Hackernoon logoHow to Give a Shit About Your Work While the World is on Fire by@poofichu

How to Give a Shit About Your Work While the World is on Fire

Jessica Tremblay Hacker Noon profile picture

@poofichuJessica Tremblay

Designer & Dev

I don’t know about all of you, but the world’s events as of late (and specifically those dealing with our new president) have been leaving a black mark in my heart. It’s such a poisonous, seeping black mark that I find myself and others carrying it around wherever we go: the grocery store, the gas station, work, and even Starbucks. Nowhere is safe…

I am in the terrible habit of waking up and looking at my phone first thing in the morning. Checking my work email, my personal email, Instagram, Twitter and the dreaded political battle of 2017, Facebook. Then I turn on the Today show. I watch Matt Lauer and Hoda Kupt give the latest breaking news without flinching and without breaking a sweat. (I know they’re just dying inside…)

Photo credit: Everything Is Comics

And then I’m off to work thinking “What menial task am I going to tackle today? How many SVGs am I going to have to optimize? How many meetings that shouldn’t be meetings am I attending? How am I going to add some serious business value?” The menial part of that statement: I don’t want to have to think like that. I don’t want to have to think that what I am doing right now is menial and without purpose. There are literally children out there in the world dying, because our president decided not to allow them funding for health care and basic medical needs.

Then I arrive in our office. Tensions are high and morale is low. We try to joke with each other on Slack and make each other feel better. But the children! Remember the damn children!!

Photo credit: Oen Hammonds

Our GM had a campfire with us today. It was necessary and it was much welcomed. We as a design community and as a family unit needed to hear a few things.

“In order to effect change and progress, we need to do more than just get mad.” — Phil Gilbert

There could not have been a truer statement. We share angry articles on Facebook and Twitter to our liberal echo chambers. We see other family members and people who we thought were empathetic friends liking and sharing articles from Fox News and Breitbart. We as a liberal, angry, pissed off, scared (I could go on) community (myself included) are thinking so hard “how can we show and express empathy. How can I make a difference??”

So how do we turn our anger into action?

Well, here’s my plan. I still have a job, and a damn good one. One that I love and one with people I consider my family.

  1. I’m going to make a greater effort to show those people I work with that I am appreciative of them and the work they do. My poor manager has been the victim of my unknowing anger as of late… Poor guy. He’s the best manager I’ve had, and he doesn’t deserve my daily rants about button color, semantic html, and whether or not he included the damn conference code number in the meeting invite (it’s a daily struggle with that, btw.)
  2. I will go back to my yoga roots and do what I do best — kill with kindness.
  3. I’m going to manage my time better. Things are NUTS right now. SXSW is right around the corner, oh and did I mention the world is on fire? Seriously. Making sure I get my sprint work done and balancing with my SXSW project — my daily goal.
  4. I’m going to uplift those around me who are doing amazing things. I just had two female friends publish O’Reilly books (Sarah Drasner & Kathryn McElroy). Holy bananas, Batman, that is an amazing accomplishment. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg… Celebrating and uplifting those who are slaying right now. Yeah, that’s a given. Let’s do that more.
  5. I’m going to take better care of myself. My mid 30’s hit me like a goddamn freight train. What’s this? No metabolism anymore? Yeah, that’s not cool. And let’s throw some auto-immune funnerness in there. I need to make exercise and eating well and priority. As well as yoga — lots of yoga.

So about the world being on fire 🔥: time to make an action plan. The list of things I care about going up in flames is getting long. STUPID long. My plan — tackle those things that me as a white, female developer/designer in a large tech corporation living in Austin, TX can have an impact on:

  • Shaping the future of women designers and developers
  • Women’s rights
  • Science and education (STEM)
  • Opposing that damn border wall (I live in Texas… my tax $$$ is going to that stupid, idiotic thing)
  • Setting up monthly donations to ACLU and Planned Parenthood
  • Calling my senators/congressmen
  • And the big one: learn to empathize with those not in the same situation/mindset that I am in.

Like I said, there are many, many, many, many more issues that I could put my attention to and many more things I can do. As of today, February 2nd, 2017 this is where I will focus my attention in putting out the fires.

This is not normal.

I will keep reminding myself of that. Everyday. Because there is so much at stake. I want my nieces to grow up knowing their Auntie did everything she could to make the world a better place. I want the next generation of young, female designers and developers to have equal pay and greater appreciation in the workplace. I want the community I live and work in to be as incredibly diverse as the world we live in.

I will keep adding “write postcards to your senator” events and marches on the State Capital to my Facebook Calendar. I will have ladies nights filled with stitching and bitching, because lord knows I need my tribes right now (and we need to vent, y’all).

I ask that you do that same. Be kind, be smart and be effective. Manage your time and your energy. Take care of yourself and those around you. Love your job and love what you do. Learn everything you can. Become more informed and more educated. Those svgs you are optimizing? You know how to do that. Teach others how. Push past the menial and find the grace to love what you do.

As one of my friends, Josephine, said the other day:

The future is brown, female and woke as hell. Stay strong.


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