My (ongoing) journey to achieving a Work/Life Balance


, ,


It wasn’t that long ago that a fellow employee asked why my calendar had Monday through Friday blocked out from 4pm with an entry titles WLB.

It was a desperate attempt to train others to give me back the many late days I assumed they were taking from me. As time went by I came to realize that the real culprit stealthily making me late for dinner on a regular basis, was in fact, no one else but yours truly.

Truth be told, it was my inability to manage my own time that got me into this unsustainable predicament. A predicament that has slowly squeezed the life out of me, robbing me of sleep as I tossed and turntime managemented at night, processing the days activities. Once asleep, the smallest interruption awakens my mind and a new days activities start queuing in my over active mind. Ever processing, even when I am trying not to.

Am I a workaholic? I don’t believe so, I don’t choose to work, I simply understand that there are things that need doing. Sometimes its possible to plan time to get things done but often there aren’t enough hours in the day, that’s when I have struggled. Is this an excuse? Perhaps.

One thing for sure though, I am no 9-5 employee.

Root Cause Analysis

They say recognizing you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

house on fire

For me, balancing my work responsibilities with my personal life, family, hobbies etc. hasn’t come easy. I have this inability to switch off, especially when the workload piles up or if there are unfinished tasks or a nagging issue I have been scratching my head over.

In my mind its like trying to get some rest when the house is on fire.

If, like me, your “spare time” is spent doing something very similar to your day job, the lines between work and life become blurred.

Like an addiction, I had to admit that my loved ones were getting the short end. I was not happy, my health was slipping and I had developed sleeping problems. Something needed to change.

Rebooting Priorities

Who was I kidding, my self imposed expectations were not shared by others. Back to basics, I had to find a way to identify what meant the most to me, simply asking myself what would hurt the most, loosing my employment, loosing my family, loosing myself..

Something Needed to Change

The answer was obvious. I gave my employer the best of me and yet it was a part of my life easiest to replace.  What I am most afraid of loosing was my loved ones. They need to get the best of me. Time to reset priorities.

Taking Control

I still have high expectations of myself but have learnt to push back, to set realistic expectations. I have negotiated flexible time with my employer by stating my intent to be more balanced.

Wednesday morning are blocked out as “time off”, I can go to school events, help with charity work, do things that are important to the balance of my existence. And when I can’t take time out on Wednesday morning, I may clip off the end of Friday or another day. Its not as consistent as I would like but slowly, this is becoming my new normal.

A Delicate Balance

Some folks have found it simple to box up time slots and have a clear division between Delicate balancework and life. Not so in my case. Often doing work that can’t be done in business hours, often across time zones, deadlines of all sorts, its almost impossible to time box in my case.

Instead its a very delicate balance, one I am often re-adjusting. Its a never ending work in progress. When I start sliding down that slippery slope, its time to reboot and prioritize. I wont give up trying, I cant afford to, there is too mush at stake.

Reset Priorities

I haven’t removed my WLD calendar entry that recurs every week day at 4PM, from time to time I do need to grab the time slot but its an exception and no more the norm.

I have also added a new entry blocking out every Wednesday morning. I have focus time locked in my calendar and have started gardening. I really needed something away from my keyboard. I realized that my keyboard is my kryptonite.

In time, I hope to trained myself how to truly balance my Work and Life. In the mean time, returning to this article will serve as my reminder.

Never give up!





Microsoft Teams joins Skype for Business Visio Stencil in V3.0


, ,

Its been just over a year since the last release of my Skype for Business Stencil (V2.0). Of course the world changes and over the last 12 months I have added a number of additional images. This includes numerous Teams images as well.

Its not brand new but certainly worthy of bumping to V3.0. Below is a snippet of some of the new images

Visio 3.0

Download HERE

Proxy side ICE connectivity check failed


, ,


Initial complaint was that all users homed to a specific pool could not reach voicemail, neither could any callers leave messages.


Lync 2010 with an Enterprise Pool (co-located Mediation servers), multiple SBA’s and SBC’s as well as an Edge Pool. Voicemail in O365. To make things interesting, each pool has its own UM Policy.

Replicated the issue by dialing the subscriber access number in O365. Basically, the call is established, I hear silence for 10 seconds and the call is dropped.


Investigating I found that any users homed to the Enterprise Pool were experiencing the issue. Looking at the monitoring reports, diagnostic report shows the diagnostic ID 22 with a reason “Call failed to establish due to a media connectivity failure when both endpoints are internal”. Now that sounds familiar..

Diagnostic ID 22In the past I have seen these sorts of issues and found that they usually occur when there is a routing issue involving the Edge Pools and thus a breakdown in the candidate negotiation process. However, this is the first time I have seen this sort of issue when dialing a PSTN number.

Move the user to another pool and the issue disappears, right so pool specific.

Next stop, Edge server to see what its thoughts are on this call failure. Looking at the Event logs I find the error Event ID 14402 which corelates to the attempts to O365 Voicemail.

Event ID 14402The non-internal servers that are named in the error is the on-prem UM server. “Add it to the list of internal servers on the Access Edge Server”, well I don’t think I have seen that list since the OCS days. There must be a list of sorts but no bells ringing just yet.

Running snooper trace I got the same Diagnostic ID and reason as we saw earlier in the diagnostic report. But wait, there is also another clue. The exception thrown is “Proxy side ICE connectivity check failed”, and the component is “mediation server”.

both endpoints internalLooking at the Lync Workloads Protocal poster, this ICE traffic is on the internal interface. The Lync Workloads Protocal poster also confirms that the components affected are Mediation, UM and Enterprise Pool. So in summary, a specific Pool is unable to complete an ICE check with the Edge Pool. Testing from these servers I can confirm that this traffic is allowed (simply 443 TCP and 3478 UDP).

Wonder if anyone else can shed light on this, off to google. Not a single hit with the same diagnostic error or call scenario. Not entirely surprised, also I suspect that this is not the only symptom of the underlying issue. My google search did however find a possibility that the Mediation service and Edge service are not associated correctley (thanks Mattias)

And there it is..or in the case of the EdgeServer entry for the pool in question, there it is not.

Mediation Association


Add the association between the Mediation Server and the Edge Server, of course. Test and sorted. Found the list 😉