Old blog, who dis?


Well hello there! And welcome to the pseudo-relaunch of my blog. As you can see, there hasn't been much action here at all. I'd like to briefly share what's been happening in my life and also what I hope to accomplish with this thing.


First off, I have changed jobs since I first started this blog which is in direct relation to other life events. In late 2020, a friend of mine who works for Hitachi Solutions mentioned they were hiring. Now, I have known about that company by their reputation as the elite Microsoft partner in all aspects so I decided to take my shot and apply. I was fine with where I was in my job but the only experience I had was being a department of one for a small company. Learning what it was like to work for a bigger organization and as a member of a team was something that I really longed for and if I was going to do it, I wanted to do it for (and with) the best in the industry. I really didn't think I would get the job because, again, my experience was pretty thin and I didn't feel like I was quite Hitachi level, but maybe I could learn from the interview and build from there. 

Much to my surprise, they hired me! So, in February of 2021, I started as a Power Platform consultant. It came quick, and I was on my first project within two days. While it was a bit of a shock to be starting in so fast, I loved it. I say this without any hyperbole whatsoever: everyone I encountered there was awesome. I loved the people on my team. I loved the project management staff I was able to work with. I loved our customers. There were challenges and I had plenty of growth opportunities to be sure (I'd give myself a C, maybe C+), but I felt that given time I could really become a great consultant.

Wherever you go, there you are

On the home-front, things weren't so good. My wife has an auto-immune disease and connective tissue disorder, and her general health was deteriorating. What I mean by this is that she was having less energy during the day, fewer 'good' days throughout the week, and negative symptoms occurring more frequently. In my head, I was constantly doing the calculus of how things were going to go and how much I was going to be able to give between work and family. We have a son who was in upper elementary school at that time and had just adopted a new puppy. Time was in short supply! My wife was also still working at a community college as a student success advisor for TRIO, which entailed a commute to the next town over as well as some work on the weekends. It was becoming more and more clear to me that there was an expiration date on her being able to continue in that job (this actually came to fruition this past December, when my wife resigned her position due to her health).

In addition to that, my mental health wasn't great. There had been many rough life events in quick succession that were brutal to say the least. In the past five years, my wife had endured multiple miscarriages, a couple of pretty intense surgeries (one an emergency surgery to fix an internal bleed, where the outcome wasn't really known until it was finished, and another being a hysterectomy), the death of her sister in a car accident that also involved her (then) two-year-old daughter (our niece, who miraculously survived without any physical harm). We had also moved six times in that timeframe, due to a combination of trying to put our son in a good school situation, being renters in an area where people don't want to have rental units (we had rental units sold out from under us twice in a row), and no longer wanting to live in the place where the memory of my sister-in-law was so raw and painful. Just between you, me, and the billions of people with internet access, I was in a rough spot and while I was trying to be a dutiful husband and father, I wasn't doing very well at either and felt like I didn't really know who I was due to not addressing the impact that all those life events had on me. 

Eventually, I came to the painful decision to resign my position at Hitachi Solutions. Both my lead and department head were awesome to me in that time, even trying to find me a position in another department that would be more flexible. While I did give it serious consideration, I was afraid of what would happen if I was unable to perform at the level I needed to and ultimately decided that I didn't want to be the weakest link on an elite team. I really didn't want to let anyone of those amazing team members or customers down.

A new, old beginning

So what to do next? I wasn't really sure where to go at that point. I even considered trying a new start and finding something completely different. I have a mostly finished math and math education degree (a tale for another time!), so I considered getting into teaching. I also considered just finding a 'joe job' where I didn't have much responsibility and could just work hard for 8-10 hours and call it a day. Something my wife had said years ago came to mind and became my guiding light in this moment: she told me that when I began working with the Power Platform that I had seemed more myself than any other job I had ever held, like I had really found my place. From this, I decided to see if I could get my old job back. Thankfully, I live in Wyoming, being the least populated state in the US where tech workers are in short supply, and they hadn't hired anyone to replace me yet. Roughly six months after leaving, I found myself back in the same position I had started my Power Platform career in: working for a small business as a team of one. 

Where does that leave me now? And what of this blog that I hadn't even really started? Well, I'd like to continue where I left off, before getting sidetracked with life and self-recovery. Much like in this post, I'd like to share about what life is like working in tech in Wyoming, as well as share some solutions that I have been fortunate enough to build. For example, my next post is going to be about an animated menu which can be displayed in a quarter circle or vertical stack of items. I'd also like to share a button component that can be depressed to give some other user feedback besides just a color change. And another is to share my idea for a cost-effective employee password manager in Power Apps that is encrypted/decrypted using Azure. I am trying to commit to two posts a month, one being about a solution or technical in nature and the other being about life and job stuff. I don't expect a huge readership. I'm not trying to become a household name or get speaking engagements at conferences. As a self-proclaimed nobody living in the middle of nowhere, I really just want to share some of what I have learned and created in the hopes that at least one person who reads it will find something useful or inspiring. 

If you have made it this far, thanks for reading. I will be much more engaged that I have been (which won't be hard as ANY engagement will be more than zero engagement). Hopefully, you will find something of value here that you can use and/or share with someone else who might find value as well. And with that said, I'll see you in the next one!

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