at conventions, um, most notably DevOps days tends to do this because it’s, it’s multiple talks, one right after another. And a lot of them are live demos and so there’s a shrine off to the side, a shrine to the demo gods. And people will come up and make a make offerings and there is serious prayer going. These are people who in any other context would tell you that they were absolutely irreligious that they had no connection, that they were devout atheists or at least agnostics, right? They just have nothing and yet they are making deep obeisances , you know they are bowing down to the, to the demo guys because live demos during a talk like you should never, never do.

Josh: 26:01 Like what? What sort of sadists are you guys?

Leon: 26:06 [Laughing].

Josh: 26:06 Do not do live demos? Oh my goodness that is like, that is like playing craps with the devil. Like, oh.

Steven: 26:15 You, you, you have to sacrifice entire server rack to the demo gods for a live demo presentation. It’s just, it’s a, it’s 100% required. I can’t think of the amount of times. It was funny. Leon you mentioned, regardless of, you know, if you’re atheist or agnostic, you, you, you immediately go to that shrine it if you have to do a demo that day, I don’t know. I can’t count the number of offerings I made it SolarWinds when we were doing some type of demo during our recordings. And then live demos at an event were just, I couldn’t, it was just one of those things that you freak out constantly.

Leon: 26:52 As a side note, if anybody’s who’s listening wants to see something very, very funny, go to the SolarWinds Youtube Channel, Look for the 50th episode anniversary where they do a whole montage of demos going wrong and you’ll see Steven having just a really, really bad time with something over and over again. So yes, I think I was there for a few of those. Demo Demo. Extravaganzas um…

Doug: 27:18 Yet sometimes it can go well. I mean, when I was writing, um, medical software and one of the things that we did, it was called, it was called the shootout. And so we actually had to demo our software, our medical record software in front of 500 physicians. It was done every year and they put two people up. And so if a physician would stand there and would actually dictate one of the records that, that, that you, you were allowed to preload your stuff, but you had to do it live. And, one year, my partner and I, who is actually now my business partner in WaveRFID, uh, we were the ones that were doing it. I’m was the technical person. She was the lead one and we were demoing Alpha software. It was a brand new version that we were doing in front of 500 docs and it all went out like 10 minutes before it started. We ran down the hall, came all the way back, shoved a new version in and demo’d the thing. But because we did our obese, you know, we said, it’s not us. We are so sorry. This is alpha. Please forgive us. We humbled ourselves and the demo went great, you know, so some days it works out if you’re suitably obeisant.

Leon: 28:29 Yes. Wow. I, yeah, it’s, that’s, I can’t imagine, I mean you call it a shootout because you’re just like, “Just shoot me now”. Yeah. Um, wow. That’s insane. And it, and I think that if you’ve been working in it for any amount of time, you know, there’s, there’s similar stories like that. Um, and okay, so pivoting from demo and machines, there’s other parts of being in it that are bad day to, um, I, I think that many of us wish for a world that we grew up watching or some of us grew up watching in star trek where everyone in the engineering, uh, in the engineering area was incredibly competent and everyone got along. Even if they didn’t always get along, they still got everything done and a, they were all focused on solutions and stuff like that. And the reality is that in IT shops, uh, across the globe, politics is a thing. Trademark all rights reserved. Um, sometimes it’s not the machine that’s out to get you, it’s a coworker or another department that simply wants your budget or whatever. And we have to put up with those things also. Um, so that’s another thing that causes a bad day is when you don’t actually get to do your job because you’re dealing with the politics of doing your job. Or the process, you know, it doesn’t always have to be a political, you know, show down necessarily, but it’s, you know, do I really have to spend the next hour and a half doing timesheets or expenses or, you know, five year forecasting, you know, because that’s always useful in it. I can’t forecast five months accurately, but you want five years. Great. Great.

Josh: 30:11 Yeah. So I, I remember being a brand new engineer a long time ago, 20, 20-ish years ago now, and thinking all, all I’ll need to know if I can just memorize the OSI model. Like I can have, if I can just memorize the OSI model, it’s gonna be a thing. Um, I mean, I, I know the OSI model, I can’t remember the last time I had to reference it. Um, but that, that’s it. Like sometimes the things that are hard are, are of our own making.

Leon: 30:43 I will say that the OSI Model I reference all the time talking about bad days at the office because every tech project I’ve ever worked on has failed at layers eight, nine and 10 OSI model, which is finance, politics and compliance.

