Of substance

You know how people refer to the best possible outcome of getting what you want as being “of your dreams”? Job of your dreams, man of your dreams, dream house, etc.

Except that it occurred to me that my dreams are typically weird, disjointed, and mostly quickly forgotten.

I’d be ok with the trappings of a decently crafted reality, I think. 🙂

She doesn’t get eaten by the eels at this time

I have mentioned the Very Personal Ad before, and, indeed, wrote one up when I wanted to find a new apartment. Worked like a charm; I love it here, though these things can take time. And so it is time to try this experiment again.

What is this ad for? A job.

The Googles and I will be parting ways in a little while, so it is time to figure out what my next adventure is. The circumstances of my departure aren’t relevant; I’ll probably write some about it one day. TL;DR is basically: “what I do, they don’t do here”. No crying, no recriminations, no hurtin’ songs… Just c’est la vie. I do not, however, enjoy certain uncertainties very much. And right now I have a bunch. I know I will be okay — I always have been. I will not get eaten by the eels at this time. I am working to vanquish the uncertainties, however, and asking for some help.

I’ve talked to a few folks, applied for a few things, but I would love to see/hear about something (a specific role, a company, some people I’d be totally jazzed to spend my days with) and just know that’s it. It would also help if they thought I was it, too. 🙂 Seems odd to be working on this stuff at this time of year, but the world doesn’t seem to slow down at Christmas much anymore.

I imagine most folks who would read this are reasonably familiar with me and what I do. However, to get all official: here I am on LinkedIn. Here is my resume. Ask me anything. Even better, let’s have coffee while you ask me stuff. I’ll probably ask you stuff, too.

I don’t want to commute every day or move to Toronto, though I know there are a bunch of amazing gigs available there these days. Some remote work combined with commuting I might be okay with. Travel sometimes (like with planes) is fine. I don’t want to move to the Valley, though, either. I’ve been offered that before. I feel fortunate to live here in the Region where there’s a whack o’ stuff going on, and new companies being born pretty much daily.

I have worked at really big companies, medium-sized companies, and a couple of teeny startups. Generally, I tend to be happier in a smaller environment. It has some to do with scale, but really it’s more about… Dunbar’s number, kinda. You know, how supposedly we can only maintain 150 close ties/friendships with people? In a smaller company, you can ask anyone anything at any time. Just walk on over and sort things out. Or the whole company can have lunch in one room. Get to know all of your team. Make sockmonkeys for all of your co-workers and not have to spend all year on it.

It’s personal, it’s efficient, and most importantly for me, it lets me get my hands dirty and enjoy variety. I have been on the internets about 20 years. My attention span was shot a long time ago, but I am damned good at absorbing and synthesizing information, creating and curating content, learning from and connecting people. Direct contact with data and folks. Delicious. I’m really good at organizing things and taking care of people. I’d still be good at it even if I wasn’t a Mennonite (and community is what we do), but hey, as a bonus I make delicious treats for my co-workers. 🙂

Again, the organization doesn’t have to be teeny, but it sometimes helps. With size typically comes hierarchies and silos and process. If you know of a company where that hasn’t happened, let me know. (I still compare Google more to the insurance companies I’ve worked at than the tech companies.)

I like working in tech. I like how things change, how curious and innovative people are, and how they don’t just have ideas, they do stuff about them. Action Folks can be found anywhere, but most of my experience happens to be in tech. That said, it would be nice if what the company does is helpful. It makes someone’s day better or connects them to folks they need to know or helps their business grow or what have you. Not everyone can save lives, but it’s hard to feel noble about your job only being to help big companies convince consumers to spend more money.

I like to help tech, too. Or, rather, the people in this community with me. I’ve been around long enough and been fortunate enough to have some experiences that other people can find useful. They can reproduce my successes and hopefully avoid my mistakes. I like sharing, and am almost always happy to do so. The extra special thing is, too, that invariably you learn interesting things from everyone you talk to. I love that.

So yeah. I like to build things: communities, knowledge bases, customer bases, relationships, networks, really cool products or services that people want. I like to record and share information: how-to content, blog posts, white papers, articles, case studies, videos, social dissemination, connecting the people building stuff with the people using it. I like to help people: educate them in what the company does and how that can be valuable to them, help them get ramped up and productive, answer their questions, help get their issues sorted out, enable them to go.

