Spoke too much

4 days off, and on my second day back I’m already struggling.

It was a Wednesday, the day of meetings. And I spoke in all of them, often about tangents1. Then I spent the evening fretting about speaking too much about things I shouldn’t be talking about.

Tomorrow is Thursday, the day of zero meetings. Target is to not speak to anyone about anything. Stretch target is to only speak to a couple of people about just the work I’m doing tomorrow.

I should just get Pam to jinx me2.

Continue reading Spoke too much

Me, here, now.

Work

I’m a developer now. After years of developing apps and extensions on the side, I joined as a full time Android developer last November. It’s been an interesting change, and it’ll be an interesting experiment — turning a hobby into a profession. Based on the little experience so far, there’s going to be a fine balance—learning and doing what I love vs the challenges (and learning) of working with some people.

Running

I haven’t run since early December. More than two months. I wasn’t running much before that either, not after September. Hamstring and ankle were acting up last year. That’s just one excuse. I’ve gained a lot of weight (+13Kg, Dec ’19- Dec ’20), and it puts more stress on joints. I started a new career, and started working longer hours with fewer breaks. My favourite running buddy is growing old and getting past the age for running. Bruno left us, and I was depressed about it. I’ve got plenty of excuses, no runs. I could do with a friend, and a run. Or just a Parkrun.

Gardening

I took a few cuttings last autumn. Most have survived and taken root. Some have really thrived. A few died. I planted a bunch more of tulips and hyacinths. Finally trimmed back the apple tree and roses after a couple of years. The daffodils buds are starting to appear. First crocus have flowered. I’m looking forward to spring. I’m looking forward to another summer of getting hands dirty in the garden.

Reading

Reading took a back seat in second half of last year. Probably an effect of too many good books in the first half raising expectations. I finally picked back up over December holidays, and have been keeping it going this year. I’m always up for reading recommendations, so please send me any and all.

French

Duolingo can now understand my pronunciation of most French words and phrases. I’m barely past the beginner level, but still at it. I might even say that I’m starting to enjoy the language. Finding a few good French series on Netflix has also helped keep the interest alive. If only the Paris marathon didn’t get cancelled last year :(

Personal apps & projects

I haven’t updated any of my apps and extensions since I started this job. It’s been hard to motivate myself to code more after spending hours coding in the day job. It’s hurting.

Google ended support for subscriptions in Chrome extensions earlier this year. I didn’t update the extensions; I’ve lost all paying subscribers, and they may have lost access to premium features. Dropbox is making a breaking change to their API/SDK again. I’ve got a few months to update both Todo.txt apps, or they’ll stop working for a bunch of users. I want to make some important and useful changes to a few other apps as well. The backlog is growing. And it is fuelling a latent frustration inside me, with myself.

Head & heart

Keep missing meeting parents. (And occasionally getting pissed at them). Don’t have kids, or any prospects. Chewie is growing old. Bruno was taken away. Dudley visits less often because his family are home all the time. Haven’t been outside Guildford, forget a vacation, in a long time. The learning curve at work is flattening, and people issues starting to crop up. I’m not running. I haven’t heard from a few friends in a while. I can’t go swimming. I’m still in debt. I’m not meditating. I’m way overweight and unfit.

I’m not sad, but I’m not happy. That is sad.

Continue reading Me, here, now.

A hard thing

I didn’t realise it’d be this hard. I didn’t realise it needed courage. I didn’t realise it’ll cause even more anxiety.

I didn’t realise notifying bad behaviour, and asking for help could be this hard. It was harder than ignoring or living with bad behaviour, which I’ve done in the past. It was way harder than fighting back, which I’ve done too often in the past.

I had strong support from R all the way1. I knew they were in the wrong. I knew if there’s retribution, it’s a cost I’m willing and able to pay.

Still, it was hard. Shit scary hard.

Continue reading A hard thing

Super Monday

If we were measuring life segments on a 0-10 scale, the weekend was a -10*

Today, in contrast, was a super Monday. It started at 5, quickly climbed to 8, stayed high all day, and finished at 10.

The day started well. I made the morning coffee manually for the first time since 13th October, when we bought the coffee machine. The return of this morning routine helped. Gave me a few minutes to walk around, smell the brewing coffee, and prepare for work.

I had no meetings or chats all day, other than the 10 minute morning standup. A full day of coding, reviewing, and studying with no distractions. Completed a good PR, merged two, and reviewed one.

I had a good walk with Chewie and Dudley in the afternoon. Didn’t meet any humans. FTW!

