What Happened to your Blog?
The blog here at lornajane.net is mumble years old. It is full of things I wanted to write down, and tells the story of most of my career to date. As a software engineer, open source project maintainer, author, speaker and teacher, this made perfect sense and I’ve been thankful many, many times for the thoughtful explanations of past-Lorna that have helped me along my way.
This year, my career changed. I’m a manager now, and the problems I solve don’t lend themselves so well to writing or sharing. As a manager of people, I’m both too early in my career growth to have much to say, and also conscious of writing about “my” humans, in a way that might not work for either or both of us. I still work with a lot of technology, and more formally with developer experiences than ever before, but this year has been a professional challenge beyond anything I’ve tackled for a while (and looking back, quiet patches on the blog have in the past been mostly when I was writing a book, which is also a professional challenge!)
As an engineer, a writer, a developer experience enthusiast and as an open source project maintainer/contributor, I still have a lot to say. Somehow, the combination of a demanding year and also a sizeable side project
* doesn’t leave me much spare time – and I mostly fill it with management textbooks and Stardew Valley! It has felt like a year of mostly listening and learning, more than sharing.
That’s not to say that I didn’t write. I really did! Just … not here (the more Lornajane has the links if you’re interested). See also: internal docs, and a whole new developer portal developer.aiven.io.
So what happens now? Nothing big. Just sitting down to write this reminded me why I love having a blog to write on in the first place. It’s been a strange year (more than one, for almost everyone), and between two big work transitions – a new employer, then a big promotion once I got there – and half a year of having the kitchen rebuilt, I didn’t have words to spare.
I have learned so much this year, and while it would look very different to most of the previous posts here, I would still like to write some of it down. This blog began as a way for me to capture things I wanted to share or reflect on in the future. Sometimes, other people read it too. But the purpose hasn’t changed, and it took me time to realise that it makes perfect sense for the content to change as my career does.
* I was preparing a Technical Communications workshop but unfortunately it won’t be going ahead. However there are a lot of topics there that I’ve done a bunch of research and figured out how I want to share, so I’ll be putting some of them here when I get chance. Topic requests in the comments, please.
Also published on Medium.
Hey! long-time reader, first-time commenter ;)
I (respectfully) disagree with these two statements – and I hope to encourage you with my points:
> the problems I solve don’t lend themselves so well to writing or sharing.
Then why are there so many business books and books written by managers. If you’re not reading them (yet) you will be soon! :) There’s always something to say or share – and you can do this without using the specifics of your direct reports. It just takes a different muscle – but it’s a muscle you have. I’m sure you’ve written about client or closed-source work in the past in a way that was sanitized enough not to leak trade-secrets. You can do that here, too.
> As a manager of people, I’m both too early in my career growth to have much to say
This reminds me of all the jr programmers we’ve run across in our careers – that think they have nothing to say. But remember, for every month you progress in your (newer) career, there are people following you – and people ahead of you that have taken a different path. They can all learn from you! (and you from them). What you’re likely feeling is the feeling that you don’t know EVERYTHING like you do with programming – right? It’s a vulnerable position to be in… not knowing yet trying to share your knowledge. But it’s valuable. It helps you fully understand what you think you know (explanation and teaching always refines our understanding), and it is a different audience. When we are senior developers, we tend to write about problems other senior developers have or understand. Jr devs write about things jr devs need. Same thing with management. I can speak personally – I’ve managed a bunch of teams, and boy did I learn a lot – and I wish someone had written things along the way that were on my level. Who was my role model? A guy who ran GE or something?
My point is – you have to do what you need to do – If you don’t feel like writing about managing people or your experiences, that’s fine – I get that. But don’t let your current experience level detract from your desire to share and teach. We need teachers who can empathize with every level of programmer and manager. :)