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May 14, 2009 / TildeWill

Needs and Fears

I know I’m a better person when I’m volunteering. I need to make things that people use, that’s who I am. I feel empty when I don’t feel useful.

When I got to SF a year ago, I was enamored with all the opportunities to hang out with people interested in tech stuff. I went to a tech-talk hosted by Microsoft every couple of weeks – that where I met Rosey. I also started going to a group where people talked about Agile/Scrum. I was an oddball as a developer there. Most people were project managers of some sort.

I made a mistake of showing up to a leadership meeting for the group. I had hoped to learn how the pros get stuff done. I just wanted to observe, to be a fly on the wall. I saw the same things I see in any group of people. “The Problem” was still there. We’re all human it seems, and we all face a challenge of communication.

What I saw was legislature getting in the way of people who wanted to do work, who were eager to help. Arguably the procedure needed to be there, and practices respected, but that doesn’t mean it sat well with me.

Meanwhile, some of the people from that group started up another group with the goal being to do Agile development for non-profit organizations. I was a developer, I needed to volunteer, to make something useful, and I put my eggs in that basket.

I went to two meetings and I saw the same kinds of things (and people) that didn’t sit well with me from previous group – I felt like we couldn’t even agree what to work on. I thought, “How can we possibly get anything done if we work like this???” So I ran away; hiding my talents from a group that needed them, and depriving myself of an opportunity to really feel whole again. I was afraid that it’d be like a really sucky job that didn’t pay well. I’ve quit my share of jobs where there’s too much direction and not enough effort.

So tomorrow, I’m having coffee with the man who is heading up this project. He knows that I lied about why I wasn’t available for the last two months. He knows why I’m hesitant to jump in. We’re going to talk about it. I’m afraid of what he has to say. I’m afraid that I might come out feeling like it isn’t the situation I want, but that I might try it anyway because I don’t have anything that better matches my skills and needs.

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