In one of the many jobs that I held, I remember someone telling me that they weren’t sharing knowledge of something because being the only person who knew that gave them job security. I’ve always felt that was foolish. If you’re the only person who knows something, you get stuck doing that same stupid, repetitive task whenever it needs doing. I can think of nothing more boring for a developer than hoarding knowledge. I don’t ever want to have to do the same thing twice – unless doing it the second time is showing someone else how to do it or demonstrating the way things “used to get done” before I automated the task.
So, it’s no surprise that I’ve always wanted to share whatever knowledge I’ve acquired. Sometimes, the knowledge I’ve got to share is so esoteric that people’s eyes glaze over and they ask me to stop talking. (Like the time I was about to talk for 30 minutes about Miljenko Grgich’s life story and how that related to the wine I’d poured, when my best man, Stu Shelton intervened…) Fortunately, in the IBM ICS community, among committed “Lotus” Notes professionals, any short or long blog post, knowledge sharing session or roundtables veritably demands the sharing of esoterica.
Now, here’s the thing. It’s not only encouraged – it is REWARDED.
I really wasn’t good at sharing outside my own work groups until about 2013. I was at Lotusphere (whatever it was called that year) and Marky Roden saw me singing karaoke. As horrid a singer as I am, I believe his thinking had to be ‘anyone who can risk that kind of humiliation can be a conference speaker’. He’d seen me answering questions on Stack Overflow (I’d gotten over a few hundred reputation points and he was shocked that he didn’t know who I was – no one did!) So, he told me I needed to become a speaker.
I’ve worked on that, but not made the breakthrough to the big time. I’ve blogged over the years, helped out with the DC Lotus Users Group (presented once!), participated in more IBM calls/sessions and gotten very involved in MWLUG. I even was on a panel at Connect 2017, talking to executives about technology trends. Then, when Richard Moy asked, I jumped at the chance to be the local host for MWLUG 2017, here in Alexandria, VA.
Nonetheless, I still have felt like I wasn’t doing all that much. I was living with The Imposter Syndrome. So, when time for IBM Champion nominations came round, I would nominate a few people and then cringe at the idea of nominating myself. I’d been nominated by others, but couldn’t get myself to fill out the paperwork. Howard Greenberg was the first to push me toward this. In 2016, Kathy Brown nominated me and pushed me to nominate myself. I wilted when looking at the paperwork, even though it was something I really wanted.
This year, I finally filled out the paperwork, to go with nominations from a few community members and, to my shock, I didn’t need to write a “it was an honor to be nominated” speech while talking about the great stable of Champions out there. I’m swollen with pride. I was named an IBM Champion.
I’ll get some swag. I’ll get a chance to participate more fully in our community. I’ll have a chance for some recognition at the various conferences. I’m excited about it and vowing to put even more effort into our community.
I want to thank everyone who has encouraged me along the way and those who played a particular role in this process. I hope that I can be your humble and obedient servant, sharing knowledge and helping build our community.