Meaningful work

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Meaningful work

Pine W
Hi Wikitech-l,

This email is directed primarily to the engineering and technical staff.

On February 1st, I was in a conversation with a few non-WMF engineers. To
my surprise, none of them said that they felt that their work was
personally meaningful to them, with one exception of an engineer who said
that he feels proud when people that he mentors become accomplished.

My guess is that when we are deeply involved in work, trying to fix a
frustrating problem, that we may sometimes feel detached from the big
picture and wonder why we are spending hours or days of our lives trying to
improve software or other technical tools. Perhaps we think something like,
"I have been studying this problem for ten hours, I have a meeting tomorrow
in which I will need to tell my supervisor that I have not fixed this bug,
and while I have been working on this problem my inbox has grown by 42
emails."

I hope that when we are in this situation that we can remind ourselves that
our purposes in life are probably not solely to fix bugs, to make our
supervisor happy, and to achieve "inbox zero".

Wikipedia and its sister projects are here to educate humanity, and our
individual activities contribute to the success of the larger whole. I like
the analogy of an ecosystem in which no one individual is essential, and in
which each of us as individuals, in all of our diversity, choose to
participate.

I hope that you feel that your work is personally meaningful to you.

If you feel frustrated or empty in regards to your work, and you need some
emotional nourishment -- I think that everyone does from time to time -- I
suggest that you communicate to your colleagues that you are taking a
break, that you silence your phone, and that you go for a walk outside for
an hour. While you're outside, you might practice some of Julian Treasure's
suggestions for how to listen to the environment
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSohjlYQI2A> (I'm not endorsing the
entirety of his presentation, but I think that some of his advice is very
good.) When you come back, instead of attacking the same issue that was
frustrating you before you left, browse the Featured Pictures archives on
Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Featured_pictures>, English
Wikipedia <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Featured_pictures>, or
another wiki of your choice. Then listen for a few minutes to one of La
Pianista <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:La_Pianista>'s piano
performances (I'm especially fond of this performance
<https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chopin_-_Scherzo_No._3_(re-recorded).ogg>
of Chopin's Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp minor). Then go to Wikistats 2
<https://stats.wikimedia.org/v2/#/all-projects> and try to get a feel for
how many people are learning about our universe through us. We had
approximately 189 billion page views in 2017, so we are probably doing
something well, and many of our readers and content contributors around the
world are probably grateful for our work in the big picture; WMF has received
comments from donors
<https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-November/085602.html>
which you may find to be encouraging.

After you've re-oriented yourself in the grand design, then you can return
to your work, hopefully with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose.

Regards,

Pine <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine>
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Re: Meaningful work

Victoria Coleman
Hi Pine,

your note below definitely qualifies for my “What made me happy this week”! Our engineers are incredible people who make sacrifices in support of the mission every day. So it’s so awesome to seem them recognized in such a nice note!

Warm regards,

Victoria



> On Feb 11, 2018, at 4:38 PM, Pine W <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi Wikitech-l,
>
> This email is directed primarily to the engineering and technical staff.
>
> On February 1st, I was in a conversation with a few non-WMF engineers. To
> my surprise, none of them said that they felt that their work was
> personally meaningful to them, with one exception of an engineer who said
> that he feels proud when people that he mentors become accomplished.
>
> My guess is that when we are deeply involved in work, trying to fix a
> frustrating problem, that we may sometimes feel detached from the big
> picture and wonder why we are spending hours or days of our lives trying to
> improve software or other technical tools. Perhaps we think something like,
> "I have been studying this problem for ten hours, I have a meeting tomorrow
> in which I will need to tell my supervisor that I have not fixed this bug,
> and while I have been working on this problem my inbox has grown by 42
> emails."
>
> I hope that when we are in this situation that we can remind ourselves that
> our purposes in life are probably not solely to fix bugs, to make our
> supervisor happy, and to achieve "inbox zero".
>
> Wikipedia and its sister projects are here to educate humanity, and our
> individual activities contribute to the success of the larger whole. I like
> the analogy of an ecosystem in which no one individual is essential, and in
> which each of us as individuals, in all of our diversity, choose to
> participate.
>
> I hope that you feel that your work is personally meaningful to you.
>
> If you feel frustrated or empty in regards to your work, and you need some
> emotional nourishment -- I think that everyone does from time to time -- I
> suggest that you communicate to your colleagues that you are taking a
> break, that you silence your phone, and that you go for a walk outside for
> an hour. While you're outside, you might practice some of Julian Treasure's
> suggestions for how to listen to the environment
> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSohjlYQI2A> (I'm not endorsing the
> entirety of his presentation, but I think that some of his advice is very
> good.) When you come back, instead of attacking the same issue that was
> frustrating you before you left, browse the Featured Pictures archives on
> Commons <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Featured_pictures>, English
> Wikipedia <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Featured_pictures>, or
> another wiki of your choice. Then listen for a few minutes to one of La
> Pianista <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:La_Pianista>'s piano
> performances (I'm especially fond of this performance
> <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chopin_-_Scherzo_No._3_(re-recorded).ogg>
> of Chopin's Scherzo No. 3 in C sharp minor). Then go to Wikistats 2
> <https://stats.wikimedia.org/v2/#/all-projects> and try to get a feel for
> how many people are learning about our universe through us. We had
> approximately 189 billion page views in 2017, so we are probably doing
> something well, and many of our readers and content contributors around the
> world are probably grateful for our work in the big picture; WMF has received
> comments from donors
> <https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2016-November/085602.html>
> which you may find to be encouraging.
>
> After you've re-oriented yourself in the grand design, then you can return
> to your work, hopefully with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose.
>
> Regards,
>
> Pine <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l


_______________________________________________
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