Josh: 30:59 Yes

Doug: 31:00 I’ve had the benefit of working mostly for myself. So the only political problem I’ve have is convincing myself to get myself doing the job. But when I did work for a large corp for awhile, I was given a project where I had to go ahead and make this thing work with an existing service. And this existing service was controlled by somebody who was saying that, well, we’re going to be replacing this and this was his little area and he didn’t want to share it with anybody and because it was going to be replaced, um, I couldn’t use his old service, but the new service wasn’t going to be ready in time for us to do the rest of it. But he wouldn’t give me what I needed to go ahead and use the old service and he wouldn’t let me be a Beta site for the new service. So that I would have it. And so here I am and there’s no way I can do this thing without using this service. And there’s one guy who owns it and it was his,

Steven: 31:57 That’s why star Trek, uh, is, is, is fantasy. Because having to interact with other human beings to, to get something done doesn’t always bring out the rosiest of situations. You, you, you have to, you have to interact with someone and they have other priorities that aren’t necessarily aligning with your priorities. Um, heaven forbid that, that you have to have different priorities because what you need to get done, you need to get done now and what they need to get done, they need to get done now. And if those don’t align, then it, then that clash is going to happen you, and if it’s not happening in the timeframe that you ultimately need it to be bad day popping up immediately without warning.

Leon: 32:38 So you’re saying the of Star Trek was not the phasers or the tricorder or the faster than light travel, that that’s all normal. That’s reality. The fantasy was that everyone got along all the time.

Steven: 32:48 Yeah, absolutely. Like [laughing] we have phasers now don’t we?

Josh: 32:51 Well see, I know what we’re missing, right? We’re, we’re missing the obligatory red shirt that, that guy who won’t give you access to his, his software. You just pulled a red shirt, you know, over him and you throw them into the meeting because we all know what happens to, you know, the guy wearing the red shirt.

Steven: 33:08 I thought Josh was going to go the other way and say you kill the person with the red shirt.

Josh: 33:11 I’m Canadian!

New Speaker: 33:15 [Inaudible].

Josh: 33:16 I’m not that evil yet.

Doug: 33:19 He wants them killed, he just won’t do it himself.

Leon: 33:22 Okay, so one, I think one last thing that I want to talk about as far as it bad days is, um, is when we, the bad day has to do with the next thing we have to do. And I don’t mean just like the thing on our tack, task list, but the thing we have to learn, um, you know, just putting that out to everyone who’s listening and, and you three, you know, how many times have you resisted learning about the next thing, whether it was cloud or object oriented programming or ITIL or IP version 6 or something like that

Steven: 33:55 All the time. Every day. I don’t have time.

Leon: 33:59 Okay. So you resist it because like I have enough on my plate.

Steven: 34:02 It’s usually, it’s usually comes down to that just trying to get something new in your knowledge. Bank a is oftentimes budding up against everything else that you have to do. Um, and, and once you set aside the, the, the urge to just ignore it and you actually consume that information, you learn that net new thing. Um, I, I can remember when, when I was doing consulting for, for Citrix projects and having to learn when they, they had just acquired this new company, NetSix, and, and here comes this new, uh, VPN product and it’s like, “I’m dealing with virtualization over here. I don’t want to deal with a VPN product!” And, and just putting it off and putting it off and putting it off. And next thing you know, like here you go, you’ve got to learn it. We’ve got to have a certification in it. There’s no, no other way about it. It’s like, “Ah, OK, all right, I’ll learn it.” And then next thing you know, you’ve got this great new technology you get to incorporate in your, your knowledge stack and you have way more opportunities, uh, that oh, that opened up for you to do more things either from a consulting realm or for your company. You can enable, you know, new capabilities, new functionalities. But we push it aside cause we just don’t have time

Doug: 35:20 I was going to say that actually even goes back to some of the, we were talking about in the religious side. I mean there’s, I love learning new things, but I want to learn the new stuff that I want to learn. And sometimes what your, the environment that you’re in says no, the thing that you need to learn now is x, whatever this, whatever x happens to be, it can be in the IT world for this next thing you need to learn this in the religious world. You really need to get, you need to work on your prayer life, you know? And so people from the outside are telling you, here’s what you need to do. It’s for me, it’s real easy to learn something new if it’s something I want to learn. But it’s, you know, as Stephen was saying, it’s like if it’s something you have to learn, you may not get around to it until somebody from the outside goes ahead and sort of cracks the whip a little bit and then won’t. But once you’ve gone ahead and pressed through, it’s like, oh, this is great. Yeah.

Leon: 36:16 What was I so worried about?

