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Introduction

Hello SCN Community,

We are who we are, accepting who you are and being yourself is the best way to move forward.

Ke$ha

Although I wanted to write a technical blog this time, I ended up writing this one. The title of the blog is the title of one of the latest songs of Ke$ha. For those who don’t know Ke$ha, she is a young pop star with a serious twist. I didn’t really find her that interesting when she started to release songs but after I had found some background information and listened to a few interviews she did I like her for being her.

One of the stories I like is how she broke into the domain of Prince to hand over a demo of her songs. On her way in she got stuck under the fence, had to bribe the gardener but in the end she was able to drop her demo in the house. After which she was escorted out by security.

Relation to SCN

Why is this blog related to SCN? I like being an active contributor on SCN, I like helping people, and I like writing blogs and so on. I made some great connections already by being active on SCN. It is always a pleasure to meet people and connect. I like happy people, I like being happy and I love laughing.

Recently I got some negative vibes towards me sharing knowledge and blogging on SCN. Suspicions where I manage to have time to write blogs, assumptions why I do what I do. I don’t plan to stop doing what I’m doing so perhaps I convert some of the negative vibes into positive vibes.

Hold your horses

It’s never a good idea to jump to conclusions, being too fast in making conclusions can make you burn your fingers (don’t know if it’s a saying in English but it is in Dutch).

For those who really want to know where I manage to have time to write blogs and do my work, spend time with my family and my girlfriend and two little children (Caitlin, age 2 and Colin who is 6 months old) I will elaborate a bit.

Time management

I sleep very solid, like a rock but I don’t sleep much. I end up being tired around 11pm and most of the times I wake up at 4:45am. I drive to work at around 5am where I arrive at 5:30am (no traffic jams for me) and spent around 2 hours learning, reading on SCN, listening music and creating blogs.

My work day is often from 7:30am till 4pm as overtime is not allowed most of the times. I drive home at 4pm to arrive at 5pm (thanks to traffic jams) to pick up my two children. Then my family time starts, watching and playing with my two little children, cleaning up stuff and so on. I like being around people so we often have visitors and we also often visit family and friends.

Once my children are asleep which is most of the time around 7:30pm. Then there is time for entertainment (watching television, a movie, playing a board game or playing a game of Fifa 2010 on the Wii against my girlfriends’ dad). It also happens that I’m doing work related things again after 7:30pm like testing things, writing blogs or helping people on the SCN forum, whatever I feel up to at that particular moment.

There are some interesting talks on TED about work-life balance and sleep:

Nigel Marsh: How to make work-life balance work.

Arianne Huffington: How to succeed? Get more sleep.

Busy bee

I like being busy, I don’t like sitting around doing nothing. A job where I would have to sit and watch for eight hours sounds like a seat in hell to me. Where I can find some free time slots I like cycling (in the woods or on the road). I can also enjoy manual labor (although I’m not so handy), working on the house which I bought together with my girlfriend some years ago which still needs work.

No need to hide

There is no need to hide who you are, trying to be someone you are not won’t help you and will only make you tired. I don’t have enough sleep to get more tired so I am who I am. This will inevitably cause some to like you and others to dislike you.

Envy

Envy is often right around the corner. There will always be someone who is more connected, someone that earns more money, someone that is better than you and so on. Let it go, really, instead of channeling bad energy, use that energy to produce art.

Love what you do

My motto is always I have to love what I do. If I don’t love my job, it’s better to find another job. A job is a big part of your life. Most spend at least 8 hours a day on doing their job. I tend to spend at least 11 hours doing things related to my job and SAP. Why? I love it.

Helping people

I have always had the urge to help people out. It’s not a choice anymore, it has become part of who I am. I did it in school, explaining others how programming works (I graduated as a developer) and I didn’t stop once I started working. I spend the first few years doing a massive amount of work hours, most of my colleagues were concerned I would crash because I was so hyperactive. I had some problems with a muscle in my right leg but it was due to too much fitness, I tend to get fanatic at things up to the edge of addiction where I take a small step back to avoid addiction.

Knowledge sessions

The firm where I started, Core Consulting had knowledge events every other month to keep the consultants up to date and those sessions had presentations which were done by the consultants also. A great initiative in my opinion, I liked it from the start, although I didn’t understand much when I started working as I only knew you could do Enterprise Resource Planning with SAP and one of the first presentations was about a Unicode migration and codepage conversions (I still remember).

Solution Manager

Once I had spent some time doing SAP, I caught the vibe that Solution Manager would become an important topic as a Basis Administrator. So I started by contributing content in separate SAP Solution Manager sessions and later on I started scheduling in such sessions myself and getting content and people to contribute. I received some questions from junior administrators on what I found to be important topics. I still believe that Solution Manager is one of the most important products to have know-how on as an administrator. It is already important and it will become more important.

Security related topics

On the same note, everything which is related to security is also becoming more and more important. There is more and more demand for securing software, using SSL, using token authentication and so on so if you seek out area’s that are important and will become more important, it’s good area to move in.

