Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sometimes We Need not Judge Faces

Sometimes people fake the truth, mutilate reality, lie and hide feelings with logic. Sometimes you think that somebody is bad, untrustful. But you discover by yourself that he wants to help and that he's innocent.
I'm worried these times about my transition to the new job. It's not about the job itself, but about making peace with my employer. These times I'm discovering people who are willing to give advice. I'm making new images of them in my mind and heart. Thank you guys.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"It's Who You Know". But I'm OK with That

"What's her background? she studied at INSAT? ok, I have a friend at Divona Telecom. I'll suggest her to him and we'll see what happens". This is a pattern I hear a lot.
I remember myself, struggling to have a job after I graduated from college. I remember being the Sys Admin of a small company. I remember how I used to go upstairs and downstairs all day long trying to "fix" everything related to computers, printers and Internet. Funny memories. I remember one day I woke up very tired and told my boss "I have a huge headache, I can't come to work", haha.
It's ok if people less competent get better positions. Sooner or later, the best people get rewarded, if not by their current employer, it will be by other ones. The best people in IT have radiant positive reputation that flows through the IT cloud. I saw competent people being grabbed from their current positions to better ones.
Let me correct that. "It's who you know, when you're positively known, that matters".

It's About to Change

I signed a new contract with an emerging bank, the one I talked about in previous posts. The IT infrastucture is still basic: no routing yet, no VLANs, no IP Telephony. work late most days, with an experienced IT team, being one of the few first people who built the network... I'm going to be the network engineer. It sounds so interesting.
However, my current employer doesn't want to release me before March. So I told them that I won't be able to stay after january 15. This may lead to further complications and even to paying some compensation to the company. I'm psychologically ready for this. It's a price to pay, and, if it's one step further towards my goals, I'll do it and accept the consequences.
Why am I taking this road? Because I'll have the opportunity to "see" a large network growing from the start. I'll be able to deal with switching, routing and IP Telephony on a daily basis. I'll learn how to document. I'll learn some project management skills. I'll be able to gain specialized networking/VOIP skills.
It will take time.

Tough Choice - part IV

In my previous post "Tough Choice - part III" I talked about a job offer that has been presented to me. It was about computer&network security in a large emerging bank.
After I declined it, the Network&Security manager called me a few weeks ago to tell me that an equal opportunity rose, in networking now. I was very happy to hear that. Not only the company is building its network from the ground up, but also it relies on teams of experienced people, even brilliant people I already worked with :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Improving Memory

I got a famous memory improvement book: How to Develop a Perfect Memory, by Dominic O'Brien. I only tried one technique to remember numbers in my BCMSN exam. It works!
For example, I want to remember the Bridge Priority that results after spanning-tree vlan x root primary. It's 24576. Here's how I do it:
  1. 24: is my birthday.
  2. 5: there are 5 presents on my birthday table
  3. 7: 7 guests are sitting in the living room, watching me quietly
  4. 6: I hear my cousine on the hall saying "it's 6".
Brilliant work, Brian.
I'm going to apply it more and more now for my BCMSN exam.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Life Upgrade #1 : Junior Businessman

I've been busy few days ago working as an Independant Representative for Questnet. It's the largest E-commerce company in Asia.
Immediately after my daily 8-to-5, I meet people and talk to them about my business.
It's a direct selling business. And, from what I've learned, it's the business of the next decade.
Meanwhile, I felt my Cisco studies are slowing. Fine, as long as I don't rush, I like to fully understand the material.
But what's more rewarding: a career in engineering or in business and sales? I'll try to balance both and we'll see what happens.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

After the Interview

I attended an interview this morning. Orange Telecoms is opening in our country so I gave it a try.
They called me the day I was in Kef and scheduled an interview.
There were 3 preliminary tests. Too many logic tests. Where the Hell did they come from? :) I got a headache after.
Then I met the recruitement agent, a young man in his early 30s. After some routine questions he asked me where I "see " myself on the company hierarchy.
I was disappointed. They have an already fixed hierarchy. Old stuff, old management.
I inquired about "consultant" and "application administrator" positions. Neither of them interested me. So I pointed upper.
"You have not the right qualifications to get that position. You are too young. We can't give you project management positions yet. What would employes say if they are supervised by a younger man?.."
I accepted every thing he mentioned, except the last sentence.
"What do I need to do to get that position?" " - work hard, work in projects".
On my way home, I felt that a new challenge is facing me. I need to think more about my current work now. I need to work on large projects, not on small troubleshooting tasks.
My current company is facing problems. We're losing contracts because of bad management. The problem is that we - support team- are aware of it, but managers aren't.
I'll wait and see what happens the coming days. Otherwise, I must work with IBM.
I need to become CCNP.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Personal Power II - Finished

I consider it as a small accomplishment. As I was listening to Tony's words, I recalled all those chunks of time I spent during the program.
Now, the challenge is to take action and do the exercises continually.

