Jan 04 2018

10 Commandments Of A Career

Category: English posts,TechnicalIuliana @ 23:18

I don’t know if 11 years of experience in programming and three published books can be considered a career, but in this 11 years I got promotions I did not chase or even wanted so this must count for something. I do not know if I did anything different than others that try to succeed, but my attitude and hard work got me from a low place to a place higher than I even dared to dream so I thought it might be useful for others.

So here there are, the 10 commandments of my career.

1. Do your best. Sounds easy, sounds simple, but it is difficult to do your best. Especially on your bad days. The truth is you will spend at least 8 hours at work, you might as well use it properly, to deliver quality products and acquire quality knowledge.

2. If you do not like it, change it. Nothing is perfect in this world, thus companies are not either. You will get defective management, defective products to work on, defective people to work with. But nothing changes its state without interference and stimuli. So do your part: speak up and act. You would be amazed how much much you can change. A strong warrior is forged in battle so be thankful for the battles you have to take part of.

3. Ask. Do not expect people to know or care, what you want or need. If you do not ask, people will rarely know what you need and give it to you. There are also people who are shy and can’t say no, even if they don’t really want to give you something. So ask and insist when necessary.

4. Read your contract, know your rights. This should be obvious, but many people skip this part. You have more rights than you think. There are rules put in place to protect you from bullies that are high up the corporate ladder, because with great power sometimes it’s not the great responsibility that comes, but great assholeness. So know them and invoke them when necessary.

5. Never stop improving. This should also be obvious, but some people get cozy at their jobs and get complacent. The only constant in this universe is change. So ride the change like a surfer rides the ocean. Keep your mind fresh and open and enjoy all the wonders of changing time. People who are reluctant to change fade into the background of the company, those who welcome it shine like the sun.

6. Speak up.Do not be afraid to voice your concerns and make proposals. Be open. Be creative. Even in companies that are known to have rigid hierarchy and fixed processes, exceptions can happen when good ideas are strongly voiced. Provide feedback whether is positive or negative. People like being complimented for their good work and even if uncomfortable, people accept that they have to improve. Those that do not want to improve, will most likely quit at some point anyway.

7. Establish boundaries. Be explicit about your do’s and dont’s. For example, it’s ok to state upfront that you do not like overtime, or working in shifts. Preferably do this at the interview, but if you were ok with this at first and then later some changes in your life  make you incompatible with this sort of activities, do not be afraid to communicate it. Contracts are not always explicit about your responsibilities and anything you are asked to do that is not in there, you can be negotiated upon.

8. Work with friends, not colleagues. We are humans, not robots. We make mistakes, we change, we have good days and we have bad days. Know your colleagues. The key to a productive team is to figure out when people are having a bad day and not pushing them and to figure out when they have good ones to challenge them. Also, building trust and friendship with your colleagues leads to a more comfortable working environment, that ultimately… does not feel like work. The truth is, for at least 8 hours a day we share the same space, breathe the same air with a select group of people. The key to a good collaboration is to know their strengths and weaknesses, and harness any of them to build a quality product.

9. Learn from the best. Learn from the worst. Learn from mistakes. And teach others. We are humans, we have genius epiphanies and brain farts. We have cheerful moments and we have low ones. Every experience is learning experience. From the best, copy behaviours that will make you the best. From the worst you can learn what not to do. From mistakes you can learn what was tried and failed, so you will know what not to try. And yeah, preferably learn form mistakes done by others. And teach others. We all die not knowing a lot of things. But be generous with your knowledge, share it so we all die knowing more things. ;)

10. Keep it simple. To make things complicated is easy. You don’t even have to try too much, just take something that you know and build it in your own personal way, thinking that you will never share it with anyone. To people that do not know what you tried to build and how, it will look complicated. The hard part in any domain is to build complex things in a simple way, so that others can understand it and contribute to it. So keep things simple. Implement complicated things in simple ways. Simple is the most practical way after all.

I know some ideas in the above paragraphs might related or even repeated. But, as Aristotle says: “We are what we repeatedly do; thus excellence is not an act, but a habit.”

Stay safe, stay happy!


Oct 13 2017

The day everything became clear

Category: English posts,PersonalIuliana @ 23:20

When I started seeing a psychologist, I was looking for healing. My heart was broken and my soul crushed and I wasn’t enjoying life at all. I went there hoping to heal my broken heart, and be able to use it for love again. Because I do not have many fears, but being unable to love again, turning totally cold, forever because of a bad relationship was one of them.

