My friends notice that I’m different lately. Instead of telling drinking stories, I’m reflecting about functional programming concepts. Instead of rushing out of the house as soon as the kids are in bed, I’m holing up at my new desk. I’m showing up to meetings where no beer is available. Crazy stuff!
Way back in 2006, I attended my first No Fluff Just Stuff, the weekend Java conference. The speakers – some local, most not – taught about programming languages, techniques, frameworks. Most of the speakers were informative and inspiring. I thought, “I could do that. It would be fun to speak at a conference like this, to get people excited about their jobs.” Yet, while I love being in front of people, I wasn’t going to chase after a career in it – much easier to stick with back-end Java development. I put the thought out my head and concentrated on having children. No Fluff was one weekend per year until I switched jobs, and then the new jobs didn’t send me.
This spring, that distant forgotten dream jumped into focus. My favorite No Fluff speaker presented at the local Java User Group. I didn’t make it there early enough to learn about Java 7, but there was time to ask him out for a beer afterward. There’s nothing like a life-changing rendezvous at the Hive.
When Ted Neward and Ken Sipe tell me I would be a good speaker, and they can introduce me to people and provide recommendations, then this world is wide open. Somehow that martini is not as tasty, and I’d rather be at my laptop than in a bar. Learning new languages and paradigms is more stimulating than live music, intellectual conversation more refreshing than a cold beer.
Don’t worry guys, I can still cut loose and party – just ask the guys at St. Louis Day of .NET. But watch out – I’ve always had a ton of potential, and for the first time I have some ambition to go with it.