Feelings

I feel weird lately and I don’t know why. According to my watch my resting heart rate has been higher than normal for the past week and a half and my stress levels too. I keep doing some breathing exercises to try to calm things, but I don’t think that’s it.

There are other things too. I’ve had some nausea. I woke up in the middle of the night a few days ago feeling hot and nauseous. Maybe it actually was hot, but I doubt it. My stomach has been really unhappy as well. The noises it’s making today… And I think it was Monday afternoon my head felt weird and cloudy when I was working. It’s all a bit vague but it mostly fits with anxiety symptoms I’ve had before.

But I don’t feel like I have a lot of stress right now. Work is plodding along and I haven’t made any more moves towards finding another job. I feel quite content at the moment, so it’s a bit confusing.

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Projects

So I did launch my wellbeing app, after all. I think it was about a week and a half ago. Since then people have installed it. I think we might be up to two now. Amazing. That’s OK though, I knew that it will take a while to pick up users initially. These things are a slow burn unless you spend money advertising.

I am now spending some effort on trying to market it. I have tried to make it look like a company’s product rather than an individual’s hobby. It’s a sort of two pronged thing where I want it to be its own thing, but I also have big ideas about being self employed in the future and this is the (as-yet non-existent) company. It gives me a head start if it looks like a company before it is a company.

The non coding side is simultaneously interesting and infuriating. I have a website for it and am writing a few blog posts to try to get Google to notice me, which is teaching me things about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) I didn’t know. The infuriating parts are the arty bits. I tried to create some promo images using GIMP, which was a million times harder than it should have been. In the end I used a free online image editor called Photopea which turned out to be much easier. I can’t believe it’s 2021 and GIMP’s user interface is still the unfathomable disaster it used to be when I was first introduced to it via Fedora Core Linux 4 all the way back in 2005.

Anyway, this is keeping me busy but it’s slowing down now. There is more coding I can do but it’s mostly relatively small features for relatively large amounts of work, and at the moment it makes more sense to focus on trying to get people to notice it.

Dream stress

Do I have stressful dreams because I am stressed, or the opposite?

Last night I dreamt that I was at school or university or something and had to pair up with someone to do a presentation of some form. The person I was paired with was the person I used to sit next to in GCSE English, which was, errr, 17 years ago? I think the teacher may have been my geography teacher. Anyway, it wasn’t going very well. Neither of us had any ideas. So we just kind of sat there and waited for it to be our turn to present our non-existent presentation.

According to my watch my stress levels were high overnight and my resting heart rate is up. Which way around is the cause and effect?

I felt really depressed yesterday. This is actually a good thing, because at one time “I feel really depressed today” was something that happened multiple times a week, whereas this is the first time it’s happened for a while. I think what set it off was that I was running yesterday and my toes started to go numb. The neuroma is upset again. That is depressing. This happened over the summer too but I’ve caught it much earlier this time so hopefully a few days off will be enough.

The neuroma is difficult because it’s not really that bad. My toes going numb sometimes is not really a big deal. It’s just that if I keep damaging the nerve it could get really painful, and then it will need surgery. I would like to avoid that. But the first step will be to go to a specialist running physio first to see if they can see any issues with my form. There is a specialist running clinic a few miles away which looks pretty good. The physio I saw for my hip was helpful but they didn’t have the facility to actually watch me run.

But hopefully in a few days it will feel OK again and I won’t need to. I think I probably irritated it by doing a bit too much speed work recently, after having done pretty much none for the last few months. I think my left ankle needs a bit more strength and stability to handle speed.

Weight

A week or so ago I had trouble sleeping one night. After going to bed about 10PM, I was still awake at about midnight feeling REALLY uncomfortably hungry. Like, extremely. I’ve felt like this before when I was anaemic. I don’t think I’m anaemic again. I shouldn’t be. Anyway, it turns out I’ve lost a couple of kilograms over the past few months, so I’m probably just not eating enough.

I started tracking my weight closely in June 2019 when I got my Garmin watch. I was very underweight back then and even got referred to a nutritionist who advised me to eat more (lol). It stayed pretty much flat from June until October when suddenly it started going up, probably because that’s when I left my previous job.

