We’re doing our first COVID tests. We’re both fine, but have been coughing enough that it seems sensible to avoid leaving the house and make sure we’re not infected.
My new duvet arrived! It’s extremely comfortable, like sleeping under a cloud, and I’m glad I drunkenly bought it. I have plans to replace pillows at some point, 2021 will be the year that I get really good at sleeping.
We’re not eating meat or drinking for January. So far it’s been easy, we have quite a lot of go-to vegetarian and vegan recipes, and there have been a few occasions recently when I’ve felt weird about eating bits of animal.
I don’t want to talk about what’s going on in the US really. Holy shit.
I’ve been doing a lot of D&D planning in the evenings, including migrating part of my world-map to use a more modern mapping system. It’s fun to be creative again! The map below links to an interactive version.
The rest of this weeknote will be very work-focused, because I’m back at work and it’s on my mind. It’s been pretty tiring but I’m enjoying having some structure to my days again. This year, during the lockdown, I moved into Customer Products (the team responsible for delivering FT.com). After most of a year, I did well in my annual review and met a lot of my objectives for 2020. I ended the week on a bit of a high:
I pushed myself to be more active when it comes to Diversity and Inclusion – in the past I’ve let this aspect of my role be fairly passive. I can always be better but I think after this year it’s something I’m thinking about in my day-to-day rather than occasionally, and I’ll carry forward some new goals into 2021.
I contributed more proactively to the FT.com tech strategy. Part of this objective was getting all of our repos and packages to have an owning team assigned, this has highlighted that we own far too many things and the maintenance burden on some of our teams is huge. This isn’t a new problem, but the benefit of assigning ownership is that it’s a more visible problem that we can start to do something about.
I’ve also been working on improving the accessibility of FT.com. I think I could have done a better job on this, and I definitely found it difficult to make this a priority alongside other work. We did still get a lot done though, mostly thanks to rest of the team I was working with (Shirin Jessani, Matt Bailey, and Nick Colley).
I better understand the technology that powers FT.com. It’s been quite tough moving into a new team as a principal engineer, where my role doesn’t involve working on code day-to-day. I wasn’t getting opportunities to fully understand our tech estate, and this lead to me feeling like a bit of a fraud. Getting to work on a well-timed production incident and involving myself in some tech proposals has eased this, and I don’t think I needed to worry – I should trust that I’m able to quickly learn what’s necessary when I’m needed for this kind of thing, as evidenced by quickly recovering a production database that I knew nothing about 🙈
I stepped up more. In my mid-year review I got some feedback on my visibility, and having joined a new team I had let myself slip into the background a bit. It takes me quite a while to build confidence in a new role and I don’t like to speak up unless I’m sure that what I’m adding is useful. Second-guessing myself a bit swung the balance in the direction of staying quiet just in case, when actually I should have some more faith in my ability and be less scared of making mistakes.
Since receiving this feedback, I’ve stood in for Anna (my tech director) in meetings a bunch of times and made an effort to speak on her behalf. I’ve taken ownership of a lot more, responding to requests that come into tech leadership. I’ve pushed myself to be more active in our meetings with Product and Delivery roles, and started to do the same with recruitment. Anna has been very supportive in helping me to do this, in particular highlighting that I should expect to make mistakes, and that tech leadership is behind me when I do.