My little corner of the internet has been suffering through another of its periodic outbreaks of earnest male contemplation about the relative dearth of women in the tech world, and as before, the diagnosis is a problem with the women. We're just not interested, see. We didn't evolve the patience and focus required to code.
I won't link to the latest outcropping of this, because really, you've read it all before. And I won't waste my time debunking that nonsense, because you've probably read all of that before, too.
OK, I'll allow myself one indignant splutter about how men who think women haven't evolved the ability to focus and be patient know as little about traditionally female work as they do about evolutionary biology, but then I'll move on.
I've decided that instead of spending energy defending the idea that I might be capable of doing awesome tech work, I'm just going to try to do some awesome tech work. This is not to belittle the work other women are doing of swatting this nonsense down. I think that is vital, useful work. I just need a little break to focus on the things that drew me to computers in the first place.
Namely, the fact that I love organizing information and computers are really good at that.
Also, I like creating things, and computers let me do that despite my relatively poor hand-eye coordination.
My paid work is mostly management these days, so I have to turn to my personal project for some tech joy. The problem, of course, is how to make time to work on my project when I am expected to be at my paying job roughly 40 hours per week, and I also want to spend time with my family.
I've been squeezing project work in around the edges, tinkering with it during "quiet time" on the weekends, or while the kids watch a show after bath (they're both pretty wiped out after full screen-free days at day care and camp, so I refuse to care if they ask for a Sid the Science Kid before bed). I have made really good progress, but have been dancing around the edge of a deeper technical issue I need to solve. The issue needs some uninterrupted quiet time to really tackle, as opposed to the constantly interrupted noisy time that is more the norm in my life.
So I decided to try something different. After dinner on Tuesday, I packed my project laptop, project notebook, and a couple of relevant books into my bag and drove to our local library. I set up at one of the work tables, availed myself of their free wi-fi, and tried to solve my problem.
I intended to stay for one and a half hours, but I left after an hour, convinced that the experiment had failed. I hadn't been able to solve my problem, I had just read a bunch of websites that seemed to be about a similar topic, but not quite the topic I was trying to address. I was starting to feel a bit lost, like I'd bit off a bigger problem than I could solve. The guy across from me was streaming something with a lot of crashes and screaming, and despite his headphones, it was getting on my nerves. The woman across from me kept getting phone calls, and her ringtone was some annoying pop song. So I drove home before I yelled at anyone at the library, accepted the happy hugs of my kids, and figured I'd have to try again some other night.
But an interesting thing happened later that night. I finished reading Pumpkin her bedtime stories, and did the dishes. Since it was only about 9 p.m., I got out my laptop again, and poked some more and my problem. And at some point, the answer came into focus. I didn't have time to implement it, but I am pretty sure I know what I need to do now. I just need to carve out another hour or so in which to do it.
Where to get that hour, though? I don't want to miss too many after dinner play sessions with the kids, even though Mr. Snarky is perfectly happy to let me do so.
I probably also know the answer to this time management project, but haven't figured out how to get there, yet. About a year ago, I instituted a routine of getting up 30 minutes earlier than I "had" to and spending that time on me- exercising and writing, mainly. It was a great thing, while it lasted, which was about 9 months. I've unfortunately let that habit die out this summer. Petunia's bedtimes stretch to 9:30, if I do anything at all after that, I don't get to bed in time to get a full 8 hours of sleep before my alarm goes off at 6, and I am someone who really does better on 8 hours of sleep. I envy people like my husband, who are perfectly happy with 6 hours! But that is not me, and there is no way I know of to change that, so I have to work with the constraints I've been given.
I could try to do my project work at night, after the kids are in bed, but I'm usually done with mental heavy lifting by that point. I can type out rambling blog posts like this one, but not work through technical conundrums.
I think I need to reclaim my "before breakfast" time. My initial experiment with getting up early was inspired by reading Laura Vanderkam's "What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast" ebook. It has just recently come out paperback form, bundled with the other two "time makeover" ebooks she wrote and some extras just for the paperback. Perhaps I should take that as a sign from the universe that it is time to figure out a better routine for myself, get to bed earlier, and get up in the morning for some project work time.
Which means that I should stop writing this post and go to bed!