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What would good look like?

Last night I was tucked away in my mosquito net cover on my small bed in a tent in Somalia, streaming the Apple WWDC 2020 Keynote. I freaking love Apple products. And, I think that I’d love their culture as well. Plus, typing this on my iPad, I just discovered if you type aapple you get this . That’s pretty cool.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been reading a lot. I’ve slacked in my coding classes, and instead have been reading widely on politics and race. One book that particularly struck me was Michael Bennett’s Things that make white people uncomfortable. It had a lot of parts within it that gave me pause. I’ve always felt that I was a good person. I’ve done a lot of small acts over the years that I felt a good person ought to do. Still, after reading this, I came away with the question of what else could I do?

In three months

In three months my life will be different. Much different than it’s been in a few years to say the least. Over the next nine months I’ll be undergoing a transition period. I’ll be leaving the military, after 23 years of service, living in a new city, and transitioning to a new job. The low level panic has already taken root. I’ve got the development skills of a sleeping wombat. What job could have get in web dev, with my skill level, to afford me to live?

Fortunately, my credit cards and car are all paid off. Still, I worry. I’m not moving to New York where there are millions of people. I’m moving to Ashland, Oregon. I’m thinking that I’ll likely find a job doing something, anything, and will do web dev on the side. Maybe I can get a part-time gig, allowing me the time to also do web dev.

Thinking of what might be available for work in southern Oregon when I get there is cause for panic. I can make a webpage, sure. I know HTML and I’m good enough with CSS3 to make a webpage for the average person out there. But what about a car dealership that wants reactive images, gallery views, and so on? That’s beyond my level right now. Sheesh, what if going to southern Oregon and trying to break into web development isn’t the mutually beneficial?

But wait, what about doing good.

Sometimes, surfing the interwebs is bad for your self image. The typical “start in front end web dev” lists a dozen skills. I’m still working on number 4, Python, before I even think about moving on to JavaScript. But if I step back away from the title of Front End Developer, and look at what I bring to the table, it’s a lot. I’m pretty good with a lot of things, and can run a good ship. I encourage growth, mentor people, and try to push decision making down lower and also decentralized. I look for talented people and then get out of their way and let them do their thing. Pretty much the opposite of the military and it’s top-down methodology, lines of effort, synergizing, and battle rhythms.

I read articles by Doist and I love the culture, the trust, the richness of their social dynamics. Are there other groups out there like this? Are there groups out there that are this open, mutually supportive, creative, agile, and yet have a profess desire to make a positive change in the world? I hope to find one. An organization that practiced excellent productivity, communications, systems, allowing people to create, that also had a good cause, a purpose, a means of helping others, I’d pour my heart and soul into it. I’ve found that even organizations with professed good causes, are themselves mired in crushing bureaucracy and limiting systems. In these systems, one can work very hard and accomplish very little.

It is my hope to find something, some group, organization, cause, that I can believe in.

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