For the first few months of my first full-time job in many years, I was struggling to keep up. The contiguous working hours were hard to come by, when I had them it was hard to summon my long-dormant ability to concentrate, and on the occasions when I had that going it was no match for the amount I needed to learn about: my teammates, our client’s business, how they were organized and why, the problems we were being asked to solve — including the problem of which problem to solve first — and nearly every bit of technology I encountered along the way. I was proud of myself when I finally figured out that the nature of my first challenge was acquiring a new vocabulary and, as such, I’d better make some flash cards.

That small recognition-and-adjustment felt big because it marked what I felt sure would be an inflection point in the return of my powers as a thinking adult, a diligent teammate, and a collaborative problem-solver. Overwhelmed with the complexity of our development environment, I started automating aspects of the setup. READMEs have gradually shrunk until they disappear, replaced entirely by shell scripts and Kotlin programs. A couple months in, I have a much clearer view of the complexity that is essential to our current problem space, and I’ve done away with much of the complexity that was accidental. When we occasionally need to repave our own environments, it’s gotten easier each time. If the next new developer to work on this code doesn’t know how good they have it, that’s fitting: it’s nothing they need to know.

I’m not the only member of the team who makes improvements to our development process, but being the one perhaps most focused on it has reminded me of my strengths as a teammate. In particular, I feel most useful when I’m attending to things that aren’t getting enough attention. That, in turn, has reminded me of how I first moved into coaching and how at some point I’ll come back to it. I always thought that for my consulting career to last, I’d have to alternate (as the Manifesto says) between “doing it and helping others do it”. I was long overdue for a swing back to doing it when this job landed in my lap. Thank goodness it did. It’s just what I needed, and getting better every day at being able to do the work is so rewarding.

A year ago, having freshly moved back from Germany, we started Taavi at a Montessori preschool that extends through kindergarten, hoping it’d be a good place for him so that we could defer the next transition (he’d already had plenty). We got lucky: it’s been a better place for him than we could have imagined. But the next transition is approaching, and we need his next school to be a place that suits him. We’re finally about done figuring out where that’ll be.

What’s this?

It’s a /now page. is a directory of people with /now pages. I’m listed there.