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About me – I used to code

Difficult question, what can I say About me? I guess the first thing that I can say about me is that I find uncomfortable answering the question “Who are you Aníbal Rojas?” To get pass this point I will resort to writing some historical facts about me:

I was born, like it happens to most people, and immediately I became a spoiled kid something that wasn’t my fault at that time. Later I continued to be a spoiled child, a condition that I continue to suffer in the present according to my wife and my sisters, but not to my mom, it may be my fault now.

I grew up as one of those unbearable smarty kids, very cerebral, incredibly bad at sports. My father and uncles were really good at sports, I tried to fake aptitude and interest in sports and miserably failed at it: Later I discovered that I pretty much suck lying in any of its forms.

I found this thing called programming when I was in high school, as a spoiled teenager I asked my father for a computer. Well, it wasn’t a “real” computer but a programmable calculator that included a BASIC interpreter, a CASIO PB-700. I was spoiled, but not a horribly spoiled brat, also my father was a scientist, and he played well his cards: “If you want a computer, you need to learn to program first.”

This was in the eighties, and there wasn’t things like Code School, and this is how I ended learning to program without a computer, from the hand of Kemeny and Kurtz and their BASIC Programming book. I was just in high school and no clue of what was a Markow Chain at that point, but it was easy and fun.

Yeah, I ended studying in Computer Science at the University, I became less spoiled and worked a lot for things like upgrading my IBM PS/2 Models 25 to an amazing amount of 640 KB of RAM or replacing one of the 3.5″ diskette units with a gargantuan 10 MB Western Digital. I also built and rebuilt my desk for the computer with scrap lumber.

I got married, participated a little bit on the bringing a daughter to this world while my wonderful wife took most of the heavy work required for this miracle to happen. Never finished CS degree, in part because I deeply sucked at math despite I loved the subject, and at that time CS was very loaded with more math than programming, and despite that I love math I suck at it. Also, I didn’t need a degree to work, something I jumped into as soon as I could.

I have worked on software development for most of my life, a pretty good chunk of it as been around web development: I remember when we had to explain the customers about the internet, the browser and such. I’m that old. In retrospective, I sucked when I began with all this, lately I suck a less lot, maybe this is what is called experience, and it may be related to a lot of gray hair on my head.

About technologies, I programmed ten years in Java until I got sick of it, at that moment was turning into boring XML situps. Then I jumped into Ruby and Ruby on Rails, that was fun, and Ruby is still my favorite programming language despite the fact than I am no longer programming.

I like Open Souce, for me, it is the right and pragmatic thing to do, I embraced it at a moment when you were saw as communist trying to subvert the corporate environment. Would happily be running Ubuntu on my laptop if it wasn’t by a company policy that makes me drink the Apple Kool-Aid.

At some point in my career, I frantically tried to keep programming while I was slipping into project management because you know: I didn’t feel productive. And I managed to burn out myself really bad: My blood pressure dropped to 90/60, I felt like my mind processes were happening through a jar of petrolatum, I had painkillers like dietary supplements to cope with headaches and back pain.

After a lot of medication, gestalt psychotherapy, physical therapy and the support from my family I managed to recover.  From time to time I slip again into Burn Out, something that I think now may be like being sober from an addiction. I have to keep a constant eye on it because maybe is one of those things that you can’t actually “cure” and you need to keep working on to avoid relapsing.

I trained as Gestalt Therapist for four years, the greatest learning experience in my life, If you are having issued with your emotions and you want to explore what is going on this is the psychotherapy school I recommend. For the kind of consulting/work/role I am interested in doing now Gestalt Therapy is not particularly adequate, so I am exploring Coaching through Neuro Linguistic Programming.

So, who am I? Well, that’s to be written 🙂

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