in Prose

Weeknotes S03E20

What’s the difference between pizza and toast? And what is a sandwich, anyway?

I have had a number of weird conversations this week, and not written a whole lot of code. I’d like a job where I can swing between these two things.

I do not think a job like this exists.

Let’s do the week: retro style!

What went well?

At the retrospective today, one of our seniors said that he was really pleased with the way Monday morning planning/tech debt session was going. I was absolutely elated to hear this because I’ve been facilitating them and this kind of validation is the best. The session we did on Monday went really well, though my team have rumbled my tactic of finding the five oldest tickets in the backlog (added 2 years ago!) and prompting a discussion about whether they’re still needed or were fixed long ago. One turned out to be urgent-ish so that’s definitely a silver lining.

I didn’t take a job I was offered. Why is this in what went well section? Because it’s a good job doing something exciting, but it’s not the right one for me. It’s a small signal to me that I’m growing out of the phase of needing to please others: there was a time that I’d do any job someone asked me to do, because it meant they’d seen me. It meant I was wanted.⁰

I finally closed a piece of work to part-automate library updates. In the course of that a colleague helped me fix an irritating bug: if you’re particularly interested in how I fixed it, there’s some code you can look at. Once this piece has been seen through to completion then whoever’s on second line will have the slightly more boring task of going through the automated bumps and figuring out what to do with them, but it should mean more up-to-date libraries and more consistency across the entire system.

I had a good (if accidental) coaching session with a friend. It’s a very strange thing, to ask questions and not give one’s opinion. I’m a white guy from a fairly privileged background. I’ve only recently come round to the idea that my opinion isn’t the only one that matters.

Codebar as ever was enjoyable but tough. I’m taking a couple of students through the Game of Life from a test-driven perspective. I see in them the mirror image of myself when I started, wondering what the point of tests was when I could just hack at it until it worked or I passed out from a caffeine overdose. I am very slowly convincing them, if only because there’s such a lovely endorphin hit from getting a test to go from failing to passing. The fact that it forces them to think about the design and write small methods with no side effects is incidental (muahahaha).

It’s always a late finish and I gave my girlfriend¹ a call on the way home. Somehow she ended up asking me

What’s the difference between pizza and toast?

and it made me think that either I was eating very boring toast or she was eating incredibly boring pizza. I am resolved to find out which it is.


What didn’t go well?

A friend revealed that they’d recently broken up.

What do you say to a friend baring their heart with aggressive vulnerability? What can you do but respect that? I did my best to give the best advice I could. I drew on the well of my limited experience and talked about the fact that it would hurt; that there was no way to make it stop hurting; that drinking just kicked the hurt down the road where it would hunker in the shadow and wait for you.

I also gave them my blog to read, because the support I got from the weeknotes community was phenomenal and writing was incredibly helpful to me. I hope it helps them. I hope it didn’t seem like ruthless self-promotion.

I squeezed myself into a suit to help some friends with interviews. I need to lose weight or buy a bigger suit, and frankly I suspect a bigger suit would be a cheaper approach. I had planned to sign up to a gym when I moved; now that that’s been pushed back to June I think I’ll just have to bite the bullet and go to my local for now.

Starting imperfectly is better than planning for perfection: if I wait for the right moment I think I’ll probably never do it.

Interviewing was hard work, but that’s not the thing that didn’t go well. One of the people in the office was sneezing and blowing their nose a lot. They left at about three, saying “my head just feels like it’s stuffed with cotton wool and my nose keeps running, so I’m going to head home early.”

By a weird coincidence I woke up on Friday with exactly those symptoms.³


These have been your extremely jumbled weeknotes, brought to you by sudafed to stop the running nose, ibuprofen for the sinus pain, and a desire to be away from this computer to go and eat fish and chips and look at my date.

Enjoy your weekend. You’re doing great!


⁰ Therapists, get in line
¹ According to my sisters, who know about this sort of thing, my recent tweet mentioning their kind gift of a creme egg made it official. I’m not sure what this makes it.²
² official-medium, I guess, as opposed to official-rare
³ coincidence is a word which here means not a coincidence at all

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