Week of 2023-01-22

πŸ“· Photography

The highlight of the week was for sure a trip down the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington side with my friend Luke. The weather was fickle, the light was all over the place, and I went home thinking "I'm not going to like what I got much," but I ended up pretty happy with a selection. I made a few posts:

Current favorite:

Trees reflect on the smooth water of the Columbia at dusk

✏️ Writing

My job coach says I need to write and post stuff on LinkedIn, so I've started working on stuff I feel like I could share there. It is daunting. I don't want to but take her point.

So, this week I just set the very modest goal of "get started."

That entailed several pomodoros worth of ... something? It wasn't great, and not to my standard, but it was a start and I could see things I might salvage.

It's sort of interesting, having not sat down for a while to write about anything that was not occurring to me in the exact moment, or without a very, very clear and immediate business need, to start writing and realize that once I did a couple of pomodoros and could sit back and review, my mindset was much more akin to when I'm doing post in photography. It felt healthy: "Well, that's not quite right and the whole thing is not a keeper as is, but here's what you could do with it, and here's what you learned about that kind of thing."

Gonna keep at it.

πŸ“š Reading

I didn't read much. I do have a book about Swift programming I can't wait to dig into next week during learning time. I just got pinged that a few of my reserves from the library are available all at once, so I've got some science fiction to choose from.

βš™οΈ Organization

I learned that kanban boards in Obsidian can have their own settings, so I did something for my mental health with it:

I started my job search in earnest at the beginning of the month. I have a practice of spending Monday, Wednesday, and Friday reviewing job listings; Tuesday and Thursday go to applying (cover letters, etc.)

I started a kanban board in November where I noted postings. I have columns for:

  • Interesting, needs research
  • Ready to apply
  • Applied
  • In progress
  • Dropped/Declined

On one not great day I got a decline in the mail. I made a little note in the card note and moved it into the "Declined" column with a few others. Because all I could see was the cards, not the notes, it just looked like a wall of rejection. Then I looked over at all the "Applied" cards and realized I didn't know when I'd applied or how long they'd all been sitting there.

I realized two things from that one minute:

  • If I don't have some way of seeing why jobs are in a dropped or declined state, on bad days I'm gonna turn that into a negative story.
  • If I don't know how long I've had things I've applied for sitting there, I'm at risk of overestimating how much or how little I've been doing on my search.

So I added metadata to my card notes:

  • Date found
  • Date applied
  • Date dropped
  • Reason

Some of that metadata shows up in the cards on the board, not just in the related notes. It helps to see it. Especially because, given the current macro economic situation, I'm seeing a number of roles get pulled within days of being posted, so I note that in the "reason" and it's right there on the card when I review the Closed column. It's good to see some of it is not just me.

I changed up my daily todos and journaling, too. My daily task list doesn't have a "work" and "personal" distinction any longer. There's just a list of three things I need to get done each day. Job hunting related stuff isn't even a thing to accomplish now, it's just a few pomodoros each day given over either to looking for listings or applying.

πŸ«₯ How are you feeling?

Pretty good!

This was an amazingly social week by my standards:

  • Monday lunch with one of the folks who used to be on my tech writing team, and a really nice conversation about photography.
  • Tuesday lunch with one of the folks who used to manage my tech writing team.
  • Wednesday afternoon was spent volunteering to help clean up part of the Springwater trail for a few hours. I walked around with a grabber collecting trash from encampments that had just been cleared. I am happy to discuss the experience in person but won't get into it here.
  • Thursday was spent traveling up the Columbia River Gorge with Luke (see above under photography).
  • Today I had coffee with one dear friend and lunch with another.

That is much more social activity than I normally do in a given week. I really liked it. All great people and nice conversations. I think two a week might be my natural pace, at least during the winter.

And generally, socializing aside, I feel pretty good.

I'm chasing down a potential contracting opportunity right now, less because I need to and more because it seems like something I can do that would be fun. I hope I'll get to say more next week. It felt good to see an opportunity, write up a quick proposal and ship it, and get some enthusiasm back. Hope it pans out!