Weeknotes 12/2022

Ft. heat waves, hirings and holidays

Weeknotes 12/2022
My now 7yo on summer holiday at the lake

What went well:

  • I hired a researcher on my team! This is significant for two reasons: the first being, of course, that this person is awesome and will do so much great work for our team. The other reason is that I think and hope it’s a small shift in the bigger picture towards more design maturity. At the BC Government we rarely ever hire “researchers”, we hire designers and expect them to do mostly research alongside everything else. This devalues research as its own important discipline. Additionally, it’s very common to only have one “designer” (who mostly does research) on each product team (or sometimes, it’s a single designer within a whole ministry, which is just mind boggling.) Given my experience at GDS where we had multiple user-centred people on each team, I’ve pushed back on this from day one. A single person on the team can’t do all the work that needs to be done. So this seems like a small but significant step in the right direction.
  • As part of onboarding for a couple of new people (including our new researcher) I created a detailed source of documentation on my research and design work. This is so important and something I’ve been meaning to do for ages. I remember starting at GDS years ago and being given access to folder of dozens of research playbacks to go through and wishing someone had just captured the basics in a single document. It’s very un-agile to do this but it really does make a difference to the people joining the team.
  • I also created a Guide to working with Me. I followed a template from Lily Konings, which is a bit more detailed but similar to Cassie Robinson’s user manual for me. I really loved it as an exercise in self reflection, and hope the people who read it find it useful to decoding me.
  • Our service’s public website went live, and I’ve organized another round of research on it which begins tomorrow.
  • I went on holiday and completely shut out work. I always draw a boundary between my personal time and work time, I don’t check things outside of working hours unless it’s exceptionally crucial.
  • Big milestones for my kiddos: My older one is turning 7 (complete with a party that I organized) and my littlest got his covid vaccine.

What didn’t go as well:

  • My holiday wasn’t very restful, I’m not sure it can be with such young kids, and when you’re visiting places where lots of people want to meet up. It was fun but I came back to work feeling more strung out than before I left. Also it was bloody hot, 39 degrees each day. But we had air con and a lake nearby so we were ok.
  • I had a day of very high anxiety, one so bad that I could barely function at my work tasks. These are thankfully rare for me, but it really threw me off and took a while of recover from.
  • Our union announced strike action yesterday. So far it looks like my area isn’t affected but there’s a lot of nervousness about when it will be our turn. Strike pay isn’t enough to keep up with our living expenses, but also our wages aren’t keeping up with the high and ever increasing cost of living in this province.

Inspired by:

Reading, listening, watching:

  • After losing my reading mojo for a while, I’m back at it. I polished off two thrillers: The Maid by Nita Prose and Verity by Colleen Hoover. Both were good reads, quick and salacious, perfect for being on holiday. If I had to pick, I think The Maid is the better story.
  • Revisionist History put out a really great episode called “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” which really affected me. (luckily this was was before Malcolm Gladwell went on an insulting ableist, pro capitalist rant about working from home which really annoyed me.)
  • I’ve been slowly binge watching all seasons of Line of Duty before my UK TV subscription expires this month. No spoilers please as I’ve just started the last season.