Make it glam

Tangential Tuesdays #82

My friend Abhi called me last week for the first time in a while. After we caught up on what we’ve been working on, he asked a great question:

“What else are you excited about?”

I paused.

“Honestly….I’m excited about human connection”

I think that kind of sums up how I’ve been feeling lately. My deep appreciation for connecting with other humans is unlikely to last too far past whenever life does go back to normal, but for now, I’m happy it is here.

Abhi followed up with the only logical response: “Did you…. get a girlfriend?” Unfortunately not… but I digress.


~make it glam~

There’s an idea that’s been rolling around in my head recently. I call it ~make it glam~

It’s the idea that even if you love your work, most work is boring and fairly mundane. To get really good at any craft, you have to do it over and over again.

I absolutely love being a software engineer, but honestly writing code every.single.day can be boring. I have a feeling I’m not the only one who feels this way.

My solution? Find ways to glamorize it for myself. It starts with the strong belief that tasks are only as boring or exciting as I make them. It’s up to me to make my work feel exciting each day, even if the reality is a lot of mundane, detail-oriented work.

For me, this permeates my work in a number of ways. 1 is that I enjoy competing with myself and others by looking at Github stats to see who can rack up the most commits or lines of code this month.

To be clear, this is a pretty ridiculous thing to do. Lines of code and commits are loosely correlated to productivity (at best). For example, about 13k of my lines of code are actually from adding prettier to the project.

But we keep it light-hearted and it helps us get things done… so why not?

People say entrepreneurship has been glamorized. But why do we assume this is a bad thing? All jobs have their mundane parts, any job can be made to sound boring or exciting. So we should try to paint jobs as exciting if we believe that the world needs more of them.

Take this as permission to be a little more grandiose when talking, thinking, and writing about your work. You just might trick yourself into believing it.


Slowly…. and then suddenly

“There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” — Vladimir Lenin

People in tech seem to love this quote, and I am no different 🙃.

There has been a ton happening in my life recently. The 1st is that my phone pretty much completely died this week. Those that know me well would probably agree that I don’t treat my phones very well, so this was not a huge surprise.

For the past few months, I’ve been slowly trying to retreat from the distraction the internet provides via my phone. I uninstalled google chrome + all social media.

But this retreat when from slow to sudden this week. When my phone died I immediately knew it was time to try a “dumb” phone. I ended up going with the Nokia 3310. Unfortunately, it’s not turning on at the moment though…. so I’ll be phoneless until I get that sorted out.

For me, it is a good reminder that your life often changes in instants, rather as a result of deliberate planning. Inspiration does have an expiration date.

There are inflection points: Booking a 1 way flight to Bangkok, Moving to SF, Texting someone you want to become friends with for the 1st time. I have no idea if this will be an inflection with my relationship with technology. But I find even the idea that it could be exciting.


STAYING CLASSY

Shoutout to Trevor Mckendrick for a great list of his favorite Star Slate Codex Essays.

I randomly chose this essay on class to read… and it did not disappoint.

Tl;dr:

  • We talk about economic class (how much money you make) and social class (how respectable you seem, education, what kind of family you come from) not enough.

  • Talking about class is taboo because we like to believe we’re a classless society. We talk about income instead and pretend it’s class.

  • 10% of people are in an underclass consisting of “generationally poor” people who may never have held jobs and who come from similarly poor families.

  • “65% of people are in the labor class. They work jobs where labor is seen as a commodity, ie there’s not as much sense of career capital or reputation. They base virtue and success around Hard Work. Its lower levels are minimum wage McJobs, its middle levels are assembly line work, and its higher levels are things like pilots, plumbers, and small business owners.”

  • 23.5% of people are in the gentry class. They fetishize education and career capital. They engage in all sorts of signaling games around “fair trade” and “organic” and what museums they go to. At the lower level they’re schoolteachers and starving artists, at the mid level they’re “professions” like engineering and law, and at the highest level they’re professors and scientists and entrepreneurs.

  • 1.5% of people are in the elite class. Although you can be borderline-elite by getting a job in finance and making a few million, the real elite are born into money and don’t work unless they want to. Occasionally they’ll sit on a board or found a philanthropic association or something.

This essay changed my world view in a very short period of time. I highly recommend.


My Update

  • Hard to believe it is almost July

  • Haven’t been reading 😞

  • Made some bread and hummus this weekend 😍

  • I got my first CSA pickup from Terra Firma Farm. So far - I absolutely love it. This week we got carrots, zuchinni, tomatoes, peacccchesssss 🍑, and potatoes.

  • Working….


- Taylor