Hey friends…I’m back…

My last post was almost two years ago – 7 February 2017. I was writing about SharePoint, Office 365 and me breaking into the scene of IOT, Sonos, HUE and generally hacking around with home automation. These topics have continued to be at the forefront of my world since then and remain close to my heart. And these topics are exactly where I plan to kick things back off!

It’s not to say I’ve had nothing to say, quite the opposite I’ve got a ton to share, but more that I didn’t have the time to post. Excuses, excuses and excuses they are but family, life and work have pulled on me beyond belief. But how have I let almost two years passed?

Well…I’ve had two migration projects. One of them was as badass as they get, taking me back to the world that was SharePoint 2003 for one of the worlds leading banks with an endless amount of complications and customisation’s that we had to unpick and reverse engineer. What a team it was and great friendships formed! Then there is this hugely aspirational and transformational Office 365 Modern Workplace agile project in the heart of the UK government that I continue to lead, and well you could say I am and have been pretty flat out. But that’s just work, it’s been the personal things that have taken their toll the most. Add managing and contributing to two house renovations, relocating from the South of the UK to the North. Then a relationship break-up for all of it to pretty much no longer exist. All that time, energy, DIY, cost and distance you do start asking yourself what was the point? For me, it is quite simple. One beautiful sparkling daughter and a new life outside all of this to create. My daughter is so deserving of all and any of my free time and attention. For all intense and purposes, it has felt like my hands and tongue have been pretty tied up.

For many years I reached certain lows. These last two years included. It is those around me, close and far that I needed the most but during these times I have pushed those I needed the most further away. And for that, I wholeheartedly apologise. For those in similar places. Please talk. However hard you may find it, please reach out to an old friend or family member. You’ll be surprised how many people out there who are willing to listen. A granddad like figure I grew up with also said present me a solution, not a problem when things were going wrong…how his words still stand true. In reflection. I dedicated myself to my family and work commitments too heavily and isolated myself away and alienated my friends and those close to me with silly excuses. I gradually felt that my voice wasn’t worth hearing and that I was somehow less significant than my peers. Slowly this amounts to a horrible feeling of low self-worth and degrades your confidence and any sense of authority massively. Mostly remote working and home renovations in the middle of nowhere often resulted in days passing with little to no contact. This isn’t healthy. Fact. I’m now pushing myself to visit the office more frequently and trying hard to break back into a rhythm of yoga, cycling again and time with friends.

Poppet. A term of great endearment and affection, used to describe in one word all the feelings of warmth, comfort, kindness, generosity, honesty and strength of character you feel every time you are with that person.
Poppet. A term of great endearment and affection, used to describe in one word all the feelings of warmth, comfort, kindness, generosity, honesty and strength of character you feel every time you are with that person.

Microsoft lovingly gives staff a holiday gift. This small amount of money is for us to donate to a charity of our choice, collectively this is a huge and generous donation. This year I am giving my gift to Mind and Shelter and also personally matching it. Thank you to Microsoft, my colleagues and my friends and family near and far for everything you do.

This week I was surprised and shocked to see an email from the Microsoft Ready team telling me that I have been selected to speak at the Microsoft Ready event in Seattle next February. My initial thought was one of fear and worry (it still is). Closely followed by, heck I’ve got to cancel this, but I’m determined to speak there. And friends far…I hope we find the opportunity to meet and enjoy time together! From Attendee to Speaker…flipin heck.

From attendee to speaker. Microsoft Ready speaker invite.
From attendee to speaker. My email from the Microsoft Ready team. 

While I have genuinely missed writing on my blog over the last few years, I’ve continued contributing to some of the most significant communities in the world (in my opinion). The joy and passion shared in these communities are one of the fundamental reasons I keep my blog alive and the drive for me to get back writing again.

I can’t wait to get writing and sharing with you all again, particularly about some subjects close to my heart: STEM, Modern Workplace, SharePoint modernisation and food!

Love and warmest Holiday Wishes.

James