Doug: 36:18 Oh, no, I always knew what I was so worried about!

Josh: 36:21 Cool. It’s interesting because I’ve built my entire, my entire career off of the phrase, uh, “I don’t know”. Uh, my, my second job, uh, that I got, I had this, this panel interview in which I was asked a series of questions to which I did not know any of the answers because I had only been in the IT field for, for a professionally, for a year. Um, and as I laughed, they said, you know, is there anything you’d like to say, uh, you know, before we end the interview. And I said, “I’m sorry that I didn’t know the things that you asked, but if you’re willing to teach me, um, I’d love to learn.” And I really think that, that for me, defines what I want to do and what I tried to do in IT. I don’t, I don’t know everything. I still am, I’m terrible at scripting. I really am. Um, but I can do an awful lot more now than I could five years ago or a year ago. And that’s that for me, whether we’re talking about a pursuit of an IT lesson or whether we’re talking about the pursuit of some, you know, ideology, whether it’s physical or mental or spiritual or intellectual, go out and approach it with the, “Hey, I just don’t know, like it’s hard. Um, and I don’t know it yet, but damn it, I’m going to learn.” And those are the people for me. You know, we talked about those engineers, those idyllic Star Trek engineers. I would rather take an engineer who said to me, “Josh, I don’t know how to do this, but I’m going to go figure it out.” And then comes back and says, “Hey, here’s what I’ve got. Let’s collaborate. Get it done.” To me, that, that is a thing that takes those really hard things to do and makes them so much easier.

Steven: 38:06 Completely agree.

Leon: 38:07 Okay. So last piece, and this is actually I think where, um, uh, a lot of the learnings, uh, are going to happen. We’ve talked about bad days, uh, in our non-tech life and we’ve talked about that days in our tech life. What lessons can we carry or have we carried over from one to the other. It might be something that you knew really well in your tech world that you carried into your religious or ethical or moral life or vice versa. And Josh, I think to the point you just said, um, is a strong one. I think as IT people, we are more prone, we are more comfortable saying, “I don’t know that” whether that’s “Hey, I don’t know, Active Directory” or “I don’t know why that that just happened, but I’m going to find out.” I think that we are generally speaking, we don’t feel emotionally challenged to say things like that. Um, but I think that there’s a huge resistance for some people in some cases to say, I don’t know, in a religious or you know, ethical or philosophical context. Um, and maybe that’s the fear that if I, if I say, I don’t know, there may not actually be an answer. And if there isn’t an answer to this one question, maybe the entire religious structure is somehow false, which is sort of an irrational fear. But I think that it’s one that people have. And so the answer to that is just don’t say, I don’t know, which doesn’t work really well either, but, uh, people fall into that trap.

Josh: 39:39 Yeah. So I, ironically, the thing that I, that I did that led me away from my religious observance was to embrace uncertainty. Uh, you know, being Ultra Orthodox, I was so certain that I knew the truth that when I no longer could look at the facts and say that I, that they were true, it was, I had to step away. So my lesson, uh, I’m, and I have to, cause I’m a cheat here. One is to “Embrace the uncertainty” and the other is “Sleep on it.” No, no. Like seriously sleep on, I cannot count the number of times where I’ve spent my entire day banging my head against a problem. And then when, you know, I’m just going to go to bed and then you get up the next morning, you’re like, oh, that’s how you solve this one. And I don’t care if you’re talking about IT or if you’re talking about, you know, a problem at home or with a colleague or with a friend, or just sleep on it, man. A good night’s rest does everyone well.

Doug: 40:38 I found that, um, the, one of the things that I learned in coming more from my religious life into my technical life, um, the thing that makes me have the worst days during religious services is watching everybody around me worshiping the way that they worship and it being all about them. And you know, they’re just, you know, hands up and whoop-ti-do and all that kind of stuff I’m like, just drives me crazy. Um, but then I realize it’s like, okay, but here I am. I am letting their weirdness stand between me and God and I just need to sort of like, stop, roll myself back, let them be them, and then go ahead and have my, uh, my experience with, you know, getting this done, the service. And, when you take that into the IT world, there are people that have got opinions and they’re, you know, we gotta do it this way and yeah, everybody’s an expert and all this stuff and you’re trying to work on a team and I can sit there going in my head, these people are freaking idiots.

