31 Days of Journaling, Day 11: A Band of Brothers

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

For Day 11, the question is “Do you have a gang of friends who push and support you? If not, how could you make some good friends?” As with all the questions so far which have related to friends, I’ll have to hold my hand up again and say this is an area where significant improvement is required. That being said, I have a number of acquaintances in this city with whom I could be better engaged. A number of them are in the same season of life as I am which bodes well I suspect for our being able to band together for mutual support. First things first then, I’ll look to schedule a catchup with a couple of the guys, particularly D and R.

31 Days Of Journaling, Day 10: The Hero’s Journey

Photo by Brett Patzke on Unsplash

The Hero’s Journey makes for interesting reading, showing how in 12 stages the boy becomes a man as he journeys through a life. Although based on myths, the underlying idea behind this framework is that these myths work because they represent how we understand how life happens to us. Vogler’s model, which the folk at AoM espouse, is an abridged version of the original in the Joseph Campbell book (The Hero with a Thousand Faces) and identifies 12 steps (from the Wikipedia page) as below:

  1. The Ordinary World: the hero is seen in his/her everyday life
  2. The Call to Adventure: the initiating incident of the story
  3. Refusal of the Call: the hero experiences some hesitation to answer the call
  4. Meeting with the Mentor: the hero gains the supplies, knowledge, and confidence needed to commence the adventure
  5. Crossing the First Threshold: the hero commits wholeheartedly to the adventure
  6. Tests, Allies and Enemies: the hero explores the special world, faces trial, and makes friends and enemies
  7. Approach to the Innermost Cave: the hero nears the centre of the story and the special world
  8. The Ordeal: the hero faces the greatest challenge yet and experiences death and rebirth
  9. Reward: the hero experiences the consequences of surviving death
  10. The Road Back: the hero returns to the ordinary world or continues to an ultimate destination
  11. The Resurrection: the hero experiences a final moment of death and rebirth so he (or she) is pure when he reenters the ordinary world
  12. Return with the Elixir: the hero returns with something to improve the ordinary world

For what it is worth, it feels like in so many parts of my life I am somewhere between Stages 1 and 3, either having just being called or just having rejected the call for the first time. Mentors and mentoring are going to be key for this next phase of my life. This is certainly something that I will need to return to over the next few weeks.

31 Days Of Journaling, Day 9: My Day

Day 9: My Day

  • Up at 4.42 AM and unable to go back to sleep. Meetings with senior leadership at work on my mind.
  • Played around with some CSS for some modifications I have  been mulling over for this blog
  • Finally out of bed at 6.00 AM to start prepping for work.
  • Off to work at 7.00 AM, glad for some respite from what has been terrible weather. Relief ends up short lived because it opens up again half way through.
  • Arrive at work wet and cold at about 7.30 AM.
  • Arrival routine kicks in; cup of coffee, read and respond to emails, catch up quickly with office mates.
  • First hour spent reading up on latest version of slide deck for meeting, then attending final dry run
  • In between, I sort out delivery of equipment required for a mobilisation offshore in two weeks.
  • Spend rest of the morning in chasing final bits of data for meeting.
  • Lunch @ 12 NOON, quick walk to Boots at Union Square for a sandwich, pepsi max, protein pot and two snack bars (meal deal)
  • Back at 12.30 PM for final check of meeting requirements and then into meeting.
  • Meeting from 1 to 3, a bit of a grilling but I feel like we do ok. A number of things to follow up on even though the consensus seems to be that it has been yet more talking shop. Hopefully real behavioural change kicks off after this.
  • After the high of the meeting, rest of the day is an anti-climax of sorts. catch up with R for the first time this week now that I can catch my breath.
  • Eventually it is 4.30 PM and home time. Walk home and arrive at 5.00PM
  • Dinner, more CSS modifications and then soon it is sleep time.

31 Days of Journaling, Day 8: On Work, A Timeline

For Day 8 of the AoM 31 Day Journaling Challenge: Reflect on Your Career.

Work for me has focused on materials, particularly ferrous ones, and how they perform in a variety of oil and gas environments, on two continents; Africa of my birth and Europe where I have spent the last few years. My journey began in December of 2003 with being hired straight out of University in 2003 as a trainee engineer through progressing via a number of roles in various aspects of the corrosion and materials discipline and eventually leaving in October of 2008, thanks to a mixture of burn out and the opportunity to return to the university for graduate studies. Since graduating in July of 2009, I’ve gotten back into the Corrosion & Materials field first with a service provider and latterly with an oil & gas production company where I am Corrosion & Materials Technical Authority.

Looking back, the early years were some of the best, being hired at one of the biggest oil and gas companies as part of a cohort of four others helped engender a sense of being special with resources available to develop us. 2008, was one of the most pressure filled years, culminating in my leaving to grad school, a few months out and then a return to industry in 2010.

The future is one that is a bit of a toss up at the moment. I feel like to truly reach the heights I wish to reach –  in which I am a broad based technical specialist able to contribute across design, operations and decommissioning – I need time in a design house or consultancy. That is likely to take a pay cut for some time to get into that slightly different field. There is also the question of my increasing interest in data science, analytics and machine learning and the real opportunities I see to migrate those critical skill sets into the oil and as domain. Perhaps the sweet spot would be to combine Corrosion Science and Analytics into a service (CorrSci Analytics?)  I can sell as a consultant in future?

31 Days of Journaling, Day 7: A Reflection

Image source: rawpixel @ unsplash

And so comes Day 7. Whilst those who believe in numerology think seven is the number of perfection, the past few days have been anything but perfect. What they have been though is an opportunity to flex thinking and writing muscles which I haven’t used in a while, which were to put it bluntly beginning to atrophy.

The general idea has been to try to block time out in the morning- between waking up, devotions and heading out to work- to pen a few words in response to the challenge of the day. There have been hits and misses along the way but thankfully I’ve managed to show up. Here’s to discipline winning through and birthing delight in the end.

31 Days of Journaling, Day 3: One Thing

For the prompt for Day 3 of the 31 Day Journaling Challenge at The Art of Manliness

Alongside a regular practice, building a regular practice of prayer and bible study has been one of the things I have struggled most with over the years and which has come up again in this latest iteration of beginning again.

As for actual steps this time, I have bought a copy of 90 Days in Judges, Galatians and Ephesians by Tim Keller and Richard Coekin, a notebook and a pack of hibiscus tea, the intent being to make that part of a new morning routine in which I brew a cup of tea and settle in to read the assigned reading of the day and write notes in my mew black book. Two days in already, I hope I can make it to the 90 and then beyond.