And it turned out I had a lot of repressed feelings – mostly anger – to solve. I did not have a good life, but I never imagined the tool took on me would leave me that broken. I’ve has suicidal thoughts since I was 11 years old, but when it turned too difficult to have a normal life because of them a solution had to be found. Because I have spent my life until 32 years old learning a lot of things, except how to live.

I think it has been two years now since I started living. And then I started loving. And for the first time, I realized that my psychologist was right. Because of my upbringing, probably I’ve  never really felt love before. Only need, dependence or just … scared to be alone. When I realized I was in love again, first I got scared. What if I mess it up? What if he doesn’t love me. Turns out I was right at least in one of my fears. He does not love me. And I’ve tried to stop loving him, because what use is a love that is not reciprocated, right?

Well, it has a purpose. Being able to love, makes a person better. It gives you a different view on the world. Loving someone that does not reciprocate gives you the occasion to be close to them without the pressures of a relationship. It gives you the opportunity to be there for them, to see them for who they are and not the hormone bomb people become when in love. It feels nice, because you can definitely see if they are worth your feelings or not.

Oh, and he is worthy! He is one of the best persons I’ve met in a while. He is genuinely good and nice to me, not because he wants “something”. He’s far from perfect and he pisses me off sometimes. But the conversations I have with him are never boring and whenever I need him, he is one click away. And I reciprocate that. And I finally understood what love is. Love is when somebody’s well-being and happiness are a big part of your own. It seemed far-fetched when I grew up. It did not seem possible to love someone romantically and not be with them. Unless they moved to the other end of the world or there were other impediments, that is.

Well, he is on the other end of the world now. And I did my best to help him stay there, because that’s where he is happy.

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Sep 08 2017

So I read the Google manifesto…

Category: English posts,TechnicalIuliana @ 12:12

Before going on vacation the Google scandal of the 10-page “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” document was just starting. A guy at Google created this document in which he criticised the politically correct Google environment and the discrimination happening in the name of the political correctness. And that manifesto made it to the internet. I was preparing for a vacation like no other, in which I was to detach myself completely from my working environment and from the passion that I dedicated myself to for the last 16 years of my life. So I postponed reading the Google manifesto until getting back.

I read the document on the plane on my way back and I realised there is a lot of blogging material in there. Because here we are in the time where political correctness dictates which people are allowed to speak their minds out loud and which are not, unless they want to risk being fired.
Continue reading “So I read the Google manifesto…”

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Apr 18 2017

My new favorite series: The Fall

Category: English postsIuliana @ 23:31

No idea where I heard about this series, The Fall, maybe on Youtube. But I started watching it during the long Easter weekend and I could not stop until I’ve seen it all.

I don’t usually start watching a series while I’m writing a book. Maybe the fact that Gillian Anderson is the main character made me curious, as I’ve loved her in X-Files. Maybe the fact that the action takes place in Belfast and I love the Irish accent. Maybe because is an English series, which means that the characters have more depth than the American ones. A combination of all these made me take the recommendation into account.

What can I say about the series? The action unfolds slowly and every detail matters, if you are focused enough on the movie you can see the clues for yourself. The main character, Stella Gibson, is a feminist symbol. She is strong, but emphatic. She is cold, but passionate. What makes this seriously notable is that there are no Hollywood cliches. Hollywood goes for older men dating much younger women. In this movie we have a woman in her 40s dating… actually dating is not a good term, having sex is more like it, with men 20 years younger than her. And the actress is 59. :) And yes she looks 40. This woman is focused on her career, on hunting the killer, but she has needs and she satisfies them with persons needing the same thing. All without the hassle of a relationship. And in a reformed Irish society this is not viewed well and she is often not taken seriously in her field because of it, or removed from the public view. But in the end, she has her killer. Eliminating another Hollywood cliche, the killer is caught by sheer luck, after some of his actions that were not linked to the murders have serious consequences. Season three is dedicated on building a case against him, to make sure he will definitely do the time and ends with Stella Gibson being given the credit for stopping him and her going back to her home where we see her alone sipping red wine from a crystal glass.

Why I like this character so much? Because it was written so well, it is so real. In my 40s if I continue in my career, I will probably be something like that. Honestly, I hope I’ll be that good looking as well. :)) I can make tough decisions, but that does not mean I am not emphatic. I will stand my ground even if tears are rolling from my eyes. I am a woman, I am anatomically frail and vulnerable, but that does not mean I am weak. In the series she is also an anthropologist. Her behavior reminds me of Temperance Brennan a little, but Stella is more real, because she knows and accepts herself, that is why you do not see her trying to look strong, or hiding away her emotions. In the series, she explains why masculinity is a defect, when asked why women are so strong. Women are created based on a complete set of chromosomes:XX. Men are created from an incomplete set: XY, one chromosome is missing a strand of DNA. That is why, even if women are anatomically weaker, emotionally women are stronger and more resistant to pain. No idea if this is true, but is wrapped up beautifully enough in scientific facts, that makes it damn believable.

