Can’t Have It All

Earlier this year, I read an article by Ivanka Trump talking about women not being able to have it all. Ivanka Trump is the daughter of business mogul Donald Trump. She is also the executive vice president of development and acquisitions for The Trump Organization and the founder of the Ivanka Trump fashion brand. Most importantly, she is a wife and a mother of two beautiful children, daughter Arabella Rose and son Joseph Frederick. Ivanka recently launched the initiative #WomenWhoWork, which aims to “celebrate the many different ways in which women work and to redefine and break stereotypes around, what it looks like to be a working woman today.”. In an interview with Business Insider, Trump explained her perspective on work-life balance. She frankly says, “You can’t have it all.” When people ask her how she balances work and life, her response is always: “I don’t, and I don’t try to.” “People obsess too much about balance,” she said. “A scale is only in balance for a brief second. Inevitably the pendulum swings. It’s impossible to maintain.” Ivanka says, it’s less about balancing a “work life” and a “home life” and more about creating one rich, full life that’s tailored to my specific goals and priorities.

As I’ve decided to give my personal and family life a bit more focus, I too am realising the difficulties with trying to create a balanced life. I began feeling a bit overwhelmed with my additional responsibilities and sometimes I even felt as if I needed to give up something in order to feel a greater sense of accomplishment in at least one area. I grew up watching the women in my family. My grandmother was the first to rise in the morning and the last one in the family to go to bed at night. For a working women who still has the responsibility of taking care of her husband and children, I can only imagine a full night’s rest of 8-10 hours sleep can seem like such a fairy tale. Sometimes I think that it’s a bit unfair for women but then again there are times I see how privileged we are. We are expected to be as educated as men but in some organisations, industries or countries, we will never be professionally equal to men. Even after contributing our day’s work at the office, we switch our hats, become more submissive and nurturing and come home to take care of our families.

It’s inevitable that some of us will have to sacrifice some of our professional goals for a family life. Having been so focused on my career for most of my life, I’m starting to realise that I need to view family life with equal or greater importance than I do my career. The drive and passion I have towards my professional goals and accomplishments need to also be the drive and passion I have towards my personal life. When asked what’s her definition of success, Ivanka says happiness. She doesn’t think you are truly successful unless you are a happy person and are happy with your life. She recalls many people who are professionally successful but miserable. She concluded by saying that she’s happy when she’s achieving her professional goals and when she’s with her husband and children.


YoPro Global


Yesterday at the Hyatt, I met up with Ty Richardson and Brett Torina from YoPro Global. YoPro Global is a social impact community for graduates and young professionals. The company’s objective is to provide an eco-system for graduating students and young professionals, where they have a forum to explore career interests, interact with experienced professionals, make friends and find resources that advance their careers. Ty, Brett and the rest of the YoPro Global Team have been busy hosting networking events in Trinidad since they’ve been here this year. I was given the contact information for Ty by a past UTT student, Jamila Banister. Ty and Brett are in the early stages of conceptualising the vision for the mobile application for YoPro Global but essentially it will be a mix of networking and gaming features. Ty and Brett are leaving Trinidad for the US next week to return to Trinidad early next year. During that time, I will be working on some screen mock ups for the application based on what was discussed and hopefully we can take things further from there when they return. Based on what was discussed, I wish this was an application that was available right now. The features to be offered would be of great use to me in developing my skills as an up and coming entrepreneur. I love what YoPro Global is doing in Trinidad and around the world right now and I’m excited to see the impact the organisation will have on professional networking in Trinidad and Tobago for young professionals. With such emphasis being placed on developing young professionals and young entrepreneurs, I hope this will help to improve the way of business is conducted in Trinidad and Tobago and eventually have a positive impact on the quality of service given to customers by businesses here in this country.

My Imperfect Day

If asked to describe my perfect day, it would not be what I’m doing right now. I am indeed grateful for all my blessings and streams of income but my main 8-4 job is affecting my overall motivation for other work. Where attention goes, energy flows and things grow, so I’m trying my best to make my attention go towards the opportunities I would like to see happen for myself rather than the job I’m currently doing that I will be leaving soon. I have set in my mind that I will be leaving this job at the end of the year and I’m constantly visualising new opportunities and work that I have currently set into motion, that will be finalised and approved in my favour. I remember months ago working for myself from home, earning less income and being so much happier and fulfilled. Passion is an incredible thing. No amount of money can compensate for the joy derived from doing work you’re most passionate about. While my perfect day does not involve life in Trinidad and Tobago, my perfect day while in this country will include me lecturing and having the extra time to work on my business which has hardly gotten any attention from me within the past couple of weeks.

