Once upon a time, 7 Years ago.

7 years ago today, 16th June 2008, I started a 3 month contract within the NHS working on a Sharepoint 2007 deployment.

As I write this blog post I am working on replacing it with something new and exciting.

TL;DR

Firstly I am sorry for the length of this blog, the poor grammar and sometimes Americanised spelling, but this is raw, written straight from my heart

A lot has happened in the 7 years since I started here, I am married to a beautiful lady, we have two highly energetic little boys.

During my time in the NHS, working for Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust, I have had more then a few ups and downs, physically, mentally and emotionally. I have had the pleasure to have worked with some amazingly motivational people, these whom I am honored to call friends, mentors and family.

Together we have led projects, fixed – broken and fixed again a number of systems, slept in hammocks, drank a lot of beer, eaten a lot of food, laughed, danced and cried.

Who am I now?

I have grown up, become a man, a husband and a father. I now wear amazing bow ties most of the week I>@<I and developed a deep love for photography, I listen to country music and still enjoy swing.

My love of Wrestling has stayed with me and always will. In the past 7 years a number of my heroes have fallen, these people I have grown up with and watched on television watching them grow as I grew. Some of the latest deaths have hit quite hard.

Some people still think of me as mildly arrogant, but I am able to bottle it up when needed (sometimes), I get emotionally attached to work and become frustrated when things (according to me) are not going the right way.

Illness

Over the past 7 years physically I have had so many ups and downs with my physical health my Charoct Marie Tooth Disease has tried to kick my arse, I piled on the pounds causing more pressure on my already ruined legs, my balance went, everyday things began to hurt me, a lot, I began to walk with a stick (my amazing friends at work bought me some amazing, blinged ones). Then I discovered Yoga. In particularly DDP Yoga. Last year I spent 6 months on a mission to fix myself using DDP Yoga to build strength, flexibility and remove pain. DDP thank you.

Myself and My Work

My work is important to me, I spend an awful lot of time thinking about problems and solutions, so much so that my brain is often swimming with ideas.

Having learnt an awful lot about Quality Improvement Systems, Lean, Agile, UX and VMPS plus other acronyms and synonyms. I am, I believe, in a uniquely positioned location and time in my life.

IT and Tech still excites me and always will but what excites me more, generates that hunger and thirst deep within, is the People and Processes behind the organisations and the users who have to struggle to use what is given to them. How do they interact with the Software, Hardware and ‘Solutions’ that us IT Techs thrust upon them? What would make the biggest improvement to their lives? I think it is safe to say that the majority of clinical and nursing staff within the NHS hate technology, they hate how it has been pushed between them and the patient as a barrier that detracts from the job that they originally signed up to do.

The same can be said for many occupations, Police, Social Care. Even in day-to-day life our interaction with others has become less personal, technology is assisting in organisations moving services away from the highstreet and into the cold clinical call center. Yes technology has helped in a lot of ways to improve our lives and the lives of people around us but by taking away, and minimizing the real world interactions you can’t help but feel that we have taken a huge backwards step.

In our world at the moment tech is pushed at you from all angles, passwords and pins need to be remembered for this, that and the other. 6 characters here, 8 plus 2 numbers an UPPERCASE letter and a special character, no, not that one. Do not, under any circumstances tell anyone or write anything down about your password and so on.

Technology is disruptive within our lives, both for the power of good and the bad that often comes with it. It is difficult for us to turn off, step away, ignore the distractions going on, beeps, pings and pongs.

Emails flying in from everywhere whilst you are trying to reply and keep up to date with what is going on and where it is happening.

Gangnam Style plays from Dawn till Dusk on a steady, recurring, repeat with eyes transfixed to devices large and small failing to glance up at the world around.

What is the solution

Disconnect, turn off, open your eyes, get up and go out. Look for solutions outside of technology, talk to people. Your neighbors, colleagues, friends and family, physically meet people, understand who they are and why they are that way.

Live each day with no regrets, talk to those that you love, tell them you love them, do not wait until tomorrow.

Thank you to all my family and friends without you I would not be me.

Thank you to the WWE and the superstars who put there bodies on the line to entertain me and the millions of fans around the world.