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Getting through difficult times – #017

Show notes:

Share The Podcast:

I’m sure that we’ve all been through times in our lives that we could describe as ‘difficult’, and we’ve all managed to PressForward and carry on.

The thing is that no two people are leading the same lives and no two people experience difficulty in the same way. What might be a simple thing for you, could be a major obstacle for someone else.

Our best-loved stories are all full of difficulties that the characters are trying to overcome. Humans seem to have a very deep interest in listening to stories about overcoming difficulties, and I hope that you enjoy listening to Alex tell you about his life.

He’s been through a lot, but has been able to find a way to manage in difficult circumstances.

Family, friends, professional support and the WordPress community have all been there at times to offer guidance and allow Alex to find a way to focus upon a bright future.

Please remember to visit headto.org and have a look around…

Interviewed by Nathan Wrigley.

We hope you enjoy the show, please do subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. We’re always looking for feedback, if you have any thoughts or comments, please do reach out.

And remember… Together we can #PressForward

Featured on this podcast:

Alex Juchniewicz

Alex Juchniewicz

Alex is a California native who now lives in Houston, TX with his family. Having worked with WordPress…

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Welcome to episode 17 of the PressForward podcast. I’m Nathan Wrigley and I’d like to thank you for joining us again and if this is your first time with us, I hope that you like it and that you find it useful. If you want to make listening to this podcast a regular thing, you can subscribe to us on your favourite podcast player and this can be done by going to WP and UP dot org forward-slash podcast dash feed.

Nathan Wrigley: 00:58 Usually at this point in the podcast I mentioned some stats about the important work that WP and UP have done thus far today. However, I have something completely different and it’s about bikes now. Usually, WP and up and bikes might not be very closely associated in your mind, but I’m hoping that in the weeks and months to come that will all change. I want you to go to a domain for me either pause this podcast or just write it down somewhere. It’s headto.org that’s h e a d t o.org. This is a new initiative to raise awareness of positive mental health, physical health as well as WP and UP. It’s a bike ride from Berlin to Porto in Portugal, which is roughly 3000 kilometres or 1,900 miles. The locations and timings of the event have very specific. The start is the location of WordCamp Europe 2019 and the finish is the location of the 2020 event.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:11 Myself and Dan Maby we’ll be riding the whole route and we’re hoping to be joined along the way by members of the WP and UP community. The journey will be documented by the team members. They will continue their regular day to day activities, running their businesses, undertaking work responsibilities, and ensuring their personal lives are balanced. We will demonstrate small changes amounting to an overall improvement in our physical and mental wellbeing. So again, please head over to head to dot org to find out more and I’m going to be coming back to this again and again over the coming weeks. Honestly, it’s a little bit exciting.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:01 the PressForward podcast is brought to you today by Green Geeks. Green geeks offer an awesome managed web hosting platform that’s built for speed, security and scalability whilst being environmentally friendly. Enjoy a better web hosting experience for your WordPress website, backed by 24 seven expert support and we thank green geeks for helping us to put on the press forward podcast

Nathan Wrigley: 03:45 Today we hear from Alex Jesuits and it’s a really interesting story. He has a long history working with technology but finally settled upon WordPress for his work, but it’s not really WordPress that we focus upon. Alex tells us about his early life and how he came to be interested in technology, how his childhood experiences were to have a profound impact upon his life. As an adult, we talk about the need to be mindful of your own physical health. When your job encourages you to sit in a chair all day. We also get onto the episodes in Alex’s life during which things did not go the way that he expected. How moving away from home facilitated many changes in his own life changes which were often negative and whose impact would be felt for many years. The conversation gets into some deeply personal and troubling moments in Alex’s life. And so this is a trigger warning that we should be discussing addiction, separation, and depression. Ultimately, Alex comes out of this with a wonderful perspective on how he can cope in the future and how WP and UP can help people who have had experiences similar to his. And so without further ado, Alex, it tells us about yourself and about your work.

