The importance of giving compliments freely

Last week, I indicated that a co-worker and I were on two different sides of the coin: I wanted Plan A and he wanted Plan B. We tried the “compromise” and it epic failed. Now it was time to pick one. Another co-worker suggested trying out each others shoes. Now it was time to make a decision.

I, and everyone in that room, was pleasantly surprised that no swords were pulled out during the discussion. We were apparently both professional, logical; we discussed needs versus preferences. We never went personal.

It went so well, that after the meeting an email was sent to our CEO, HR, VP, and Director complimenting us on our behaviour. It’s rare to see technical arguments that don’t end up heated or personal, apparently.

This is the first time I’ve been given a compliment on my professionalism. No one has ever said that. This comes at a time where I believe little in myself or my ability to control emotions. I was shocked.

For me, it was easy to not get personal: I already trust my co-worker (who I was in disagreement with) and have zero doubts about his priorities or competency. He is highly competent. I have a great deal of respect for him. Getting personal was never an option. The only option was to understand him and his position, and try and figure out why he couldn’t see my side 🙂 So it was always about that, about listening, understanding, and explaining. And it worked well.


Trying out the shoes of another

We are developing a new product at work and have the pleasure of choosing the technologies we want to work with. Having worked with only legacy code before, these choices is quite an exciting endeavor. But of course, with choices come preferences, and with preferences come debates…

We are using MVC for server side and AngularJS for client side. Except I am finding that AngularJS and MVC conflict more than they work together. They compete rather than complement. The more and more I work with AngularJS, the more frustrating I find it to be — it’s way more of an application than it is a toolkit!

Suppose I want to present the user with a list of items, and I want them to be searchable client-side. AngularJS requires me to create a controller, retrieve the model via an API, and then all this functionality of filtering, etc. is free to me. However, suppose I wanted to use MVC because we’re using Display Templates extensively to keep consistent how we show a user on every page (with an icon and a link? who knows)…well, now its pretty hard to use AngularJS. You’ve got to use some sort of ng-init hacks. It’s kind of silly.

I am convinced that we are not using AngularJS the way it was designed to be used; AngularJS seems to be oriented for single-page-applications and we are not developing one and we’ve already decided that we don’t want to.  However, a co-worker disagrees….

The beautiful part from all of this is how civil our disagreements are. I know that the interactivity that AngularJS brings us leads to a much more beautiful UI and even better UX. Either there was a realization that it’s not AngularJS that brings us all those things but instead just plain ol’ Javascript; or they were just really civil. The discussions were just that: discussions. They weren’t an argument. They were very civil.

In the end when we couldn’t reach an agreement, a mediator suggested that we both try to implement a small subset of our code with the way other wants to do it to understand the benefits the other is trying to explain…

At a previous work place, it would’ve been a heated debate with probably some name calling hidden behind some awkward laughter. It’s great to be out of such a toxic environment and into a healthy one.

Are you grateful for Judas Iscariot?

Ah. I love my bible study group. I love meeting with them. They are such great people who are always ready to hear me out, to listen to my doubts, and share that they too, sometimes wonder. It’s good to know that we are all in this search together.

We are studying gratitude in our Bible study group, and this week the focus was on Jonah 3-4. I didn’t really know much of the story around Jonah; I had heard something about a whale. Jonah 3-4 shows, among other things, Jonah’s discontent at being God’s prophet, his lack of appreciation of life, and his anger at God for forgiving others.

Jonah is angry with God for being merciful and forgiving; he doesn’t want God to forgive others. He wants God to be fair.

I think the book of Jonah carries some undertones about judgement. Who is Jonah to pass judgement unto others and seek revenge? When someone hurts you, is it really you’ve they hurt or is it God, whose work you are, that they’ve hurt?

It reminded me of Judas Iscariot. As my Pastor put it, Judas is the punching bag of Christianity. It is so easy to dislike him; but it is so important to feel compassion for him. To pray for him. What a terrible burden it is to carry that your folly cost the life of the saviour! It’s saddening that we can forgive someone who denied Jesus not once, but three times; but not one who revealed his location…! It is saddening that he is forgotten as a disciple and remembered only as a betrayer.

Judas was hand-picked by Jesus himself, just as the other disciples. He was part of God’s plan. Jesus never showed him disdain, so why should we? If the death of Jesus is so important to our salvation, so is Judas’ betrayal. So the question begs, are you grateful for him? Are you grateful for his betrayal? Are you grateful that someone did the dirty work for you?


“I didn’t think you could ever be depressed.”

My friend shared an article about a Quebec mother who killed her kids and who now wants to starve to death. I haven’t actually read the article, the headline already gut-wrenching.

My friend felt anger towards the mother, anger that she gave her kids no chance. Three young kids. Dead. No chance.

I shared how I also felt sadness for the mother; who knows what kind of mental illness she has, who knows what she was going through. Depression is a very real, and scary thing. It scares me that prescriptions for it tend to have the side effect: depression (make it worse, yay!) and death (suicide). How can they ever prescribe this stuff?!

I’ve dealt with attempting suicide, talking to counselors, being hopeless, being overwhelmed. I get how that woman is feeling. I remember feeling at those moments how I am an awful person for bringing these little angels into the world. The only difference is while these people felt that it would be better for the kids if they were dead too…I am incapable of harming my kids and that because I want them to have a better life, I must live. The thought of my kids growing up with a mother who committed suicide…that’s rough. That’s teaching them from a young age that there are emotions that they absolutely won’t be able to deal with it…that that runs in their blood.

I can’t have them thinking that. I have to give them a chance at a better life, because I know they can have it. I know it’s possible to have it, and I will at least try to give them that.

My friend was shocked that I had been depressed, ever. He thought I would be incapable 🙂 Apparently I am an overly happy person (he thought I was always just high on sugar or something!).