October 4, 2023•528 words
Yesterday I wrote a bit about how doing things under threat of your friends laughing at you if you don't is a great way to move forward with goals and habits you'd like to keep. That's here.
Today I've not much time to write, but I want to link that idea a little with some struggles I touched on in my post before that one.
Namely that I used to be a very productive engineer, both in and out of my day-job. Since I started working where I am now, the culture is such that we do not share much about ourselves online, and we do very little work with our own names on it. So much so that I'm not going to go into it - not yet. It's tangential to what I'm really getting at anyway.
Like a lot of avid techies, I have the desire to create my own things, and explore tech that I don't often get to touch during the proverbial 9-to-5.
I used to do this while I worked at previous employers, there was nothing stopping me, or suggesting that I don't attach my real name to anything external. Now I live under the papery, legal hammer of clauses such as "anything you build under your time with us is technically ours". That's not how they worded it, but that's roughly how it feels to read it.
In any case; I realise that what I had before was in some sense the open-source equivalent of being called a fatty for not getting my daily steps in, and closing my "move" ring.
I used to build projects out in the open, collaborating in Discord rooms, and having not-insignificant amounts of people taking interest in what I was doing with a bunch of shadowy coders I would never come to meet in real life.
This process of building in the open was a massive motivator, it really helped me get out of bed on a saturday and want to build the thing that I knew, deep down, I wanted to build regardless of that social impetus. It was just enough to make sure the other desires in my life didn't take over and take me, probably, to the pub on Saturday like any normal 21 year old. Or, more likely, keep me awake instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour.
No, these people weren't going to jest with me and call me fat if I didn't get my Github squares a darker shade of green - but knowing that there was some level of accountability there got me doing things I'd previously have never dreamed I would complete or succeed at.
In conclusion, I suppose that's also sort of what this excercise of writing is about. I want to "get out there" again - build in public, join or form some community, and start building some level of social accountability around the things that I want to do and succeed at in the long-term.
I'm sure this is idea is ringing many bells in your head, we've all heard the term accountability-buddy before, but you've never heard me say it until now.