Alex: 05:19 My name’s Alex Juchniewicz and I’m an inbound website project manager for an agency here in Houston where we have a full-service agency that we develop design, HubSpot and WordPress websites for businesses. Most of our target market is medium to large businesses, so we have several enterprise clients and a lot of medium-sized businesses. So we’ll, and then we also do a lot of custom integrations. So we have a website to our business, and then we also have a integrations side to our business. So we’re a HubSpot diamond level partner, which is the top certification basically you can have in their partnership directory. So we do lots of custom work. But yeah, we also, we also do WordPress, so we’ve done a lot of customization, WordPress projects as well.

Nathan Wrigley: 06:16 Sometimes when I record these podcasts, I just want to know more about the guest, what they do and where they’re from. And this was certainly the case with Alex. I wanted to know more about Houston.

Alex: 06:31 Houston is an interesting place. It’s very large and spread out. It’s a nickname, the concrete city as a lot of the downtown is just built and there’s a lot of buildings and concrete everywhere and it’s been built out from the centre out. And there’s also a lot of flooding that happens in Houston. So if you can remember back to Hurricane Harvey that hit the Gulf coast a few years ago, we were, we had just moved to Houston the year before, and so we, my wife and I came from California, which is completely opposite weather of Houston, so we weren’t used to the humidity. We were just getting used to kind of the big city lifestyle. And we live in a suburb. So we came from a very small area of central California to this huge metro area, then the hurricane hit. And so it was kind of eye-opening and it was a really interesting thing to go through because the community in Houston is very actually warm and welcoming.

Alex: 07:44 There’s a lot of volunteerism and uh, it was actually pretty incredible to kind of witness how the city came together and served each other and pitched in and you know, people were giving away construction for free to help rebuild houses and, uh, you know, deliver food. And there were parts of people that came over from Louisiana, New Orleans with boats to rescue people. And so, yeah, it was, it was pretty amazing. So I would, I would say that I’m very thankful and kind of glad to live where we do. So I work remote right now, but I actually, since we just had our daughter back in December, I did not want to work from home directly. So I actually have a separate office I commute to, it’s about 15 minutes away from my house and it’s just me in there. And uh, so I work kind of remote but in an office to be away from the house and not hearing vacuuming or crying in the background is I do a lot of meetings with clients during the day.

Nathan Wrigley: 08:53 Turning the subject towards Alex himself. We know Alex works with technology and specifically the web. Over the years, I’ve spoken to many people who felt that this industry called them. They feel like they were always destined to work in tech due to a lifetime relationship with computers. They played games as a kid, they started to dabble with simple programming and then onto something more complex. I wondered if Alex went through the same experience.

Alex: 09:26 That’s a very good question. So, so I grew up being a very big sports kid, right? And so I played soccer. I actually did men’s gymnastics when I was an early teenager. So I was very fit, very active outside. When I got to junior high, that was, you know, and, and let’s see, I was born in 84 so it was around, I would say the mid-nineties, late nineties one when things were kind of, the dotcoms were booming. Tech was really kind of getting started. You know, Amazon had just started in 97 98 and so the Internet was very young still. Uh, I can remember in junior high having my first computer class and we had to design this game. Um, and so I, I started falling in love with Max and we had, my first computer was a Macintosh LC3. So, but then, you know, once PC started getting cheaper, my dad bought a Pentium Two, 350 megahertz computer tower and that was my first PC.

Alex: 10:31 And I basically like went away from Mac. And then I was PC for throughout high school I took Cisco CCNA classes, our high school offered that. So I got really into networking and we had a computer repair class. So through those years, I was really into hardware and you know, did lan parties and played games with my friends. But I really started getting more into the Internet web space after I graduated high school when I worked for an Internet ISP company doing tech support for dial-up DSL wireless line of sight radio, Internet. After that, I just got really into the Internet side. So my first job after the ISP, I started working for experts, exchange.com and their question and answer site I did customer service for then and then that kind of just catapulted my love for Internet-based businesses and web stuff. So

Nathan Wrigley: 11:32 Doing the kind of work that we do can involve quite a lot of sitting down in front of a screen. I know that in my own case it’s so easy to settle into the chair in the morning, turn on the computer and hours can go by before I look up in this time, I don’t really move much at all. And I know that this is true. Many people in the modern world, we heard that Alex was fit as a child, but I wondered if he’d been able to keep this up into adulthood.

