mental health

Schema Therapy part IV

Another schema survey, another reflection blog post for you. This time the survey was to figure out my schema mode’s.

The premise being that everyone develops patterns of coping with life. Some of these patterns are healthy and sometimes they can be spoilt little brats and throw tantrums about not getting their way.

Here’s what I score relatively highly on:

  • Impulsive/Undisciplined child
  • Punitive parent
  • Happy child/Healthy adult

Child Modes

Vulnerable Child

Can feel empty, alone & socially unacceptable. Alternatively, could be experiencing feelings of abandonment, sadness & worthlessness.

Impulsive Child

Acts on impulses moment-to-moment and can find it difficult to delay gratification.

Undisciplined Child

Cannot force him/herself to finish routine or boring tasks, gets quickly frustrated and gives up soon.

Reflections on my child modes

I knew I had an impulsive nature, this is one reason why I’ve struggled with my weight and finances for so long. But I also see this as a strength too. I get annoyed when people complain about something and this impulsive nature helps me to get other people to take action. But this also often leads me to do too many things at once but hey, impulsiveness isn’t always bad.

The undisciplined child is a new label for me. It actually explains why I struggle to do test framework/automation code from scratch, there’s so many layers of delayed gratification when trying to build test frameworks that help developers my brain just goes, “nope, no motivation what’s so ever”.

I really struggle to see the point of building out test automation. It’s not like I can’t do it, but I have huge procrastination barriers inside my own head.

Maladaptive Coping Modes

Punitive Parent

The internalized voice of the parent, criticizing and punishing the self.


Hello, this sounds like my harsh internal self critic that likes to make me feel like a failure. Also know as the muppet. Addressing this critic has been the main focus of my therapy sessions so far.

Critical Thinking Software Testing

Mind maps for Software Testing

Using mind maps to help brain storm testing ideas is a great way to get all of your ideas out. Using a mind map you will be able to:

  • Generate more testing scenarios
  • Connect new ideas
  • Collaborate more with other people

How do I mind map?

Step 1: Start with your central idea/theme

Nothing beats using a good old pen and paper when it comes to starting, sure there are tools like xmind and coggle. You could also use your trusty presentation tool of choice (powerpoint, google slides, keynote or prezi). Even confluence has plugins that enable you to create mind maps.

But I like starting with my trusty pen and paper:

The word Idea is inside a cloud at the centre of the page

Step 2: Start brainstorming your ideas

Then you start putting your ideas down on the paper, maybe one idea triggers a bunch of related ideas? You might even come up with that 1 big awesome idea too.

The Central idea is surrounded by connected thoughts. Thought 3 has generated the "Big Idea"

Step 3: Share your mindmap and start collaborating

Ideas get better when you share them with other people. Share your mindmap with a colleague and see if they have any new ideas to add too.

Test Insane has this awesome repository of mind maps that other software testers have created.

How are mind maps useful?

They can used during sprint planning

I created, printed and laminated this mobile testing mind map in a previous team and I would bring it to planning meetings.

I would use it to remind myself to ask about:

  • Accessibility Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Security Testing
  • Privacy

As these elements of quality are often overlooked when we are doing sprint planning in development teams.

They can be used during job interviews

When I’m interviewing other testers one of my goto questions is to ask, “how would you test a username/password field”:

If they start mind mapping test scenarios, that’s a bonus in my mind. Also bonus points if they mention something like a big list of naughty strings, or how hard it actually is to validate a proper email.

Ultimately I’m looking for them to get to context based questions, things like:

  • Why are we testing this?
  • What’s changed recently?
  • Is this already in production?

If you’d like to read more about interviewing technical testers, this post is for you.

Further reading

Testing heuristics are also a kick arse way to generate more testing ideas too. Combining heuristics and mind maps is a sure fire recipe for generating more scenarios.

Are you interested in learning more about visual note taking? This post is for you.

Wondering how you can use visual note taking with automation testing? This visual risk based framework for UI automation is for you.

Want another way of generating crazy test scenarios? Try soap opera/scenario based testing.

Do you find mind maps useful?

Let me know by leaving a comment below or by sharing this post.

Critical Thinking Politics Sustainability

What type of voter am I?

On my walk this morning I was listening to this radiolab podcast on how people try to categorise voters in the US. It started off with the Soccer mum category that helped Clinton remain elected in 1996. And this got me thinking, what type of voter am I?

Hipster Bogan

If I was to give myself a stereotype, I like the phrase; “hipster bogan”. I live in a big city, enjoy pretentious coffee, avocado on toast and craft beer.

However I’m very much a bogan at heart too, I’m one of the many young Australians that grew up in rural Australia (Tasmania) and migrated to a big city for work, however that trend appears to be changing too.

My family is very working class. My dad is a stereotypical bogan; think tradie with tattoos, blue singlet with shorts, say’s lots of “yeah mate”, drinks beer etc.

This conversation piece about bogans vs hipsters is a good read.

I vote 1 Science Party

Climate change is my biggest concern, when I think about my future it’s my biggest worry. The last 2 elections I’ve volunteered and voted for the Science Party. It’s not because I think they’ll win, but if they get enough votes then eventually the bigger parties actually have to pay attention to them.

Also these parties get more funding based on the number of first vote preferences. And with the way preferential voting works here in Australia, a major party still gets my first vote even when I put them second, here’s an explainer:

Language warning; lots of fucks and shits to give

Some other concerns I have

My other main concerns are access to education for poor Australians and jobs for people with low education rates (e.g. truck drivers).

