On this page, I haphazardly record updates and free-write to help my thinking. After some time goes by and the page gets long, I copy everything here into an “Updates” post. To see what I’m up to in less detail, read my Now page.
Sept. 15, 2023 – Thoughts on the complexity of nonpromotable tasks in academia
Whew, this is a roller coaster month – I’m feeling some whiplash from the semester starting, and just going through some tough times. I feel like the PhD is hard for reasons I didn’t really expect. A wise person once told me that good things come out of what’s uncomfortable, and that is true. I think I’ve committed on continuing my current research trajectory which has evolved into career development, and through my “career development coordinating” activities at DataWorks, studying what are the problems with hiring in the tech sector. It’s more than just horrible technical interviews, and some of it might cut across hiring more generally, but some really is specific to tech jobs.
Anyway, one unexpected challenge in the PhD is realizing some of my thinking patterns and defense mechanism that served me in my developer job don’t serve me now in this job. For example, “as a woman in tech” I was always on the lookout to make sure I wasn’t doing too many nonpromotable tasks or taking on more emotional labor than I was being paid for and that was part of my job. I would always think about, what am I being paid to do, and don’t do more because it’s not for you, its for the company. I had this defensive about my contribution and my worth – even though I really liked my job, I would make sure I wasn’t giving more than was fair. It’s really different in academia because, as a graduate student, the whole premise is that you are doing exponentially more work than you are paid for. And, the kind of research I’ve chosen to do and that I still want to do, i.e., very applied, “action research” where you work with a community to solve real problems, is in some ways defined by all of the operational labor that is largely unacknowledged in any formal way. But, the investment I make in this largely unrecognized labor is directly related to my relationship with the community and the quality of the solution to the problem.
I mean, the defensive is still important there to make sure I am maintaining a home life, etc, and to make sure I’m doing work the contributes to my research track record, not others’, but it’s still not quite the same, e.g., it might not be your paper, but you’ll get your name on it, and you might learn something new and develop a relationship that’s really valuable for your work. Many tradeoffs.
Anyway, all this may evolve the further I get into my academic career, but yeah, just sharing something about the PhD that I didn’t foresee.
Aug. 23, 2023 – Temptation Bundling
Now I will go to a coffee shop for some “temptation bundling”, where I pair an difficult task with something I am generally tempted to do. For me, this is reading dense articles (difficult task) with a cappuccino and potentially a cookie (something I am generally tempted to do).
Aug. 19, 2023
Just published an update!
These are collections of updates and think-alouds from the past!
- Updates and Think-Alouds: Aug. 16 ’22 – Aug. 19 ’23A whole year of notes from the, um, “Updates” page on my website, where I haphazardly write as I feel inspired to do so. This update includes notes about language learning, research updates, and think-alouds as I figure out academia.
- Updates and Think-Alouds: June 14 – August 16, 2022We moved to Atlanta! Also, updates on productivity systems, starting on research, Canada, and meditation.
- Updates: April 21 – June 10, 2022Cultish personal knowledge management, gardening and not gardening, narrow design system hindsight, and more.
- Updates: February 16 – April 19, 2022I am officially starting a PhD program this fall!!! Reading and writing Nepali, spring is sort of here, reading and listening to Brené Brown
- Updates: January 4 – February 16, 2022An active month of updates – many content shares, Florida, and half-baked thoughts.
- 2021 highlights, lowlights, pictures, and musicA bulleted list of 2021 highlights and lowlights, but mostly highlights, and a few photos, mostly of plants and food, and some music. 2021 was a year of change and offline activities!
- Updates: November 6 – January 4, 2022Final chili harvest, PhD applications…complete!, learning Nepali, sort-of learning data science, and racial justice-related links.
- Updates: August 23 – November 4, 2021Peppers, Mexico City, applications, “my interests”, Rise Up conference, miscellaneous other updates and links!
- Updates: June 16 – August 12, 2021It’s only going to be 95F today.
- Updates: April 6 – June 16, 2021Cauliflower, category theory, FizzBuzz in CSS, and more!
- As of April 3, 2021Fraction iterations in CSS, FizzBuzz monsters, books, more math, gardening, and knee problems again.
- As of February 26, 2021Thoughts about math and me, systems and software, Twitter and thought leadership.
- As of February 7, 2021So much going on! Learning graph theory, reading new books, slow work on my own book, Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit, and much more.
- As of January 3, 2021Writing, deciding what to read, runner’s knee, learning cool things, did a fun hardware project.
- As of November 11, 2020Back from travel and resetting.
- As of October 16, 2020Cross country road trip coming up, and updating the AMP plugin.
- As of September 14, 2020Preparing for a bike trip, planning Gutenberg project, contributing to WordPress Core CSS chat.