Sunday, October 8, 2017

Why I Stopped Blogging

Two years ago, I pretty much stopped blogging altogether. It was sudden.

I'm guessing you didn't notice. However you consume information, I'm guessing that there's a lot of content there, and you didn't miss one little voice in the maelstrom fading off.

And that's ok.

But I do have more to say, so here I am back at the keyboard telling the world about anything and everything that comes to mind.

First things first, however. I've done some introspection into why I stopped blogging in the first place, and why I'm starting back up.

You Can't Play the Blues in an Air-Conditioned Room

The overarching theme is that what I used to write about most is what was wrong with my workplace, and ideas and ways to fix it, in case they were useful to anyone else. That all changed when I took on a new challenge, left my job, and was really happy with the result. All the change I wanted to see in my world? I had gotten there.

I Achieved the Remote Work Dream

And it has been everything I have hoped it would be. I've missed a lot of opportunities to talk about what remote work looks like after you've done it a while, and while a retrospective of that is coming, the upshot is that it has freed me to spend more time with family, work on side projects, avoid the stress of driving/commuting, and made me more productive at my primary job.

Meetings are Minimal

At the old gig, there were a lot of meetings. Meetings can become so odious that entire books are written about their negative effects. With the new gig at a much smaller company, meetings are minimal. Most communication takes place via our internal chat app, where we maintain presence and discuss everything the moment it occurs, not sometime later down the road where we have everyone captive in a room for an hour. My organization has a single two-hour recurring meeting every week where we plan out the work for the week, and that suits me just fine. We don't chat to fill the time; when the meeting's over, it's over.

Email is Minimal

Because we have the internal chat app, most of our messaging happens over that. Even the business users have become comfortable with sending us a quick chat to ask a question, instead of sending a two-page email and cc'ing the world. The chat app saves history of all communications, and responses are generally short and instantaneous. The less time you spend reading and receiving email, the more productive your day.

Small Company FTW

We've all heard the parable of how bad things happen at companies with deep reporting structures. The game of telephone that happens between layers of middle management, especially with potential for positive spin on the way up, can wreak havoc on productivity and morale. In my current organization, the management layer is so thin that you can read newsprint through it. Everyone in the organization is trusted to make their appropriate level of decisions and everyone contributes to the product in some way with more than just organization and words. It is organic and just right. I'm starting to think that the best way to organize a big company is to make it a collaboration of small independent internal companies, without worrying about efficiencies of scale (because the efficiency would come from not having a lot of employees dedicated solely to communication between units (i.e., management)), but that's a blog for another time.

But My Work Here is not Done

While I have a life that I'm loving, and a job that's ideal for me, that doesn't mean everyone has that same good fit. My new aim is to help other technologists find their mojo, through growing their confidence, technical education, and networking (despite possible introverted tendencies). Additionally, I am here to help companies really understand their workers and encourage positive productivity.

So yeah. I'm back. Let's get this conversation going!