Thursday, October 14, 2004

Upping the Heaval Factor

Sorry if I've been absent for a while. If you think this blog's been missing beats, you ought to see me in real life these days.

Those who have been following the story so far have no doubt picked up on the fact that there hasn't always been a great deal of stability in my life. I have had the same job for four years now, and it has been rather comforting to have a regular income and a roof over my head. The fact that my work environment was keeping me less than happy was immaterial, as was the fact that the roof currently over my head is the ceiling of a ten-foot-square room in a transient hotel (the bathroom's down the hall). Examining that objectively, you'd probably come to the conclusion that my lifestyle is, well, crap. And you'd be right. But to someone who knows what it's like to sleep in the park without calling it camping, it's a hell of a lot easier to hang on to a bad certainty than it is to take a chance trying to find something better.

Well, events have been conspiring against me lately. The company I work for as I type has made its long-term plan for Notes clear, and that future is a Notes-free environment with no plans to build an equivalent collaborative environment on any other platform. Those of us with half a clue have put the migration off as long as we could, even momentarily expanding the Notes footprint, but there's no stopping C-levels with tunnel vision. To tell the truth, the move to Exchange would be a huge step up from the previous corporate solution, but it ain't Notes by a long shot. In fact, the possibility that we might obtain the tools to create a collaboration and workflow environment using anything beyond what comes free in the box with Win2K3 and Exchange has been clearly eliminated from consideration recently. I have no desire to become an email administrator, and that's not just because I resent the move to Exchange. I'm a puzzler, a problem-solver, a developer, and being reduced to helping fat-fingered users find errant attachments and resetting passwords after every long weekend is not what I'm built for.

Next, after fourteen years of searching, I have finally been able to track down someone who was once the most important person in my life. When I knew her, she was just a kid who'd been forced to get by on her own at far too young an age. With all the troubles in her life, though, she was perhaps the brightest and most articulate person I've ever known (in person at least, dear Readers), and a beautiful soul to boot. All she was missing, really, was a good dose of self-worth, and I tried to help her find that. You know, I was a really nice guy back then -- it was after I'd been sober for long enough to become (and I hate to sound hokey here) spiritually centred, and before I was affected by the ravages of homelessness. I wish I had been able to be there for her for a longer time, but the military doesn't just let you live wherever you want. I may introduce her to you later (she's notable in her own right for the work she's done) but for now it's enough to tell you that I'm hoping that regaining that connection to the person I once was can bring some healing to my life.

She's living and working in Montréal now, and that brings us to Exceptional Event Number Three: an innocuous posting in each of the developerWorks Notes and Domino fora by Ben Dubuc announcing that there were a couple of dev positions available in Montréal. That was one too many coincidences for me to ignore. I enquired, and was more than satisfied with the enthusiasm in the shop. For my favourite platform, I mean. The fact that my name seems to have set off bells of recognition in the Notes group is a little less thrilling. I know I'm good, or, rather, I like to think that I know at some intellectual level that I'm better than bad, but something inside me keeps me from believing that I'm good enough. It's probably a hangover from the days when I was being treated like human refuse. I hope that the expectations aren't too high, 'cause I'm taking that job. And the laws and prices in Québec are such that I will be in a proper dwelling this go-round.

I tendered my resignation from CGI Group Inc. a few minutes ago, and I'm off to Montréal and Computer Horizons for November 8. In the interim, folks, any of you who have my address in their addy books should change it to stan dot rogers at gmail dot com for now, particularly if you aren't interested in receiving NDRs. I'm running headlong into the unknown with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. My head and my heart tell me that this will be a fantastic voyage. My demons tell me that everyone will find out I've been faking all this "expertise" stuff and that I'm going to crash and burn. My stomach tells me I have to go throw up now.


Anonymous said...


Good luck in your new position! Can you provide any details on what kind of work you'll be doing? Just curious.


Stan Rogers said...

A little of @This([AndThat];TheOtherThing), and hoping I don't feel too much like a very Dim bunny As New NotesGuy.

More of the same, I s'pose, at least in the beginning, but without so much Exchange in my life. Now that the veil of secrecy has been raised, I'll be doing quite a bit more blog-as-you-go stuff. The whole Anglo in Quebec angle might be worth a few lines.

Ben Poole said...

Wow, exciting stuff! Stan, I'd say that this kind of anxiety is always good :o)

Colin Pretorius said...

Stan, it sounds like a great opportunity. Don't be too hard on yourself - you know what you know, and if it turns out there is some obscure thing on this planet that you actually don't know, you can can always learn :). Congratulations and enjoy it!

Anonymous said...


