When hobbies are no longer fun

July 17th, 2017

At some point in my life, I began making an important distinction about activities I was passionate about. Which ones are purely for myself, and which ones am I willing to be paid for? Ideally, it’d be great if they overlapped, but it’s not always the case. Money changes things. It changes your expectations; it changes your clients’ expectations; it can make you hate things you used to enjoy.

During college, I freelanced in webdesign to make some extra money. Sometimes it felt great to be able to make different designs, and some of my clients were wonderful. Some were absolutely miserable to work with, and some would ask me to make hideous designs. I was working with people I didn’t like and making designs I was not proud of. Shortly after graduating, I stopped completely because I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I had a full time job already. If I am to continue webdesign, it needed to be for myself, no one else.

I’ve also had people on multiple occasions bug me to take on baking or cosplay commissions and to open some sort of shop. I know it might seem like “easy money” since it’s something I enjoy, but people don’t realize that it’s not that simple nor is it always desirable. For one, tending to a shop and keeping up with commissions is a lot of work. Two, I already have a full time job that depletes my energy almost every weekday. And three, when do I get time for myself?

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Movie Recommends: Girl Power

July 8th, 2017

A hot topic lately is the lack of strong female leads in our media, especially in movies. While we still have a long ways to go on this, it does make me happy that there are some good movies out there that already display this. I wanted to highlight a few that released just this year!

The first movie I want to point out is Colossal (trailer) where Anne Hathaway plays Gloria, a woman who is at a low point in her life. She is unemployed, an alcoholic, and then gets kicked out by her boyfriend, who is tired of her behavior, from their shared apartment. She’s forced to move out of NY and back to her small hometown, where she discovers she is somehow controlling a kaiju (giant monster) that shows up in South Korea. The trailers make the movie look like a comedy, and it definitely has its funny parts, but it also has a dark side that the trailers don’t let on.

This is kind of a spoiler, but I feel it’s important to mention. I was not expecting the movie to make a point about toxic relationships. As it unraveled, it became both uncomfortable and refreshing. Uncomfortable because it’s a bad situation that happens too often in reality, and refreshing because it’s not frequently represented in media. Overall, I loved the quirky take on a kaiju movie while also displaying social issues. The ending might be far-fetched, but it leaves you with a satisfying feel.

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2017 Mid-Year Review

June 28th, 2017

It’s the end of June, which means we’re about the pass the first half of the year. Crazy, huh? I thought this would be a good time to do a mid-year review to sum up how things are going so far!

In the beginning of the year, I made a big deal of how I want to simplify things in my life. I have made some strides towards that! For example, I did clean up my work and personal desks (though my personal one is getting cluttered again and needs another clean), and I’ve tidied up other parts of the house.

Simplifying the amount of things I own will always be a continual process, but I’ve already made a big donation of clothing and kitchen supplies. My husband and I are working on another pile of clothing to donate, and I also found out about a clothing recycling service. That will be great for clothing that are too worn down to donate. I’ve been making progress on clearing out one of our storage rooms as well and have thrown away or recycled many things in there.

Simplifying my workload and delegating more responsibilities to others was a big deal to me and is probably the biggest change. I went from managing two teams of 7 developers each (14 direct reports), down to one larger team of 10 developers. I rebalanced the teams (one didn’t need as many resources), and I promoted one of my developers to manage the smaller of the two teams. I also promoted another to a senior position, so he can help with code reviews and mentoring, and another developer started leading a couple of my projects. I’m still really busy, but going down to a single team and having a couple developers help out with responsibilities has helped immensely.

I’ve also made a bit of progress towards simplifying my hobbies but not much. I finally expired one of my old Anime domains, and I’ve been talking to my dad about my photography equipment. After he retires, he wants better photography equipment, so a few of my unused lenses may go to him. There’s still more to be done!

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