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A dedication to my friends who have passed away...

I was in Indianapolis traveling for work. Around 11am I got a voice mail message from a friend who asked me to call her back. I had a bad feeling. I called her back and learned from her that a friend of mine that I worked with at a previous company had taken his life. Great guy, amazing family, super upbeat attitude and always concerned about how everyone else was doing. He and I were planning to have dinner in March.

Unfortunately I have been the recipient of this type of sad news in the past but no one can ever get used to it. This time it hit me especially hard.

Suicide happens in all industries to all sorts of people. Since I work in the technology industry, I think about how challenging it is to keep up in tech and to stay current. There are an unending number of changes in the tech industry - people, products, solutions, technologies, companies. Like a lot of my tech colleagues, I love the perpetual changes, the challenge of keeping current, the need to continually learn new things, the speed at which everything moves, breaking the rules, turning the impossible into possible.

But those same challenges can be overwhelming especially when those challenges are combined with issues of family, friends and other personal situations. I know - I had my own dark period recently when a myriad of problems all came crashing down on me at one time. For the first time in my life, I took a leave from work for two weeks to get control back and regroup.

For me, I leveraged a few avenues to get back on track and out of the dark place:

1) Friends - I have great friends that I can be completely open with and they helped me with unconditional support; just talking to them was extremely helpful
2) Family - I engaged my family for their support
3) Exercise - I forced myself to exercise even if it was just walking around the block
4) Doctor - I met with my doctor to get some help with sleeping; lack of sleep leads to an evil downward spiral
5) Document - I wrote down how I was feeling, especially in the middle of the night when I could not sleep; documenting somehow made me feel better

With sleep, exercise and support, I found my way out of the dark place. In retrospect it took about 6 months of significant stress for me to hit the bottom and then about 4-5 months to dig my way out.

For me, I strive now to get balance in my life. If your job becomes your life, I would suggest that is not sustainable. Your life is your life - work is a component of your life but not your life. If you are working crazy hours for months and months on end, I would suggest that is not sustainable. Of course, we all need to work long hours at certain times in our industry to meet delivery deadlines but this needs to be balanced with exercise, time with family, time with friends and other ways to recharge and regroup. If you are sacrificing holidays and time with your kids, I would suggest that is not sustainable.

I see some undeniable jerks in the tech industry. Arrogant, self-absorbed, insecure people who torment others on a daily basis. Lost in their own sad world, they beat up and blame everyone else for their own inabilities and unhappiness. In my experience in technology, there is a small group of people who believe that being mean spirited and over-bearing is the way to get things done and the way to motivate your team. Thank goodness that most tech folks do not think this way and take a more balanced approach to driving progress along with a common respect for each human being. I always think about the book called "The No Assholes Rule" by Stanford professor Robert Sutton, which highlights the value of building a civilized workplace.

The other frustrating problem with mental illness, anxiety, depression and suicide is that talking about it seems to be taboo. Sharing personal issues even with close friends seems to be taboo. I guess we all want to seem happy and strong and therefore we don't broach the tougher conversations about disappointments or issues we are facing.

I don't have any answers as to why people feel like suicide is the only way out but I can certainly understand how people can become depressed, feel overwhelmed and feel helpless. Maybe we could all help each other by engaging more deeply in conversations to understand each other better. Maybe we could tone down the arrogance. Maybe we could be a bit more forgiving when people make a mistake. Maybe we should consider the possibility that someone is dealing with their own personal issues.

Let's strive to create a more open environment in which we all feel more comfortable sharing the good and the bad in our lives.


  1. تعد الاول افضل شركة غسيل خزانات بالمدينة المنورة تعمل على استخدام افضل ادوات تنظيف وتعقيم خزانات المياه


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