💍I married the love of my life.
At a tiny dinner in South Philly, my fiancée became my wife. A month later we bought our first house together. It's impossible to describe how utterly and completely she has changed me and how I walk through the world. Every step is an adventure. I'm honored to be Dawn Gibson Wages.
🎯 Tough conversations
This year, with visibility, a new job and new responsibilities I've had to garner trust and rapport with the people my efforts affect directly.
A mentor showed me this equation which I've used in multiple relationships this year and fits intuitively while I'm working on building trust.
# Trust Equation
credibility + reliability + intimacy
----------------------------------------------------------- = Trust
Credibility: Are you knowledgeable? Through evidence, anecdotes and access, do your words hold weight?
Reliability: Do you show up when and how you say you will? Are you authentic and consistent?
Intimacy: Have you put in the effort to create connection? In depth and breadth, have you created natural occasions to understand similarities and appreciate differences?
Self-orientation: Power and privilege are inextricably linked to the ability to trust. Who has more on the line and what is at stake? Can a faulty relationship create an existential threat?
I've had to deliver on a lot of new skills this year. You've seen me do a lot of video content. It was the first year oflive streaming more consistently on YouTube and Twitch, started a "Hinting and Linting" educational series and release videos for VS Code, and spoke at conferences more than I ever had previously. I've started a Django mentorship program with some friends called Djangonaut Space. All of these challenges have required developing trust quickly so we can move on to delivering / launching 🚀.
I'm doing all of this in very ambiguous positions that don't have a handbook to success as a queer Black femme. My accomplishments have never and will never be graded on merit alone. When I walk into a room, even with my unequivocated BANGER year, I've been knocked down repeatedly behind the scenes. Where objectives become obscure, bias creeps (or busts) in. It was disorienting in the beginning of my career and I wish I could say that I had it all in hand now, *but* it has gotten easier to bounce back with now that I'm pushing 8 years as an engineer.
Twenty-twenty-three has been full of bull-shit measuring sticks. I've navigated it by reminding people who I am and that I am not new to the game and delivering consistently. It takes a balance of initiating conversations with questions, following up with context and walking away knowing who I am and my capabilities regardless of if I'm able to convince the person across the table. These have been themes as a Developer Advocate at Microsoft and the Chair of The Python Software Foundation.
Part of "reminding people of who I am" as the first queer Black femme that many people have ever had the pleasure to work with, is shouldering the burden of insisting to people that I have not yet determined if they're friend or foe, that I am human with feelings, to be empathized with and to handle with the same care as any other colleague. I have built a lot of successful working relationships with people I did not agree with in one way or another this year. I am incredibly proud of this.
🔥 HOT TIP: If you haven't heard of "PIES" check-in, I recommend using the mneumonic device to ask your colleagues to check-in, in real time on the "Physical", "Intellectual", "Emotional" and "Spiritual" in a 5-10 minute round-robin opener. I hope to bring this tool back in 2024; it was beneficial in 2022 and could have been helpful in 2023.
I changed my "brand" name to "Bajoran Engineer" in the past few years. Although I'm hiding behind a pseudonym in some channels, I feel like this name has allowed me to be more authentic. The Bajoran Engineer is techy and Trekky (Star Trek), pushes a movement forward with grit and tenacity and remains hopeful for the future.
I'll be streaming on my personal Twitch channel more learning CPython Internals and playing with Wagtail CMS and Django.
You can also find me on my personal channels:
I'm representing groups to other groups and that gets tricky.
Why does it matter?
If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
In these initiatives where we're building community, the goal for me has always been to go far.
🦔 The Hedgehog / Porcupine Dilemma
The Hedgehog / Porcupine Dilemma is a metaphor for the imperative to human intimacy. Imagine a group of these spikey animals attempting to huddle together for warmth in the winter but they can't get around sticking each other as they grow closer. They are seeking shared goal of warmth and survival, but opening themselves to harm and the impossibility of avoiding harm completely; which raises more questions:
- How can we minimize hurting each other?
- What are the benefits of developing intimacy?
- How can we protect ourselves?
- How does this impact Open Source communities?
💪🏾 Navigating confidence
I don't have an answer here, just that it's been on my mind constantly. To show up strongly and speak up for my strengths and risk alienating others? Do I give time to the voice in my head that doesn't feel good enough, ask for help humbly, be less diligent about reputation and risk being tokenized, dismissed or under-leveled?
As alienating as some of these new spaces have been for me, I have felt so at home working with Djangonaut Space, dreamed up with my fellow LGBTQIA woman in Python Rachell Calhoun, being involved with Black Python Devs, created by my friend and colleague Jay Miller, and working closely with my good friend Luciana Abud a wonderful, kind thoughtful Sad Python Girl who has invited me into the club.
🥰 Things I'm proud of:
- Speaking at PyCon US 2023, DjangoCon Europe 2023, DjangoCon US 2023 and DjangoCon Africa 2023
- Winning the Malcom Tredinnick Award with the Djangonaut Space Team
- Deploying more Django to Azure than I ever thought possible
- Mentoring behind the scenes more than I ever have
- Spending a large amount of my time thinking about the health and safety of the Python Community on The Board of the Python Software Foundation
👀 What's next?
- Write more about CPython, Django and Wagtail on my blog
- Contribute to Django and CPython
- Launch co-op Python Sofware agency with some friends, we'll be showing up at some of your favorite Python events in 2024 (Announcement coming soon!)
- Re-occurring co-host for a Python podcast
- Spend time with my family
What is my ultimate goal?
To love my partner loudly and abundantly, free from the suffocating grip of capitalism.