Stardate S03E02

Mood: 😏. Rolling with the punches, and maybe dodging a few, too.

From Parliament Hill on Hampstead Heath

🌹 What am I grateful for this week?

I could’ve had a bog standard Tuesday working from home, but I’m so glad I didn’t.

A tube strike was called on the day of a long awaited in-person client workshop. I subbed in late for one of our facilitators, and we had a 10am train to catch from St. Pancras. (I gave myself 2 hours to make the journey from Fulham — this was my first mistake.) Two buses* and a failed Uber pickup later, I made a somewhat mad dash from Hyde Park Corner, through Soho and all the way up to catch my colleagues with 10 minutes to spare. I was soaked from the drizzle and looking disheveled, but they were all very kind about it as we settled into our first train.

We needed to get to Burton-on-Trent around 1pm, but our train suddenly ground to a halt halfway to Derby. As we later learned, the train ahead of us had lost power and caused a backup on the fast rail, requiring all the trains to reverse to a nearby junction to transfer to the slow rail. We just happened to be at the front of the sandwich, stacking up to an 80 minute delay by the end of it all.

Having missed our connecting train, we piled into a cab and made it to the offsite with only a 15 min adjustment to the day’s agenda needed to get us back on schedule. No buffer for us to get a feel for the room, and barely enough to work the AV system — launching straight into our lean canvas workshop from there — but I have to say, it was so refreshing to be walking a crowd again, encouraging conversations around round tables, seminar-style. We managed to pull it off despite everything thrown at us** and I’m already raring for the next outing. Just, somewhere closer on a less crazy transit day would be great!

🌵 What do I wish could have gone differently?

The follow-up was about as rushed as our entrance — before we knew it, we’d said our goodbyes and were already making our way back to central London. It would’ve been great to mingle with the crowd longer and forge a few new connections.

Other than that, it felt like a very interrupt driven week. I have a couple ideas kicking around for work blogs but haven’t been able to protect my time from inbound sales work and jumping in to support others when they need it. Arguably those have been the right priority calls, but I could also be aligning those time blocks to my chronotype better.

💡 What do I need to remember?

Some good advice I recall from our initial pub debrief: an easy test for fit when sizing up a new team or company from the interviewee’s side. Can we see ourselves having a drink and a chat? And can we learn something from each other? All other job criteria aside (and remembering it’s a two-way street), those are two great proxies for feeling the rapport you’d need to be comfortable spending a lot of time together with these folks.

📚 What did I discover?

Thinking a bunch about guilds lately (in the classic Spotify sense), and I’m digging Neil’s take on the pitfalls in communities of practice and how to avoid them. Some great references in here like Emily Webber’s community maturity model and remembering that looking outward marks a step change, and is easy to forget.

There’s pitfalls to be had in practicing gratitude as well, it seems. I’ve been quite reliant on gratitude prompts as content for my weeknotes, but I can never resist a good contrarian view on conventional wisdom.

🏠 AOB

I’m putting this out on a Tuesday night, a bit out of sync with my usual Sunday schedule, but I’m trying to be gracious to myself as well. Rebuilding a steady writing rhythm takes time. And I need to heed my own prescient advice that house hunting counts as an extracurricular, where I need to hold a firm WIP limit of 1.

*They were crowded yes, and on diversion yes, and one of them even had a borderline violent crazy guy barge in the back door, keeping the crowd on edge. But I am still glad those double deckers got me halfway where I needed to be, and that the poor bus drivers did their best to cope with the insane demands of last Tuesday and Thursday. Lesson learned — budget 3x my normal commute next strike?

**Also: one laptop left behind, one adrenaline-propelled immune system that succumbed to illness the next day (thankfully not Covid), and perhaps one too many at The Standard with some jubilant supporters upon our return.

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Reflecting through #weeknotes. Learning what works. You’re welcome to read over my shoulder while I do.

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Sean K. Gabriel

Sean K. Gabriel

Kindness first. Lean product aficionado tweeting @skaulana, web @ kaulana.com. Finds you interesting. (づ。◕‿‿◕。)づ

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