Weeknote 1, 21/01/21: What’s the worst that could happen?

  • Been meaning to do this for a while but kept putting it off due to a mixture of a) being cowed by people who are really good at it (Anna, Chris and Mark) and b) finding writing extremely hard and stressful (despite having done it for a living for roughly two decades). Normally my motivation to write is that someone is paying me to do it. Also, frankly, I was worried it might get me into trouble at work, so big thanks to Rox for being so inspiring and encouraging about working in the open and for actually doing it herself too.
  • Not sure how long this will go on for either. Probably until I run out of interesting things to say and interesting ways to say them. Maybe a couple of weeks?
  • The strategy project I’m currently working on has reached its ‘being forged in the fire stage’, where the fire is a thousand Google Docs comments from the (extremely generous and extremely clever) people I’ve asked to crit my work. I always love this part of a project because I really hate being in my head with things (I’ve been working a lot of it out on my own so far) and much prefer it when, well, someone else gives me ideas to work with I suppose. And working in GDS is like being in a brains trust sometimes.
  • Also the constructive Google Doc comment really is a work of art. Normally I type mine about three times, getting gradually less blunt with each revision.
  • Had a very interesting chat about work/life balance with some people in the team I’m on. Quite a lot of them find themselves working outside their regular hours, because of all the obvious lockdown reasons (there’s nothing else to do!). The majority of the team are younger and earlier on in their careers than me and, crucially, don’t have children. This was a conversation where I found myself completely at the other end of the spectrum — even if I wanted to work outside regular days/hours at the moment I don’t think I could. And I have a hard stop at 6pm each evening where I have to put down the laptop and pick up the Fuzzy Felt. I wanged on a bit about how it was important to ‘be disciplined about your work/life balance’ and ‘not concede to any imaginary or personal pressures to work long hours’. Then I realised I was talking rubbish and that if I were in their situation I would totally be doing the same thing. And throughout my 20s I basically did. Having hard boundaries that set your work/life balance is a privilege I think.
  • Having said that, nursery is still closed because of a positive Covid result so privilege might not be the word I’m using in a week or so.
  • I tried to sign up for a training course this week and inadvertently booked myself on to three. So expect the next weeknote to be super-creative/resilient/non-ambiguous.
  • Reading: Scoff by Pen Vogler. Loving the bits that are actually about food. Less keen on the bits about etiquette and meal timings. Yet to really see any of the promised commentary on food inequality (spoiler apologies to anyone in the Book Club).
  • Listening: Nooriyah’s Root Radio session: https://soundcloud.com/rootradiolive/yalla-radio-w-yas-queen-selectress-invites-nooriyah-root-radio-21112020
  • Watching: Watched some of the US version of The Office, which I was quite cynical about, but it’s great! Then watched an episode of the original UK version, which I loved at the time, and the characters are so unsympathetic.

Writing for @gdsteam. Formerly of @design_week