This has been a week of working out where I’m going. I’m going to go through my week day by day, because it had a nice arc to it.
On Monday I played chess with public sector hero Dan in the evening. We played two games, and I only managed to record one. We won a game apiece and talked about the difficulties of working on legacy tech. It reminded me that I have a lot more to do; that the breadth of technical challenges that exist run the full gamut from big data to ancient systems.
The most difficult thing about all of these technical challenges is naturally that they’re almost completely about people.
I also got to play chess at lunchtime with a colleague who’s thinking about their next steps. I’m always interested to know what drives people to make changes like this, though trying to ask questions and also focus on the game is nearly impossible.
Tuesday I wrote some code and prepped my mentee for a panel discussion she was to do on Sunday. It was a long session — we left the office about 9pm — but as I write this on Monday having had a glowing conversation with her I think it was worth it.
I also found out that there’s going to be a round of promotions to Senior Developer. I’m going to go for it, of course: I’ve been in my role for almost 9 months now so naturally I feel ready to take the next step up.0 I’ll need the following:
- A statement of suitability from my line manager
- A statement of suitability from my Lead Developer / Lead SRE
- A statement covering the following:
- Why I want to be a Senior
- What experience I have that makes me a good candidate for this role
If you want to chip in, tweet me or leave a comment on this shiny new (possibly not permanent) WordPress blog.
I went to Codebar on Wednesday for my little group of mentees’ penultimate session. It was at Google, and I found myself getting more and more irritated as the hosts have us a 20 minute rundown of their apprentice programme. I get that these organisations offer the space for free; I get that you’d want to do something with all this captured attention. But you could do it ten minutes, not twenty, and let us get on with what we came here for.
I also had a chat with a Fast Streamer who’s hoping to get into software development. I’ve agreed to a weekly check-in with her to monitor her progress, in the hope of being able to get her ready for an interview at the end of the year.1
On Thursday I actually went home at normal time. I had a chat with my mentor last thing and he encouraged me to go for the senior role. This was Nice and Reassuring. We spoke of many other things, including an exciting new corporate objective that is right up my alley.
Ah, Friday. A blur, really, but delicious Nepalese food and the Netflix documentary Mitt rounded out the week.
Then, on Sunday – bonus, personal weeknotes! – I tried making mac and cheese and failed tremendously. My white sauce boiled over and I added the cheese too soon and it split. I had a grainy mush of dinner. Every part of it was wasted.
At a conservative estimate I would say I’ve made this particular recipe 200 times in my life. I can do it. But I was suddenly staring into a mess of gloopy, gritty sauce and realising that I’d rushed into everything I’d done this week. I’d been going so fast that I’d completely ruined a dish where the only important quality was patience. All of a sudden I was aware of the momentum that I’d been building and sustaining all week.
I’m lucky that the person I was cooking for found the whole thing hilarious and agreed to tidy up while I bought more ingredients. I walked to the shops very slowly. I walked back very slowly. I cooked the slowest mac and cheese I’ve ever made. I even checked the temperate of the white sauce with a sugar thermometer before I added the cheese.
It turned out great. Of course it did.
Today I wrote some really good code, slowly. I turned down a meetup this evening and went home instead of rushing across town. I wrote these notes three times before I published them.
Nobody can do everything. I go on about this at every planning meeting in an attempt to get the team to admit that there’s some stuff we’ll never get round to. I said this to my mentee as she went through all the things she’d like to say in her speech.
I would do better to take my own advice and pare back my commitments, but the world is so large, so brilliant, so full of things to learn and do that it seems a shame.
My FOMO is wide and deep and all-encompassing, and I:
The Museum of English Rural Life (@TheMERL) February 24, 2019
That’s from a gag by the apparently lovely John Mulaney, so I recommend you give him a follow or watch this phenomenal bit about the best meal he’s ever had:
0 I know that this sounds enormously pig-headed, which raises the question: why did I write it? Because I want you to know that I know that, and also that I genuinely believe that it’s true. Beneath the obnoxious bravado is genuine self-belief, which raises the question of why I need the bravado at all.
1 Why yes, it does sound like I’ve picked up another mentee. Funny you should say that. I was reflecting on exactly the same thing.