For 8 months, from the start of December to the start of August, I was a manager. This was in many ways incredibly rewarding – now that I’m no longer a manager my favourite thing is being friends with the people who used to report to me. But it was also at times crushingly lonely. Especially when I was the only engineering manager other than my boss (who managed everyone else), at a struggling startup.
In June, I finally had time to go and take management training (I took this course, run by my friend Meri as part of The Lead Dev event), and one of the things I talked to Meri about was wanting peers. I’m really fortunate in that if you made a list of who you would want to mentor you as a new manager, you’d probably be making a list of some of my closest friends. But, sometimes you don’t want to talk to someone who has been there and seen that, you want someone else who is also a bit lost.
Turns out, it wasn’t just me who felt like that. So Meri introduced a bunch of us, and we ended up in a Slack team together. Once I was embracing funemployment, I had the time and the headspace admin it better, so I tweeted about it, and turns out – a lot of people were looking for this. For days, my DM’s were full of people requesting invitations. Thanks to my fellow admins @ , who set up our GitHub site, which is a very lightly edited fork of the amazing site @ put together for the Women in Tech Slack, and @ who has been organising our first meetup – in SF this week.
It’s a lot of work to create and sustain a healthy community, and this is just the beginning. But I think that funemployment is a great time to create the things you wish you’d had when you had a job – and I really wish that I’d had this.