Post Grad Rehab: January/February

January is for Career

At the start of the month, I asked myself some questions.

How do I manage my work email? I want to minimize the time I spend on email, but stay on top of it.
So far, it’s ok. I use priority inbox and starred action items and delete aggressively. It’s helpful that we get mails that start “If you’re not interested in X don’t read any further” – so I just delete the ones that aren’t relevant to me. The number of emails that I came into after 3 days off was quite terrifying, but so far I just eliminate everything I can in the morning and go though my action items at least weekly. I don’t have alerts turned on, but I check my email tab far too regularly for my liking – hopefully this will change once I no longer feel like I’m fighting with things and actually have some idea of what I’m doing…

Of course, I’m not of any importance to anyone, and later on I will probably want to switch my inbox clearing to the end of the day and use a todo list, but at the moment as I’m ramping up I’m pretty much single tasking, so I don’t need a todo list other than my action items.

What’s the vision for the project I’m working on?

I’m currently working on mobile Gmail but will switch to another project once I’ve finished the two things I said I’d do for them (one is complete, subject to code review – hopefully I will be able to write about my first code review here, it was eye-opening). I think I need more time to fully get it, but I’m starting to. The new project is not email, and I’m really excited by what they are doing and can’t wait to get involved with that! More than this project vision, there’s the vision for the company as a whole which is shared very openly with engineers and I’m really inspired by that, too.

How can I contribute to that vision?

One of the things I’ve discovered in my first projects is that I can already have a say in what’s going on. Caught in the middle of an email argument about my first submission my manager told me that I should include what I thought, not just let someone else make a decision. So far, I mostly ask questions – how does this affect usability, internationalization? How will this work in a low-bandwidth situation?

Set up an internal blog (what do I call it?)

Cate’s Googley Adventures. I have two posts in my drafts section I haven’t had the nerve to hit publish on. Must do that.

How can I get the most out of my manager?

My manager is really lovely. We have a weekly scheduled 1:1, but if I ping him on chat or stop by his desk he makes time for me. I think one thing I’ve learned in all this grad school kerfuffle is that I need to ask for what I need more, and so I’m making an effort to do that. Feeling like a complete failure because I hadn’t yet made a commit I told him that and he was helpful (apparently I am not the most hopeless noogler ever. Yay!)

How will I organize myself?

Last week and this week, I’m single-tasking. I know exactly what I’m working on when I go in today, so I don’t use anything. When I have a mix of tasks – like in the first couple of weeks when I had training modules etc, I use a spreadsheet with color-coded categories.

How do I organize my day to be most effective? Gym in the morning? When is my make time?

Definitely, gym in the morning! Make time is most of the day, since I have next to no meetings (yay!) but sometimes in the afternoons when the sun is bright in the office and I want to be quiet to focus better I go and hide out inside this hollow-tree-trunk like thing that’s full of pillows. I love it in there!

What has to change about my writing here?

I still don’t know. I have a couple of things in mind to write which I’ll then have to run past people, after which I’ll know more. For now, I’m keeping this blog a bit more personal.

Of course, the question I asked most often was – what do I do about grad school? I wrote about that a few times, but this post – Fear is Not an Acceptable Excuse is pretty much where I’m at now. I’m not happy about not getting my masters, but I’m over fighting with uOttawa’s bureaucracy and institutionalized incompetence.

February is for Rehab

This Valentines day, it will be a year since I injured my shoulder. But at least I can finally afford healthcare! So this month, I’m really focusing on getting over that – seeing the chiropractor and the sports masseuse regularly, and working out with my trainer. I’m also trying to stop the whole [do nothing / work out an insane amount / do nothing] cycle that too much travelling has got me into. This week I’m limiting myself to 3 gym trips, and having noticed that I tend to regret the second spin class I won’t be doing more than one spin class a week for a little while. Stress hasn’t been helping (it sends my shoulders up around my ears) so this month I’ll be trying to be a little less strung out, as well.

I’m also going to be using this month to get settled in my apartment properly and sort myself out after so much jittering about. I want to get my art hung up, stuff I don’t need thrown out, and meet more people in KW.

High Tech
Credit: Geek and Poke

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