So a little while ago I noticed it was still creeping up and I thought to myself that maybe I don’t really need to eat chocolate buttons every day.

Over the Christmas break I am doing better at not being hungry. I get up, eat a small amount of breakfast, then I go for a run and when I get back I have a bowl of microwaved porridge and a banana. Second breakfast.

I have now finished work for Christmas, which is nice. This year, because of the timings, the company has decided to just close entirely for two full weeks. This company always closes between Christmas and new year. Obviously that comes out of my holiday allowance, but my holiday allowance is higher than it was at my previous company, so it feels like a pretty good deal to me.

I finished the first release of my exciting new wellbeing app. Unfortunately I hadn’t realised that Google’s app review process has slowed down and so far it’s sitting in a review state, so I can’t actually launch it properly yet. I pushed back some ideas for version 2 just to get it out there, but it looks like I might have v2 ready before v1 goes live. We’ll see. I had an idea that it’d be interesting to add custom metrics to mood logging. So instead of just saying “I feel happy/sad/somewhere in between”, you would say “I’m interested in emotions X, Y and Z (e.g. anxiety, frustration, depression, excitement, happiness, optimism, etc) and when logging how you feel you’d rate those emotions. Then you can see how those particular emotions trend over time.

In other news my hip seems to have improved a lot just recently. I’ve found squats really help it. When it starts to feel tight, a deep squat loosens it up, and now I’m running longer distances again without it really bothering me. Today I ran 16km (10 miles) for the first time in months and only needed a 30 second squat break somewhere around 12km. I’m pleased about that. I’m currently on about 2440km for the year. Last year my total was 2492! Can I break 2500 this year? I think so…

Wellbeing

After I had that interview a few weeks ago for a company that develop healthcare apps, I got a little idea in my head that I could make a wellbeing app. It solves a few of my problems, i.e. firstly that I should be paying more attention to my wellbeing, secondly that it gives me something non-trivial to do with a modern JavaScript framework, which will help my medium term career, and thirdly it might even make me some money in the future. So I have been working on this for the past few weeks and it’s getting close to a first release. Another week or so, I think. Maybe a bit more.

I think the biggest success I’ve had with this is understanding myself well enough to plan things in such a way that I’ll actually finish it. I wanted to get the data being backed up to Google Drive, so it made sense to start with that since it was kind of the deepest thing and then work outwards. But that sort of thing is incredibly tedious. You need to spend time reading other people’s documentation and understanding how other people’s systems work. That’s dull. I knew if I started with this I’d risk getting bored before I really had anything. So I actually put that off til the end instead and started on things that gave me something I could see. Now the boring bits are still boring, but they’re easier to motivate myself to do, because I’ve already got most of it together and this is just the last little bit to tie it all together.

Interview

So the interview was a disappointment for me. I was hoping it would be a more obvious fit, but I didn’t end up feeling that way. It started with the interviewer being a few minutes late, and then when his video camera came on it gave me an incredible view of his chin. That was my first impression: this man hasn’t thought to angle his camera sensibly. It’s just… I don’t know. Maybe I’m putting too much importance on this, but it suggested he didn’t care how he was coming across to me.

He also asked some woolly questions like “what is your main strength?” which I just found awkward and weird for a software development interview, and actually made me feel he didn’t know what he was doing and didn’t know what else to say.

Overall I came away feeling that it was just a job rather than a job that I particularly wanted. I already have a job, so… I know I’ve talked about money a lot, but I have more money than I know what to do with anyway. I wouldn’t move just for money.

I was completely drained at the end of it. I had a headache for the rest of the day. It wasn’t great.