Lunch was more comfort food. Alu-methi parantha with chicken curry, and some Chewie cuddles.

Thanks to no meetings, I even finished work at 6. With a smile.

Then I went for a run. My first since early October. It was short, slow, and hard. But, I ran! Win!

A very good day, indeed**.

Continue reading Super Monday

No meetings

Other than the 10 minute morning standup, I had no meetings today. None.

One full day of just thinking, reading and coding. It was so good.

It wasn’t easy. I was working on new, hard bits today. Most of the day was understanding what goes where and does what, before I could add my work to it.

It wasn’t lonely. I had two video chats with JT to work out some issues, and one with FB to understand his team’s solution. But it was all just work.


Over the weekend, I had created full day events on my work calendar for every Monday and Thursday. The events are called ‘No meetings, por favor!’

New beginnings

On Monday, I start a new job and a new career. I’m a bit excited, and quite scared. (R is trés excited, not scared at all)

The fears

The first fear is from all the documentation, processing, and related formal requirements. That’s a foreground worry, as I’m working on it at the moment. It’s also the simplest, since if it becomes an issue, it’ll be placed right up in front of me to deal with.

The big worry is the background anxiety from the transition to this new career.
This is my first job in this field. At 41 years old. I’m starting from the bottom rung (good), but at a big, established organisation (scary). They have experienced people, processes, and the thing I’ll work on will reach out to millions of people (trés scary). I am not sure if I’m qualified for the work they expect (I was surprised to even get the first interview call). I’ve never worked on something at this scale. I haven’t worked on anything that complex. I haven’t worked in this industry at all. The likelihood of my completely bombing is fairly high. At the first job. In a new career. At 41. There may not be another restart option.

I love to work from home at my own times. I’m a strong advocate for remote working. In this case, however, I miss not being in the same shared office. Looking at everyone’s faces directly would have provided a good gauge of how I’m doing. Working remotely, online, removes that direct, immediate feedback mechanism. I’m dependent on other people to be kind enough to provide quick, direct and honest feedback. (And hopefully, to work with me at helping me improve.)

Another worry is that this career switch means I am permanently trading in the old career. There won’t be any going back. It’s a different ladder now. A ladder, as R says, I enjoy more. But also one that doesn’t go anywhere as high or as fast as the previous ones. The ceiling is strong and near in this career. In the previous one, sky was the limit (given willingness to get burnt). The change means saying goodbye to many things. And saying hello to occasional, depressing bouts of ‘what if‘.

The joy

There’s also joy. I’m going to be doing something that I enjoy doing. I’m going to be part of a team, and have an opportunity to make some stable connections outside of home and running. I’m going to be working at an organisation that I like, on a thing that I really like. Unless I bomb early and completely, I may even be able to make some things better. And, if I survive, I’ll get to learn. A lot. In areas that interest me. That learning, along with having stable team mates, is probably my biggest incentive. (R has a different one.)

All in a day’s work

Morning—Work.
2 horas of work, 2 commits, one publish. An hour off. 2 hours of work, including responding to half a dozen emails.

Break.
Walk the dogs. Lunch. Watch an episode of Star Trek Discovery.

Afternoon—Fix the tap.
Clean the working area under the sink. Wiggle into the tiny space under the sink and remove the old kitchen tap. Boys try to join me under the sink, and lick me to ensure I’m fine. Find two right sized pieces of wood from the pile under the shed (thank you previous owners). Spend another 5 minutes trying to get both the dogs out from under the shed, and into the house. Saw them (the wood pieces, not the dogs) into correct size and shape. Measure, mark, drill holes for the piping into the wood pieces. Fit the piping and the tap on top of the kitchen board. Realise the hole is too small for the top, thick part of piping. Disassemble everything, drill a smaller secondary hole. Reassemble everything. Wiggle back under the sink and fit everything together. Connect the water pipes. The little dog has dozed off with my right leg as his pillow. After a few minutes of fruitless cajoling, replace my leg with my rolled-up hoodie for his pillow. Get up and test everything is working. Wiggle back under the sink and tighten all the connections. Clean all the tools and the removed tap. The little one is still sleeping on my hoodie next to the sink. Open the fridge. Both the dogs are awake and ready for something, anything, from in there.

All this while cooking the little one’s meal (boiled chicken and rice) for next 24 hours.

Late afternoon—work.
The big one is sleeping behind me on the carpet. The little one is sleeping across us on the bed. I’m trying to work. Good luck to me!