Oct 15 2019

The expat syndrome

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 3:20

I’ve been going through a little bit of a phase lately and a colleague that likes to fix things thought that I might suffer from culture shock. As some of you know I’ve moved to Scotland on the 30th of May 2018. Until that time even if I’ve travelled the world because of work or on vacation, I have been a resident of Romania.

I was shy of 35 years old when I decided to move. Looking back, I try to identify the reasons why I did it, but I’ve noticed that every time somebody asks me why I left, I struggle to choose a single reason. While reading this article I tried to answer this question again. The article is named “The 4 stages of culture shock” and after reading that article I’ve realized that I haven’t gone through any of those phases. Does that make me weird?

I do not know why I left, honestly. A lot of my decisions are based on how I feel, and whatever I felt when I made the decision, or what I was going through when I actually put things in motion, I don’t really remember it now. I remember a moment when I was sitting at my desk in Sibiu and asked myself: “What are you still doing here? There’s nothing for you here, there never was. Do you really want to stay here? Because if you get to 40, you might never leave.” So I guess I did it because I was scared of missing the opportunity to do it.

Continue reading “The expat syndrome”


Oct 13 2019

Fresh start

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 21:57

The best part in having your own space where to post your thoughts is that you can just erase everything one day and start over.

Of course I did not erase everything, I just made most entries written until today private. Why? Because I needed a fresh start.

I have found myself with some free time and decided to change this blog. I’ve decided to put away the personal stuff for now. There is no reason for the whole internet to see the crazy ideas my brains comes up with. I am an adult, I have a job, and you never know what might be used against me.

Do not get me wrong, nothing happened at the job that caused this. Something personal happened that made me decide to have a little more control over the information I let out there. Because just because something is true and makes sense to you, it doesn’t mean people would perceive it as you want it to.

Also, I’ve met somebody who declared himself a master of control. He brags about having his mind and actions always under control. So I decided to give it a try. And since this blog was an actual proof of how out of control my mind actually is sometimes, I decided to start fresh.

Not sure what is going to happen. Maybe this blog will end up being a curated version of the previous 13 years, maybe I will fall back in my old ways. Or maybe I will give it up altogether. You’ll just have to wait and see. Some as me.

Welcome to my brave new blog!


Sep 17 2019

1984 = 2019

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 2:14

I told you that I’ve read 1984 a while ago. I am still a little bit annoyed with the world that the book depicts. What I did not mention was that before that I went through Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451 and  Animal Farm.

And I ended up to a conclusion: these books can be put in a sequence. Imagine this: a world like the one depicted in Animal Farm leads to a world like the one depicted in Fahrenheit 451, that in turn leads to a world like the one described in 1984 and then finally to a world like the one in Brave New World.

I had planned to write a longer article than this about these books and how they seem to connect to one another, but something happened tonight that pissed me off, because I think we are closer to the world in 1984 than we thought. My only consolation is that Brave New World is close and if I survive until then they will pomp me up with Soma big time to keep me docile. :D

Few of you know that this blog until about three years ago was hosted on http://rpx.kicks-ass.net. Even fewer than you know that I used to write also on http://seaqxx.kicks-ass.net. And that is because my then boyfriend owned the kicks-ass.net domain.

Tonight I was having a private conversation with a friend, and Facebook decided to stop me from sending a message with the URL of my old blog because …

So yeap. They are not even hiding the fact that they are reading your private messages anymore. But then again, as long as your messages are stored in their databases, they are not really private, are they?

Take it as you want it, but the next person that tells me that what politicians and corporations do doesn’t really affect me, gets a kick in the teeth.

Anyway, as you can imagine now, me and my friend are having a very dirty conversation to check how restrictive the bot is. Because… engineers.

Stay safe, stay happy and keep your stuff private. If you can.


Aug 23 2019

Emotional scars

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 12:02

I know the title seems like this article is going to be one of those annoying medium entries, but it’s not. I promise you, it is not.

