Family Ninjutsu: Coding like a teenage mutant turtle and still home for dinner
In some ways, I am my father. I live in the suburbs with my amazing wife and wonderful daughter and son. I value offensive line-play in real, I mean, American football. Vice grips are my favorite tool. I have trypophobia.
In many other ways, however, I am not. I hate golf. I know the Contra 30-lives code. I like my steak rare and my Tom Waits loud. But perhaps most strikingly, I am a software engineer to his insurance salesman.
My father made a living driving to the suburbs selling insurance to other suburb-dwellers. He burned through cars like I burn through laptops. He was always home for dinner though, when our family convened at 5:30 pm sharp for well done steak. My dad was around when I was growing up. He taught me how to play sports, drive a car, fix stuff, and, though I didn’t know it at the time, how to maintain a healthy work-family balance.
When I tell my neighbors that I commute to Cambridge, Mass. from our little hamlet of Millis, I get the raised-eyebrow treatment. Boston is the greatest city in the world for many things, but smooth traffic is not one of them. During rush hour, my commute takes about an hour and forty-five minutes each way. If I were working a nine to five job, I would leave at seven o’clock and get home at seven o’clock. I’d miss my kids in the morning and get home just in time to put them to bed. And even though my one-year-old son likes to wake up in the middle of the night to get more quality time with me (every night, several times a night), being gone from seven to seven is not my idea of balance.
Instead, I work from seven in the morning to three-thirty in the afternoon. Dodging rush hour saves me an hour of commuting time each way. I also telecommute when I need to. MediaMath bends over backwards to accommodate my needs.
Last year I was hospitalized for a week for an unknown illness (it turned out to be Sarcoidosis – the disease they always misdiagnose at the beginning of each House episode), then my wife was put on bedrest, then our landlord told us that she was not renewing our lease, then I bought a house, then my son was born.
Two months later I took a breath and realized that despite the whirlwind my life had been, my work hadn’t suffered. MediaMath and my managers had worked with me to give me the time I needed to take care of everything at home while remaining flexible enough to keep me an active contributor at work
For the past several weeks I’ve been looking for a blog topic. Since becoming a father, sometimes I feel like I’ve traded in my code ninja ways for toy trucks and Elsa dolls. It’s all I can do to keep up with the latest web development code and tooling, forget about writing a blog to enlighten others. I realized, however, that while I might not have as much time to contribute to the coding community, I am on my way to becoming a family ninja.
So, grasshopper, if you too want to learn the ways of Family Ninjutsu, come to MediaMath. You will walk the ancient path and master the skills and have plenty of time to be home for dinner.