2016 in review, part 2

Continuation from my last post – 2016 in review, part 1.

I mentioned in my last post that I was offered a promotion with strings attached. I was asked to change to another department, and although it was pointed out that the promotion and the change were separate, I got the feeling that it was heavily suggested that I move. I asked for the time to think it over. It was explained that the reason I was being asked to change to the other team was to “bring the people together”. Yep. Those were the exact words. It was explained that all the things I do around the office for team morale would be helpful in another area.

At first, I was pretty insulted. I didn’t go to university for 6 years to “bring the people together”. I (usually) believe that I’m a competent programmer. I’m not the best delivery lead in the world, but my project made it across the line… eventually. There’s more to me than the social stuff.

I was also asked to act as delivery lead on a project. I think it was a bit of a disaster, as we ran overtime and overbudget, and didn’t deliver everything. However, my boss did challenge me to improve the performance, and we blew that target out of the water. The performance tester said she had never seen such a big improvement before.

During the project, I think I realised what my strength is: I am crazy, but somehow, I manage to bring everyone else along my crazy journey. Towards the end of the project, everyone was voluntarily pulling crazy hours, everyone was really invested in the outcome of the project, and the words “I have a crazy idea” brought smiles to people’s faces rather than fear. Not that this is a good trait to have, but when you’re facing a deadline, and you just need to get something done, it comes in handy.

But the entire project was misery on top of misery for me. I shouldn’t judge based on one experience, but I feel like management is not for me.

I deliberated over the decision to change teams for quite a while, and in the end, decided to pull the trigger and make the change. Maybe this will help with my misery. I’ve been in my new team for a few weeks now, and so far I’m loving it. Not that I hated my old team, but I think the change of pace is nice. I made a farewell video for my own farewell. It was a music video, parodying Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. It was great fun filming it, and though I didn’t manage to get everyone I wanted in the video, I think it turned out OK. I had someone from the bank’s choir group sing the song, and someone from another team put together the final soundtrack.

During my misery, one of the few things that kept me sane was the few minutes a day I put aside to work on learning a new language. I mentioned a while back that I wanted to learn French to watch more happy French man videos, and I had quite a long streak going in Memrise. I also downloaded an app called Hello Talk that lets you connect with people to practice speaking to them.

You can correct people’s sentences with what the correct version should be, and it also includes an auto-translate function, to keep the conversation going (yes, I know I missed the ka in that sentence…).


The app is pretty cool, but it is a bit hard to keep a conversation going, especially with the time difference. I feel like I have made a friend out of it though, a French-Canadian guy who also loves cooking and movies. He has sent me a few photos of his family, and I’ve sent him some photos of my cooking.

Although I did start learning because of food, I was also challenged to read Le Petit Prince, and my French is nowhere near good enough to do that yet, so I think I’ll continue until I can.

What I do like is that I’ve actually started some conversations with people who I’ve always found it difficult to talk to because of French – mainly a couple of Belgian people, who also happen to speak French. I think it’s just something that most people can relate to (learning a new language, not necessarily learning French itself), especially as there are a lot of people whose native language isn’t English. The head of my new area is also from Belgium, so it might be a good ice-breaker for me.

The other big thing that happened this year is that I developed my first major crush since dating MrFodder. The guilt of it ate away at me for a very long time, but there was also that exciting, butterflies in your stomach feeling whenever I saw him. The constant fluctuations between those two feelings would make anyone seasick. I would catch myself e-stalking him on the office messaging tool to try and time my water breaks with his so that we’d meet in the kitchen, and then berate myself for doing something so childish. (On a more positive note, I did end up drinking a lot more water during this time.)

I ended up asking a few people who have been in a relationship for a while, and the general feeling is that it is completely natural to feel this way, as long as you don’t act on it. I wonder why nobody ever talks about it. If I didn’t already know of a married friend who had a crush on someone outside his marriage, I would have just assumed that it wasn’t a normal thing, and continued thinking that I’m a terrible person (I still think that I’m a terrible person, but I’ve come to terms with it now).

This probably belongs in its own blog post, but I feel like now is a good time to discuss it.

Some reasons why having a crush on someone outside of your relationship should be considered a normal thing:

  • for the most part, I think it’s hard to control who you have feelings for. Sometimes you just happen to meet someone and click with them.
  • the idea that you’re only ever going to be attracted to one person is probably not true for everyone
  • I think in a long-term monogamous relationship, it can be easy to fall into a rut – not that this excuses having a crush, but I think it’s one of the reasons why it might happen
  • your partner may not have every single desirable trait that you want, but they have enough for you to have decided to stay with them. You might come across a person that has the missing traits (but not necessarily all the traits your partner has). It seems natural to feel that “grass is always greener” pull.
I think the biggest thing for me was how much I liked the excitement of it all. I don’t think I ever really wanted something to happen with him. Maybe it was the high school crush experience that I never really had the chance to experience, and will not experience now. If I want to speak to MrFodder, I’ll just go up and speak to him. No matter how stupid the words that come out of my mouth are, I am not afraid that he’ll refuse to speak to me in the future. If I wanted to talk to The Crush, then I had to concoct some excuse to go and talk to him – we are in an office after all, and we’re supposed to be working. Even though talking to him is so relaxed and easy, I still fear the rejection of having him say that now is not a good time to talk. And I can’t explain why, but the whole process of engineering a plan to go and talk to him is something I enjoy doing; maybe I see it as a challenge? Maybe I’m just good at running down various scenarios and coming up with plans on how to deal with them.
I was quite wary of crossing the emotional cheating line. The aforementioned married friend with a crush said that the line is when you start feeling like you’d rather be with your crush than with your actual partner, and though there was a period where it might have been a bit iffy whether I had crossed that line or not, as things are standing now, I am well away from that line.
The other question I asked was whether it was something worth telling your current partner about, and the unanimous vote there was for not telling your partner. Well, as you can see from this blog post, I have blatantly ignored that advice. I think the reasoning behind that advice is that it’s a selfish thing to do in a way. It serves to relieve your own conscience, while burdening your partner with the feeling that they must be inadequate in some way for you to have developed a crush on someone else. Personally, I don’t think that’s the case (see the reasons above). I guess it was a bit selfish though, as I didn’t plan to act on the crush, so it’s something I could have easily taken to the grave.
But the knowledge that it’s perfectly normal did help a lot, and I hope that if someone else reading this finds that they’re in the same situation, it makes them feel better, too.

So the end of the year has me starting in a new team, I’ve definitely grown a lot this year, and hopefully I’ll do a bit more next year.

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