Fiancé and I just had a s***show of a week dealing with our new faceless landlords. One problem after the other revealed their ugly little heads each day last week as we “moved into” our new residence.

We either received minimal help or nothing at all. The litmus test of a terrible work culture is where multiple people clearly and definitively don’t care. Each person only cared far enough to say, “That’s not my job”. We learned some lessons about searching for a home that we had thought were locked down.

Looking through Twitter, I came across an incredibly well timed post by Greg Storey reflecting on another post by Julia Evans.

Honestly, considering where I’ve been with this blog and if I hadn’t known better, I thought they were both writing to me directly!

Just this week I wrote about how I kept coming back to the word “value” and how difficult it was to identify an audience for my blog as a result. As Julia states, “it’s hard to identify which things you know will be useful to other people!”. Yesterday I decided, at a minimum, I could find value for myself.

Throughout the day I had moments, pauses really, where I considered what topic I was going to blog about. I had considered some “useful” evergreen topic like “call instead of email your clients”. Snooze.

I had also considered blogging about something from today’s work like “rebuilding forms for portals”, or “learning to structure product backlog meetings”. However, there’s nothing really of value that I can give anyone writing on those topics through this blog.

At lunch, I received an email for a podcast that I’ve been following. Thought it might be cool to recap on Product Management: What is the job, really? – Christian Idiodi, but I can’t imagine anyone that reads this blog would find value from that.

I’ve been struggling for some time to write posts. This blog has suffered from a lack of direction since its inception over two years ago. As a result, I’ve allowed myself to become repeatedly stuck. This post is a first step in attempting something new. I want to try writing a post every day. At the very least, I want to make a solid attempt.

The Fiancé and I recently attempt to visit a new restaurant for dinner, a hole in the wall Vietnamese place. We were tired, hungry, and unsure about what we wanted. We noticed several people sitting at tables and a person waiting at the cash register. We asked a waitress what the process was for getting food.

She motioned us to a table and brought over menus. 10 minutes later a line had formed at the cash register that was 6 groups long. Our waitress was now engulfed in taking orders, sending tickets back to the kitchen, and charging guests up front. We were now expecting to wait a long time to order and even longer to get our food.

For several months now I’ve been striving to push blog after blog to launch.

I’ve been jumping on phone calls, coordinating with multiple teams, and setting up as much as I can before launch day (subscribe forms, adding users, training, building out email campaigns, etc). Heck, I even had a span of a few months where I was also launching blogs myself! I’ve had to learn difficult tasks/concepts on the fly.

It’s been exhausting, but also dense with experience.

I kept all of these projects listed out on large whiteboard. Each one had a 3×5 card with info on the project type, client, and launch day. My goal was to have a comprehensive list of everything I had ever worked on.

For several months I’ve been working on honing my habits with Stephen Covey’s book. The last several weeks have been about formulating my Personal Mission Statement. I’ve had my share of existential crisis, but I’ve never had an existential challenge.

I’m asked the very difficult question, “What are your values?”. The more difficult metaphorical version of that question, “If an I beam stretched all the way across the Grand Canyon, what would you cross it for?”.

I’m asked, “If you were to die, how would you want to be remembered?”.

I’m not going to name the client as I don’t know how they would feel with me posting about their business (especially considering this was about adding security).

At work, we just finished a major project that took several months. Normally, when I work with a client, we focus on 1 blog with a small number of attorneys that can get knocked out in a few weeks. Usually, it’s just me, our designer, and maybe someone from Support to launch the blog that gets involved.

This projects involved 800+ attorneys, everyone on LexBlog’s support, our CTO, myself (of course), and coordination with the client’s IT team. Phone calls, a special slack channel, dozens of emails, and a Support ticketing system all contributed towards the communication channels. All of this to move 20 blogs + 1 Portal from one of LexBlog’s installs to a Premier install dedicated to just this one law firm.

The last several weeks have really left me at a loss. I’ve had multiple (3+) clients call me either in a panic or stressed to the max. One said, “I know I can get an honest opinion from you. Tell me if this is true…”. Another started the conversation with, “I just need someone to be honest with me. Can you do that?”.

They feel by asking for an honest opinion that they will somehow avoid the use of rhetoric altogether. They would be wrong.

Of course, I don’t have a hidden agenda for these clients usually. I want to help them. They’ve already signed the contract and I’ve already agreed to try my best. However, that doesn’t mean that I (or anyone else claiming to be ‘Honest’) doesn’t choose their words carefully.

The Fiancé and myself have been independently struggling with identity for a few months now. For myself, I’ve been leaving a work title paradigm for a value based one after my continued reading of Covey’s book. For her, it’s a similar experience with her name connected with her title and our marriage.

In short, she’s a doctor. My last name is ‘Grim’. Imagine trying to build a family medicine practice as “Dr. Grim”. Just saying, it’s both funny and awesome. However, there are real complications and lessons to be learn about ‘What’s in a name’.