S01E07: Retrograde

This week really didn’t feel great. 

Physically I managed to dislocate a couple of toes on my bad foot at the weekend which meant I couldn’t get out for a few days.

Mentally I had an awkward incident at work that wasn’t entirely my fault, though I wasn’t without blame, that definitely left me feeling out of sorts for a spell. I’m also struggling to come to terms with some of our emerging ways of working as the company grows (especially with the merger coming up). The thing about our slightly chaotic, seat of the pants days when we were Notbinary was it actually suited me for the most part – even if sometimes it was difficult. The changes happening are almost certainly a good thing in the bigger picture – but from a selfish point of view? 

The head spinning didn’t really lessen from last week – delivery, stakeholder management, sales, recruitment, comms and increasingly a kind of pastoral role to make sure our delivery people are taken care of and have a voice in all the changes. Not sure if this is supposed to be my role but somebody needs to do it.

Anyway I’m drained.

The Welsh Gov project continues to be a real bright spot in my working world. The speed in which the user research is leading to insights that are reflected in our prototypes is first-class. The client product owner is engaged and willing to shake things up – pushing us sometimes to be less risk-averse! I love having something clickable up on Heroku – it just changes the conversations. 

Shout out to DWPs ‘Confirm Your Identity’ team – they have been beyond helpful. Really above and beyond.

It is really nice to stretch some of those ‘product thinking’ muscles on it. It is set up perfectly to let me contribute (what I believe at least is) one of my strengths. That is to take the user researcher insights, design systems, UX sketches, tech context and constraints and see a path through it all to a product and to identify the trade-offs and blind-spots. I get to do it so rarely these days so it is a real treat.

My amazing friends Sara and Al have loaned me an exercise bike to aid my recovery from my injuries. This is no small thing as (a) they don’t really live that close anymore (b) there is a pandemic on don’t you know and (c)  it is a really nice one.

Now I hate exercising. It is just not something I’ve ever cared for outside of playing football for years (and even then I was a goalie!) but I do now feel obliged to use it 🙂 

These 10 random things are responsible for a large amount of the noise in my head at the moment. Holding these contrary positions takes energy.

It is possible to..

  • Adore Buffy and Firefly and still 100% believe Charisma Carpenter et al and think Joss Whedon sounds like a bullying dick.
  • Enjoy superhero movies but think Scorsese is probably right (and love his movies as well).
  • Find the Perseverance landing on Mars thrilling but also be more interested in NASA open sourcing a bunch of the code they used for it and the precedent that sets.
  • Love Google Docs (and find Slides and Sheets useful) and still think Google Drive is a hellscape.
  • Be impressed with the speed and efficiency of the vaccine roll-out but still hold the Government accountable for the horrific death toll.
  • Find the weeks passing in a blur but also feel like the world remains paused in March 2020.
  • Think WandaVision is one of the most interesting things that Marvel has ever done but also feel like those first couple of episodes are time I’ll never get back.
  • Be desperate to travel but be unsure you’ll ever be comfortable in a crowd again.
  • Find work a vital crutch at the moment but also daydream about quitting and do something completely different.
  • Think lyin’, flyin’ Ted Cruz is a bottom feeder. Just that.

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