Weeknote 4 of 2024

Almost one month in my new gig, and things are starting to make sense.

What's gone well

  • I spent the day at our Ministry of Environment offices for the first time. The building is impressive for a government office: top notch cycling facilities, a gym, calming nature-themed decor and rooms, a coffee shop on the ground floor. The best part is, I got to spend time with Kelsey and Harry, and had a chance to chat with Diana and Rumon also. But the cycle in and out of downtown was a wee bit cold for me.
  • I have been on a 'meeting people' frenzy--in the past two weeks, I've had 22 one-on-one calls with various people from Environment and the natural resources sector. I've approached these with a user researcher lens, which to me basically means being curious and open, taking lots of notes, and spending some time reflecting on the themes I am seeing across all the different chats I've been having. I've also been attending lots of sprint reviews which have been fantastic.
  • But - I've started to be slightly less confused about what's going on, thanks to all of those meetings.
  • Building on momentum from my predecessor Kevin, I hosted another design call between my colleagues and some lovely folks at the Ministry for the Environment | Manatū mō te Taiao in Aotearoa / New Zealand. We talked about decolonizing design, sludge audits, behavioural insights and much more.
  • I've been doing some work to understand our organizational design maturity and planning a workshop for the design community which is exciting. I've also been working with Harry to understand our use of Figma and other tools, and I've been putting together the pieces of our design practice.
  • Oh, and I migrated my website to ghost and updated my personal site 😀

What been difficult

  • With this new job, I moved from what's called an included position (as in, included in the union) to an excluded one. This means things like my health benefits, annual leave and sick days change, but these changes aren't really clear. For the health benefits, I was sent a 98 page PDF and excel calculator and basically told to figure out the differences myself, but not to take too long on it because there's a deadline. Sigh.
  • One of my biggest worries in moving into a leadership role was having such a packed calendar that I had no downtime or time to work on the things I wanted to. And with 22 one on ones, plus several sprint reviews and longer-format calls, that has been somewhat true. But thankfully, things are looking a bit quieter.
  • My children have been having a lot of emotions lately. It's been tricky.

What's coming up

  • Designers Workshop
  • A BC Gov Design Community Call that I'm excited about
  • More exploration of our tools and how we use them
  • Some face to face time with our team in the Conservation Officer Service.

What's inspired me or made me think

Reading, watching, listening

  • I'm currently halfway through The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese and I am loving it. Reading it feels like time travelling back to 1900s India. It's a gorgeously rich story.
  • I discovered a super cute series called Trying on Apple TV. Its about 10% heartbreaking and 90% sweet and adorable.
  • The Living Room from Radiolab was stunning, a story that will stay with me for a long time.
a view of a city from a bedroom window
Photo by Killian Pham / Unsplash