The Human DevOps - 2nd June 2024 - Peanut Butter


I have an emotional reaction to peanut butter that is so strong, it’s actually physical. I feel physically sick getting it on me, cleaning it off a surface, or even contemplating eating it.

Why? A story.

When I was seven, my parents sent me to a preparatory school. During the weekdays, I would board—I would stay over—in a dormitory with other kids around my age. I would come home on Friday night and then leave again for school on Sunday afternoon.

I dreaded it. At least, to begin with, I dreaded it. And this is where my distaste for peanut butter arose. It was always on offer. White bread, jam, peanut butter. Crunchy or smooth. I think I preferred the crunchy stuff. And I ate a lot of it. It was my comfort. Perhaps I overate. I was young, there were no rules, I was away from home at age seven, and those in charge often left us to do what we liked. We adventured through the woods, for this school was in the middle of the Kent countryside. We’d explore. We’d come back exhausted and gorge ourselves on peanut butter.

But the nights seemed long and alone. A French kid wet the bed all the time. There was a Malaysian boy I was friendly with. We kept in contact for a while after the ordeal was over. We were scared little boys away from our parents. But perhaps we discovered what freedom was that year.

But peanut butter was never again to be my friend.

-- Richard

Peanut Butter photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash


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Human DevOps

DevOps at is the heart of modern software systems. In my regular newsletter, I dive into the human factors that make successful engineering organizations where teams and platforms thrive at the heart of your socio-technical systems. From leadership to team setup, maximizing performance, tools and techniques.

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