Alex: 12:04 I have and I haven’t. So when I met my wife, I was much lower in weight than I am now. After high school, I was very skinny. In high school, I was about 175 pounds. Now I’m about 260 270 and a very big guy. Most of that’s the muscle of course. So after my early twenties part of, you know, the mental health and the back story of, um, when we get into that is I drank a lot. I went through a period after my parents divorced when I was 19. I went through a very heavy drinking phase and uh, I actually lost weight cause I w I had such a liquid diet for beer and drinks that I didn’t gain a lot of weight for, you know, from like 20 to 25, 24. So when I stopped that I became very much a lover of food.

Alex: 13:09 And you know, I was still working remote during some of those years, but I was also going to the gym a lot. So I’ve had, my upbringing has been very active after I got married in 2014. My wife, she didn’t grow up really doing being in fitness or sports. She was a lot more into being studying and um, kind of that side intellect. So it was, it was very different because I always wanted to go work out. Now my routine and exercise, I just started a 30-day running challenge for my, just for me, my personal goal of running two miles a day after work, no matter if it’s raining or if it’s funny because I have trouble just trying to commit to exercising on a regular basis. I’ve tried doing weight watchers, I tried doing other programs and I just, they’re hard. And so for me to pick something that’s simple that I can control, I have an outside space around our housing community that I can just run in. There are trails and I basically just do that every single day for half an hour and do two miles. And for me it’s, it’s helped out a lot. It’s time where I can just think about life and just listen to music, put on my, my earphones and kind of just check out and it’s, it’s amazing

Nathan Wrigley: 14:37 Picking up on the point that Alex made about him having a period in which he felt he was drinking too much. I asked him if this had been as a result of the working set up that he had had at the time. I’ve in places in the past where working is hard and playing hard has very much been the norm, do the work and then go out in the evening and socialize into the late hours. And whilst this can be fun doing it too often can store up problems down the road.

Alex: 15:11 In my household, we grew up, my brother and I grew up, it wasn’t, you know, my parents drink at social occasions. So the influence too for my parents to myself, that really wasn’t the cause of that. So going back to when they divorced, I was still working at that Internet company and living at home. And so when they told me they’re separating, you know, my biggest concern was I don’t want to pick who to live with. You know, I don’t want to make that decision. And so I moved to a college city that was about 20 miles away. It had a very, very large college community. Um, there’s a university there. A lot of the houses that were being rented were mostly college kids. There were bars, there was, I mean it was a very active community and city. And so, and that’s where my job was, so I would be closer to work.

Alex: 16:10 So I ended up moving there and that started the snowball of my habit of drinking. And I think a lot of it was, and I and I didn’t find this out, you know, till 10 years later, looking back of how much that decision and where I lived and the culture and community and work all had an influence in role-playing of my habits outside of my job. And even during work, you know, I remember coming to work, hungover and just talking to my boss about the crazy nights I had before. He was young, he was about 30. Um, I was, you know, 19, 20. I wasn’t even legal age to go to the bars yet and that was just people I knew from the university, they would have parties and you know, and so even in those early years, there’s a lot of influence to go out and party.

Alex: 17:07 And so after I turned 21 I mean that’s, it was like, it was a game over like the community already had sunk its teeth into me of wanting to feel accepted. And I think that from my parents splitting up that I was, I was looking for that acceptance that there are two things I had a lot of abandonment issues from since my mother left my dad. I was always in and out of relationships with the opposite sex or just looking for, to fill that void. I was in a lot of unhealthy relationships. I was binge drinking a lot, very destructive lifestyle for five or six years and know my, basically, my life was I would go to work and all my money would go to basically be social, going out at night. I was at the bars probably four or five nights a week and I was just dropping hundreds of dollars, you know, and I would stay out late.

Alex: 18:03 And so it was very destructive and very unhealthy and um, you know, I was, I think I was just searching for that, just wanting to be accepted. I mean, I had a lot of associates but I didn’t have a lot of close friend friends. It was very much people I saw out and about. So, you know, uh, that led to me getting to DUIs, um, in one year in 2007. So that’s driving under the influence. So I basically lost my license for real several years. And then in 2008, I obviously didn’t learn my lesson. I actually, you know, I was in jail for, for two months and because of my drinking addiction, that was a really hard time in my life. That’s probably when I hit rock bottom that I was not working remotely at the time. I was working still for the same company.

