As we’re getting ready to wind down this year and ring in 2024, I figured I’d reflect on this year’s adventures.

Trigger Warning: If you’ve experienced inappropriateness in the field/industry and are triggered by such references, please stop here.

Slow Pipeline

The year started out with a slow pipeline of work. As a consultant, I saw clients’ budgets tightening and dropping off. I was getting nervous since client work was drying up – opportunities were either available in different time zones that didn’t work with me or just weren’t lining up in a way that I could take them. I decided that it was time to take matters into my own hands and work on my own platform. If the opportunity isn’t there, sometimes you have to create it yourself. So at the beginning of February, I registered another business name and filed for my vendor’s license so that I could sell online courses.

But… the Universe had other plans…

After filing my paperwork, I reached out to friends about doing some work part-time. They wanted me full-time, but I felt like I wasn’t going to be ready for full-time work. The Universe decided it had other plans for me. I had another friend reach out about a potential full-time position that aligned well with me, so I talked with the part-time opportunity about full-time work as well.

So in March, I joined NimblePros! In case I haven’t raved about them enough, know that I didn’t anticipate going back to work full-time, but I am glad that I did. I’m glad that I’m at NimblePros, and I’m enjoying learning a lot while planning for some upcoming fun adventures! Great culture, great people!

The Universe reminded me of my toughness… and tiredness…

Also earlier this year, I found myself in a group that didn’t work well for me. It was a mostly male group, which I’ve dealt with those dynamics my entire career. There were inappropriate references, and it felt like a lot of locker room talk. It’s not a welcoming environment when those things come up, and it’s even harder when I quietly quit meetings and leave social channels in frustration. I’ve fought the battles over the past 20 years, and honestly, I’m tired of fighting them. I’m tired of having to remind guys how to behave in a professional environment. I’m tired of having to put up a tough front because people don’t know how to act with some decency. I’m done.

Tech still has a long way to go to be welcoming and inclusive.

Yes, I’ve worked in environments where those inappropriate behaviors have gotten people fired. Yes, I’ve worked in IT positions where I had to deal with those inappropriate materials because people lack common sense and do inappropriate things at work – which tend to lead into investigations by HR and sometimes escalate to the authorities. Did I mention that I’ve had a career in IT – not just dev work – and I’ve had to deal with some inappropriate stuff? It’s one thing to have to deal with it because “researching and documenting” is part of my job – there’s a degree of professionalism that is maintained while dealing with those awkward situations. But when I’m in a community and this happens? Know that I’m not as forgiving and am not one to give many chances to those groups.

Though I found the right people to boost me up

I’ve attended a few events this year that helped me to gain my footing and find my voice in another community. I’ve got my confidence to tell the stories that need to be told and to talk on how we need to be better. I’ve found that there are other women who are in the software architect space who are doing amazing things and have stories that need to be shared as well. It’s good to know I’m not alone – as a mom, technologist, speaker at events, organizer of events, and generally strong voice of reason.

There are many stories that remain untold, as the environments around us don’t create the safety and openness we need to share them.

What I love most about the events I attended this year is that many of them included Open Spaces. Conversations were had that needed to be had – right place, right time, right group of people. There were conversations had that show how far we’ve come, and there were other conversations that show how much work we have to do. There were conversations – discussions with others with varying life experiences, sharing knowledge, learning from each other, and genuinely figuring how to make this world a better place. And in having those conversations, I’ve found my people.

Creating environments that are safe and inclusive have led to some honest, raw conversations in the community. They allow stories to be told and more conversations to be had on how we get better.

2023 – The Word of the Year: Self-Confidence

This was the year for me to grow in self-confidence. I’ve been able to:

  • Walk away from a tough, uncomfortable situation, knowing it’s the right call for me. Self-care is also important.
  • Meet and talk with people in a community where I’m a stranger, a newcomer to their scene. I don’t really know them, so introverted me really has to fight to do this. However, the VirtualDDD community has been really welcoming and inclusive, and the conversations we have at their open spaces events give me some hope for our future.
  • Experiment with new technologies and talk with the creators/maintaienrs of those technologies, genuinely curious about how things work and really excited to see where they are headed. PyScript!

What’s it with the Universe?

Long ago, for a class, I had to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. These quotes from that book really got to me.

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

There are other references in the book as well. It’s one where I had it on loan for a class and have since purchased it in many forms. Every now and then, I find myself in a funk, and once I pick it back up, my funk tends to break.

So what’s up for 2024?

More community building, more conversations, more speaking at conferences and organizing events… more shepherding up-and-coming speakers and connecting them with the right communities… hopefully more Open Spaces events to attend for VirtualDDD! We’ll see what the Universe has in store… soon enough!

Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable new year! Here’s to new adventures in 2024!

By sadukie

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