Jumping to SCN

I quickly discovered SCN when I started working in SAP (I started in July 2006). Only recently the idea came to me to try and write a single blog (the initial idea) to see if it would be a fun thing to do. I already knew I like sharing knowledge. After doing so and liking it I wrote some more blogs and I got connected to people which I very much appreciate. Then I noticed more of my colleagues were actually picking up my content on SCN compared against the internal Wiki where I also contributed information. I could also get my information more widely spread, helping not only my colleagues but also other people.

Hair failure

I like telling stories so I have to share the story of my profile picture on SCN. I got tired of having to switch from one hairdresser to the other. Because of that I asked my girlfriend to buy a hair clipper. Those who read my blog “To read or not to read the manual, that’s the question” know I don’t always read the manual. My girlfriend did but I guess she used the index and skipped an important part. The result was my hair was cut to 1 mm. Once you have a line of hair cut with a hair clipper, there is no way back.

The reason for the hair cut was that we were going out to celebrate the 80th birthday of my grand-dad. At the restaurant we had fun laughing with my hair failure and someone took a picture of me without me knowing that a picture was being taken. It’s the story behind the picture why I like the picture, I don’t look that good with such short hair but the picture makes me smile, the story behind it pops up whenever I see it.

End-note

I like laughing and having fun, I love what I do and I will continue to do it. We are who we are and I am who I am.

Helping out people, sharing knowledge and blogging is what I have to do. It’s not something you should do for self benefit. It might result in self benefit (getting connected, learning more and so on) but that is not the drive.

You don’t have to love me but if you dislike me, you should have at least read this blog to know why I do what I do.

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20 Comments

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  1. Jarret Pazahanick
    This was an enjoyable article and I think a lot of active contributers will be able to relate.

    I often get asked how I have the time to do all the things I have on my plate and it boils down to your points on time management and loving what you do.

    I also have 2 young kids at home so I can relate from that perspective as well 🙂

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Jarret

      I’m glad you can relate, thanks you for the valuable feedback 🙂

      2 young kids are a challenge on their own 🙂

      Kind regards

      Tom

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Nicholas

      Thanks for the valuable feedback, for me being able to be myself is a key ingredient for happiness.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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  2. Michelle Crapo
    I can’t speak for others.  I can say that I do not hide my personality in my blogs – responses – or forum entries.

    Now – what I do hide.  I’m a new mentor, and very nervous about it all.  I posted a question in which I immediately felt stupid about.  I regularly post questions for people at my work.  They are nervous about posting their own questions.  Found out quickly why that was.  So now – I’m more careful about what I post in the forums.  (I guess that could be considered hiding.)

    I love this blog as it is different – off the beaten path and makes me take a time out and think.

    I don’t do anything unless it is fun!  My motto is to keep things simple.  I have only ONE child, but he is important.  I have a life outside of SCN.  Scary – huh?  So when I add blogs, wiki entries, etc.  It has to be because it is fun!

    So everyone who is hiding – well – hopefully they read this and realize there are people that support them.  And understand that this has to be fun to work.

    Thank you!

    Michelle

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Michelle

      Thanks for the feedback. I had fun writing this blog and I hope it shows 🙂

      I have an opinion but I do get nerveous when I need to bring a presentation for example. I think it’s normal, those are healthy nerves.

      I try to use some diversity in my writings. I like the idea that someone would read one blog and then starts reading a different one because they read the first one.

      It’s neccesary to have a life outside of SCN. I love my two children, they bring art in my life. It’s amazing what children come up with, too bad the system beats out the creativity so much.

      It’s better to ask stupid questions than no questions at all. It’s better to have bad ideas than no ideas at all.

      People are more understanding than we sometimes think they are.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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  3. Martin English
    Tom,
    The big takeaway I get is that we could choose to stay in bed, or to stay up late, or to have a surf on the web, or to look at SCN, or to participate in SCN.  I have no problem with what you or anyone else decides to choose; In your case, you’ve taken a path that has provided much useful material for me and others, but I doubt that was your main motivation.

    What is interesting (to me) is when people make the other choices, even by default.  Most of them are happy knowing what they gain and what they loose by their choice, but there is that noisy minority who want the benefits of your choice, without doing the associated work.

    I don’t know how good your English is, definitely better than my Dutch, but there is a saying “He wants to have his cake and eat it, too”, meaning someone who wants to have both benefits of an either / or choice.  These people DO annoy me, but only when I think about them 🙂

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Martin

      Thanks for your feedback.

      I want to progress and keep progressing and I felt like I was stuck somehow so I went out to find new ways to progress on both a professional and personal level. I got inspired to take action by watching videos and reading Seth Godin books.

      I found the path I was looking for on SCN. I started with a single blog and I got connected and I was pulled into the community world and now I’m hooked on it.

      So you could say that providing useful material isn’t my main motivation however sharing knowledge is something I have always done.

      Contributing on SCN and writing these blogs is something I feel I have to do. It remains a choice of course, I got a gut feeling that I should do this and I act upon my gut feeling.

      I also want to learn new things, get connected and so on. On the other hand I also want to motivate other community members to generate valuable content.

      My English could be better 🙂 I don’t know much sayings. Another saying we have in Dutch is “De andere zijde van de medaille” which is “The other side of the medal” in English.