Leon: 41:42 [Laughing]

Doug: 41:43 But I then go ahead and roll it back and say, nope, this is just me. Let’s go ahead and work with this and you know, there, but, and I can go ahead and take that tolerance that I have made myself learn in the religious world. Otherwise I would hate my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and bring that so that I can be better on a team. I, I was a terrible team person in my thirties and forties I mean, you know, I got stuff done, but because we’d slam it through and now I’m actually really, I’m good at coaching people and working with them because I know that my tendency is to be judgmental even when it’s not justified.

Steven: 42:24 Yeah, for me, the, I think the, the biggest lesson from religious nonreligious work standpoint is you just got to view things through a positive lens. Like if you just take and go into your day, I’m not thinking everyone’s out to get, you know, not thinking that, uh, that the, you know, that whatever you’re going to have to deal with that day is going to be difficult or hard, um, that you know, that is not going to ultimately affect you negatively if you just walk into that situation or that day with, with that positive lens, you’re like, you’re going to have a better day. But, but as well, everyone else around you is probably gonna have a better day because you’re in a better frame of mind. Or at least I know that when I’ve got a bad day going on or I don’t feel you were really great, I’m usually making everyone around me miserable. So if I can avoid that at all costs, I feel like, that’s usually something I should, should, should attempt at least

Doug: 43:23 Share the wealth, either positive or negative.

Josh: 43:26 Always positive, always positive.

Leon: 43:30 So something that, uh, I learned recently. Um, it was an insight from, uh, from my rabbi, Rabbi Davidovich. Um, he, so every morning in the Orthodox Jewish, uh, service, the morning service, uh, you go over the sacrifices, you just sort of read through the text of what the sacrifices are and how they’re handled. And right at the very beginning, it talks about how, uh, the priests go in and they take the ashes of yesterday, sacrifice out first. That’s what they, that’s what they do. And that’s right at the beginning of sort of this section of the, of the prayers is, you know, the, the Kohanim, the priests, they go in, they took the ashes and they took them all the way outside the camp and they dumped them. And Rabbi Davidovich’s insight to that was, that’s a metaphor for how we treat yesterday’s experience. Um, that you could have had a horrible, awful, painful, gut wrenching, useless, unproductive day yesterday. And so when you show up the next day for prayer, you might feel like, oh, I just, I can’t, what, what, what am I supposed to do? I, I can’t have another one like that. And this piece of text is telling you no, no, no. That was yesterday. Take the ashes, dump them outside the camp. They’re, they’re, they, they don’t belong here anymore. Today’s prayer has no resemblance. It’s an entirely new set of sacrifices and entirely new set of work that is not contingent on or related to yesterday’s work in any way. By this, by the way, at the same time, if yesterday was an amazing day and you’ve got an incredible amount of stuff done and you were really focused and you really had an amazing prayer day, those ashes, they also get dumped outside the camp you that today the, the proof of how today is gonna go is how today is going to go. Nothing about yesterday affects or reflects or is a precursor to how today is going to go. And that insight from the religious context is one that I think is, is something that I can use a lot in, uh, in my it work, whether it’s writing or whether it’s giving a talk or, uh, Steven, to your point, having a, you know, going in and doing another video. It doesn’t matter if yesterday’s video was a complete train wreck, you know, flaming dumpster fire today is a different day to record. It might be a different date to record what I did yesterday poorly, all over again because we can do that, but it’s, it’s not in any way reflective of what happened yesterday. Um, and that allows me to break free or get clear of the bad feeling from the day before.

Josh: 46:19 I love that. That is beautiful.

Leon: 46:21 Any final words, final comments, final insights that you want to share before we wrap this up?

Josh: 46:25 Crossfit is still a cult.

Leon: 46:27 [Hysterical laughing]

Steven: 46:31 With that, thank you guys for having me this time. I, Leon, thank you for staying on me to ultimately get me get beyond here and the do, uh, do one of these sessions with you guys. Um, I, I will definitely try to make it, uh, more in the future.

Doug: 46:46 And my final insight is if you’re having a bad day, it’s probably you.

Leon: 46:53 Nah, I’m good!

Doug: 46:53 Nine Times out of 10, if I’m having a bad day, it’s me and I just need to, I mean, and the good thing about that is if I’m having a bad day, nine times out of 10, it’s me. And if there’s one thing I can change, it’s me.

Josh: 47:06 Thanks for making time for us this week to hear more of Technically Religious. Visit our website, where you can find our other episodes, leave us ideas for future discussions and connect with us on social media.

Leon: 47:19 A wise person once said, don’t let a bad day make you feel bad about yourself.

Steven: 47:24 That was Grover Grover. Grover, from Sesame Street.

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