Another actor that gives an amazing performance is Jamie Dornan. It’s a little ironic that his role seems to resemble the role he has in 50 shades of Grey. I really hope they don’t decide to typecast him only as sexual psychopaths from now on. Because this guy has serious acting potential, which combined with his good looks might be the perfect cocktail for a great career. His character Paul Specter is amazingly written as well. The normality of the character in family scenes is strongly contrasting with his psychopath scenes, but he has a good side as well, that is well hidden in his actions, removing yet another Hollywood cliche, where evil characters are purely evil.

I won’t tell you more about the series, but I’m gladly recommending it. Just be sure you can take this kind of movie, because the characters feel real, so is the violence in some scenes. And also the cloudy sky over Ireland gives the series a dark feel as well.

Now I’m conflicted, these three seasons were amazing and the end was amazing. I’m a little uneasy if they will continue the series with Stella Gibson hunting another serial killer, because the next story might not be so good. I mean, look at True Detective.

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Apr 09 2017

Song inspired post

Category: English posts,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 13:10

It’s no secret for my friends and for my oldest readers that I am a peculiar music lover. I get lost in songs that beside sound also have deep and meaningful lyrics because this combination moves people and makes them think. The song “Happier” from Ed Sheeran is such a song. I just finishing listening to it and felt the need to write here where my mind went.

I remembered how I felt when you left, I remembered a few of the things you told me, among them I hope I remember properly, you said you do not want to stay in my way. Almost three years ago, all the things you said about leaving me for my own good seemed such bullshit and still hurts a little thinking about it. Because at the time it was bullshit that you trying to feed me, to keep my love for you alive, just in case your new relationship would not have worked and you might have realized at some point that you loved me and you were better with me.

It’s ironic really, that bullshit from three years ago is not bullshit anymore. You were in my way. I sat four extra years in a town that I did not like, in a region of the country I loathed, just because I thought I I loved you and you felt the same and I should give that relationship a chance, even against all odds. I really hope you are happier now, happier than you’ve been with me. I was never good at this relationship stuff and I know I probably I made mistakes that I didn’t acknowledge at the time and don’t even remember now. I can’t remember the times when we were happy that much. So I have nothing to compare with my current situation.

I’m definitely more tranquil and focused on what I am passionate about. I’m definitely more aware of my own desires and what brings me satisfaction. I am more open-minded to new experiences and new people. I am more accepting of my failures and of others as well. I am more indifferent to the human nature, I have become less critical about the world and more careless. I don’t know if this is bad or good from others’ point of view, but sure feels good and comforting. And what else is happiness if not loving what you’ve got after all? So I guess I am happier.

I am writing all this from a hotel room with a view over a beautiful city while the sun is shining in my windows and Ed Sheeran is still playing his guitar on my speakers. I took a break from doing something that I love and that I will shortly go back to. And it’s not a man :)), its a technical book that I’m writing, that is yet another part of my legacy that I will leave to this world when I’ll be gone.

This and many fulfilling experiences would not have happened if you wouldn’t have decided to stop being in my way. I know you did it for the wrong reasons at the time, but currently I couldn’t care less.

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Apr 08 2017

You thought friend-zone was bad?

Category: English posts,MiscellaneousIuliana @ 20:33

Before telling you what is worse than friend-zone let me tell you a few things about me.

I did not have the occasion while growing up to cultivate friendships because my parents moved me from place to place, there was no internet, or even phones back then, and we were also poor, so keeping in touch with my friends once we’ve switched cities was not an option.
I studied in a technical high school and a technical university. Maybe the situation improved now, but when I did all those, there were not many girls interested in technical domains like computer engineering. So most of my colleagues were boys, and because we spent a lot of time together, few of them became good friends. Some of them are men now, they have wives and kids and the whole package, but they are still my friends. People that are lucky enough stay in one place they make friends among neighbors, among school colleagues, faculty colleagues, etc. I did not have any of these for a enough of a long time to build long-lasting friendships. Friends have changed over the years and the most lasting friendship that I have is 11 years long and going strong and he is a guy.

I currently work in a domain that for years used to be dominated by men, and in some countries, like Germany for example, still is.

And another information that might seem useless, but it will make sense soon: the love of my life died in 2001 and since then every relationship was a failure for me and I took the decision to stay away from romantic involvement, because I do not want to waste anybody’s time, not anymore.

