I was inspired by Brent Ozar, Steve Jones and Iris Classon to write about my day. My work and life don’t balance each other at all; my work is my life and I love what I do and I’m an unapologetic workaholic. I’m also a single Mom, so life crashes down around my ears on a daily basis. So my take is slightly different and I want to talk about what it’s like to be a technical single Mom, which is another dimension to being a woman in technology. We are even rarer, I suppose. So this is my #SQLCareer post, 1 out of 4.
I live on cups of tea and tea enables and empowers me. I didn’t note it at each step but there will be tea at each point.
12am My day starts at midnight. I’m usually still working then, so I’ll start here. I’m doing my MBA at a college in Zurich, Switzerland and it’s a lot of hard work. I read very late into the night. I’m enjoying the challenge and I’m learning a lot. I’m doing it to qualify and validate my twenty year consulting career. I learned a lot from working in consultancies before starting to work for myself eight years ago, and I’m grateful for the experiences. I’m reading about change in organizations, and reflecting on my experiences of change management as a pawn and a player.
2am I sleep.
3.30am Dogs wake me up barking, insisting that someone is outside. My security lights have come on. It could just be an urban fox, drinking at the water bowl that I leave outside for the birds. But still. I calm them down, and then try to go back to sleep.
6.15am I’m back up again. My dogs, affectionately known as Copy and Paste, have somehow managed to get out of the dining room where they sleep, and have decided to sleep outside my bedroom door. They are a complete joy and they are patient with the fact that I’m not a morning person. I shower while they tear up my house and garden before I walk them at 6.45.
My dogs Archie and Nimbus, also known affectionately as Copy and Paste. They are half-brothers from a different set.
6.45am I wake up my teenage son before I walk my dogs. He’s a morning person. I’m not. We grunt at each other and then I take Copy and Paste out for walkies.
7.15am. I’m back. My Alexa is playing BBC Radio 4 Today program, or the BBC World Service, whichever one grabs my interest. Teenager is showered and I’m shovelling things in his school bag, throwing lunch money at him, nagging him to choose breakfast cereal, fix his school tie, making sure he’s got his bus pass and fending off requests for Iron Maiden merchandise, a paintball birthday party, a bunch of comics and a manga book.
In the meantime, Copy and Paste have formed a protest group demanding treats, and are demonstrating by sitting in front of my fridge and staring me down accusingly. They are looking for cheese but Bad Dog Mom isn’t handing out treats.
7.16am Bad Dog Mom hands out treats.
7.17am Boy eats and dogs devour treats. I tidy up the house, which involves dish washing (my new dishwasher comes on Monday), taking out trash and recycling, zipping around with the hoover, and putting things where they belong.
7.45am I shovel my son out of the door, and I drive my teenager to the school bus and I try to really listen to him. My Mom antenna are twitching for problems and I want to see he’s ok.
8am I drop off boy and I realize I haven’t eaten so I grab a croissant from Simmons bakers, who have been in business since 1838. I’m a regular. I drive back to my home, tuning into the Today program on BBC radio four.
8.15am I take the dogs out again. I listen to Audible while I walk them. I’m currently listening to Infonomics by Doug Laney from Gartner.
8.45am coffee is brewing and the dogs are settling for a nap. My dog sitter arrives and I leave to get my train for my customer visit.
9am I’m on the train, furiously emailing.
10.30am I’m at my new customer site so I get to know the new team I’m working with. I don’t officially start for another week but I want to visit them so we are ready to hit the ground running. We kick off a high level view of our approach to taking them to a data science platform, analytics and machine learning. We draw, map and use post-it notes to move technologies around, remove some, add others. We note out data sources and data consumers. I photograph it all, for recording later. We are still agreeing a data modelling tool but they like Toad and Sparx.
1pm I met an old colleague for lunch. He referred me to the new customer so I want to thank him. I’m excited to be working with him again. I worked as a consultant for large and small firms before starting my own business, and it was the best way to start out. It meant I built a wide network, and I learned sales, marketing, customer perception and voice by learning and watching what other people did.
2pm I travel home and I sleep on the train.
3pm I’ve been asked to be an independent expert for an investigation and I need time to reflect. I have a meeting with the panel soon, and I like to walk as it helps me to gather my thoughts in preparation. It’s obviously NDA so I can’t get into details. I will say, however, that it can be quite stressful and walking does help me to think clearly. It’s crucial that I get this totally right, like everything else I do. People are depending on me and I have to be absolutely bullet-proof and right. Dogs are over the moon about the walk so at least someone is happy!
4pm Home. I have a Microsoft Regional Director call. That’s NDA.
5pm Teenage boy is home and he announces that there is no food in the cupboard or fridge. Teenage boys eat like locusts. So I go out and get some shopping done and we eat ready meals.
6pm My son and I walk the dogs. I want him to spend time away from a screen or anything electrical. It also means I get to talk to him, really talk.
7pm My teenage son is bored with my presence and goes to his room to read Tokyo Ghoul. I have also sneaked a read of it, and I thought it was outstanding. In any case, I need to get some work done for a US based customer, and they are online now. The dogs alternate between running amok in a playful fashion, or lying in a heap because they have worn themselves out. It’s nice outside so the doors are open, and they bolt in and out of the house.
I work in an ad-hoc fashion and this US based customer has a deadline of next week. I am using Power BI to create data visualization templates and I am creating them a Style Guide as I go along.
9pm My teenage son goes to bed, after having sent me an Amazon wishlist of ten Iron Maiden tshirts.
I am still working, and I will do so until midnight, when I call off my official work. My work involves the billable work but it also involves catching up on the following:
- I have press releases to do for a keynote so I need to answer interview questions by email
- I am featuring in a tech magazine so I have to prepare some materials for that
- I need to approve headshots
- I need to lead the developer who is building my new website for me. This means I need to deliver content, do things at the Azure backend so he can move on to the next step, and answer all of his questions. He is an owl like me, and we both work late. He’s an Artificial Intelligence postgrad and he’s doing the work for me in his evenings.
- I need to sort out my accounts.
- I need to delegate work to my personal assistant, who is currently creating PowerPoint templates for me. When she’s done that, I’m going to give her my presentations to be redone in the template, and it will be new content for my website. It’s hard to delegate since I need to be very precise, but it is about investing time now to get time back later.
12pm – 2am MBA reading. I drop billable work at midnight and I start to read again.
6 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of Jen Stirrup: Tuesday 17th July, 2018 #SQLCareer”
Daaaaaang, you work a lot. Great post. Your dogs are just so adorable, love seeing ’em on Instagram. Small tweak – the title says Tuesday, July 19th, but Tuesday was the 17th.
thank you Brent 🙂 That’s what I get for typing late at night!
Wow that’s an intense schedule. Don’t miss working full time and grad school, oh and being a parent on top of that. Awesome post.
Thank you! That’s very kind of you!