This post by Windows Insider MVP Simon Allison is part of the Humans of IT Guest Bloggers series.
Where do I start? It's taken me a long time to even write this sentence! Why?
I had to:
The list goes on and on.
This is how I have been feeling recently - does it sound like you too? Have you been in this place in your life as well? You came here to read about how Simon got to be a Windows Insider MVP - well, I'll share with you the true backstory of that journey. Not the "Let me brag all about my accomplishments" story, but the REAL human journey and struggles I've experienced in getting there.
Back in 2013, life became really tough. We had just moved house a year before, and we had only just started to get back on our feet when my wife became very ill. Come Christmas day, we had a bubbly 2-year-old who was excited to open presents, but this had to be put on hold as my wife needed to go back to the hospital.
After a few hours at the hospital, the doctors determined that they needed to do surgery on my wife. Once the doctors finished, we received a call saying my wife has bowel cancer, and that thankfully, the tumor had been removed. My wife was very lucky and made a full recovery. People don't talk about the C word until you start to talk about it first. We are thankful to have survived that episode.
So what does this have to do with Windows Insiders?
Well, that experience made me realize that life happens. No one ever has a perfectly smooth journey and has both their career and family life going for them all the time, but I learnt that I could lean on community - the Windows Insiders community that helped me regain my confidence, and fulfill my tech aspirations.
I worked at a college in the IT Department in an IT Support role as an Engineer and then became IT Team Leader. But, back then, I was just an IT Engineer, breaking things and then fixing them. When my wife fell ill, I took off work for 3 months to focus on looking after our son while my wife was recovering. I could not separate work from home at this point, and had to just give up thinking about work for a while. I went for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT Therapy) to help me and to think things through. CBT helped me think about how to manage my thoughts, and how I can deal with them.
I also started to ride a bike to get outside and improve my health. This helped me clear my mind, so I rode to work for a year in all types of weather.
Back at work, I began sorting out my desk, and I chanced across the Windows IT Pro magazine. I got a subscription for the magazine, and signed up for newsletters. I also created a new username on Twitter @simonallisonuk to start fresh.
I have always been interested in Windows/Windows updates etc., and I always let people know when updates are out. I've been testing as far back as Windows 95, Windows Me, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, and it has always stuck with me. I worked in IT Support, so I had keep our computers up to date.
At this point, I decided to nominate myself to become a Windows Insider MVP. I had to submit my blog, and all the other interactions and contributions I had been doing. I used Twitter the most to write about technology and to keep abreast of new technologies.
Finding bugs in Windows 10 is fun, and solving them is even more rewarding. Oftentimes, there would already be a solution that someone has submitted, but we can upvote and then find out if there is another workaround. We build on one another's solutions to make it even better, and encourage one another in the process.
Personally, I have found that the Windows Insider Community has helped me be who I am today. This community got me through the tough times by providing helpful distractions from challenging life circumstances, enabling me to pick myself up by focusing on each build, getting excited as the next build comes out with new features, and testing applications, the latest New Microsoft Edge, and Your Phone. I hope that many of you out there will find your community, too.
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