Near the Storm

I've been on a little mission in Kef. We had to setup the networking "stuff" of a new office. As usual, my job was to ensure that the configuration meets the IP scheme of the office. It was a regular task.
What was interesting, is that it was heavily raining. On the radio, we heard that storms and floods killed 17 people in the south. We're not in the south, but the storm is said to be coming near our region. Nice.
It was very cold. The three of us were wearing tee-shirts. People looked at us as if we were a band of crazies :). Really cold.
During a routine check, I received a phone call. I was greateful to Allah for it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tough Choice - part III

I'm almost fed up with my current job. The tasks become too monotonous, and my learning curve is hitting the ground. I need an exciting job. I need a new job.
But I'm confused. On one hand I want to improve my routing&switching skills so that I could one day prepare for CCIE. On the other, I'd like a more financially-rewarding job. But The opportunity I'm offered doesn't really include routing&swiching. It's about computer&network security.
I know, I said I'll give it a try. But I'm a little afraid of the future. I'm afraid to spend the years ahead on daily non-engineer-related tasks. I feel disgusted when I'm used in low-value tasks.
I'm confused and confusion is an often too subtle sign of paranoia

What's wrong?

I attended my second interview session. This time, I mentioned to the interviewers that I'm interested in their offer.
However, today I called my potential boss. He told me that I looked hesitant.
Yesterday evening, I was thinking too much. I was watching TV with my family, but not really watching. "I don't know why you looked hesitant" kept on playing and playing in my head.
I didn't want to look that way. Perhaps it's because, as the interviewer listed my tasks, I was wondering, not smiling and nodding. yeah maybe. At the time of the interview, I was projecting too far in the future, seeing myself years ahead. They though I was hesitant.

It's my fault.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Personal Power II - Progress

I'm on my day 23. This far, I am aware of some changes I'm experiencing:
  • feel calmer,
  • know better what I want,
  • can understand my innerself better,
  • less limiting beliefs; beliefs restructuring (in progress)
  • ...
I'm happy that I got this program. I'm committed to it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A new Turn?

Last month, I was interviewed for a position of Security & Quality Engineer. The position encompasses all the aspects of network security (solutions design, firewalls, IDS, monitoring,...), software security (patch management, code verification,...) and some management aspects (policies, writing procedures,...).
At first, I told the interviewer - who is luckily an old collegue- that I'm not really fluent in this field, because I spend the last year working solely on routing & switching. He told me to think twice and that he'll wait for my final answer.
But now, when I see my daily tasks and my career growth rate, I think he was right. I'm caught up in technician-level tasks. I'm losing my motivation at work. There's plenty of time but a lot of interruptions to do stupid tasks.
I'll pause my CCNP studies for now. Yes. I already passed BSCI this year. So I almost three years (March 2012) to finish it. As for all what I learned so far, it's not a waste of time. All that knowledge will help me one day or another.
I know, I've been "pausing" a lot of studies this year. But I'll keep adjusting it until I find the most suitable ground to grow.

Designing the security architecture of an emerging bank, with top-notch technology, that seems to be quite challenging.

So now what? I have about one month and a half to "touch" network security. I need that knowledge just in case I get another call from my last interview - and that is almost certain.
I'll give it a try. I'm not 35, so I'm still young :-). Besides, there's a damn good pay for skilled security engineers out there. And even if I don't get a call from him. No big deal! I'll add those skills to my résumé.
And who knows, maybe I'll succeed better in network security than in routing & switching :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Anthony Robbins: Personal Power 2

I recently got back to this personal improvement program.
Actually, I'm a personal development fan. I always seek knowledge to improve myself. I'm a person who's always seeking for better. I believe there's always another level.

Let's return to the subject. Personal Power program is easy to learn and to practice. It's organized in days: day 1, day2,...
Here's day 7 mind map:
Things do not change, we change - Tony Robbins

Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Skill acquired

I always have been a fan of colors. Even at work, when I'm learning a new technology, I usually have highlight color pens with me.
Months ago, I discovered mind mapping. It's a brilliant idea. But, I found it a little painful to draw them on paper: layout choice, what to write, choice of colors,...
Now, I discovered Imindmap software, by Tony Buzan. A great tool. However there is a free version of it, called FreeMind, which is nice too.
From now on, I'll be mindmapping any interesting subject I read.
Here's my new non-technical mind map. Enjoy :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Time goes on

I need to restructure my time. My CCNP studies are still pending. I do have free time. But I lost a bit of the drive to continue these days. I feel I need to unwind for a while and to reevaluate my time.