I have this way of viewing the world: I don’t think any of us is perfectly sane. I think we are all mad or broken to some degree. We do not live in a perfect world, and since we make up this world, neither are we. I’ve said this before to some people and they took it personally and felt offended. How can I assume they are broken? How do I dare to make them doubt their sanity? I think the worst thing you can do to yourself is to view yourself as being good, normal or whatever positive thing makes you feel good about yourself. Because when you see yourself in this over-positive light you might stop working on yourself and you might become an overly righteous prick. Maybe. I’m not saying it will happen to you. But during my lifetime I’ve met some people that felt entitled to tell me how I’m being wrong, what I’m doing wrong, what is wrong with me and how should I change to be right.

I am not secretive when it comes to my childhood. My parents were not the worst parents, but they were not the best either. My relationship with them was toxic, there was some emotional and physical abuse here and there, and when given the chance at eighteen to leave them behind and going to study in a different town, I never looked back.

The love of my life died when I was eighteen. He was probably the only one even remotely sane person in my life for six years, he always had something good and encouraging to say and he never made me feel like there was something wrong with me.  Him dying was probably one of the worst things that happened to me. One more emotional scar in my collection.

Because of the toxic upbringing and the hole in my heart, I wasn’t able to make the best choices in relationships either. My last relationship, the way I remember it, seems to have been toxic and seasoned with some emotional abuse. It might not sound that bad, but considering that my psyche was not in such good shape when it all started, you can imagine it was not a joy ride.

It took me a long time to understand and accept everything that happened to me. And I realized the consequences all those events had on me.  There are things about me that I will never be able to fix. But despite all that I am a functioning adult. I can hold down a job and I managed somehow to have a lot of friends that are way more sane than I am. I am aware of some things in my character that might be detrimental to others and I keep them under control and warn them beforehand, so they are aware of them and decide if they want to take a chance of being close to me or not.

That is why I am not keeping my struggles secret. I do not want to give anybody the illusion that I am normal(whatever that means). I want people to know I’ve been dealt a really shitty hand, but despite all that I am where I am. I am very vulnerable, but I am also very strong. If I could hold down a job, train other people to do it, inspire them and make people happy here and there, whatever kind of broken I am, it might be a good thing after all.

Sure, I will never stop working on myself, I will never stop monitoring myself and drag myself to a psychologist if I think I need it. Because I refuse to let my past define me, I refuse to let all this emotional baggage drag me down. I bloomed as a person despite all that. Sure, I wish sometimes things would have been different, but the past cannot be changed, and I refuse to be bitter because of it.

My parents will never say I’m sorry for being a shitty parent! because in their mind the person I am today is proof that they did a good job. So I accepted the fact that I shouldn’t be expecting that kind of closure.

The only thing I can do is keep blooming. Yes, I have some emotional scars. But honestly, with all that happened to me, it is ridiculous to expect anything else. Even rocks get scratched and chipped, by wind or water. I am sure everybody else has their own scars as well. And because I have mine, I know how to relate to people better. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours, right?

Stay safe, stay happy!


Jan 04 2018

10 Commandments Of A Career

Category: TechnicalIuliana @ 23:18

I don’t know if 11 years of experience in programming and three published books can be considered a career, but in this 11 years I got promotions I did not chase or even wanted so this must count for something. I do not know if I did anything different than others that try to succeed, but my attitude and hard work got me from a low place to a place higher than I even dared to dream so I thought it might be useful for others.

So here there are, the 10 commandments of my career.

1. Do your best. Sounds easy, sounds simple, but it is difficult to do your best. Especially on your bad days. The truth is you will spend at least 8 hours at work, you might as well use it properly, to deliver quality products and acquire quality knowledge.

2. If you do not like it, change it. Nothing is perfect in this world, thus companies are not either. You will get defective management, defective products to work on, defective people to work with. But nothing changes its state without interference and stimuli. So do your part: speak up and act. You would be amazed how much much you can change. A strong warrior is forged in battle so be thankful for the battles you have to take part of.

3. Ask. Do not expect people to know or care, what you want or need. If you do not ask, people will rarely know what you need and give it to you. There are also people who are shy and can’t say no, even if they don’t really want to give you something. So ask and insist when necessary.

4. Read your contract, know your rights. This should be obvious, but many people skip this part. You have more rights than you think. There are rules put in place to protect you from bullies that are high up the corporate ladder, because with great power sometimes it’s not the great responsibility that comes, but great assholeness. So know them and invoke them when necessary.