Alex: 18:59 I was there for about six years and they actually kept my job. And when I got out, I went back to work there. But you know, I started, I started becoming very bitter and angry without really noticing that. And so luckily jail helped me quit drinking, so I stopped immediately after that. But it shifted to, I didn’t really have a strong male role model growing up. My Dad was there, but he was more of a provider. He didn’t, um, you know, we did sports and stuff, but we grew up in a faith-based house as Christians, but there wasn’t a lot of leadership as far as the stuff dads teach their sons on how to handle life situations or skills or, or stuff. And it was very much, I was on my own, cause my brother’s four years older than me. So when he graduated high school, I took on the role of a single child lifestyle with just my parents.

Alex: 19:55 So it was, it was interesting. Um, so after I got to jail, you know, I started working a remote for a company in the WordPress industry, uh, from home. That was my first, um, remote job. And, uh, I really, I loved it so much that I, I was in a, I went to the final year of WordCamp US in San Francisco. They had that year. That was the last year they had that. Um, and so I met another WordPress company where I was working in customer service and, um, I ended up kind of pursuing a different role for that company. And then, uh, I just, I fell in love with the community and basically just the culture of WordPress as a whole. And so it really changed me in a way that I loved the relationships and my acceptance there through, through the people I met and the relationships I’ve formed.

Alex: 20:52 If you talk to a lot of the people that I’ve been mentored by in the WordPress community, I’m very relational driven. And I think that’s because of just things that have happened to me in the past. I kind of identify that more than other things and I, I really am. I’m very passionate. I have a very tender and soft heart. But the flip side of that is I held a lot of stuff in, um, especially with my parents splitting up and then this kind of the self-destructive mode I went through in my early twenties. There is a lot of built-up anger that I just had no idea had grown. And so after, even though I had stopped drinking, I noticed that in the relationships I had, uh, you know, I was very short. I noticed that I was when I responded I could be short, snappy, direct.

Alex: 21:46 And over the years I had noticed that had come across in spilled over into my job, my, my career. Even in the WordPress space, there were several positions that I held at very high respectable companies that are involved with WordPress that, you know, I believe led to me being let go there because of my attitude and in the ability to, you know, control my, my opinion or if I disagreed with someone that came across. And especially working with remote teams, it’s very hard to do that over video. But yeah, it was, it was really hard because just these last couple of years after, even after I got married, the first couple of years I was married, I just noticed that you know, arguing with my spouse and my anger had, I kind of became the whole book and it was all this just suppressed, just lots of all verbal, nothing, you know, nothing physical.

Alex: 22:50 But it was just, I was just angry. I was bitter, I was hurt and I didn’t know why. And so in Christmas of 2017 it got to the point where I was in WordCamp us in Nashville and my wife had come and we had, we had gotten, you know, into an argument and the next morning I just realized like, I just, I need to get help and I have this problem just keeps resurfacing of, uh, it was impacting my job. It was impacting my marriage. And so I went and saw a doctor and I got a psychoanalysis test. And a lot of the anger pointed back to when my parents had split up.

Nathan Wrigley: 23:39 As you have just heard, Alex went through a lot. It took him many years to come. The realization that he needed to seek some help. I asked Alex how he decided what type of help he wanted to seek. There were so many options out there, so many different paths that you might take. How did he know what was going to work best for him?

Alex: 24:05 Yeah, that’s a really good question. So what my wife, just to say this out loud as like my wife, she is, she’s amazing because she basically has stuck through all of this by my side and has just been so loving and supportive. Like she’s amazing. So her and I kind of took a step back and we, we looked back, you know, the last five years of our marriage and we had been, we just celebrated our fifth anniversary this last April. So in 2017 when we were kind of figuring all this out, we had looked at my symptoms or how I behaved and kind of just did some research on the Internet and it, it really pointed to mainly like emotional outbursts when I was triggered either by being angry or I wasn’t in control of something. So we kind of really did some digging to figure out what, what happened when I either lost control or just couldn’t handle something or was very stressed.

