41/10 - 500M Shades of gray

by Alexander Stanishev is licensed under Unsplash - cropped to fit ratio

five minutes read

500M Shades of gray

Foreword

Despite the tone of the post - how else can I say things without saying them? - all is fine, I’m breathing, earning, working and I got a crash course on “it’s but a flesh wound” - so no action required - thank you though :).

I will complain a lot offering very little in the way of solutions, as one does when he’s just letting it all out .. you’ve been warned

Our Scheduled Program

It’s now safe to say that Q2 2020 has had a strong performance in the “Screw up everything” segment. Building on previous efforts lead by “My mom now requires a nursing home” and “The 4 Month Infection”, the community project “Global Pandemic” found the perfect environment on which to grow.

This has affected the entire globe and I hesitate to give my 1/7.594 billionth account, but why have a blog if you’re not being personal in it, right? Anyway, in no particular order a list of ways I’m being affected.

The economy - specifically for me the accommodation segment - tanked over the course of a few weeks.

I celebrated my 9 month CTO promotion with very interesting conversations and work around cost-cutting and long term uncertainty.

The work part was productive and we’ve made infrastructural changes that ensure we stand a fighting chance to weather this very hard setback, but it’s not without its costs.

Part of the cost-cutting measures is a partial layoff. The cons are easy enough - starting with less money at the end of the month - but some of the pros aren’t working on me as expected. For the first few weeks, I worked irrespective of the layoff - this quiet time is great to work on getting your dependencies up to speed for instance, so I worked on that.

I tried to take the time for myself, relax, learn something - I worked a lot on my blog, but I’ve got two kids at home going through their life changes. I’m with them for most of the day, defusing fights, keeping them on course with school and homework, and generally being there for them - with the background sound of video games that I can’t play.

I also helped out a bit with my own company, but it’s the sort of tasks that need doing but that we’re reluctant to move people away from what they’re doing, so I do them, but it’s not a motivation booster - let’s say.

The uncertainty is playing an increasingly dominant role, I’ve been through the 2008 crisis with my hands on the wheel so I can read some signs and I know how bad things operate quickly.

I’m hopeful and I’m taking all the chances I can see, but it’s cloudy and it takes its toll.

Social Impact

I’m lucky enough to have access to a group of great people. Leaders in the industry, super-smart folk, they can make bread, repair a car, devise a custom PCB to control their fish tank and hook it up to a cloud infrastructure with machine learning to ensure maximum Fish Happiness Yield without breaking a sweat.

It’s great, but it’s overwhelming because the group melts into one entity - them - and every day I look around and I have to confront me being barely able to keep myself from drolling and stand up correctly versus this other entity that overachieves at everything.

Usually, that’s where individual friendship comes along, you talk person to person and this feeling dissipates into something more logical, human, and relatable - who can relate to Superman right? - but I’ve made a very good wall over the years and my 1:1s are always around work or what I can do for people - so when work is off and nobody needs my help, that’s it. This also seems to deprive me of honest feedback, nobody tells me when I’m being a dick and silence is not good feedback, so I’m not a better person and that’s a waste.

Now it’s not like the pandemic did much to make things worse - I wasn’t physically visiting people anyway - but it did bring it to light. In a time of overwhelming connectivity, I’ve become aware of how lonely I am, poetic as it should.

Social Stupidity

I guess the third prong in this Pandemic Rake that I continuously fail to locate and keep stepping on - with the comedic effect of getting hit in the face - is that we get to watch humanity play this out.

As we stand, we don’t have a vaccine and we don’t have a cure, we’re learning about all the side effects of this particular virus and studies and enough statistical information has to compete with a real-life emergency - an ongoing one.

Worldwide governments have had to deal with an emergent problem with limited information and with uncertainty the spectrum of options goes from “Ultra Careful” to “I don’t think this is even a problem” and we’re seeing this play out across the globe.

The other thing is that clearly a lot of people have never had to deal with complex problems, they demand that all answers are prompt and unequivocal and should never be taken back - they demand 100% certainty when certainty is the only thing we certainly don’t have. It’s also a characteristic of these folks that they are perpetually right and they’re prepared to shout at you until they get what they want but aren’t prepared to listen to you. This sort of thing is tiresome on the day to day projects you do for work, but it’s downright depressing when applied to a global problem.

I’m certain that human society will always evolve - unless we press the red button on the doomsday device that is - but it’s not because anyone knows what they’re doing, it’s because statistically the right solution always emerges - i.e. the one that didn’t kill everyone and that made something cheaper / better / easier.

Anyway, as the saying goes

Life sucks and then you stop being able to process nutrients and become nutrient yourself with no long-lasting effects from your passage on this instance of the simulation!