5. Never stop improving. This should also be obvious, but some people get cozy at their jobs and get complacent. The only constant in this universe is change. So ride the change like a surfer rides the ocean. Keep your mind fresh and open and enjoy all the wonders of changing time. People who are reluctant to change fade into the background of the company, those who welcome it shine like the sun.

6. Speak up.Do not be afraid to voice your concerns and make proposals. Be open. Be creative. Even in companies that are known to have rigid hierarchy and fixed processes, exceptions can happen when good ideas are strongly voiced. Provide feedback whether is positive or negative. People like being complimented for their good work and even if uncomfortable, people accept that they have to improve. Those that do not want to improve, will most likely quit at some point anyway.

7. Establish boundaries. Be explicit about your do’s and dont’s. For example, it’s ok to state upfront that you do not like overtime, or working in shifts. Preferably do this at the interview, but if you were ok with this at first and then later some changes in your life  make you incompatible with this sort of activities, do not be afraid to communicate it. Contracts are not always explicit about your responsibilities and anything you are asked to do that is not in there, you can be negotiated upon.

8. Work with friends, not colleagues. We are humans, not robots. We make mistakes, we change, we have good days and we have bad days. Know your colleagues. The key to a productive team is to figure out when people are having a bad day and not pushing them and to figure out when they have good ones to challenge them. Also, building trust and friendship with your colleagues leads to a more comfortable working environment, that ultimately… does not feel like work. The truth is, for at least 8 hours a day we share the same space, breathe the same air with a select group of people. The key to a good collaboration is to know their strengths and weaknesses, and harness any of them to build a quality product.

9. Learn from the best. Learn from the worst. Learn from mistakes. And teach others. We are humans, we have genius epiphanies and brain farts. We have cheerful moments and we have low ones. Every experience is learning experience. From the best, copy behaviours that will make you the best. From the worst you can learn what not to do. From mistakes you can learn what was tried and failed, so you will know what not to try. And yeah, preferably learn form mistakes done by others. And teach others. We all die not knowing a lot of things. But be generous with your knowledge, share it so we all die knowing more things. ;)

10. Keep it simple. To make things complicated is easy. You don’t even have to try too much, just take something that you know and build it in your own personal way, thinking that you will never share it with anyone. To people that do not know what you tried to build and how, it will look complicated. The hard part in any domain is to build complex things in a simple way, so that others can understand it and contribute to it. So keep things simple. Implement complicated things in simple ways. Simple is the most practical way after all.

I know some ideas in the above paragraphs might related or even repeated. But, as Aristotle says: “We are what we repeatedly do; thus excellence is not an act, but a habit.”

Stay safe, stay happy!


Oct 15 2017

Spring Stereotype Annotations

Category: TechnicalIuliana @ 21:18

Having finished writing my third  Spring book, it was about time I should start writing technical posts as well. Being an accessible online person, quite a few people that read my books find mistakes or have interesting questions. I am really happy when people find mistakes, this means that they are actually reading the books, taking them seriously, including reading the references to the official documentation, which is more on point and more detailed than a book written by an “external” will ever be.

And I am happier when questions that question my own understanding of the framework are risen as well. Because this motivates me to dig deep into the documentation, to ask other technical people I know what their opinion is. It is an opportunity for communication and debate.

The last question I had from a reader was about the @Configuration annotation. He asked why is this annotation not mentioned as being a stereotype annotation in the book and if this is not a mistake on my part. He gave me some links to some official documentation and his opinion about the matter. After I queried  multiple resources, including my technical reviewer, who is a Spring  trainer for Pivotal this is the answer I came up with.
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Sep 08 2017

So I read the Google manifesto…

Category: TechnicalIuliana @ 12:12

Before going on vacation the Google scandal of the 10-page “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” document was just starting. A guy at Google created this document in which he criticised the politically correct Google environment and the discrimination happening in the name of the political correctness. And that manifesto made it to the internet. I was preparing for a vacation like no other, in which I was to detach myself completely from my working environment and from the passion that I dedicated myself to for the last 16 years of my life. So I postponed reading the Google manifesto until getting back.

I read the document on the plane on my way back and I realised there is a lot of blogging material in there. Because here we are in the time where political correctness dictates which people are allowed to speak their minds out loud and which are not, unless they want to risk being fired.
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