Life Update

So since I only come back to this blog every few years, I thought I'd document a life update …

So during the Europe 2017 trip, my wife was pregnant and at the end of the year we had a son, and I took almost 3 months off. That was a thing. At the same time, I decided to change my role in my team from an individual contributor to a manager. I would not advise a big role change at the same time has having a child.

In September 2018 my manager + mentor moved on to a different team, and I went from managing a small team under him to managing the combined team he'd been responsible for (about 15 people). In the next 6 months I grew the team from 15 to 23, and hired 2 more managers (not reporting to me), split the team, and got a promotion.

By mid 2019, after a whirlwind 9-10 months, I was back down to a team of 6 engineers, a clear group of projects, and a reasonably clear roadmap for at least the next year. I was approaching 4 years at AWS, all of them in the same team (RDS). I was the second person hired into the RDS team in Sydney (by 25 days), and had seen the team grow from a scrappy band of 5 in a very operational role, to a solid engineering centre, and the 2nd biggest site outside the USA. Maybe at some point I'll write a post about why, at this point, I decided to move on, but at the end of 2019 an opportunity came up that was really interesting, so I took it.

At the start of 2020 I moved over to a newly announced project, with a brand new team1. While it's exciting to be working on a brand new project, the pressure of having to build out the service from scratch - through private preview through to our launch - is definitely something new for me.

And then we come to the SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 pandemic, which has turned the world into a very strange and scary place. Before my team could really get off the ground, we were working from home full time. Just as we'd worked out a playground + shopping routine with a young toddler, we're only going out shopping individually, and trying to explain to a 2 year old why he's not allowed to play on empty swings. In Mid-Feb I'd booked a trip to meet my new manager + new international teammates in Palo Alto. Last week is the week I was supposed to be there - with everyone in California and Seattle now a month into "shelter in place", and the US outstripping the rest of the world in reported cases. At some point I should document somewhere what the current state of the world is: supermarkets stripped of toilet paper, pasta, flour, soap, and hand sanitiser; public gatherings ratched down from 500 to 100 to 10 to maximum 2 people; conservative governments making childcare free and doubling unemployment benefits; international travel banned and states locking borders ... (there you go, that's some of it documented). I really hope that in a year I look back at this post (and the last) and shake my head without really remembering. But it does feel like this one will be big enough to change some things for "good".

So anyway, that's the update. Now you know.

  1. By that I mean empty headcount and a need to hire as fast as possible. 


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