Jason Punyon

Gratitude

I’ve been meditating lately. I started in December, and I haven’t done it every day, but I enjoy it. The topic of this morning’s meditation was gratitude. It led me through feeling grateful for different things. Something someone did for me. Something someone I don’t know did. Something from nature. Something I did. Something small. Something big.

My task for the week was to deploy an A/B test of a new job recommendation algorithm. Our weekly meeting was at 1PM so it was high time I got down to it. I had to train a logistic regression model in R, extract the coefficients/port them to our C# library, and release an update. I didn’t know how to do any of that R work or ML stuff three years ago. I was grateful.

Then I had to update the consuming code. I worked on this codebase before I moved to the Data Team. You never step in the same river twice, but I know this river. I’ve never been around anything I’ve built for more than a few years, getting to see it grow and change, work and not work. I was grateful.

I stepped in it and released a decent size bug for unregistered users to dev, the site would just error out for them. It hadn’t happened locally, so I had to work from the stack traces and I got to THINK REALLY HARD (it’s an older technique, but it checks out). I used to worry I was going to get bit by bugs. I stopped worrying, I know I’m going to get bit by bugs, but also bug bites just aren’t that bad anymore. I was grateful.

This took a while and I told everyone on the team that I had really loused things up and if they would be so kind as not to push prod so I could figure out what was up. Gervasio, one of the devs on the team, showed me this neat way they can block the builds so even if someone ran the build anyway it wouldn’t deploy. I was grateful.

I finally worked out the hitch in the giddyup, and with about ten minutes to spare before the meeting my test was galloping free in the wild. I trained a model, touched two languages, three codebases, fucked up the release, and fixed it all in a matter of hours. I was grateful.

This mundane cromulence. Why even mark it with words? A few months back we had to let a lot of people go. It was a thing I was scared of for a long time before that and ashamed of since. Gratitude is a piece of the puzzle I’ve been missing. Remembering that I contributed to building the experience I had developing today and feeling grateful for being a part of that lifted me up. Some things we set in motion years ago didn’t work out like we thought and that is sad, but some have so exceeded my expectations. I haven’t been grateful about work in a long time and it was nice to be there today. I want to be there tomorrow.