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Hello Again, World

Saturday, February 4th, 2023

Cracking the case of “Who killed ?” is not particularly hard - it was Scott Parker, at his desk, with inactivity.

“Why?” is perhaps more interesting. Why did I largely stop writing here? Sure, it’s a navel-gazing topic of limited interest, but it’s not like I’m using this site for anything else right now.

The heyday of this blog began in 2005 when my soon-to-be-wife said “every nerd I’ve ever met has a half-built website that’s perpetually ‘coming soon’.” That was all I needed to finish coding it in PHP the next weekend. A torrent of posts followed, starting a golden age that lasted for about a decade.

Starting around 2015, posts gradually slowed from a stream, to a trickle, to what is now, if I’m generous, an occasional drip. Why is that?

The usual suspects

Much has been made of social media’s impact on blogging but Twitter was only a minor factor. Tweeting never took the place of blogging but I think my brain became accustomed to thinking in 140 characters. Blog posts started feeling like so much work whereas they used to be a relaxing, natural outlet.

Aging also played a role. Words take more effort now, forcing me to spend more time with each sentence. Age also cooled some of the fires that inspired me to write in the first place. Early posts were frequently borne from playful frustration, outrages I felt, or outrages I wanted to instigate. Now I’m an old, boring man – things are fine and people are fine but no one wants to read a post entitled “Hey, everything is fine and I guess that’s fine.”

With very little power comes great, possibly imaginary responsibility

Both of the factors above pale in comparison to the impact of my career. Since 2015, I’ve held increasingly senior management roles. Before, I ran small teams that I would have called “an organization” only in my most pompous moments. For the past seven years though, I’ve ranged from being someone’s boss’ boss to being someone’s boss’ boss’ boss’ boss’ boss, the latter being a nightmare of both organizational complexity and possessive nouns.

My folder of unfinished blog drafts became as unruly as my org charts. I’d write for a few moments and then wonder “Could someone in my organization take offense? Could someone take this out of context?” In large organizations, the answer is “yes.” Always. I’d abandon the draft shortly after this inevitable realization and decide yet another topic was off-limits.

Sidebar: There’s a reason that your VP probably doesn’t open up much. It is often just an opportunity for unforced errors, a way to create problems where none previously existed. Make a mistake and people will get hurt, or they’ll think you’re playing favorites, or minor omissions will balloon into major problems after people inevitably compare notes. The odds of a mistake are very low in any single interaction but you talk all day so it’s bound to happen sooner or later. Eventually it’s just easier to be boring.

(I’m not complaining - being boring came to me very naturally)

There’s other career baggage too - the pressure to be some kind of inspirational thought leader or the fear that my words could bring shame upon my employer. Occasionally a job seeker would mention they looked at my blog and I would think “shit, I wonder what stupid shit they found that I should take down or whether they found me using words like ‘shit’ on my blog.”

I’m sure much of this was self-inflicted, products of an anxious imagination. Nonetheless, these forces combined to make this site a ghost town where the only posts are sporadic, silly takes on games. It’s not that those posts are unauthentic – Edge of the Empire really is just a so-so roleplaying game and I still have mixed feelings about the board game Here I Stand – but these represent a single and increasingly small part of my life.

Okay Great, We Get It. So What?

For a variety of reasons that are topics for another time, I’m delighted to have stepped out of senior management roles and start a new gig at DekuDeals as a… well, I don’t really know what to call my job and I have zero interest in sorting that out. But I know what it isn’t – it’s not Vice President of anything and I am delighted to lead an organization of zero direct reports.

I know myself too well to pretend this means the floodgates have now opened. Every other factor above remains true and I have no desire to add to the vast number of blogs where the latest post is ancient and says merely “I have so much to say! Watch this space!”

But I look forward to writing solely for my own pleasure once again at some irregular pace.

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