I know – it’s been a while. I’ve been busy.
I think this first quarter of small business has been the best I’ve had in quite a while. I could point to a lot of things on why I think this has happened but I often find it’s just guessing. When you’re a one man show running off services and support there’s nothing tangible like product sales or earning reports that make sense. Some months you’re busier than others. Some months you aren’t. You form business partnerships and sometimes those fade. Sometimes they get better.
It’s a dance on what you can/can’t do and learning what jobs you enjoy and what jobs you don’t. One thing I have noticed is QGIS and “being different” has taken me more and more into the backwaters of what I consider my service area. When a small municipality/company is faced with the juggernaut of changing software and ever climbing support agreements the whole idea of different sells itself. I have entered several “one stop light towns” to discuss open source software. It’s towns the big guys can’t touch and won’t. I’m OK with this. Sometimes good things happen and sometimes they don’t.
Consulting is sometimes more stressful than it needs to be. I’ve been known for getting agitated so I do my best to not let things bother me these days. Church is also stressful for me. When you grow up in the south you get dragged to church more often than not. I spent my fair amount of time in a church setting singing hymns and worrying over your position in the Universe. I tend to find a lot of humor in religion. I may poke at things like Christmas and Easter in jest – but there is a cut off line and I try to not cross it. When I was 2000 miles south working at the equator that turned into a thing you had to constantly be aware of. Sacred cows make the best hamburger – BUT – there’s a time and place for joking.
I noticed the other day was getting prayed over a lot. I go to lunch at a clients location and someone blesses the meal. Sometimes I get thrown in for good measure. I say afterwards “thanks I can use all the help I can get”. It’s interesting. Usually I wouldn’t think twice about it but I was at a clients location and they had easter eggs out. I grabbed one. It was an invite to the biggest church in town for Sunday morning service. Sunrise service followed with regular service and dinner. I will say fried chicken in a church setting is probably some of the best fried chicken you can get.
Not even thinking I opened the egg and there was not chocolate.
Me: Oh man.
Employee: What’s wrong?
Me: I was hoping for chocolate.
Employee: Better than chocolate it’s an invite to church – you shouldn’t miss church!
Me: <thinking Crap> Hey – I might show up. Thanks. I was just overly hungry this morning and looking for a snack.
I think in February every meal I ate with clients was prayed over. The first half of the month I didn’t notice. The last half I was wondering if the streak would continue. Which shouldn’t be a worry – but I like averages. Last week I was driving back from a client meeting and thought “You know I wouldn’t even be here except for the community effort of open source. The only reason I’m here is ripping out ArcGIS and replacing it with QGIS/PostGIS.” Business is dragging me back into a setting from which I’ve disappeared.
Not that I’m looking to dive back into an organized religious setting. For those of you outside the US – if you haven’t noticed it’s stressful times for some of us over here. Maybe not for all – but it is for me. So – I’ve decided to turn these meetings into my own “Peace Love and GIS” type of outreach. Don’t stress and don’t worry about politics. “Hey maaaaan do your thing and I’m doing mine over here. Hey lets talk about your data.” Last week I learned what “tractor and hay bale making machine worked better than another tractor hay bale making machine”. Which had squat to do with Geo – but it was a conversation that started out of “Can you make a layout in QGIS for me?”. The client enjoyed telling me and I enjoyed hearing about it. We talked about church. We talked about sewer lines. We talked about dump trucks. We talked about his kids and vacations.
Anyway – I know this is just a rambling post BUT – it’s more stories I seem to build up from this small business gig these days. A few years ago I found myself standing at a small town corner thinking “I don’t have time for this”. These days I don’t spend enough time standing still so I’ll spend 5 extra minutes taking it all in today. Maybe 10 and I might find some random person to talk to for a bit. Maybe I’ll eat lunch there but I’m not spending all day standing around talking. I have things to do and people to worry over.
I will most likely sleep in on Sunday. For those of you not and heading out with your family – Enjoy the day!