Finding & following your passion

It can be considered a sad day when you’ve come to the realisation that you no longer have any passion for the job you are currently employed to do. That day can also be an eye opening one as it now leaves you to wonder what can you do now to earn income and still be extremely happy. It’s a great feeling to finally realise some of the things in life that you are most passionate about. The security of a paycheque may be enough for some but there are many people out there who need to feel that rush, that burn, take risks and experience a sense of accomplishment that a steady paycheque cannot provide. Knowing when to quit your current job and move on to work that fuels the fire that helps you wake up everyday enthusiastic and ready to take on the day, is very important. For some, it’s immediate, not too much thought will go into the move but simply action and for others careful financial planning needs to be taken into consideration. Whichever approach is taken, the important thing is to follow your passion, take risks, be bold, speak your desires into being, think about them every day and every chance you get and be ridiculously excited about your plans. Napoleon Hill informs us that it is a ‘known fact’ that thoughts backed by emotions have the greatest influence on our subconscious mind. All physical creation is preceded by mental creation, so start thinking about your perfect job, your perfect day and your perfect life and find and follow your passions in life.

The Interview after the job

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been talking about my lecturing duties at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. I previously lectured at the University from January 2008 for almost 3 years and I have always maintained great relationships with the staff at the organisation. So when I decided to go back to lecture part time, I sent an email to one of the program directors indicating my interest and that was it. Due to the fact that part time lecturers are always needed and sometimes at the last minute, the recruitment process can a bit different at times. In my case, I was hired and have been working for almost 2 months, without pay of course and now my interview is today. It may sound a bit crazy to many but I guess when there are students to be taught, having an instructor present is more important than protocol. I guess it also helped that I previously lectured one of the courses I was assigned to teach, back in 2008. Once everything goes well today, I will be issued a contract and be financially compensated for all my work done thus far. When I was initially informed of the process, I must admit I was a bit confused but I totally understand now that the education of the students is of greater priority when time to follow protocol is not really an option.

Much to Observe

Yesterday I taught my Advanced Java Class from 5:00PM to 8:00PM. In the previous class we started looking at the Observer Design Pattern with a very brief introduction and a look at some code from an example, which I later found may be a bit too complex for the students. For this Java class, I decided to use a very simple example to demonstrate Java’s Observable class and Observer Interface which I hoped would help make the concepts easier for the students to grasp. However, I found the look on their faces to indicate that there was still some level of confusion with respect to the topic. I had to figure out some way to relate this topic to a way they can understand. Then I thought of social media and status updates. I decided to use to share the instructions with them as I had to think of the exercise off the top of my head. I asked them to create a MyStatus class as a subclass of Java’s Observable class, then create two private Strings called mystatus and profilename. Also create a constructor for MyStatus that sets the profilename when an instance is created. In this “MyStatus” Class, a method called statusChanged(String newStatus) was also added, which was called to change the status of a user by passing in the new status as a parameter. This statusChanged(String newStatus) method will also call setChanged as well as notifyObservers as part of its implementation. Then the students implemented the Observer interface and called that class ProfileFriend, created a private variable in the ProfileFriend class called “profilename” as well as a constructor for ProfileFriend that sets profilename when an instance is created. In the ProfileFriend Class, they implemented the update method printing out to the console every time the status was updated. In the main class an instance of MyStatus was created as follows : MyStatus myProfile = new MyStatus(“Nekelle”), using their name, then an array of observers was created with each observer in the array representing a member in our class at the University. The observers were then added to the Observable class using an advanced for loop which luckily for the students they had never seen, so this gave me the opportunity to explain it to them and teach them a different way to approach a for loop. Finally the statusChanged method was called on the instance of MyStatus and changed to “I love Java”. This approach really helped the students grasp the concept as they could relate it to facebook. The initial example with stock prices seemed so foreign to them and I’m glad I was able to think of this at the last moment. Next class, I’m hoping to mainly work on exercise tutorials and finish up the Observable class and Observers. There are currently 3 more modules to complete in this Advanced Java course and I would like very much to make sure all of the students grasp all the concepts covered so far before we move on.

A weekend of work

The title of this post should speak for itself. I spent the weekend working at my office at the National Insurance Board of Trinidad and Tobago (NIBTT). I decided to start working at the office on weekends to aid in improving my zeal towards my work at NIBTT. On Saturday I focused on a sample Java Project implementing log4j2 for one of my co-workers and some text field validation using Dojo. I previously did this log4j2 project but for some strange reason I was unable to locate it on my machine. On Sunday I worked on preparing for my classes this week at the University. I completed and uploaded the online exam for my students on the Software Development Life Cycle using the classmarker online exam site and I also worked on the powerpoint presentation for the class scheduled after the exam. This week in my C++ class, I’ll be focusing on introducing the students to how C++ programs are created and executed in a C++ environment. I’ll be explaining concepts such as preprocessing, compiling, linking, loading and execution. While I understand that most of the students would prefer to jump straight into coding, I think this is a fundamental aspect of programming that should be covered. It’s an area that was overlooked when I first started coding with Pascal many, many years ago lol. For my Java class this week, I’ll be finishing the Observer Design Pattern. I gave the students some code for a Lab to complete and this week I will go through all the code in the various classes explaining how the outcome is achieved. There will only be one Java class this week as my country will be celebrating the Divali holiday on Thursday, so it’s important that I utilise the 3 hours for this class as best as possible to stay on time with my teaching schedule.