What are people with low literacy rates going to do when jobs like truck driving are more automated? I have this post reflecting more on the future of work.

I’d vote Labor over Greens

I have a tendency to vote Labor over the greens, even though I’m from Tasmania and that’s where the greens party started. The Greens party originated over protests of flooding lake peddar when Tasmania was building more hydro electric dams.

I view the greens history and a lot of their motivating factors to get in the way of creating jobs even though they have great intentions. I would prefer to vote for sustainable old growth logging in Tasmania over no old growth logging at all.

I slightly prefer Labor over Liberal

However my main deciding factor for who gets my 2nd vote is the person whose voice I can tolerate hearing the most. The two major parties are just as shit as each other. Last election Morrison got my second vote, I think Turnbull also got my second vote before that. However Rudd definitely got my vote over Abbott.

Though Abbott did give us some comedic gold:

Kevin Rudd Media Enquiry

Rudd had this petition to investigate conflicts of interest in the mainstream media. The petition got close to 500,000 signatures and I was one of them.

I did enjoy watching this interview with Rudd which goes into more detail about our biased media (Friendly Jordies is a comedic shit poster on youtube):

How would you describe your voting stereo type? Are you a soccer mum? A hipster bogan like me or some other label?


What does retirement look like for me?

Retirement, wow. It feels so far off why should I even bother thinking about it?

To give you some context why I’m asking myself this, I work in the superannuation industry (the Aussie retirement savings scheme) and the leadership team has asked people to reflect on retirement. I’m 31 and I don’t think I’ll ever “formally” retire. Let me explain to you why I think that.

If you asked a 21 year old me

Myself at 21 was seeing the 2008 financial crises impact the world. If you had asked me then about my thoughts on superannuation, I would have told you, “what even is the point?”. I believed:

In my lifetime we are bound to have another market crash or some other global catastrophe and it would render all of our money useless.

Money is imaginary

If we humans didn’t exist, would the universe still have money? No, money is a human made idea to help us make sense of the world. Once I understood that money is a social construct it became easier for me to think about my retirement savings.

Understanding Money, part 1.

It didn’t matter if there was a chance of all of that money disappearing because there’s also a chance that I’ll actually get that old and it will all count for something.

If it’s all imaginary why not put extra into super now? I don’t need that money today and the worse thing that can happen is it doesn’t exist when I do need it.

I found the book debt, the first 5000 years on Audible a good but hard read to get through. It helped me understand money better too. Basically debt existed long before money did.

The climate crisis is my main concern

We’ve really screwed up this planet we are on. I would say climate change is my biggest concern when thinking about retirement. Here in Australia we had a terrible bushfire season last year. When I’m older I don’t want every year to be like that.

I use to think I’d buy some land in Tasmania and build a little self sustainable hobby farm to ride out most of the bad impending climate change crisis. But new studies showing Tasmania is even more prone to climate change than Australia (because temperate rainforests take hundreds of years to develop but seconds to burn down) are really concerning.

Buying land is still a worthy goal but it might not be the retirement safe haven that I want it to be.

I don’t think I’ll stop working

Even as a 75 year old I’ll probably figure out a way to do business consulting or teaching. I might even consider doing a PhD and tutoring. I’ve never sat still, why would my retirement be any different?

Warren Buffett is currently the oldest CEO at 87, what do you think retirement looks like for him? Bernie Sanders, Trump and Biden are all 70+, I don’t think they got to the magic age of 65 and decided to “retire” either.


Emergency Savings

How much money do I need to save for an emergency? That’s a good question. The barefoot investor recommends starting with a 2k emergency savings. Then building it out to 3-6 months worth of living expenses once debts have been sorted.

This is NOT financial advice, a professional can help you if you have any concerns about your finances.

Figuring out my living expenses

I’ve spent the last month tracking my lifestyle expenses and you can access the final version of my spreadsheet here. My emergency savings is for the situation “I’ve lost my job” and need to survive off my own steam.

I’d like to aim for 3 months worth of savings and building that up to 6 months before I start my own business full time.

Categorising the budget

I used a green, orange, red category system to figure out my lifestyle costs over the month.

  • Green = Essential
  • Orange = Could reduce
  • Red = Luxury

I can then count up all of the categories and say things like:

  • In the last month I spent $80 on coffee
  • I spent on average $110 per week on beer

Minimum living expenses

My minimum expenses would be the total of the green amount, minus my housemates contributions + my reduced orange expenses.

I have another minimum value that is subtracting my personal loan repayments because I’m on track to having that paid off in 2 years time.

But I might be paying off a mortgage for some land in Tasmania around that time so I don’t know if I should include it or not. Hence why there’s two levels.

My basic living expenses is a threshold between $6,300 and $11,340 for 3 months.

6 months emergency savings goal

I’d like to have 20k to 25K saved up as an emergency fund before I start my own business full time. I believe 6 months worth of living expenses will give me enough of a safety net to take that risk. I’m currently at 3k in my emergency savings:

Up Bank – savings

Saving for a home deposit

I’m also saving for a deposit on a house. I’ve just increased my salary sacrifice into my super to $460 per fortnight and I plan on using the first home savers scheme in a few years time.

Comparing pay slips, I get paid every 2 weeks

I’m now close to maximising my contributions into super and approaching that 25K concessional contributions limit over the finiancial year.

Sunsuper’s concessional contribution tracker

If you’d like to read more, I have these related finance posts:

But these savings goals are going to take me a bit of time to build up. What are you currently saving for?