As many of you know I stand firmly against the new TSA screening procedures and indeed I have been quite vocal about them. I cannot accept that men, women and children are forced to play russian roulette with their dignity and health. And I cannot accept that there is zero accountability or oversight for those making and enforcing these new policies. I do however accept that not everyone feels the same way I do. Yet for me this is a deeply personal issue and I do not want to fly while these policies are in place.
About four months ago, before the new airport screening procedures took effect, I took on the role of Developer Evangelist at DevExpress. This position entailed, along with other things, that I would be traveling regularly to speak at events across the country and perhaps the world. I was very excited to join the DevExpress team because, quite frankly, they have the best products on the market and an even better team of passionate people standing behind them.
Unfortunately with the new air travel procedures I am no longer able to fulfill the requirements of the Developer Evangelist role. A secondary option was presented to move to Los Angeles and be a Technical Evangelist, but I am passionately in love with the Seattle area and the new life I have been creating here. With great sadness I am no longer employed with DevExpress. I wish the team there all the best.
What’s next for me? I have no idea. To be quite honest I’ve been running balls all for more than three years including 118 community events and Geek Road Trip and I’m starting to realize how tired I am. Exhausted. Burned out. Indeed you all were right that it is impossible to maintain this lifestyle indefinitely. So I am going to start by getting some sleep. I also decided to take a vacation right after I found myself asking if I’m allowed to take a vacation. It’s been years since I last went on vacation though and to be honest I have no idea what a vacation looks like or where I’ll go. Among the things I’d like to do though are sleep, kayak, scuba dive, hike, bike, take pictures, enjoy fine dining, experience some concerts and shows and comedy, read, perhaps dance (poorly), go to a spa, and drink some red wine. And no computers.
As for what’s next in my career I’ve been considering a number of options:
- Doing technical training and consulting in the Seattle area.
- I spoke to a non-profit attorney last week about formally registering GeekGive as a 501(c)(3) and I have a few additional program ideas I’d love to see GeekGive implement.
- I have also been considering my long-time fallback plan of being a truck driver. You all know I have gasoline running in my veins and I’m sure the conversion to diesel wouldn’t be too hard. Home on weekends, right?
- I have a potential opportunity to get involved in a socially responsible film company.
- I'd love to do more with my music and songwriting.
- And finally I have been thinking about going back to school for a theology degree.
What I do know is that I do want to spend more of my time and energy on efforts to help change the world. Indeed my heart is broken daily with truly abhorrent stories of human trafficking and fatherlessness.
Human trafficking is now the world’s second most lucrative criminal endeavor having surpassed arms and outranked only by drugs. It is estimated that roughly 30,000,000 people worldwide are enslaved in sex and labor trafficking in 161 countries. 80% of the victims are women and girls, with roughly 1,000,000 children exploited by the sex trade. Human slavery is presently bigger than the entire 365 year trans-Atlantic slave trade (via http://slavevoyages.org/tast/assessment/estimates.faces). There is hope though. Many organizations including Not For Sale have been working tirelessly to raise awareness and engineer solutions and governments, corporations, and societies are beginning to change. We can end slavery.
Fatherlessness is also an epidemic. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 3 children in the United States will grow up without a father. To many it may seem inconsequential, but that is far from the truth. In John Sowers’ book “Fatherless Generation” he states that “according to various sources, children from fatherless homes account for”:
- 63 percent of youth suicides
- 71 percent of pregnant teenagers
- 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children (who are prime targets for human trafficking)
- 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions
- 85 percent of all youth who exhibit behavior disorders
- 71 percent of all high school dropouts
- 75 percent of adolescents in chemical abuse centers
- 85 percent of all youths sitting in prison
“What’s more, children from fatherless homes are nearly twice as likely to struggle with hyperactivity, conduct, and emotional disorders and have a social impairment. They are nearly three times as likely to be struggling in school or to have to repeat a grade. They are five times more likely to be poor, thirty-three times more likely to be seriously abused (requiring medical attention), and seventy-three times more likely to be killed.” – Fatherless Generation by John Sowers, p 36. The facts are staggering and profound. The biggest need other than for fathers to be Dads is for men to step up and mentor fatherless kids. That can make all the difference. Donald Miller in his book "Father Fiction" says that there is something profound that happens when a child is significant in their father's life; when a father takes the time to mentor and train his son to take responsibility and be honest and treat women with respect; when a father takes the time to treat his daughter like a princess and tell her that she's beautiful and special and deserving of a good man. And he is right: the world needs more good men and women.
Whatever the next chapters and seasons of my life looks like, I hope you all continue to be in them, and I hope to see you in Redmond soon!