Weeknotes 3 of 2023

The one with many highs and lows

Weeknotes 3 of 2023
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I’ve had a very hectic fortnight, with two big week-long initiatives. Last week myself and everyone else working for the exchange lab (about 40–50 people) spent a week working in person. Following that, I’ve spent most of this week leading a hiring panel for content strategist. Both have taken up huge amounts of energy and focus, and I’ve had a lot of mixed emotions that I will delve into.

What went well

  • Despite the lack of free time and functioning tech (see below,) I managed to lead a journey mapping workshop for the design community. It went really well and was probably the most successful event our community has held in terms of feedback and engagement.
  • As part of our in-person week at work, I met a few people who I hadn’t had a chance to talk to properly and I really enjoyed getting to know them. A couple of these conversations had me in tears from laughing so much. Sometimes I think that should be the primary measure of our time, by asking ourselves: How many times this week did you laugh so hard that you cried?
  • The hiring competition for content has been going well and I’ve been enjoying leading the panel, because it gives me a chance to connect with my colleagues from other teams, Matt and Susanne, and also with the candidates.

What didn’t go as well

  • I’ve already reflected on this through twitter and linkedin, but something about the in-person events of last week felt really overwhelming and isolating to me. I’ve been reflecting a lot on how much of this is down to me and my introverted, anxious, neurodivergent personality, versus how much is down to our pre-existing systems and mental models around connection that are very much based on extroverted, neurotypical preferences. My learning from this is that I want to offer to be involved in planning the next one, because I think it’s unfair for organizers to have to anticipate other people’s needs, when those other people aren’t contributing to the discussions.
  • The parts of last week I found the most challenging were the parts where large group “conversations” (which were less conversation and more leaders telling us stuff) went on and on, past the allotted time and eating into other things (like breaks.) So I’ve been reflecting on the value of these conversations — more specifically, that we are over-valuing long, meandering conversations. There seems to be this notion that discussion is sacred and should be protected, that it’s a sin to cut something off before everyone has had their say. And while I agree that everyone should have their say, especially the non-dominant voices, I personally don’t find endless discussion valuable. I think there needs to be limits, and there needs to be a point and a meaningful conclusion, such as an action or learning that will be delivered.
  • I talked last time about my macbook not working, and at the time I naievely thought it would be sorted out within a few weeks. Well, it’s now been three weeks without a work-issued laptop. I am able to access some of the systems we use, but not all (including the important HR system,) and everything is taking twice as long to do. It’s really frustrating.

Thinking about:

Reading, watching, listening