Online chat is a time-consuming fatal drug. Many people I chat with were VERY close-minded. I'd rather stick with my "off-line" friends and to my dear lonely guitar.
I need to go on a holiday to refresh my mind and to re-focus. Fortunately, my family scheduled next week to go to Mahdia,Tunisia.

I still do the things that consumes my free time. Something is missing. Or maybe I failed to understand some of the things that're happening around me.

I have my career waiting for me. I need to focus on my dreams. Only I can realize them. Only I can decide who are my friends. Only I can decide how attractive I am, how successful I am, how happy I am.

"But now it seems Im just a stranger to myself
And all the things I sometimes do
It isnt me but someone else" - Iron Maiden

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Working with the Best

I've been working and interacting with IBM Tunisia during a VOIP migration project. I'm responsible for LAN segmentation into VLANs. The equipement is mainly Nortel switches and few cisco ones.
I learned that, since they are a Cisco Gold partner, they have unlimited access to online cisco labs. A guy told me he uses these labs for his CCNP preparation and client testing.
Well, I'm not a Cisco partner. And I don't have online cisco lab time. But there's always a way to do things, thanks to the community out there :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

One Year and An Evaluation

It's been a year since I've been designated by my company as a resident network administrator within UBCI BNPParibas bank, which is one of my company's favourite clients.
This one year was:
- one year of improving social skills,
- almost 7 monthes of learning,
- 9 monthes of eating lunch outdoors,
- 4 monthes of wearing suits :)
- 3 monthes of absolute boredom and routine,
- 3 weeks of anxiety.
Overall, I was satisfied. I discovered how networking fits into business. I interacted with Packaging team, Systems team, Computer Support team, directors and learned how to talk to different categories of people within the bank.
However, I still feel that I can do and give better. I'm a person who's very influenced by the level of its collegues at work. So when my collegues are competent, I do my better to become one too. But if they're not, I lack motivation to get better.
Let's hope the better is to come.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Taking Calculated Risks

I decided to suspend my Cisco studies and engage Juniper ones. I'll take the "risk". I'll give it a chance.
It's been a while since I began studying M/T series routers. This gear is nicer than Cisco. I'm in love with it :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tough Choice - part II

In my previous post "Tough Choice", I mentioned that I was offered a job in a bank.
Yesterday, I had a co-worker who was advising me to accept the offer. He told me that it's a good opportunity in terms of financial stability.
Yes, this may be true. But I'm crazy not to accept it, according to a majority of co-workers .
I don't seek stability at this moment. I believe that there's still a lot to cover and a lot to experience, before settling down.
Crazy or not, I don't care what people would say, as long as I'm thinking about my goals and dreams.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

A motivational mini-movie

I liked this one. It says that we should enjoy our life more than accomplishing it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


It was a nice time with friends from the security club. I enjoyed being with them even for that short period. It reminded me of my school days.
I hope to come back soon to another event.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What I hide is what I feel

I sometimes feel alone in my quest to CCNP. I sometimes drown into some thoughts ,even in crowded places. I even feel overwhelmed when I see a collegue, a senior engineer, memorizing a CCDA braindump sheet.

I 'd like to know how other CCNP-wannabes feel. How they face the huge amounts of knowledge alone. How they face people's destructive criticism. How they isolate their world from people's world.

It's almost midnight and I haven't engaged into studies yet. Time to go to labs.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tough Choice

Days ago, I've been asked by a client if I would accept to work for him, instead of my current employer. The job is about network and voip administration in a bank.
I already worked for this bank. I know their people, their network,... I knew the feelings of boredom, anxiety.
In fact, I didn't like my last months with this client. I got bored and I was stuck into doing non-networking and irrelevant (to me) tasks.

Today I announced my decision. It's a no. No to a higher salary, no to a comfortable life, no to routine.
Some people may say that I made a stupid decision. Actually, I would have made one if I had accepted the job offer. The latter choice would mean no international career, no beautiful house, no BMW, ... on the long run.

My current employer pays me less money and sometimes does not refund my services. It doesn't offer health insurance and other benefits. However, the huge amount of knowledge that's offered to us and the valuable projects we deal with compensate - at least for the few years ahead - the lack of other benefits.
For that, I won't tell about it my co-workers, for they will blame me for the money I refused. Poor simple-minded people.

CCIE is the top of the pyramid. I need to build its basis, alone sometimes.
I need to make more sacrifices. That's what I keep saying to myself. Sometimes I feel pain, anxiety. Yes it's part of it.
Let's stick with BSCI for now.

"Life is like a buffet. You've got to pay full price first then enjoy the meal"