Year of the Dog: Notes from ‘Spring Equinox’ (Chunfen)

I turned 45 last week. Forty-Effing-Five.

It was a slightly strange one to be honest.

I’m not great with birthdays — for someone a little too prone to self reflection and melancholy they can be a bit of a trigger — but really this year should have been different. Physically I doubt I have been this good since my teens. I’ve lost (almost) four stone and generally my change in diet and increase in activity has left me in pretty decent health. My diabetes is under control. My cholesterol has improved. My mental health is also unusually decent — I’m pretty much anxiety free at the moment. I’m sleeping well. I do have the occasional wobble but they’ve been passing pretty easily (for the most part).

Professionally I’m in a pretty good place. I’m still a little under utilised day to day but I am taking on more for the company and generally feeling like I’m contributing. Also I’m totally over my writers block — I can’t bloody stop writing all of a sudden.

I’ve got a load of talks coming up (one tomorrow in fact) and I’m genuinely looking forward to them. I’m still pushing the ‘working in the open’ talk mainly but have an idea about something different and more focused on taking a broader approach to the delivery team. We’ll see.

In a few weeks I’m going to the Pacific North West and I can’t wait. I’m catching up with some people over there — including one of my internet heroes and I get to stay in this amazing place in Portland →

So the fact despite all of this I was gloomy for a number of days after my birthday and feeling like I had massively under achieved in my life (personally and professionally) gives you an idea of how fickle the human mind can be! I was in a horrible mood over the weekend and have only really started to shake it now.

Anyway. Onwards.

I’m currently intrigued by this idea of the role of ‘Chief of Staff’ in Internet-age companies. I stumbled across this Washington Post article and then this one in Forbes which led to a couple of books which I have added to my Kindle backlog! Now this all might be down to me wanting to be Leo from the West Wing (never Josh!) or it might be that I wanted to be Tom Hagan, consiglieri to Don Corleone. Mainly though I think it is the fact that I am aware I don’t really fit into a day to day product manager role anymore and I’m wondering what that leaves for me long term. I’m ambitious but I am totally aware that I work best a step or two back from the spotlight. I need the cover of someone else I guess to do what I’m good at (or what I think I’m good at.)

Anyway work is going pretty well. There have been a few things to sort out and not everything is going as smoothly as we might like in a perfect world but it does look like I’m going to be in Swansea for the bulk of my time for the foreseeable future.

I’m OK with this.

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