Sunday, March 1, 2020

Colorado Startup Life: Week 77

What an incredible week! I have the best life in the world. I hope that you think that about your own life, but mine is really great. And honestly, I think it will simply get better.

I ran and backcountry skied I think 42 miles or so over the week, with 31 of them being a double traverse of the Boulder Skyline Saturday with my friend M, and also J and T joined for a single traverse each and W was so generous to crew for us for 12 hours. We started at the Mt. Sanitas trailhead, did that, then went up Flagstaff, then up over Green, Bear and South Boulder peak and down to the Mesa Trailhead. After 25 minutes of eating chips and guacamole, we headed back up the not easy Shadow Canyon trail. My GPS died at 28.5 miles in 10:23 total time and 10,500 feet of vertical ascent.

My quads are shot today. I'm walking around stiff and sore... but no pain! At one point running down the snow on the northwest side of Green Mountain I rolled my left ankle, and instead of it being a two week setback as it was in 2019 every time I rolled it, it was almost no problem. Today, my left ankle is barely any more sore than my right, and not nearly as sore as my quads, which is a huge step forward in the ski injury recovery!

On the work front a coworker I worked closely with had her last day on Friday, and I will be taking up part of her role, which is a stressful. However, on Monday I had my first therapy session. I frequently blame myself for group problems that I feel I may have been able to change and improve. My therapist had an exercise for this sort of thing. Basically, I'm lying to myself that I "control" the situation. (For those that are new to my blog, I despise the word control, we rarely have control of anything, more accurately we have varying degrees of influence, so I much prefer the word influence.) So I was asked to identify the lie that I was telling myself, which is that I could have changed the situation. I'm just one small part of the puzzle, the organization. It's not all up to me. Very little is up to me really. We have many different people involved in different aspects of this particular situation, and I certainly don't "control" it. Which has already helped me feel better.

That all being said, I do actually think it's for the best, my coworker leaving at this time. It has already forced me to grow and learn exactly what she did. Several weeks ago I had a fear that it was all in her head, and that we had terrible records, but as I have dove into the documentation (her documentation), we're going to be alright. As her leaving has already forced me to grow, I am confident that it will force others to step up and grow and take on additional responsibility as well. Specifically, understanding the details of how we get from A to B, so that we can then teach new people how we do that, and fewer things will fall through the cracks. That is for the best, because in different ways, we all leaned on her, not exactly understanding 100% what she did. Frankly, she wasn't very good at describing what she did, so it was hard for the rest of us to understand what she did. Now that I've learned more about her role, I'll sum up her role in one word: communication. In other words, while I viewed it all being in her head, that's simply because she communicated with the largest number of people about our product, at least of the people in her department. You see, while we may have only a short description of a product that seems poorly documented, the details are documented in 15 different locations, and the communication happened in person, so there wasn't a clear (but complex) digital trail all of the time.

Going forward, I expect more documentation, or more specifically, links to the documentation and clarification of that communication and documentation process. In short, when a company is 25 people, it's easy to talk to everyone and know what's going on. When it's 65 people it's not automatic, and if people aren't trying to pay attention they will feel, and be, out of the loop. Again, we're going to learn and grow from this, and ultimately I do feel it is for the best, but bare with me if I am stressed in the coming weeks as I take on parts of her role, because I will have to drop parts of what I used to do the last 17 months. I joined a startup knowing it would have difficult times like this, and while it stresses me out, it's fascinating! There is so much learning to be had here. Learning that might possibly have never happened for me at a big company.

In other news, I've said before and I'll say again, I think the meaning of life is relationships. I'm in the process of developing or deepening a number of relationships. Some are directly related to the work stress above, where we are getting to know each other due to the challenges we are facing. Some are in parallel to the work stress where the relationship is separate but influenced by those events, even if we never discuss those challenges. Still a third group is entirely outside of anything work related, but I'm allowing those people to see me in a vulnerable light, and that builds trust. I'm quite excited for 2020!

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