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April in review | The #InterviewSeries is coming to an end

Image of the lake in Crystal Palace park from one of my isolation walks

Well if March was a shit show, April was a shit STORM. It was very stressful, both professionally and personally. Trips cancelled, my cat's decided he doesn't want to use his litter tray anymore, loved ones lost and my best friend had to go into hospital because she had suspected Covid-19 and for someone with Cystic Fibrosis that could have been really dangerous (thankfully, now out and doing her IVs at home).

I don't mind working from home at all, in fact I often prefer it, but work has been tough. Like the rest of you, I could really do with a break! I'm not going to go into any detail here, but I did want to use this time and space to talk about something really important to me. It obviously wasn't all bad. We got a brand new couch for the balcony and my boyfriend and I have been really making the most of our daily exercise allowance by exploring our local area.

My #InterviewSeries is coming to an end. Well nearly, I have a couple interviews left to publish, but I wanted to talk about ending things or finishing things, a topic I think isn't talked about enough. In the present day, I personally believe we have a collective resistance to letting things go. We are constantly bombarded with news about other people's work, hustles and side projects, which is obviously inspiring and motivating at times, but oppressive at others. It makes us feel guilty and like we are not doing enough, so we persevere when we don't need to, or take on too much. Well that's how I've been feeling lately anyway.

The #InterviewSeries was a way for me to step into the industry while showcasing my desire to make things better. I also hoped that by providing a platform for women and non-binary people to showcase their journeys and proud moments, I would inspire non-technical people, like myself, to consider a career in tech.

Three years later, my priorities and daily life has shifted. I'm a user researcher now, my day job requires me to interview people, so interviewing people in my spare time is tiring. Equally, I'm keen to take a step back from social media and reduce my online presence a little, in favour of spending some of that time learning (especially now that I'm freelance and have to be in charge of my own career development). I want to focus on other things and I simply do not have the capacity or time to do it all. Work life balance is REALLY important to me, and I want to ensure I have plenty of free time to do activities that have no purpose. That being said, even though I've not published an interview for a while I've found it really hard to properly let go of this project. I didn't achieve everything I wanted to with it and in some respects I wish it had gone further. But now is the time to set those boundaries I've been talking about for a while, I don't know what the future will hold, but for now I will make no more plans for the series. I think ending things properly is really good for mental health, and I hope by putting this out there I'll feel less guilty about it.

In true user centred-design spirit, I thought I'd do a little #InterviewSeries retro:

What went well

  • Over the three years the #InterviewSeries was active, I managed to interview over 30 people. That's nearly one person a month. During that time I finished my masters, started my first job, switched Government departments and then went freelance, so although that number feels quite low, I'm actually really pleased with what I achieved

  • I got much better at writing. I found my voice and writing in it comes fairly naturally to me now. It's something I never thought I'd be good at, but I often receive positive feedback about the way I write. Such joy!

What could have been improved

  • Diversity of interviewees. I only managed to interview one non-binary person, which I'm really disappointed about. There are other ways I could have improved diversity too

  • Consistency of publishing the interviews. I never really stuck to a schedule. I tried to get into scheduling social media posts about the interviews, but struggled with that too. I couldn't find a tool that I enjoyed using, but perhaps I just need to make peace with the fact I much prefer an ad hoc approach to social media and blogging

Writing this out and working through my thoughts has really reminded me how important improving diversity in the industry is to me, and although the series has (nearly) come to an end I will continue to right ad hoc blog posts and contribute to discussions on Twitter. But if you have any ideas or have a project you'd like some help with, please do let me know.


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