All posts by Bobby

Husband and father of two young kids who got fit and got inspired to help others achieve their fitness and financial goals.

Baked Stuffed Sweet Potato

Makes 2 Servings, 1 potato with 1 cup filling

  • Total Time: 1hr 5 min.
  • Prep Time: 15 min  
  • Cooking Time: 50 min
  • Yield: 2 Servings

Container Equivalents per server: 1 Red, 2 Yellow, 1 Teaspoon

Ingredients

  • 2 small sweet potatoes, washed, pierced several times with a fork
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded roasted chicken breast, boneless, skinless
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 dash sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Bake sweet potatoes for 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender.  Cut sweet potatoes almost in half lengthwise
  3. While sweet potatoes are baking, combine chicken, beans, oil, cumin, coriander, and salt in a small saucepan; cook, over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes or until hot
  4. Top sweet potatoes evenly with chicken mixture. Sprinkle evenly with cilantro.
  5. Serve Immediately

7 Ways to Accelerate Your I.T. Career

Over the course of my I.T. career I found that I was getting promoted roughly every 2 years.  For me it seemed natural as I didn’t know any different, but I did notice that my peers were not getting promoted as quickly.  Some never got promoted at all!  In addition to the promotions, I was entrusted with some pretty big projects and received some opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, like international travel to Brazil and Germany.

It wasn’t until I became a manager that I understood exactly WHY I was being promoted so quickly.  As I reflect back on the history of my career, I have identified seven points that have accelerated my career to make me one of the youngest managers in I.T. at my organization.

Don’t Suck Up

There is nothing more transparent than someone sucking up.  It suck%20up_Shutterstock_webshows that you are disingenuous and have ulterior motives.  It’s immediately obvious to not only your boss but also your peers as well, which will damage your relationships with them.  Instead you can look to form a semi-friendship with your management.  One where you share details about your life, your hobbies, your family.  Keep things professional.

Personal Development

You are not the expert in everything, nor are you perfect.  Set aside time on your own for personal development that betters yourself.  Read books or listen to audio books that develop your leadership Personal_Developmentskills and your technical skills.  Books like “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” are a great place to start on leadership.  If you’re a web developer, grab a book on ASP.NET or Java.  Learn about design patterns, business analysis techniques or process frameworks.  This is where you gain the knowledge and ideas that will set the foundation.  When you do this on your own, it shows your management that you have a hunger to become more than what you currently are.

Show Up

One simple thing you can do is to arrive early for work and stay late. I’m not suggesting you live at work! On the contrary, I believe in aarrive-early-300x198 healthy work/life balance.  You will be surprised the impression you will leave when you are consistently 5 minutes early and stay just 5 minutes later.  Don’t be part of the herd that does the mass-exodus at 4:30.

Prove Your Worth

A simple way to sum this point up is deliver.  Be proactive in resolving any impediments to your assignments.  If you are waiting for someone to clarify requirements or deliver a dependency to your work, don’t rely on email, call them early and often!

Set a high standard of quality for your work.  Minimize documented bugs by involving your users, business analysts or QA analysts early while you are doing your assignment.  That doesn’t mean hide issues.  If there’s a bug or issue, document it and follow the process to resolve it.  What it does mean is you do what you can to prevent it in the first place.

Partner Up

Your relationship with your peers is more important than you know.  Remember when I said above that you don’t know everything?  Neither does your peer.  However if you think of your knowledge and your peer’s knowledge like a Venn diagram, there’s his part of the circle that doesn’t overlap with your own.  Your peers will look at a problem or solution from a different perspective and often think of things you didn’t.  This will lead to higher quality solutions where it’s easier for you to Prove Your Worth.

Solve Problems

As I.T. Pros, we LOVE solving problems.  The type of problems I’m talking about here are problems your team or your department faces.  Think about what’s taking too long?  What’s always breaking?  What’s unpredictable? What processes are inefficient and could be improved?  For example, do you have a bug that just keeps showing back up?  You fix it, and then someone unfixes it?  Could automated testing help prevent that if only your team did automated testing?  Could you become the automated testing guy?

Don’t Be A Problem

Once you are viewed as a problem, it takes serious work to undo that perception.  If you think about your current progress towards a promotion as a bank account, then doing everything above adds small deposits to that account.  However, being a problem to your manager makes withdrawals… big withdrawals.  Ways to becoming a problem include not delivering on your assignments, never accepting responsibility for your actions, purposefully going against your teams standards, being dismissive towards your peers and management, being rude and unprofessional to anyone at any time.

Now with all that being said, there is one last piece of advice I will give you.  Don’t try to be promoted too quickly.  For every single level I was ever promoted to, I thought I was already ready for the next level.  Once I got that, I realized that I wasn’t ready when I thought I was and I needed time.  Time served doesn’t always qualify you for a promotion to the next level, but it does give you the wisdom needed to know how to approach the situations you will face with courage and integrity.

How I Conquered My Back Pain From Sitting At My Desk

If you sit at a desk for your job, and in I.T. you do, chances are you either suffer from lower back pain OR you are heading down the road of developing lower back pain.  Factors that contribute to this include putting pressure on your tailbone for extended periods of time, weaking back and core muscles, improper desk ergonomics, poor posture.  I suffered from lower back pain from nearly my entire professional career in I.T.

Sitting Too Long

Naturally your back as an S curve shape to it.  When you are standing, your back naturally goes back to this naturally S curve.  As you sit, pressure from your chair on your tailbone puts unnatural pressure on this S curve.  Over time the unnatural pressure can put stress on your discs, exacerbate any past injuries and can begin to herniate your disc.

Poor Posture

You know you slouch at your desk.  We sink low in our chairs, slide our butts forward and curve our backs.  Sometimes this even provided relief for me with my back.  But the other affect is this puts additional stress on the lower back muscles and it weakens your abdominal muscles, which help serve to protect your lower back

Poor Ergonomics

Some people have their monitors too low and have their chairs set at improper heights.  Instead have your monitor(s) situated so they are directly in front on you.  They should be at eye level so you don’t have to look down or up to see them. Your chair should be adjusted so that your feet are on the floor and your knees are bent at a perfect 90 degree angle.

Strengthen Your Core

The first part to conquering your lower back issues is to strengthen your core.  Find an exercise routine that works both your abdominal muscles and your lower back.  Strong core muscles help keep your discs nice and tight in the place they below.  I’ve found that both Focus T25 and Insanity Max 30 are both great programs for Strengthening your core.

Stand Up!

Our bodies were not designed to sit all day.  At minimum, I recommend you stand up for at least 5 minutes every hour to get off your butts and stretch out your back.  This helped me, but it wasn’t the cure.  The final change I made that totally took away my back pain was the Varidesk.  If you don’t know what the Varidesk is, it is a platform that you place on top of your desk.  You put your monitor(s) and keyboard on the platform and it transforms your desk into a standing desk.  The unit is sturdy and strong.  The desk easily transforms from sitting to standing in less than 5 seconds.  I now stand for at least 3/4 of my day, and sit for around 1/4 of the day.  This allows my back to return to that natural S curve position.  Zero back pain since getting this desk.  I highly recommend you get this for your workspace if you have the ability!