Alex: 25:13 And so we found the doctor in Houston that kind of was specialized in kind of dealing with that. And so I went to him for initial counselling and just to kind of unpack and figure out what’s going on. And that’s when we did the psychoanalysis test and you know, he printed up a report and, and kind of pointed, pointed back to that, you know, there was abandonment issues from my mother. There was leadership stuff from my father. I mean even that subcategories of that or depression, anxiety, some mood swings. And I mean, I’ve gone through it all. So it was, that brought me a lot of peace, but it didn’t still fix the fact that I still was dealing with the desire to want to control how I reacted

Nathan Wrigley: 26:07 So Alex was able to find someone who was able to offer some guidance as to what might be the underlying causes of the problems he was facing. I was interested by the idea of whether or not the report, which he mentioned contained information, which was surprising to Alex. How’d he himself come to any of the same conclusions that the report did? Or was this all a bit of a revelation.

Alex: 26:35 It was a relief to know that I was able to pinpoint like a starting place of the anger could be sourced from it. W it was an Aha moment for me because between my wife and family, like I had asked my parents, like growing up was I angry and, and they said, no, you know, my, my father and mother, they were, they weren’t abusive, they weren’t aggressive at all. And so in growing up, neither was I until I can just literally remember that my life and attitude changed once I moved out of the house to that college city. And then I became just a completely different person. And just all the influence over that, you know, almost decade of time was destructive to me. So, uh, looking back I can see where I had all those unhealthy relationships with the opposite sex and then all of the incidences and decisions I made that would trigger and fuel me to be angry or bitter or just not have control for different reasons.

Alex: 27:45 But, but in that moment, you know, I’m not obviously getting counselling while I’m drinking, so, uh, and partying and going out, but I, I physically had to remove myself. I moved back to the city I grew up in. I moved away from that college town to give myself space and that helped a lot. But yeah, that report really opened up my eyes. And for me it was, uh, it was a starting point, even though at my age I was two years ago, it helped me get some answers that I had been wanting. And so I have been literally intentionally working in the past several years on anger management, being less aggressive, knowing and trying to identify, you know, even when I’m dealing with clients now if I get an angry client over email, my anxiety still is triggered. But it’s really how I deal with it that is in my control. So that’s kind of the path I’m on right now.

Speaker 3: 28:45 Alex has been trying to work out what it is that triggers him and thereby gain an understanding of what it is that he needs to watch out for in order to stay calm. The angry client on the end of the phone is not likely angry at him specifically and therefore he can react in a more measured way. So it sounds like Alex is learning what his triggers are, what to do if something does trigger him and how to avoid such situations in the future. Alex, have I got that right?

Alex: 29:20 That’s a really good question and the answer is yes because even as recent as last fall and earlier this year, there were times where I would emotionally respond or impulsively respond to an email or even on a client call based off of how I was feeling about that or if I was trying to prove a point or call them out and like this is wrong. I’m learning. Like when the client asks for something, the answer is always yes, but here are some of the conditions or what it’s going to take to get that done instead of no, it’s going to cost you this x, y, z. Because it’s really about the approach and the response. And that’s been a struggle for me over the years of I’m very good with people when I’m in conversation and trying to communicate things. But when there are times if I feel challenged or pointed out something’s wrong or even as simple as if a client relationship, if I’ve disappointed them, there’s even been times to where like my mind goes straight to I need to do whatever it takes to make them happy and that’s like been ingrained in my mind for all these years of, because I’m very relational, but I have to understand that not every client I need to be like that with.

Alex: 30:45 It’s isn’t this, there’s some clients that all maybe have a better relationship with, but I don’t need to go straight to trying to repair the relationship or over apologize because some clients, you know, that’s how they are and I am only in control of myself.

Nathan Wrigley: 31:02 We’ve concentrated quite a lot on difficult aspects of Alex’s past life. So I wanted to know how things had been more recently. Was life more stable now or were there still issues cropping up?

Alex: 31:21 So we moved away from California to come out to Houston. So that was due to my wife taking a new job out here and we didn’t have any family really or friends out here a week. We kind of, we were looking at it as a blessing in disguise because we just were kind of not really in a good spot in the community. I grew up, she moved and we moved in together and lived where I had grown up. So it was new for her. I knew everyone and so we just kind of wanted a fresh start so we, and I was working remote at the time so I could just get up and move. So it was a really good time and we didn’t have kids yet. It was a really good time for us to just start over, start around life, new community, new friends.

