I woke up with a horrible mid-aughts acoustic alternative song in my head. Not that one, the other one. I vaguely recall hearing it a month or so back? And then it waited, waiting to strike.
While I'd rather not have started my day with this ugly earworm, I took it as encouragement to put on music I actually wanted to hear. You wouldn't think someone who loves music this much would need a reminder to listen to it. But sadly, that’s not how my dumb damn brain works. Over and over, I have to be reminded, or remind myself, to do things that I enjoy and feel good. Listen to music. Go for a walk. Make a pot of coffee.
So I make little lists, and try to look at them from time to time. I have a list of “Activities I Enjoy at Home” (ex: reading comic books, cooking new recipes, playing Nintendo Switch games) and “Activities I Enjoy in the World” (ex: seeing live music, bowling, pinball and arcade games). I have a list of foods I like to eat, and things I like to cook. My Google Map of every city I’ve ever visited is lousy with stars and hearts, any little place I went that wasn’t so bad, maybe even good, that I might enjoy going back to.
The ruts still win more often than not; blurs of days scrolling on my phone and eating garbage food and streaming movies I won’t even remember having seen and drinking one more hard cider than I told myself I was going to. So the lists aren’t magic, but they help.
Still chipping away at my DevonThink “knowledge garden” project, inspired by Jorge Arango’s presentation at UXLx. The first big win was importing my horde of UI screenshots and running OCR to turn them into searchable PDFs. So now if I search Cancel or Congratulations, I can find screenshots that include that particular bit of UI text. It feels like magic. The text layer seems to persist if I drop the PDF into a Keynote presentation as I would have dropped in an image, so it’s an accessibility improvement as well. Future me is already thanking me.
My next undertaking is using Otter.ai (referral link) to transcribe recordings of past talks and workshops and adding them to the garden, so that if I search style guides, for instance, I might find an example of me answering a question about them during a Q&A. I don’t know if this will all add up to anything, but, like time spent working an actual garden, I do feel a bit more centered after an hour or two.
I’m terribly excited that some Real Human Beings™ have already registered for a new online training workshop I’m leading at the end of the month. It’s an interactive course on Content Ecosystem Mapping, the facilitation and diagramming technique I use to help organizations to make sense of their product universe and get aligned on digital strategy. The technique proved especially useful on the large consulting projects I led while at Brain Traffic, which tended to serve organizations at critical moments in their journey, such as multi-site to “one dot com” consolidations, rebrands, reorgs, and digital transformation of services.
If you have any questions about the workshop, would like to attend in the future but can’t make this one, or need help with registration or convincing your boss, just hit reply and let me know how I can help. This is an exciting moment in my little independent career journey, and I appreciate any help you could offer in spreading the word.
I wrote previously about my Content Career Accelerator. The first cohort starts July 12. I started with a convoluted process involving an application, mostly because I lacked confidence in my ability to articulate exactly what kind of program it is (one focused on career planning and telling your job search story, and not UX writing skills). But there were only a handful of applicants for whom the program wasn’t the right fit, so I’ve flipped the script. Now the application is gone, and instead I’ve opened up free 20-minute info sessions / career consultations for anyone who’d like to chat with me face-to-face before they invest time and money in the program.
So far so good! I met with 8 people this week, have a few more scheduled tomorrow, and have opened up more spots for next week. I’ve told some folks I think the program is a great fit, told a few others that they might want to do X, Y, or Z first and then join in the fall, and told a few that they probably don't need the program right now. No hard sells here.
If you’ve even briefly considered the accelerator, and could use a friendly ear to talk to about your career goals right now, feel free to book some time.
Sweet baby Jesus we finally got a lease! Looks like I’ll officially be in Providence, RI starting sometime in July. If you’re in that area, know any cool people up that way I should connect with, or have any Rhode Island tips, hit reply!
Hope you’re doing well out there. Let me know if I can help with anything.