Friday, February 26, 2010

My Hats

Periodically, even frequently I'm asked by people in their effort to pigeon hole me and/or make connections; "Who are you?", What are you?" and "What do you do?".

We are often defined by and measured against the the various things we do or the roles we hold. I guess for some of us we are so busy being busy and doing whatever our roles require that they become the defining things. What about the real me or the real you? Are those entities different to the one defined by a specific role?

Vocationally I have three hats. By day I work as a mobile tutor for a polytechnic, which some readers my better understand as a community college. Having spent a number of years as a primary/elementary school teacher and principal, I made a change and moved into adult education.

Now in my 5th year I visit locations in a 10,000 sq km region with laptop computers and a trailer equipped with a satellite dish for internet access, and deliver online computing programs or day workshops to help people in rural and remote places have access to technology and the opportunity to upskill. I built a site dedicated to this work to show where when and how we are making a difference in the rural heartland of New Zealand.

My wife and I own a motel near the world famous Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and when I am not on the road I'm at home wearing my motellier hat trying to keep the motel in good order and repair.

My third hat is probably my greatest passion at the present time. I run another business entity called Waitomo IT Solutions. It earns me the least amount of money but gives me the greatest amount of satisfaction. For a number of years, I was the person friends and neighbours called on to fix their computers. Ususally all I got was a word of thanks but now days I am less inclined to do things because a friend of a friend said that I could and would. My chargeout rate is cheaper than the technicians in town but my time is valuable and nothing is free.

The area of this business that I am developing though, is the web development and hosting side of things. I have a number of clients in 3 different countries and the sites range from the simple brochure advert to full content management systems. Artwork was always an area that I wasn't so confident with. Recently, however, I have begun working in partnership with Raven Muse to provide quality original artwork, headers and logos for my clients.

While sometimes it seems that I am all about work, there are other roles and interests that contribute to the definition of who I am. I am the father of four, 2 girls 18 and 16, and 2 boys 14 and 12. They are good kids. I'm proud of each of them (No recent photo though I'm afraid).

Over the years I have been involved in numerous community activities and groups. In the past I have held leadership roles in churches and trade union branch committees. I am currently the secretary of the Waitomo Axe and Gun Club and Otorohanga Axeman's Association. I am the vice President of the Otorohanga County Fair Association, but that committee is in recess at the present time. I'm also on the Waitomo Caves Sports Day committee. Last year I managed the provicincial representative rugby team that my son was selected for.

It is a bit of a struggle to say "No" sometimes. That can, on ocassion, cause a bit of conflict when those at home think they should take precedence over the here and now of the group or activity I'm involved in. While involvement in these activities does meet a social need for me, the clay bird shooting, chopping and rugby are also the interests and sporting activities of my son. So for the most part, my current continued involvement is primarily to give him opportunities and support that he might otherwise not have.

I guess one could say that I'm given to serving others. I do try and hopefully with the right motivation and for the right reasons. One of the greatest joys and rewarding experiences I think one can have is knowing you have helped someone and made a difference.

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