Why have I told you all this? Because a while ago I met a new colleague and we seemed to be hitting it off right away. Not in a sexual attraction/romance way, in that “two peas in a pod”, “brother from another mother” way. The thing I like most when befriending adults, it is really easy to put everything on the table. We’re not insecure adolescent hormone bombs anymore, so you can make dirty jokes and say silly things without the worry of being interpreted in a different way. Because, we are adults, we accept that might happen and well… life goes on and not everybody must like you.

When a colleague asked me about this guy, I just told him straight away: “I think I have a geek crush!” Talking with him about tech, the company we both work for, peculiar movies and books is just time well spent. And I really really wanted to have a beer with this guy, because he seems really uncomfortable at work. So being the no-filter person that I am, I told him so. And that’s when it happened: he colleagued-zoned me. Yeap, this is worst than being friend-zoned. Because what it means, is that this person does not even want to be friends with you. Why did he do it? Well… something about his wife being jealous of him making a new friend that happens to also to be a girl. I can understand that, sort of.

But for me this was never a problem. If my ex-boyfriends would have gotten agitated every time I left the house to meet with my male colleagues, the relationships would have been much sorter. At some point I was going to some of my faculty colleagues houses to work on projects and faculty related stuff, colleagues that they did not even know. I was jealous in two of my relationships, but I had reasons to be. Of course looking back now I realize, that instead of being jealous I should have just ended it. But oh well, mistakes were made. Live some, learn some.

Of course after that chat I never dared saying another word to this guy. It’s not like I’m dying to befriend him or something. I can live well enough with the friends I have. But it just feels stupid. Here we are in a world where we are trying to convince people to treat men and women the same, but I can’t start building a friendship with a guy, because his wife gets jealous.

So yeah, I’ve been colleague-zoned. Achievement unlocked. :D

Stay safe, stay happy!

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Apr 08 2017

git unpack failed: error Missing tree solution

Category: English posts,TechnicalIuliana @ 19:18

More than a year ago, I convinced the company that I work for to switch from CVS to Git. This was not done as I wanted it, because … management… and thus a lot of stupid issues appeared. I did Git support for more than a year, and all this time 80% was Eclipse support, because the EGit Eclipse plugin is … a mess.  Now after more than a year later, a new problem appeared. When people tried to push their changes, a nasty pop-up appears:

And after you get this pop-up, doing it from the command line, doesn’t do it either:

C:\work>git push -v
Pushing to ssh://gigi.pedala@git:29418/gmp-parent
Counting objects: 91, done.
Delta compression using up to 8 threads.
Compressing objects: 100% (85/85), done.
Writing objects: 100% (91/91), 44.68 KiB | 0 bytes/s, done.
Total 91 (delta 41), reused 0 (delta 0)
remote: Resolving deltas: 100% (41/41)
fatal: Cannot receive pack: error: unpack failed: error Missing tree 07b3431321048e15dccc9e022e258b93252894ef
To ssh://gigi.pedala@git:29418/gmp-parent
! [remote rejected] HEAD -> hotfix/H5.14.0.XX_ADV_XMW_branch (n/a (unpacker error))
error: failed to push some refs to ‘ssh://gigi.pedala@git:29418/gmp-parent’

If you search for a solution on the internet for this, you will most probably be told that your repository is corrupted and that the only solution is to re-clone it. Or you will be required to execute a lot of commands… that might do nothing for you.

Two days ago a colleague of mine from Frankfurt had it. As I was in the office I took the other Git expert in the company with me and went to his computer to dissect his repo. And being the nice person that I am, I will share the solution with you. We ran a git gc

git gc
Runs a number of housekeeping tasks within the current repository, such as compressing file revisions (to reduce disk space and increase performance) and removing unreachable objects which may have been created from prior invocations of git add.

Basically, when you do a push, git packages the information and tries to send it to the remote. Problem is that, whatever is sent to the remote in this case, cannot be unpacked because a git tree is missing for some reason. If you try to do a git show on the tree with the SHA1 code mentioned in the error, all the information is there. So what is happening? Well, git gc will help you here, because when trying to repack the information, you will get a set of errors like these:

cannot unlink file .git/objects/pack…”

Apparently Eclipse, or any other program, or even Windows holds a lock on the repository files, which prevents packing, and obviously incomplete information is send to the remote which cannot unpack it, thus the upacker error problem. I mentioned Windows here, because I haven’t heard anybody having this problem on a Unix system yet.

The solution for my colleague was to restart his computer(we closed Eclipse, but some java processes were still hanging and keeping the files locked so we took the easy way out) and before opening any other program execute git gc. The operation executed without any errors and he was able to continue his work, and do any remote operations he needed.

So this is the easiest solution: restart the computer, do a git gc and go about your work as usual.

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