A Documenteer’s Lament

July 15, 2022

Two and a half years ago, Pixel & Tonic welcomed me aboard as a Technical Writer. Everyone waited patiently and supportively while I bumbled my way through something that could pass for technical writing. (I think they’re still waiting, but in fairness I did write some things.) After a blur of successes and failures, and growing to love and Wordle with this multi-talented group of nerds, I’ve decided to end my time at the company and move on.

Ultimately the reason is simple: I need to collect and focus myself on and off the job.

We’ve moved across the country twice in recent years, to the backdrop of the same pandemic and global events you’re living. I’m not a free-spirited, wandering adventurer. I’m a person that enjoys vacuuming and is entertainingly terrible at camping. The second move was to a house we’re remodeling a bit, and we’re basically camping in our own home. I’m grateful these have been things we’ve chosen, and it’s still a lot.

Professionally, I left twelve years of running my own (mostly) solo business to work with a team of people I adored from afar. My adoration was well-justified; I’ve had the latitude to work freely with as much or little support as I asked for. They made me laugh, listened to me rant, challenged me, and left me wanting to personally help wherever I could. This is not a carefully-varnished representation of the truth, this is the truth. It’s a kind bunch of people that cares about what they do and the people they’re working with.

Personally and professionally, I took too much.

As naturally as I breathe, I try to create order from chaos. The point of origin for all chaos is my head, so I write, make lists, and try to structure my memories, thoughts, and plans so I can navigate them. It turns out this is useful for client work, where planning and communication are vital—maybe the most important part of an enduring relationship. With my work, I try to leave enough of a trail that you could find my reasoning, mistakes, or plans even if I got hit by a bus. Striving to be expendable is probably a bad career plan, but it’s what I do. With my dazzling work in Notion, we agreed it’d make sense for me to transition into a project manager for the growing company.

Like any idiot, I leapt right in and occupied two roles ensuring I’d limit my effectiveness at either one. I created the perfect conditions for burnout and then, unsurprisingly, burned out.

I relished some time off, cleared my head, and realized how dramatically off-balance I’d left myself across the board. There’s a lot happening at the company right now: new faces, new projects, new ways of thinking about things. It’s exciting and challenging, and I’ve not taken enough care to put myself in a position to be patient and helpful.

I’m proud of some of the work I’ve done with Pixel & Tonic. I’m ashamed of the heaps of things I haven’t written or implemented. I’m thankful for all of it. As much as I feel like I’m abandoning friends, it’s abundantly clear to me that I need to step back, evaluate the things I’ve plunged myself into, and come up for air.

Cool stuff is coming that will make peoples’ lives better. Many shits are given for the right reasons, by people who actually care.

I don’t know what I’ll be doing next, only that I’ll dearly miss my companions and be more mindful of whatever I commit to.

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