Saturday, February 22 2020

demos, goals, and movies



Dear Journal,

Good morning, friends. Happy Saturday to all of you. To set the scene here, the whole Recker family slept in until about kwart over tien s’ochtends. That’s Dutch for “a quarter past ten in the morning”. As per usual, we woke to the sound of Rodney’s tiny, melodic voice filling the hallway, his faced pressed up against his cracked door, singing Helooooooo? Is anyone there? Can you hear me?

“Come on in dude,” called back into the hallway. Once he had permission, Rodney walked in like he owned the place, proceeding to splay his toy monster trucks and motorcycles over the bed.

Sitting at the dining room table, we all just finished our breakfast. I fried a pair of eggs and made some toast for Rodney and I. “I’ll just stick to the classic pregnancy breakfast,” said Marissa pouring a bowl of Cheerios and picking a half blueberry muffin out of the plastic container on the table.

I’m grateful we had a chance to sleep in. After putting Rodney to bed and burning some popcorn calories in the form of chores, Marissa and I started the movie Parasite. The plan was to start the movie and maybe go to bed an hour later, but unsurprisingly, the movie held our attention until 2 in the morning. “Finishing this movie is non optional,” I said at 1 AM getting up to grab another beer from the fridge.”

Parasite was a hell of a movie. It all happened so fast, I’m still processing it. Marissa had some thoughts this morning. “I was thinking, and maybe the house is the host, you know? The people, rich and poor, were all kind of taking advantage of it.”

“That’s an interesting take,” I said between sips of coffee. “I definitely need to think about this movie, I’ll probably be thinking about it all day.”

As I sit here, now at the computer in our bedroom drinking a crisp cup of coffee, I’m reflecting on yesterday’s work day. When I got into work in the morning, the team was already busily making last minute touches to our slides. We were giving a demo this morning to some other teams in the company. The attendance list was actually looking pretty decent. After grabbing a cup of coffee and settling in, I opened up my own slides in preparation. I’d be presenting some of the work I did to help the Interface team, which sits beside us, get one of their smaller projects onto our new tool and workflow, touting them as a customer success story. I chatted with their manager, Seth, over slack to get some background context.

The morning demo went well. Our team was presenting in peak form, and there was good engagement, curious questions, and a positive energy all throughout. I later recounted the demo with my manager Heath later in our one on one. “I love those demos,” I said. “I think there good for us, even if nobody shows up. It feels like it keeps us focused on what we’re building, and it’s a cool way to celebrate what we’ve done,” I continued.

Heath leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. “I’ve heard that sentiment from everyone else on the team. How to we make sure the demos keep happening?”

I paused, staring at the wall while I took a long, thoughtful sip from my Diet Coke. “Come to think of it, I couldn’t even tell you who set this one up? Who normally makes the demos? I think the first step here is to figure out who sets these up!” Heath chuckled. “I set this one up, but I only do it if you all ask for one.” I nodded. “That’s good to know, I’ll try to remember to ask about it every Monday. The demos are awesome.”

Following our demo, I tried to get some traction around going out to eat, but most of our team had already disappeared into the rest of their day. I heated up some leftover tomato soup instead, joining some people in the cafeteria at the corner tables. I grabbed a neighboring chair and wedged it in so I could join my cohorts. “Hey,” Andrew sneered. “That’s not an approved configuration of that chair.” He was making a play on words, as I worked on the configuration team. The trash talk and chit chat continued as I finished my lunch before returning to my desk.

I worked through the rest of the afternoon, then we had one more wend of the week meeting. Our team went around the room, sharing what development goals we had selected for the first half of the year. “Share, then tell us what we can do to help you accomplish your goal.” Heath said. “You know… apart from not making fun of you while you do it.” I chortled in the middle of sipping my beer.

As I read my goals off my phone, I shared that I’ve struggled with the goals process ever since it were first introduced. “You should have seen the first year I submitted goals. The back and forth went on for a while. I thought we were just making new years resolutions, so I was submitting stuff like make better Chinese food and learn a new language.” The goals are not just personal resolutions or attempts to pick up new hobbies. They’re supposed to motivate you into trying bigger things at work, and stretching yourself to develop new skills. It was actually pretty cool hearing about what everyone else on the team wanted to master.

At quitting time, I took the bus home, finding Marissa painting in her gallery and Rodney fast asleep in his room. We would leave for the movie theater in about an hour, and after practicing Dutch completing my push-ups and sit-ups, I was ready to sink into a relaxing evening at the movie theater. Arriving at the cinema, we found a comfy booth in the bar area and ordered some dinner. “I’ll have a small beer now,” I said to the waitress. “Then I’ll probably get a big one right before heading in. You know, standard procedure.” The waitress gave a knowing smile while penning my order. “Oh yeah,” she said rolling her eyes. “I know that move.”

The Sonic movie was solid. We enjoyed the whole thing. The nostalgic reboot didn’t bode well at first, but I felt they added a lot of fresh new ideas to the film, and they put a lot of love into the story line to keep it entertaining. It was certainly better than that god awful Scooby Doo trailer we saw before the film started. “What’s with rebooting all the movies with babies? Baby yoda. Baby scooby doo. Baby Gru…” Marissa complained coming out of the movie. “I think that’s the new thing now, because of the viral response that Baby Yoda got, everyone is spewing money into baby versions of things,” I said.

Rodney thoroughly enjoyed the Sonic movie. He sat at the edge of his seat throughout. Despite the excitement from the movie, being two hours past his bedtime, his tiredness finally got the best of him. Rodney passed out moments after his head hit the pillow.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Hope you have a great, productive Saturday.