Alex: 32:11 And then we, we got plugged into, you know, local church here and, and since then my, my dad and stepmom have moved out here. My wife’s parents are moving out here next month. So we’ve had, and my wife’s sister just moved out here too. So we’re, we kind of started this trend and everyone’s now following suit. It’s, it’s interesting and I think because, uh, now that we have our daughter, there’s a larger purpose, they to be around family and she’s the first granddaughter in, in our, our immediate family. And so that’s really exciting to have people want to be around us. And you know, so you, you mentioned the support and I can’t stress that enough of how important it is to not just your family, but also to have your community and friends that really care about you, your spiritual health, your mental health, your physical health.

Alex: 33:10 Um, you know, whatever you believe in or practice. And it’s so critical to have that system in place or to desire that because of this podcast and just this project and the community that we are in the WordPress space, there are so many people that deal with depression, anxiety. I’m even gonna, I’m not even going to share something really large that just happened this last December when our daughter was born. I had started a new counsellor may be several months, September of last year, so I was only a few months in. I basically didn’t know how to respond with having a newborn come home and my anxiety and depression, I mean it skyrocketed to the point to where I physically got nauseous being in my house and hearing our daughter cry and it was, it was a big deal. There were several times where I had my counsellor, he’s also a friend of mine come over to our house and I was, I was literally just crying and bawling every day and I had no idea why.

Alex: 34:21 And it was, it was driving me to the point to where one night I was in bed and I started to have suicidal thoughts of like, I can’t take this pain anymore. And a lot of the pain was, I don’t know how to be a dad. There was a lot of denials. There was a lot of, uh, self-devaluation of myself. I’m not going to be a good dad like my wife doesn’t deserve this, et cetera. And I think a lot of that was just built up from the past. And I did the smart thing and I drove immediately to our local hospital, got checked in, you know, they had, someone asked me are, you know, are you thinking of hurting yourself now? I said, no. It was a thought that came in my mind I had never experienced before. And it scared me enough to like, okay, this isn’t normal.

Alex: 35:11 I need to go get checked out or figure out why I’m like this. So by the time that they released me from the hospital, I was fine. They changed some of my medication, so I was already on it like anti-anxiety medicine. So that was towards the middle of December of 2018 and so I’ve been on that same medicine now for, you know, now we’re in July seven and a half. And it’s been really helpful. And so my point by sharing that was when I got to that low point again in my life, there were people in my community that came and just put their arms around me and supported me like no matter what. And that kept me going as well. But also thinking about my daughter and wife, like they, they really pushed me to like, I can’t leave them. There’s a purpose that I have, you know like they’re depending on me and like they love me and I know all of these thoughts in my brain are completely false. There’s nothing to worry about. And that’s, that’s the saying, someone told me that I started to think about every morning when I was in the shower. Like Alex, there’s nothing to be afraid of like for that, for that day. And it kind of just re encouraged me to cause everything in our mind, it starts there and til it’s actionable or an impact, someone else. And I’m realizing just how much your mind can have a role in what you do, how you think or execute things. And it’s, it’s scary, but it’s true.

Nathan Wrigley: 36:52 So what about the future? Has Alex been able to come to any realizations about how his mind works, what he can control and what he still to conquer?

Alex: 37:06 I would say I’m on the upswing of getting out of that, so I’m always still learning, but something that I’ve identified in myself is that I’m very good at self-reflection after the fact. It’s in the moment where previously I just kind of checked out mentally and then you know, the verbal stuff would come out or I would just get, my anxiety would just shoot through the roof. But it’s really amazing how getting help and learning tools and habits of a processors system of thinking really has helped pay it off and moved me forward and my mental health, I’m also in my physical health and so I can honestly say that two years ago and compared to now, my wife and family, they’ve all seen an improvement, coworkers, people that have mentored me because I’m very intentional and I wanted to get help there. That strong desire just to keep pushing forward.

