S02E19: Self development

Moving on up

This has been a week. I even took a whole day off, and yet things kept happening. Here are some things that happened

1I booked an appointment with my GP to talk about my mental health. It’s taken me more weeks than it should have and a friend asking me repeatedly if I’d done it. I think it’s because I’m quite scared about the response. There are a number of possibilities floating about; not least that I’m still in the heartbreak hotel and it’s just how I’m going to feel for a little while. Other possible futures are out there, but at this point I’d rather know what shape they’ll be. Right now I’m blundering into them blind and it’s not sustainable. I’m also talking about it because holy shit guys, do we need to be better at talking to each other about this.

2I went to Voice & Vote at the invitation of all-round good person Sam Villis. It’s small, and it looks smaller inside the enormous hall, but it’s still very very good. Reflecting on how we’ve got to where we are, and how many steps it took, and the familiar battle of pragmatists against idealists was fascinating. Do go and see it. Get yourself a suffragette rubber duck.⁰

Suffragette duck

3I was invited to an interview with an organisation in Manchester. I’m still not sure how I feel about this. I’m frustrated by London, by its endless expense, by the noise and the pollution and the Central line. Manchester is a long way away, to be sure, but it’s cheaper, smaller, friendlier. I might be projecting. I might be trying to run away from things (see 1). I’m still going to take the interview and see how it goes. If nothing else, I like to have a sense of how much I’m worth.

4 I also applied to the Future Leaders Scheme, a development scheme internal to the Civil Service for people looking to move into the senior civil service.¹ The ever-inspiring James Arthur Cattell has published his answers, so here are mine if you’re wondering what it looks like when I big myself up. I’m not sure it’ll amount to anything — better people than me have been rejected — but if you venture nothing you gain nothing.

British SAS logo: who dares wins

5 I started writing a book. There is a book called ‘The Phoenix Project’, and is probably one of the worst books ever written. The storyline is appalling. The characters are wooden. The prose is thicker than porridge and simpler than a two-by-two sudoku. Despite this, it’s an absolute best-seller and is praised by many for the accessible way it introduces key concepts like flow, work-in-progress limits, and kanban boards.

(A note on Kanban boards: kanban is a Japanese word that means signboard or billboard, which makes kanban board a tautology. People who follow me on twitter make the argument that although it’s a tautology, it’s okay, because it’s in a different language.)

In an attempt to get the ideas of Wardley mapping across to a wider audience, I’m writing something similar. The current working title is “The Magellan Project”, because I’m literally incapable of creative thought. Please encourage me to keep writing, because already I hate every character I’ve written.


Just one this week. What if we worked a four day week?

⁰ Oooh, get me one too

¹ You may also have spotted that another reason I’m applying for things is because my sense of self-worth is tied up (in a deeply unhealthy way) with how much people value me, and points 2 and 3 are intimately tied up with being able to appraise that in a concrete way.

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