My finger is growing back so well that the doctors want to use my photos for 'best case' training materials. I've started what is kind of a dream job with the Planned Parenthood Foundation. I honestly don't remember ANY time in my life where things were this positive.
Keep reading to find out more. I promise, no gore pictures in this post ;)
Several months ago, I saw a posting on LinkedIn that Planned Parenthood was looking for a concrete5 developer. I applied, of course. Probably the first time that I'd filled out an online job application form (unless it was one I wrote myself to test the client experience) in years. Had to update the resume. But I didn't really put much stock in getting it. I've been trying to keep my expectations low, people have told me in the past that the weight of what I want to happen can be devastating. And attachment to outcomes, it just seems like a bad idea.
It took awhile, but I heard back and went through a couple of interviews. The first one I thought I nailed, but the second felt way different. I didn't really know what might happen, but I just let it go and waited. That's kind of one of the things I've forgotten about large organizations. It can take a lot of time to get through everything, especially for things like this. I had other things to do, so it wasn't an issue.
Eventually, I heard back that they wanted me! And not only did they want to work with me, they wanted to make me an employee, so that the work flow would be better. It's temporary and part time, but there are a lot of reasons why it's better that way than working as a contractor. There's also been some hinting at further projects at a later date, so I'm really optimistic for the future.
Why I Want To Do This
For a lot of reasons, I'm actually quite concerned about women's access to health care and their reproductive freedom. I've read so many things over the last few years about politicians vilifying them and cutting funding, or trying to legislate them out of existence, people protesting and attacking the clinics. It really sickens me.
Especially since it seems like those attacks are really unfounded. It's pretty much always over abortion, and yet that's only 3% of what they do. The main focus is health and preventing unwanted pregnancy. If people really want to prevent abortion, it seems like increasing education about sex and increasing access to contraception are are really good way to get to your goal.
I don't really want to get political about it. Suffice to say, they're an organization with a mission that I support, and that I think will do a lot of good in the world. It's a wonderful feeling to think that I can actually help with that. It's been quite awhile since I was able to really work on stuff that I love, on things that I think could change the world.
To me, learning how to code isn't a goal to a career. It's a pathway to creating change. When I was working on mplsbikelove.com, it wasn't about just getting people on bikes. It was about what shifting people to bikes did in all the other aspects of society. There are lynch pins like that at several points of our lives. Ones which I think if leveraged properly can truly be transforming, could bring us to a completely different way of life.
Women's rights are another lynchpin. And I am sure that Planned Parenthood Foundation is putting pressure in the right direction.
Back to Corporate Life?
The last two days, I've been doing a lot of meetings. And meeting with HR. And conference calls.
It's honestly been a little disconcerting.
It was six or seven years ago since I was last working for a organization this large. It's kind of like going out into the wilderness and coming back. There hasn't been much hierarchy in my recent endeavours. In the meetings, it was interesting to remember how things work in this kind of environment. I do well at it, but it's a little jarring to return, especially when you can't see people face to face. I had a lot of hardware / connectivity issues, too. Actually called up CenturyLink today to get a land line added to my account, so that I don't have issues with the audio. Well, not more than you normally get from a conference call with a lot of people on speakerphone.
Then there are all the corporate security rules, like what your password must be like, how documents are shared, etc. All of it is standard, but having to read about it and make sure I am compliant is an experience I haven't had in awhile. What email signature do I need? It was weird to be recording hours for stuff like that as opposed to actually coding anything.
I'm absolutely ecstatic about starting in on this project. I feel like my portions of it are all things I'm quite skilled at. There are other portions that I learned about today where I think I can help. The other people on the team all seemed talented and knowledgeable. I think they're going to be really nice to work with.
It's been quite awhile since I worked in this kind of environment, and then it was in a different industry. I'm a bit worried about that, but then again, that was years ago. Now it's a different position, approached from a different side. Now, I know far more, I can bring a lot more to the table. I guess, the difference would be knowing I could do what I needed to do, but being excited about what will happen rather than nervous.
The time lines also fit great with my other work. Regular paychecks to ease a bit of the "feast or famine" part of doing freelance web development. AND that's going to be direct deposited, not waiting 15 days for it to get mailed. That will help out with a lot of things.
Believe it or not, that's not all I have going on right now. I've also been working (slowly because of all the time put towards my finger) on another site for a customer that might have a similar amount of hourly work as PPFA. The current project is a news / magazine site, with an advertisement package. I can't wait to release the ad package to the marketplace with some enhancements. It's going to have a lot more features than the one from the core team, for sure.
The scary thing is that I have more coming my way, too. There's a lot of stuff that I want to work on for myself, but I'm not sure when I'm actually going to have time. That's another weird feeling. I wasn't expecting to have this kind of work this quickly.
Shh - don't tell anyone, but I *might* have to start working with other devs soon to contract out stuff I can't do 100% myself...
This has been going really, really, REALLY well. Like, the doctors actually asked me if they could use my photos to show to other doctors in training for examples of exactly how fast and how well a wound like this can heal with this treatment. Literally, a textbook case of "best case scenario."
They asked me to send them pictures of how it healed, but I haven't sent them yet. The reason why is because I have a friend coming over tomorrow night to document some of the wound cleaning / dressing stuff that I've done. A friend that works in a hospital has been bringing me supplies and advice from a wound care specialist she knows. So I've had medical grade stuff for a lot of the recovery. And now that I've been through it, I've refined the process a lot. I'm quite positive that I can actually help a lot of people heal a lot better.
So... If I'm taking that time, maybe they can compensate me by lowering my bill? Not sure, but I'm going to try mocking up some pages in InDesign and sending a few of them over. Dangle that carrot... I'll ask if maybe they will take some of my bill off in compensation. Hope that happens.
Things have been pretty great. I guess part of that is actually having time not working and actually being vulnerable and needing help. It brings a sense of being closer to people. To being connected to the community.
I also picked up a new bed, and new sheets. It might seem like a small thing, but my mattress and box spring were just on one of those fold able bed frames. I was looking for some stuff on craigslist, and actually found one that was only 9 blocks away. It was a LOT more work to get it made the first time, but the next morning it was just a few seconds. I slept better than I had in a long time. And with the healing, I actually had the finger sock slip off a couple of times last night and didn't realize it until I woke up. And even then, it didn't hurt.
The thing that really bums me out is the winter weather rolling in and not really being in shape for it. My left side is SERIOUSLY weak. I'm sure that winter snow will help that a bit, but it's also a bummer that I can't really ride far just because of my injury. I don't think I can change a tire yet. Close, but not yet. But I did order a form mount for my rollers so I can start using them. I think this winter is going to be spent holed up making my apartment smell like sweat and changing the world with computer code.
Yeah. Don't know when things have been going this well.
It's probably never.
If you *really* know me, you will know how terrifying that truly is.