      I love gaming but I haven’t played much games lately because I’m spending a lot of time on being active on SCN. It’s a choice and it comes with another side of the medal.

      I think this is where envy often comes from, people wondering how some do what they do. They should realize there is another side of the medal.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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      1. Michelle Crapo
        Your English is great!  I love the way you make me think with your blogs.  Have you read Robert Frost?

        “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
        I took the one less traveled by, 
        And that has made all the difference.”

        Maybe we haven’t taken the one that WASN’T traveled.  But we have taken the other side of the medal. Or maybe flipped the medal sideways.  Or taken a road – one of many – that is a little less traveled.  I often think of this poem.  It’s the one I remember most – from my childhood.  And I thought memorizing poems was a dumb idea.

        Michelle

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        1. Tom Cenens Post author
          Hello Michelle

          Thanks. You seem to be on fire at the moment, thanks for all your wonderful replies and making me think.

          I actually prefer English over Dutch. Dutch doesn’t sound as cool and sexy as English does.

          I haven’t read Robert Frost but the poem is really nice.

          Keeping the medal from tilting too far to one side and smacking me of is hard work. I don’t have any other way to say it. It’s hard work each day to try and maintain a proper home – work life balance.

          I never liked memorizing poems or lyrics when I was young. It bugged me when I had to do that.

          Kind regards

          Tom

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          1. Michelle Crapo
            I HATED memorizing poems, but I’ve found some of them “stuck”, and I remember them at the oddest times.  Robert Frost was a favorite of mine.  Egar Allen Poe.  Ohhhhh – those were fun to read, but very dark.

            I’m sure I’ll get to meet you in person some day and look forward to it.  On fire?!  I would say you are.  You’ve written some pretty interesting blogs.

            Keep it up!

            Michelle

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    2. Michelle Crapo
      OR – those that want to have their cake and eat it.  BUT are totally afraid to bake the cake in the oven.  Or they’ve baked it, and worry that other’s will choke to death on it.  Even worse.  🙂  Those are the people I hope to encourage. 

      I was one of those worried that you would choke on the cake.  I now know that some will and some will not.   I take myself lightly and hope that others do – and learn…  And there went my short reply!

      Interesting thought Martin.  And actually I don’t wnat to think about those people either.

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  4. Kumud Singh
    Hey Tom,

    The last part of blog related to your hair, made me laugh a lot.Thanks.
    Now why I am wondering what made you conclude that your presence in SCN is disliked or was it a QUICK conclusion from your side?
    Whatever might be the reason, any different activity always receives a mixed response because varied people and varied thought process.
    As said by someone great “No one can make you feel sad/insulted unless you allow him to”.

    Regards,
    Kumud

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author
      Hello Kumud

      Thanks for your comment.

      The blog was a quick spur of the moment kind of blog really 🙂

      I was getting some comments from people who are not active on SCN that I was wasting my time so I decided to answer it in a blog.

      I feel right at home though here on SCN. Staying positive is indeed very important.

      A good read is The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor if you are interested in the topic.

      Kind regards

      Tom

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        1. Tom Cenens Post author
          Hello Michelle

          We should meet some day. It could take some months or even years before that happens but I would be honored to meet you 🙂

          Kind regards

          Tom

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          1. Kumud Singh
            My suggestion:
            Both of you plan for Teched – India (Bangalore) next year. Then we all three will meet.
            I will be the one to get the most of the advantage though. 🙂

            Regards,
            Kumud

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    2. Michelle Crapo

      Really?  No one can make you feel sad?  -I’ve heard that said a lot.  And I beg to disagree.  Spend a couple of months working with people that complain all the time about the job you are doing: not good, not fast enough, too many errors, not working for the good of the company.  You hear this over and over.  The people are not your supervisor.  And yes, you can go tell them to stop.  I – well I’m 100% sure when faced with that situation I would react rather badly – did in fact.  But think of that wear constantly every day.

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      1. Kumud Singh
        Michelle,

        Please take a virtual hug from my side.
        I have no words to tell you how your blogs/comments have impacted my working mindset.
        I have already mentioned few in your previous blogs as comments.
        Secondly, lately I asked my functional consultant not to give too much details as I want to analyze and propose better solns.This was from the comments that you had written on “Usability OF ABAP programs”. You make me feel motivated and energetic.
        I have downloaded your photo from one of the blogs and everyone around me knows you.
        I try not to thank you everytime  SO MUCH but it incessantly comes out of me.

        Now to your question,people who are negative…I try to be away from them. I have faced such people.Before doing anything they would say “this will not work…this is not working…I don’t know what to do…there is no documentation…I have tried so many times.”…Ahhhhhhhhhh..
        As soon as I see this person, I start giving preference to other team member who at least has a positive mindset and then I say please implement this with the right attitude.

        We are all human beings.Negative comments would affect but then don’t you think from that negative we can improve us if that has a point else ignore. After sometime/few days it will go out of mind.

        Positive people attracts me and negative repels.
        Few people like you and Tom have Magnetic personality.

        Thanks,

        Regards,
        Kumud

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