I firmly believe the internets know everything, and that we are better connected than we’ve ever been before. And hopefully I can borrow just a tiny bit of its connectivity and knowledge and find a place and some people where I can look forward to going to work every day, and make myself useful.


The new kid

Xenia the cat

Yeah, so I’m one cat away from being a crazy cat lady. Funny thing about years of Humane Society volunteering is that you just know when there’s something about a particular animal. And as much as I would have liked to have bundled home a pair of those Bassets who were there until recently, dogs remain a non-option. Most of the time I’m ok with that.

However, I’ve considered getting Anatole a cat for some time, even though Guelph Humane Society told me when I got him that he doesn’t like cats. Like people, I tend to think animals are pretty adaptable, and I know he gets lonely sometimes. Plus, she’s pretty. 🙂

I feel like I know something other people don’t, because she was stuck there for about six weeks. But there’s nothing wrong with her. I’m sure I’m anthropomorphizing here, but it’s gotta suck seeing kittens, cats, dogs, and puppies coming in and going out, and you just stay there. Even if, blessedly, the cat kennels at KWHS are much nicer than your average small metal cage.

However, she made barely a peep from the moment we walked out of the HS to getting her home. She sat quietly in the carrier watching Anatole while he skulked and hissed and growled. She starts purring the moment you come near her, and purrs louder than Anatole, who’s twice her size. She has the tiniest little voice, and talks when you come in the room. She was talking to Anatole a lot this morning, too. Catnip makes her drool, and she eats every morsel of her tuna. If Anatole wasn’t here, she’d have been perfectly at home and roaming around as soon as she came in the door.

Anatole has made sure to assert himself, and as much as it would be easy to tell him he’s being a dick, he has been an only pet for at least five years, and possibly his whole life. (I got him when he was about five.) He’s adapted remarkably quickly, really. Day one was mostly him remaining lofty (in his satellite dish) and observing, with occasional forays to sniff at the spare room door, where I had her locked in.

She was tired of being cooped up by the evening, though, so I let her out. Had to happen eventually. She mostly stayed in there but he could come sit by the doorway and hiss at her. It was very much an, “I’M THE BOSS OF THIS HOUSE!” display, and kinda funny. That night she came out and explored more, and he was even less impressed when he discovered she’d made it onto the bed and was sleeping in his spot. But at 7am on Sunday I realized the hissing was coming from beside my head on the floor, and he was standing a mere three feet away from her.

Yesterday she mostly spent in the spare room, napping. Kinda worried me that she was going to be a really nocturnal cat, but I also reminded myself that she’s had a lot of changes, and if she wants to nap like the wind, so be it. She ate reasonably well, which was good, since the HS said she tends to stop when she’s stressed.

She also took to the scratching devices I got, blessedly, since she’d taken a go at my mattress and the rug in my room the night before. Anatole greatly enjoyed the scratching wedge in the living room, too. I didn’t bother to remind him that he’s declawed.

I also had a stroke of genius — catnip. Got them both high, and she forgot he was in the room and he forgot that he hated her. Good times. She’s a serious drooler when on catnip, though. 🙂

A handful of overnight hisses, and Anatole keeping watch from the papasan chair in my room, which amused me to no end. However, when I got up this morning they were standing at the doorway of my bedroom sniffing each other. Great success! Since then he’s followed her around the apartment a lot, she’s escaped to the spare room when he gets too overbearing, and they had an almost scrap — he kept pawing at her, which she didn’t like. She’s starting to stand up to him, which is good. No doubt she’ll be queen of the castle shortly.

Anyway, I’m glad she’s here, though it doesn’t entirely feel like she’s one of us yet. And I admit it’s a little hard on my soul bringing another cat home, even if it’s good that there’s one less in the shelter. One more cat feels like that much further away from a dog. However, things happen when they’re supposed to, or not, and for now Xenia’s supposed to be here.

Oh, and her shelter name was Olive. Anatole’s was Barney. Barney and Olive (50s sitcom couple) to Anatole and Xenia (Soviet spy team). Much better. 🙂


This is a picture I did not take of driving down Albert Street at dusk, through drizzle and thickening fog, watching the seemingly endless arrivals of the local murder of crows coming in to roost in the black, skeletal branches of the big maple trees along the street.

A perfect night for murder mystery. 🙂