First blog post of the year, and even though I was only gone for a few weeks, I'm going to need to work off the rust on the gears and the wheels and the levers that make up my writing apparatus and make it start up again.
Stream of consciousness away!
I've mused on it before, but I never return from a holiday champing at the bit to get stuck into all the work that I left behind. I enter a period of post-holiday existential despair, which usually lasts for a day or two. Then it goes away, though I'm not entirely sure why.
In the past that despair on returning had led to me just...not stopping. It was mentally and emotionally simpler to just keep going, rather than having to deal with the effort required to start again after having stopped. After realising how good it feels to stop.
But that's stupid. You have to stop, or you just grind yourself down, bit by bit, until you don't have a choice anymore and you have to stop.
I'm going to digress for a second, because the never-ending loop of doing and then not doing and then doing again resonates with me, but in a kind of nihilistic way.
You have no more jobs, then you wake up in the morning, then its jobs again. And then no more jobs and then jobs - isn't that just your whole life? There's no more jobs and jobs on a constant loop. Until eventually, one day, permanently no more jobs forever - James Acaster, Repertoire (Netflix)
I love that quote, so much so that I often say I look forward to the extended period of no jobs and people just give me weird looks.
Anyway, while I still have to deal with the post-holiday existential despair, I try to focus on the part that comes after. The part where I have the energy to actually deal with things instead of just tolerating them. Or using willpower and discipline to just take one more step forward. I mean, it's only one more step, I can do that, right?
Okay, time to lighten up. This stream of consciousness has taken a dark turn and that wasn't really my intent. I had a break, I'm through the existential despair, I'm writing again, all is well.
And I have ideas.
For example, I think it's time for a change. I've been managing people and teams and people who are in charge of teams and departments and domains and so on for a while now. Six years maybe? Across at least two jobs and four roles. Five if you count being promoted to a Senior Engineering Manager a few months back.
What would I do?
Probably find a way to focus on the part of my job that I enjoy, as opposed to the parts that I tolerate. I enjoy the organisation, the project management, the data analysis and reporting. That stuff is fun. I want to do more of that.
But before I can really think about how to engineer that sort of situation, I need to get through the next round of performance evaluation for the 10+ people that I'm responsible for.
I used to think I was good at people management. That I cared about the people I was responsible for, listened to their concerns and tried to help them be the best that they could be.
I mean, I still do that, but it takes a lot of energy. I get tired so easily now, and I don't really like having to tell people why they aren't doing as well as they think they are, which is a really important part of helping people to grow.
It doesn't help that I'm about as subtle as a brick to the face when it comes to that stuff, and that approach does not work for everyone. I consider myself a blacksmith, hammering a piece of iron into shape. Sometimes people need a watchmaker, delicately tweaking their internals until they are ticking along perfectly.
That's not me.
Bringing it all together: holidays good, existential despair bad, time for a change.
But not yet. There's work to do first.
It doesn't matter to anyone but me, but I've technically used this blog post title before. Way back in January 2018, on my old blog. Ah well, at least the content is different, so it's not technically a re-run.