This afternoon

This afternoon I spoke on a panel about Diversity and Inclusion in Tech*.

The whole panel and discussion were well received. The audience was engaged. The other panelists were awesome, and I’m grateful to have met them and hopeful/optimistic that we’ll keep in touch.

After the panel, maybe a dozen people came up to me and said how much it meant to them, and that they’d found what I said helpful or inspirational or encouraging. They didn’t just stop by briefly, either. They showed up wholeheartedly. They told me in detail what aspects stood out and why. They had questions and ideas. They wanted to talk.

It was awesome.

Living in the Bay Area, working at Google, in many ways surrounded by so many
debates and discussions and brainstorming sessions and informal venting sessions and just in general so much, I think I sometimes forget how much it can mean to someone just starting out, or someone trying to find a new path, just to hear someone else say, ‘This is what it’s been like for me; here’s what I’ve been thinking about this whole thing. And yes, I too think this is important.’ I sometimes forget that while anyone’s own experience may be old news to them, it may not be to someone else. My own story, old news to me, may offer new ideas to someone else.

To someone else, it may be inspiration.

I’m grateful to have had the chance to speak in this way to this audience. I’m humbled by how much what I said seemed to resonate.

Before the session, I wrote notes on what I wanted to say. During the session itself, I didn’t follow my notes precisely; the discussion flowed as it flowed. But. I was glad I’d prepared. I’d prepared enough that I’d also wondered vaguely if I might write up my notes afterwards, and post them here or somewhere. I’d wondered too if my various ideas about writing more essays about work might be a good idea, or if there are already so many voices out there that it would be a waste of time, if there would be no audience.

Based on today, I’m thinking maybe I do have something to say, and maybe there is an audience interested in hearing it.

So.

It was a wonderful panel and I’m so glad I did it.

I’m going to do at least that much.

*Columbia University, reunion weekend 2019.

Warming up

Thursday morning, 8 a.m. I’m at a new cafe. I’m here in spite of things: in spite of cleaning the garage; in spite of the career work I need to do; in spite of worrying about my parents; in spite of needing to go to San Francisco tomorrow so I can make it to the pre-surgery happy hour for the guy I know who has really scary cancer; in spite of good weather; in spite of going to the gym more this week; in spite of needing to lose five pounds in order for my favorite skirts to fit; in spite of –

For the past four-plus weeks I’ve been tracking my time: half hour by half hour, daily, weekly. I’ve learned a few things:

  • When I feel stressed out because I don’t have enough time for work, it’s because I actually haven’t spent enough time at work.
  • “Enough time at work” means 40-42 hours, not more than that. I am not one of the overworked in this world 🙂
  • I sleep 6.9 hours per night on average. This holds true regardless of late nights, early mornings, insomnia, whatever. At least so far, I revert to an average of 6.9. This feels about right to me: I feel awake, I feel alert, I have energy, I physically feel good. My 6.9 average holds steady even if I don’t set an alarm on the weekends.
  • I read a lot. Like, a lot. I read 8-15 hours per week.
  • On weeks when I feel stressed and have a lot going on – and within this four-week span, there was a week where that definitely felt like the case, even more than the usual these days – I spend more time planning, and more time switching between things. This means that on weeks when I have more to do, I have less time to actually do it. No wonder I feel stressed! I have no particular solution for this, other than reminding myself that this isn’t always the case.
  • For example, there was only one week like that out of the four. Not bad.
  • When I feel stressed, I also spend more time calling friends 🙂
  • I have time to go to the gym three days a week and walk 8,000 steps each day.

In other words, from a time perspective, things aren’t bad. I’m managing.

Given how much there is going on right now, managing feels like a win.

And so, I’m here. Writing this.

As a warmup for, I hope, writing something else.

2019.01.27

Have spent the morning re-reading some of my old writing – I’d planned to pull together poems for Coastside but have done this instead.

Some of it – the essays, the various topics, even my old time management book, even a few fiction fragments – is better than I’d thought!

Not sure what this tells me. Right now I’m coming back to writing stuff about once a week; this amount of time seems possible, but I wonder if I’m losing time to having to remind myself what I’ve already got.

I’ve also got writing scattered across two locations: my Mac, often in Scrivener, and the cloud, largely in txt files. At one point I loved Scrivener’s UI loveliness, and its flexibility of options appealed to me – but at this point in time I’m more in the realm of txt files, and their straightforward structure. This feels like a throwback to when I first wrote on computers, pulling together high school essays on my Dad’s old Victor 9000s with the green glowing screens and the heavy whirring floppy drives. Formatting things to print was a pain but the focus on the text was deep and fun. I miss that green.

More recently, I miss my old tiny Chromebook, with its clicky keyboard and its throwaway sturdiness. There’s a certain irony to finding common experience between text files on a pre-Windows desktop, and txt files in Drive – but that’s what I’m doing.

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