Weeknotes: 4/2022

Attack of the imposter syndrome

What went well:

  • A big focus over this fortnight has been creating slide decks. I gave three fairly high profile (within my org) talks. They all went better than expected.
  • I’ve started a new research phase. It’s going slowly, and it’s a complicated topic, but it’s going.
  • I launched a small webpage for our Design Community. It’s very simple and will probably be mostly static but at least it’s a place for people to find us.
  • We did some user research that showed some new page titles we’re developing for our service website aren’t working at all. This is great news because it’s evidence to support simplifying our wording even more.
  • I ran our second design community monthly call of the year and it was the best one yet, lots of engagement from the audience.

What I struggled with:

  • Mostly this:
  • On one of our org’s team channels, there was an important discussion about talent retention in gov. And while the replies were coming in on this, I saw a couple of people I follow on various networks announce plans to leave government, due to things like burnout, politics, culture. We need people more than ever in gov but I feel sometimes like there’s a slow exit everywhere. Or maybe it’s always been that way and government is just a cycle like everything else.
  • This has felt like the busiest week in a while. I’ve been more tired than usual. These are probably related?
  • And of course, the biggest struggle: An overwhelming sense of dread and doom for the state of the world.

Things that inspired me:

  • It’s mostly been twitter threads for me this week. I liked seeing this one on communities from Kara Kane resurrected as it’s very relevant to what I am doing now. And a good reminder from Martin Jordan on working in the open.
  • I’ve been doing some work to introduce plain language to our tech team, so I spent a lot of time in the archives on content design principles at GDS. This talk from Sarah Winters really resonated.

Reading, watching, listening

  • I recently finished Seeing Ghosts by Kat Chow — a really beautiful memoir on grief.
  • I binge/hate-watched Inventing Anna — I liked it at first (binge watched), then it got ridiculous and infuriating near the end but I had to finish (hate watched.) Verdict: Too long, too American.
  • I just listened to Apocalypse Creep on This American Life, and it was fascinating but also … see “whatI struggled with” item #3