Speaking as somebody who's seen your code when you've generously given it away to the world for nothing, and also as someone who's seen the way your problem-solving mind works on LDD, I have to tell you something. There's not a snowball's chance in hell that you'll crash and burn. There may be people in the world who have proven themselves more thoroughly than you have in the Notes community, but there aren't a lot of them.

I get the anxiety - I'm not saying you aren't justified in having a high stress level over this. But I hope you don't SERIOUSLY doubt your qualifications, because there are hundreds, if not thousands, of LDD/ users who'd vouch for you in a heartbeat.

Rob McDonagh, aka Captain Oblivious

Anonymous said...

You're definitely one of the most real and open people I have the pleasure of following. Thanks for sharing what you're going through...

I understand the "fear factor", the thoughts of whether you'll measure up. Let me echo the sentiments of the others... You've got what it takes to do this. I'm sure I speak for others when I say that we all wonder about how good we are compared to others. It's easy to think "if they only knew how little I know". Try being the "technical editor" of a newsletter read by LOTS of people who view you as an "expert"... If they only knew... :-)

I'm sure you'll do great, and I'm glad that things are taking a positive turn for you. Keep us posted.


Julian Robichaux said...

Congratulations and good luck (and all that good stuff). The difficult changes are often the most rewarding, and it sounds like this one has too many potential rewards to pass up.

Damien said...

You da man Stan!

I've feel inspired by this. I really hope everything works out for you, it sounds like it will.

Benoit Dubuc said...

Wow, I had no clue that the job thing was part of a real Disney tale! I am proud to be part of it.

And as your qualifications goes, well I guess we'll see in a few weeks!!! But there are no doubts in my mind that you are a great addition to our team. We've exchanged on technical mathers before and I too downloaded some OpenNTF stuff you wrote and shared and I really think we'll get along well in and out of the job.

I understand now why you had no problems moving in Montreal!!!!

It makes me proud to be a small part of that tale.

Anonymous said...


I wish you well in your move to Montreal - both at the new job and with renewing the friendship with that special person in your life.

I think the timing of both os close to perfect considering the turn of events at CGI. Coincidence or Divine Appointment?


Ed Brill said...

Tres bon, Stan ... I was wondering where you had gone to.

Sorry to hear about CGI, though! Ah well.

I hope we can find an opportunity for me to visit you (and your new firm's customers) sometime soon -- I've never done business in Montreal.

Anonymous said...

Very glad to hear the good news, Stan. Methinks you set standards for yourself that are rather higher than most of us would set for ourselves. For the past few years I've admired you and Nathan for your technical knowledge and your vision (even though it's not the same vision). You will be an asset to any company, and Computer Horizons' gain is most definitely CGI's loss (maybe it will take CGI a while to realise it, but realise it they undoubtedly will).

Bernard Devlin

Stan Rogers said...

Thanks for the encouragement folks! I'm looking forward to the new job (and new life), and I'll try to keep in mind that my demons are just tiny little guys in red pyjamas who can be squashed with a single good stomp. (That's figurative. I don't actually see them. At least, I don't usually see them; and when I do, I know what to hide behind. Most of the time....)

Jess said...

Sorry this comment is so late, I just got home from a trip last night. :-(

I wish you so much of the best in your new job, and CGI won't know what they had until it's gone. Well, that probably means that they are banging their heads as we speak...

And we can obviously hear that you have done wonders for this mysterious lady friend (of whom I'm sure we all can't wait to hear more about), the real question now is, is she good enough to deserve you? ;-)

Stan Rogers said...

Why would your trip make you so sad, Jess? I know you're there :o)

Anonymous said...

good luck stan, fortune favours the brave !! i've seen your code floating around, not a chance you'll crash and burn..i'll look forward to hearing of your progress


Brian Benz said...

Congrats Stan! I posted a note on Ed's blog before I saw your blog link....I linked to my Montreal mini-guide series at

Reading back on your posts, my advice to you is to read lost and lots of Leonard Cohen, a fellow Montrealer....

Stan Rogers said...

Thanks for the link, Brian -- and thanks for dropping by. (Such illustrious visitors I get, and I'm not dressed for it at all.) Leonard's words have been with me since before Judy Collins covered "Suzanne" (I was a precocious and somewhat morose little fellow -- that may explain a lot, come to think of it), but I may hear them differently this go-round.

Brian Benz said...

Hey, no prob, wow! An I'm not illustrious, both my parents was married.....;)

I posted parts 1 and 2, will hopefully get to some more this weekend. Have to update the rest. As for Montreal and Leonard Cohen, you'll definitely see it differently. Just walk down Rue Marie-Anne in the plateau, whistling "So long....".

Have fun there! Have a tube ride and some Gluwein this winter for me!