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The Road So Far IV

March 12, 2019

Well. This is late. The year has already gotten away from me 😅. I’m going to opt to consider that a great thing!

2018 review

Gatsby

I started working with Gatsby! 🎉

Back in January of 2018, I wrote a blog post about Gatsby. Through that, I ended up having further conversations with Shannon, Kyle and Sam, and they ultimately offered to contract with me for technical writing, to improve the docs and official tutorial.

At the time I wondered, how is an OSS project offering to pay me to contract? They said they had some news to announce later in the year 😸

I ended up loving working with the team, and Gatsby itself, and went full-time contract at the end of July.

By September, I was a full time Inkteam member. I was the fourth female hire, and the first technical female hire, which is crazy.

It’s so gratifying to be working with a company that I see such promise in. We have high hopes, and the team to back it up, and I’m super excited to see this develop.

Working remotely (again)

In 2017, I worked remotely for about half the year, and I said I’d never do it again. Here’s why I did.

At the time I was working remotely previously, I was one of just a couple of full-time remote folks. Everyone else was onsite. I found this incredibly demoralizing and isolating. It felt like everyone else was in the room, and I was outside (because that sort of literally was what was happening).

The difference with working full-time remote this time, is that the team is fully distributed. I don’t feel left out of the room, because the room is Slack, the room is GitHub, the room is Twitter. When you’re fully distributed, you’re always in the room. (Except when you don’t want to be, because mental health).

My partner often observes that the line between work time and personal time is super malleable for me. He works for the City of Austin, so he has a much more structured “I get to work at x time, I leave at y time.” And when he leaves, he turns it off.

I plan work sessions all throughout the day. I love that I can take a break at 2pm and take my dog to the dog park. I love that if I’m not feeling super productive, I can take a break and then do a focused work session later at night instead (because I tend to do my best focused work at night). As long as I’m not allowing it to take over my life, the fluidity is freeing.

TLDR; I am really enjoying remote work for a 100% distributed team.

Yarn emoji (and spool of thread and safety pin)

Back in 2016, I started writing a proposal to Unicode for a yarn emoji. Not too long after that, Amanda Hickman found me and we joined forces to co-write a proposal for a suite of craft emoji — yarn, needle, spool of thread and safety pin.

Yarn, spool of thread and safety pin were accepted and officially released in Unicode 11.0 in 2018. We were also on a podcast together for it (my first time to guest on a podcast).

Losing my bunnies, gaining a pupper

Back in August, I left my two beloved bunnies with a trusted petsitter while I went to California with my family for a week.

This petsitter literally works for the rabbit rescue in the Austin area. I was so protective of my bunnies that when I was living in Dallas in 2017, I even drove to Austin and back to drop them off with her, for my own peace of mind while I was on an extended trip.

She fucked up. She completely betrayed my trust, and through her gross negligence, my bunnies are both gone. I still can’t allow myself to think about them, because I’m overcome by thinking about how they passed, and their trauma and pain.

There was nothing I could do but try to cope. I immediately reached out to a friend in the Houston area rescue to try to fill the void, but it was just too painful. Right before they passed, my friend who always bunnysat them adopted her own beautiful bonded pair. I still can’t go to her apartment. I still can’t bear to look at photos of them, or even think about them without it opening the floodgates.

You may think, bunnies? What’s the big deal? Think about any beloved pet of your own, and someone betraying your trust, and them dying in a horrific way. On top of the fact that I adopted my first bun in 2013 as a way of dealing with the traumatic death of someone who was like a brother to me. I called him my “therapy bunny”.

When I came home, I couldn’t bear an empty apartment. Especially when working from home full time. I ended up adopting a rescue pupper — born four days after the buns were killed. I have channeled my grief and pain into loving him hard.

2019 ahead

Goals

  1. Embrace opportunities. Being an early core member of Gatsby means that I’m lucky to have a lot of opportunities to dig into different areas of things. After all this time, I still have to retrain my brain to respond to opportunities with hell yeah, why not me? rather than why me? someone else would do a better job.

  2. Work publicly. Luckily, I now work for an OSS company. So a lot of my fear of working publicly has been desensitized (exposure therapy ftw!). I have a lot of ideas for things that I want to put out into the universe this year, both in the Gatsby realm, and not.


Amberley Romo

Words by Amberley Romo, albeit irregularly.
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