Weeknotes #3

Well, that was a shitty week.

I had an interview on Tuesday, which seemed to go well, although not helped by a few self-inflicted stumbles; it’s been a while since I’ve interviewed for a job, so still a bit rusty. Prior to this, I heard that another role I’d applied for (and was scheduled to have an interview for next week) is no longer available. I’ve also not heard back from another role I applied for, so can only assume that particular option is dead in the water.

For much of this week, I’ve been thinking about criticism, and whether I have an aptitude for it. Opinionated, curmudgeonly and contrary, these attributes can be both a blessing and a curse for such an undertaking. And yet openly criticising others work can render you an outsider. I often feel like this is the case anyway, although how true that is I’m not sure. Chatting to Ben, he suggested we need mudslingers, and I guess this is a role I’m increasingly happy to play, although I’d like to offer more than just rabble-rousing.

On Wednesday I headed up to Nottingham for New Adventures. I got to catch up with a bevy of old friends, while the conference itself was most agreeable. Many of the talks were notable for their vulnerability and honesty while tackling complex issues like diversity and inclusion. It’s rare for a web conference to address such issues, so perhaps it was inevitable that this was the venue where Ethan would debut his talk advocating unionisation within the technology industry. In it, he referenced Tim Berners-Lee’s appearance at the London 2012 opening ceremony, clips of which make me feel wistful; the high point of this decade from which we continue to descend.

However, once again I found myself realising that I don’t actually enjoy conferences. For me, they are a cocktail of social anxiety mixed with feelings of inadequacy, only exasperated upon hearing speakers talk about what they’ve achieved. It’s emotionally exhausting. All of which was not helped on this occasion by an insensitively timed tweet — an act for which I’m far too prone — but for whose content is worth acknowledging.

At the after party, I did some more mudslinging. Upon meeting a developer who worked at Booking.com, I told him in no uncertain terms how that company makes me feel; Cennydd was able to do the same using a far more reasonable and measured approach. Later, I told a Facebook employee that I wasn’t angry, just disappointed — although I was clearly very angry! He was very gracious in hearing me out. I should use these occasions to try and understand the motivations people have for joining such companies, but there’s an empathy gap here that’s too large for me to cross. These interactions accounted for the minority of an otherwise pleasant evening, but they stand out in my memory of it.

Anyway, I end the week with a recurrence of a cold I thought I’d shifted, no doubt aided by the literal and metaphorical hangover from this week’s events.

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