Alex: 38:09 I wasn’t really afraid to reach out and be transparent. You know, my wife and I have given a talk at word camp about our mental health and some things that have happened in our family and us, I made new relationships that I had never known. People from GoDaddy and other small businesses that I had never met in the WordPress community now are close friends of mine that I see at word camps and that’s really powerful to me. And so I will say that this community and WordPress is probably, it’s wanted me to keep going because of the people in and around it and that keeps it going. And I w I’ve decided I never want to have a job or career that doesn’t have some involvement with WordPress.

Nathan Wrigley: 38:58 People who work in the tech space like WordPress’s often find themselves dealing with code. They have to deal with the frustrations that come about when things break. But what’s nice about code is that it can all be fixed. It may not be easy, but it can be done. I ended my chat with Alex by asking him if he thought of himself in this way. Does he think that at some point in the future he will feel somehow fixed?

Alex: 39:31 Yes. And I think those are the chapters in our life that we, we hold on to for periods of time, whether that’s a few days or several months and we will have everything in our life seems to be going right. Then when we introduce something new and our code breaks, we get the white screen of death in our lives and we just have no idea how to fix it. I think that goes back to when you and I were talking about you have your team in your life, which relates to code and WordPress is your team around you is there to help you. And you know, if you don’t know how to fix something or you need help, you reach out and ask one of your teammates to take a look and you know, you trust them. And whether that’s family, coworkers, those are the people you position in your life to help you and guide you.

Alex: 40:29 And then, you know, obviously whatever you believe in, that’s uh, that’s been a great thing for our family. You know, we’re never gonna have a completed version of ourselves. So there’s always gonna be version x point x to, to reiterate on code, there’s always gonna be version changes and the higher number we go in our own lives, the wiser we get. And other versions that are younger than us are different experiences, you know, that’s where we can reach out and help them too because we’ve been through that. You know, there’s a lot of people in the WordPress community that haven’t gone through stuff that I’ve gone through that haven’t dealt with a drinking addiction or problem, haven’t spent time in jail, haven’t had their parents split up, you know. But there’s, there are other times of, there are things that I haven’t gone through that I’ve learned from other people that just shared different life experiences and different chapters in their lives.

Alex: 41:32 So I think end up is positioned to kind of start opening that door more. And it’s really about educating and transparency. And I love the mission of this project because it’s something, not only that I can relate to it, but I think there’s, there’s such a, a need for someone to feel that they have a community or partnership around them to come alongside them. There are so many people I’ve seen in my life and professional career where they’re just alone and they isolate themselves. I’ve worked at places where developers were just completely siloed off and they just, they don’t have the personality skills to know when to reach out and get help if there’s a problem where they’re struggling through something. And I think, wow, there’s a huge need and issue, not just in WordPress either, like the whole remote culture. It’s becoming more popular for businesses.

Alex: 42:34 You know, they want to ditch the office space and provide easier communication, more, um, flexible work environments for their team members. And this is only just going to increase. And so I see a shift in how mental health is going in, in our society of, you know, the doctors or counselling, um, short commutes. The people, the Internet’s just going to be used much more heavily for support. And surrounding people because we’re all about accessibility, right? And so if we’re able to utilize and leverage what we have to help those people in need that aren’t able to identify or get help, I mean that’s super powerful in my eyes.

Nathan Wrigley: 43:26 The PressForward podcast was brought to you today by Green Geeks. Green geeks offer a specially engineered platform that gives WordPress users web hosting that is designed to be the fastest, most secure and scalable hosting available in multiple data centres. Their WordPress hosting makes deploying and managing WordPress websites easy with automatic one-click install managed updates, real-time security protection, SSD raid 10 storage arrays, power casher and expert 24 seven support to make for the best web hosting experience and we thank Green Geeks for helping us to put on the press forward podcast

Nathan Wrigley: 44:12 That’s it for this week. Please let us know if you’ve enjoyed the podcast. If you’re finding it useful or helpful, you can reach out to us at WP and UP .org forward slash contact and don’t forget to have a look at the head to dot org website as well. There’s a serious point to all of this, and that is that WP and UP are here to provide help and support that help is available for you or people you know and can be easily accessed thew WP and UP .org website. Please spread the word about this new podcast. Tell your friends and subscribe on your favourite podcast player and remember that together we can hashtag PressForward

Nathan Wrigley