Hiroshima

At 8:00 in the morning, I’m getting ready to leave the house with the girls to go on a walk. I’m in a hurry–the walk is more for me these days than it is for them. Sometimes I leave the rest of the breakfast on the table, even if I know it teaches the cat a bad habit. I’m expanding the stroller with one hand, carrying the baby in the other, and making sure the toddler doesn’t go into the street.

If it’s really hot already, I go back in to fill up a water bottle for them. On my way out for the second time, I see the bottle of sunscreen, but I can’t. If I don’t get out now, I don’t get out at all. After the walk, I need to go upstairs and start working.

Everything these days, macro and micro, reminds me of how little control I actually have. I have no way of knowing if something will happen that day that will change my life forever. My mind goes back and forth many times during the day processing this fact, aided by the sight of strangers on our walk darting onto the other side of the street, sometimes offering a weary smile. Wanting to fast-forward through the future I don’t want to know, rummaging through the past for comfort, and reminding myself to cherish the present moment. These things are not forever.

At 8:15 in the morning, I’m closing the garage door, putting on my sunglasses and mask, and I begin to push the stroller. I ask the girls which direction they want to explore that day. The Texas sky meets my face for the first time that morning. A brief moment of warmth, quickly followed by fire.

Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

Nope

Clickbait in my inbox this morning:

Product Hunt Daily Digest > Facebook Revives Geocities

🤨

“It all started when a few of us found ourselves missing the raw and exploratory spirit of The Early Internet and began to wonder things like: Is this misplaced nostalgia? What was _actually_ so special about that time?”

What was actually so special about that time was not having a monumentally pervasive business invading our privacy, safety, government, and you know–undermining the whole internet.

Nice try, Facebook. The innocent optimism act doesn’t work anymore.

A quality critical take on distributed work

I’m a proponent of distributed work, and I’m not threatened by folks who challenge this way of working. It’s as exciting to me as the internet itself. Plus, most of the time the concerns are elementary, like the belief that designers can’t design if they’re not together physically, or assorted presenteeism-based fears about control. Most people just want to be trusted to do good work, and not be lonely.

Anywho, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been filing away lots of observations (smile). The very valid concerns people speak up about are nuanced, multi-variate, cultural, and changing. Which makes it harder to problem-solve, or make generalizations about, sure. But ultimately, this is a good thing. It means that things aren’t immutable, systems can be taken apart, and things can be fixed. At the core of these concerns is the reality that there are certain aspects of human society that seep their way into any place people spend time and work together. It’s the not acknowledging that these things exist or will arrive–that for some reason your organization is immune–that does you in, makes the problems harder to fix, and hurts people.

Compound that with the other realities of human society that we have had to face in a very raw way lately. It makes sense that this article would piss off advocates and critics of distributed work alike:

“Our remote work future is going to suck” on Sean Blanda’s blog.

This is my third year of working 100% distributed, in addition to 3 years where I was one of a small minority of employees who were not allowed to work distributed but everyone else was, and a few more years where different roles and teams had different options in a massive and old tech company. And a few years in an office where working from home was not okay. Lots of variation, and my working take on it all is that if you’re going to “go remote” your best bet is to bite the bullet and go fully distributed. (Ever met someone who said they were gonna go part-time keto and then felt both hangry all the time and didn’t lose weight? It’s sort of like that.) The “mixed methods” approach…might seem to provide ways to give yourself a break to ease in or change your mind…but in my observation it provides more loopholes for the problematic stuff in that blog post to fester.

I did not have the concerns going into my first fully-distributed gig that are referenced in this post. Now I do. Yet they weren’t enough to get me back into an office locally or to move to SF. I now know I can do quality work this way and from an office. But I’m much wiser about spotting the things that will prevent me and others from doing good work in a distributed organization, and pushing back against flawed claims that if one has these concerns, it means one is not fit for distributed work. These issues really often are a reflection of a conflict between upholding an idea or tradition over the needs of a business or its people. There is so much room in there for privilege and marginalization, with the added ease of never having to look people in the eye. So the more businesses and people work distributed, the easier it will become to call out the things that should not be the way they are.

(PS, I tend to write on the curt side, so I’m not throwing shade here. Just blogging….Con mucho mucho….amorrrrrr.)