Next week is my last one full-time at ye olde web agency. It has me a bit emotional because the is the first job I’ve left where I feel like I’ve truly left a mark. I’m proud of my earlier jobs too but in all of them I think I was a cog in a machine. At Makespace I always tried to be me, doing the best I could to help others.
Multiple people have pulled me aside or messaged me privately to say it won’t be the same without me, or they’re not sure how well some such thing will happen without me or even a true plea to stay. For the first time I think I’ve succeeded in doing work that is indispensable. That’s a goal I’ve been striving to reach for at least 10 years.
But that’s also why I have to leave. If I’m ready to do work that’s worthwhile, that people would miss if it was gone, that makes my tiny square of this world ever so slightly better, I have the responsibility to provide it as best as I can.
To accept that responsibility I’m also ready to accept the risks that come with being a craftsmen. It’s scary to be sure, but it’s never felt more right.
At the beginning of 2018, I recommended an episode of Cortex that was all about discussing “yearly themes.” I’ve genuinely been working on this idea in my head all year. The closest I ever really came to making a theme for this year was “the year of flexibility.” I wanted to become more open and experimental in how I worked, how I planned, how I parented, and also literally become more flexible physically.
None of those things really worked out well, though they’re all still on my mind. Such failures have driven me to figuring out exactly what I do want out of the next year or so: a refactor.
If my life had a changelog, I’d say we’re on Alex version 4. V4 is considered by all to be a great leap from previous versions, but it has come with a lot breaking changes. The health API (arguably the most important feature) is inconsistent at best and the source code is very hard to work with when bugs are identified.
Metaphors aside, I’ve identified that coding for a living is exactly what I should be doing but this state of sacrificing everything else so that I can keep chasing that identity has to stop. I need to cleanup my entire approach to living, not just programming. And some big commitments need to be made to really let that happen. It’s going to be a grind, but at this point there’s no avoiding it.
Some not-fun grinds are ahead, but what you can expect a year from now is I’ll still be coding: but with a different aim. I’ll still be parenting: but happier. I’ll still be a big dude: but less big.
No one ever tells you your well seems dry and you should do what it takes to fill it back up.
No one ever tells you to work on your framework technology instead of their project.
No one ever tells you to stop the unpaid overtime you’ve worked for them.
No one ever tells you that leaping can be safer than staying put.
Just because no one else says it doesn’t mean it’s not the right choice. Have the courage to say the thing no one ever says. Say it to yourself and to anyone you care about. Your words matter.
Second trip to the new gym. Deadlifts and overhead presses plus walks there and back.
Made some decent choices about food – the only irresponsible thing being a trip to Dairy Del in the evening.
Grocery shop, dishes, laundry folding, straightening up the house all as a matter of course.
Tons of time with Grace today since it’s the weekend and Ber had an event to attend. She’s getting a lot better at playing with toys of her own accord. We haven’t even be trying to potty train and she apparently figured out how to do that on her own to our pleasant surprise.
The last episode of Cortex, Minimum Viable, was so freaking good. Made even better today when listening to ATP. I audibly snorted at the reference to fanny packs.
Been re-reading a bunch of classic MMM articles recently. Also a lot of re-visiting Apprenticeship Patterns as I think I’m at somewhat of a milestone in position at Makespace and needed to remind myself what road I’m on. I finally got started on Walter Isaacson’s The Innovators and I’m not far into it but really did enjoy the section on Ada Lovelace.
And they finally put me on the website.
To be fair we’ve been so swamped with client work this whole time I have no idea who would’ve had time for the photo editing or page updates anyway. But it’s nice for people to know I don’t just make up my job.
Also, check out that head of office security!
The latest episode of Cortex was so so good. Myke and Grey have discussed in previous years that neither is fond of New Year’s Resolutions and tend not to have personal goal setting in the strict sense. But Grey liked the idea of having yearly “themes” and Myke stole the idea from him. Now the thought technology is understood enough it deserves its own episode for 2018.
Cortex #62: 2018 Yearly Themes
It was so good I’ve decided to steal the idea. I’m working on creating a year theme for myself. Several ideas come to mind but it’s all a bit of a jumble. Maybe by the end of the year I’ll know what it was, and next year I’ll better know what 2019 should be.