The next stage, if there is one, is that they will want me to do a “take home programming test” which involves implementing a ‘simple’ piece of software for them so they can see what I can do. I have always avoided hiring processes that involve this kind of thing in the past, because it’s just working for free and even as part of an interview process I struggle to convince myself it’s a good use of energy versus putting out another application. I think the problem for me is this: An interview is a mutual thing. The company puts in their time and you put in yours. A take-home piece of work is not. The time required on my part is vastly higher than the time invested by the company. If the company seems reluctant to invest their time, what message does that send to me? If you’re a high prestige tech firm then you can get away with this kind of thing, but if you’re not, then you’re just de-prioritising yourself on your candidate’s list of possibilities, which means that the people you’re left with are the ones who didn’t have better options elsewhere.

If and when they send me the full details of this I will review it based on how much effort I think it will be, but if it looks like more than about 90 minutes then I’m out.

Interview thoughts

I’ve been preparing for my interview on Tuesday a little bit. Probably as much as I can. I’m feeling kind of nervous about it, but I shouldn’t be. The stakes are low. I’m not in a rush to leave this job, it’s just more of a medium term aim. It also looks superficially like a good match, because the tech stack they use is similar to what I used in my previous job, and they do healthcare software which I used to do in my previous job too. And that opens up a good talking point for me: I want this job because I want to feel like I’m working on something that helps people, as well as wanting to work with modern tech.

Also, in the past, often when I have not been offered a job, it has turned out for the best.

Last summer I interviewed at a place that was essentially a huge landlord for the hospitality industry (the job was developing the software they used to manage their customers/tenants). Between the phone and on site interview, it became public that they were being taken over by a much larger company. So that was a bit of a concern, because I suspected that the department I was interviewing for would probably be phased out in favour of the parent company’s. And then, 9 months later, we had a pandemic that has largely shut down the hospitality industry. That was a pretty good company to not work for.

Then there was the one from 9 years ago. I interviewed at an online retailer (that I’d never heard of). They were a very new company, and a few months later a lot of complaints started appearing online about them. Then newspapers started running stories about them… they went out of business a couple of years later. Which would be bad enough, but I later learnt the person who interviewed me had spent the past few years before setting up the company in prison for sexually abusing a child. Hmmm. That was also a pretty good job to not be offered.

I think this is just a first stage interview and there’ll likely be another stage if they want to go further. But anyway, it’s a bit weird to think that in a week or two I might have a new job. Or I might not. We’ll see.

Progress?

So it turns out I have an interview on Tuesday. Suddenly, the reality of changing jobs has hit me and I’m thinking “why am I doing this?”. Eehhhh. Well generally speaking in the past I’ve always had better luck at being offered jobs when I didn’t really want them. I think interviewers mistake my apathy for confidence. Though whether that will hold over a video call, we shall see. Anyway, I’ve quietened the little voice in my head that keeps telling me to make sure I’m doing what’s best for me and not my employer.

Events

I have written before about the Mandalorian, but I’m going to write again (no spoilers). I enjoyed Season 1. It was good, solid TV. It wasn’t gripping because it was episodic, but it was very good for an episodic program. It feels very quality over quantity. Now I’m up to date (S2E3) and I’m really excited about the rest of Season 2! I’m totally hyped.

I’ve admitted defeat with my hip and have a physio appointment next Friday. It’s been very odd. For example Saturday it was fine for about 7-8k then over the next few km the front/side of my hip started feeling very dull and heavy. Yesterday it felt 100% fine for about 4k then very suddenly the side stiffened up, and I could kind of feel it down at the outside of my knee too. I think those are two different things. I think the front/side is muscular fatigue and the side down to my knee is the IT band, though it’s probably more that my pelvis isn’t stable for whatever reason I haven’t been able to figure out myself.

If I don’t get anywhere with this physio there’s another one that’s not quite so easy to get to which looks more promising, as they have a specialist running clinic that has treated Olympians.

In other news, I talked to a recruiter who’s put me forward for something that on paper looks like a good fit. We’ll see what comes of that. I have a lot of recruitment stuff in my inbox but I don’t really want to be dealing with it every day, so I don’t really know how to manage the time I will need to spend on it. If I respond to all of it I’m going to be snowed under with recruiters wanting to speak to me and then at some point some of those will turn into interviews. I don’t want to end up with more than about one interview a week, so it’s a bit hard to know how much to respond to.

This is a good start anyway.