Weeknotes S03E22

One way or another, this season will end soon. I was going to apply for a promotion and leave you all on a cliffhanger, but sadly that’s no longer possible.

Yeah, that’s a downer. Alright, let’s see what else I learned this week.

I implemented a little update to the way we use JSON. It seems both convoluted and the only reasonable way to do it, so I might try to make time in the future to work out if there really is another way or if it just feels like there should be another way. It’s taken about a week to figure out all the odd places it might affect, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s all fallen out. It’s not the most incredible thing, but it might enable us to do more in the future.

Complex problems often require novel solutions

In the afternoon I spoke to my technical lead about the round of promotions we’re doing at the moment. To be eligible, you’ve got to get support from your line manager and your tech lead. My tech lead doesn’t think I’ve got the technical skill to progress at the moment, and that’s fair. That’s not to say it’s not disappointing, and it’s what’s triggered a deeper reflection about where I’m going and what I need to do to get there.

This section was incredibly hard to write. I hate talking about personal ambition and I’m sure I’m not the only one. It feels crass and obnoxious, but pretending I’m not seems counter to the way I do everything else – by which I mean loudly and openly. Also with spelling mistakes, so here’s something fun before we get started:

The thing blocking my promotion is lack of evidence of leading on technical implementation, which is something I can only get by doing things like building new features. At the moment, my team isn’t doing that – it’s purely maintenance. So in order to find something technical to lead on, I might either have to move teams – not my favourite option – or switching my corporate objective to something more technical.

Alternatively I could abandon all hope of getting to senior developer and embrace that my skillset is centred around management, facilitation, and strategy with a sideline in building things. I don’t know where I’d go if I were to take that path.

I had an interesting meeting on Thursday morning with some people from the wider public sector and the private sector, and it really hammered home to me that I’m precisely where I want to be but not doing precisely the right job. I’m just not yet sure what that job is right now.

Here’s the thing: I know what I want my next two grade moves to be. I know the people doing them, and I’d even say I’m friendly with them.

(This is presumably the point at which the people at more senior grades than me reading this wonder “Is it me?”. Yes. Yes it is. Can I come and talk to you about it?)

Knowing that, I know I have to be patient: I have to focus on what’s going to get me the skills to get me there. To that end I’m going to focus on developing wider generalist skills instead of the sharper digital focus I have at the moment. I also have to realise that some of this stuff just takes time. At some point someone will ask about a large scale project I delivered to completion, and that’s usually a two year journey at least. I can’t make that move faster.

I am trying to get better at being patient BUT IT TAKES SO LONG

One thing my employer offers is a funded degree. It comes with handcuffs, of course, but I’m not going anywhere. So I’d like to know – what’s the course or degree you’ve done (or wished you’d done) that’s helped you move forward in your career?

In lighter news: this week I went to dinner at Gaucho with my partner. I’m using partner because

  1. I’m not dating a girl, I’m dating a woman, and I think it’s disrespectful to infantilise people. But also
  2. that’s how she referred to me

The food was great. The service was farcical. Not bad, but a farce. My partner has a nut allergy, you see, and so the evening was punctuated by the waitress rushing over (generally as my partner took a mouthful of something) and asking “Did you eat <the thing of which my partner has a mouthful>?” with a panicked expression.

Hilarious for other diners, I imagine, but my blood pressure has only just started to return to normal.

Finally: I worked too long on Friday. I got in at eight and didn’t leave until half five. I was ready to leave at four, but there was an interesting ticket that I thought would be quick and easy.

Narrator: The ticket was neither of those things

And the problem with interesting problems like these is they give you just enough encouragement to keep you going. Just when you’re about to give up you get a little success.

That’s how they hook you, man. That’s how you wind up at half nine in the evening stone cold sober writing tweets that make you look like a strange person who mulls ideas while posting penises.

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