Since 34

This blog has been idle for over a year! The last time I blogged was for my 34th birthday (January 2021). I’m disappointed in my lack of blogging, dropping a ball on becoming a better writer. So let us kick off with a quick update and some photos to match.

Our family has grown! We now have 4 beautiful little humans trying to rule our lives. Ariah Rhoda Maralack joined the gang after a very challenging pregnancy. She arrived at 34 weeks after Lauren was in hospital for 7 weeks leading up to it: read more on my Lauren’s blog. During this time I got to spend a lot of time on the road, driving between Paarl and Panorama Mediclinic, as well as many hours entertaining and looking after Judah, Hosea and Avah.

I became a team lead, or and engineering manager as we call it in the industry. I’m managing a team that spans 5+ timezones. Working with amazing folks from Brazil, Canada, Scotland, Wales, Spain and Turkey. This new role is not a promotion at Automattic, so you can switch back to working as developer as soon as you no longer enjoy it. I’m learning a lot from the challenge, but will share more about this role change in a separate post.

While adjusting to team lead responsibilities I’ve also taken on an academic course, finishing up a course I started 10 years ago: Advanced, Diploma in IT (or the new name Information Resource Management). I underestimated the impact the program would have, but, thank the Lord, I made it through. I finished this up and achieved something I always wanted, to get my qualification “with distinction” (cum laude). I also want to write more about my academic journey and what I learned here.

Finally, I also turned 35, and I’m grateful to my eternal Heavenly Father for blessing me with such a wonderful life. I was an average student and not one of the greatest minds. I don’t deserve what I have: A beautiful wife, strong and healthy children, a loving larger family and a comfortable home and the blessing of a great job. “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastics 9:11)

It’s been a busy year for us all. With all that’s behind me I’m grateful and excited. It’s wonderful to be alive and to have the opportunity to choose life everyday. As for writing. I hope to blog more often. I hope to avoid heavy filtering and unwanted colouring. Above that, I hope for my writing to be helpful. I hope to live fully.

Previously: 32, 33, 34

Success with your support network

Lego inner cricle. A close nit lego family.

To succeed at remote work, we need to know what we need and how to communicate it.

I have three kids and the best kind of support from Lauren. Remote work would be impossible without her being a great friend, taking care of the kids when I’m having meetings and listening to all my silly ideas.

This post was a draft for a while and I’ve tried to make it as universal as possible, though, I realized that I could only share my viewpoint on the type of support one would need and so I’ll touch on practical and intangible support.

Practical support

My workday starts at 8am. I have a separate space where I can lock the door to stop the kids from running in. I’m not too fond of interruptions and any other task or requests while I’m working. I’m most productive in the morning and try to schedule my deep work between 8 and 12. Since I became team lead I have more meetings in the afternoon. I take a break every hour and regularly go outside to see my family.

To think about what you need to help you with, consider these questions:

  • What kind of space would you like to work in? Should your space be open and accessible to those around you?
  • What are your preferred work hours and when are you most productive?
  • What can others do to make your work easier and how can you return this favour?

After answering these questions or thinking about your own practical needs, consider the intangible needs that are equally important.

Intangible support

I need to talk about disappointments and let go of stressful situations. Similarly, I love speaking about the joyful work moments and having some quiet time to write and think fills me up. Reflecting on the positive things and practicing gratitude allows me to face life with a fresh perspective. There are days where it’s impossible to be entirely focused, where I am distracted by family responsibilities or life. You will face similar situations.

For the intangible support consider these questions:

  • Do you have good separation between work and life? Are you taking enough time off?
  • What makes you truly happy and how can you create a space for this in your life?
  • Do you take time to acknowledge and celebrate your successes, regardless of how small they are?

When we disconnect from work we need to return to space where we are loved, respected and cared for. In this environment we can more freely share how work affects us emotionally. Remote work situations differ a lot and we all have our own unique context, but despite the varying contexts taking your loved ones on the journey with you is crucial.

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32 and content

Yesterday I turned 32. What an amazing time to be alive. There are so many mountains to climb and challenges to overcome. I have a sense of destiny awaiting while feeling thankful that I have opportunities to reach for things greater than where I come from.

I had no party, no event, not too many people over and it felt libarating. Having the option to choose what to do and then choosing a simple day, with loved ones. Those very close to me. This, in the form of conversations, phone calls and messages. I appreciate the day called birthday and I understand why it’s such an important day to almost every one.

I realise that health is something one takes for granted and that it is one of the biggest blessings in our lives. Without it, nothing works. I’m eternally greatful for mine.

I am a beliver and it shapes every part of my life. I’m thankful for every new year that’s added to my life. I’m so thankful for all the good gifts I have recieved and I’m eternally greaful for salvation and a walk that challenges me to grow.

I hope that this is just the beginning, I hope that my story continues further into the happily ever after. I hope that I grow in character, skill and spheres of impact. I hope to spend more days feeling content and less days thinking about what I do not have. I hope focus on who I’m becoming and not what I’m acquiring.