The Honeymoon Period

I started a new job just over a week ago.

The new team, uniformly, are lovely. My Head of Function is a delightful mix of welcoming and supportive. The work (software used internally in government) is interesting, the project (rescuing a partly broken and thoroughly hated product that resulted from a failed earlier project) challenging, the tools (jira, a MacBook Pro to my own specification, O365, Trello, Slack, Jenkins, etc) effective, powerful and current-century. I’m in Heaven!

Except, of course, this is the “honeymoon period.” The team are about half new, half old hands, so everyone’s still in the cautiously polite ‘norming’ phase. The project is a freshly-kicked-off reincarnation of something from last year, so the stakeholders have easily-met, low expectations. We’re still hiring to fill out the team, so the workload for me as a Scrum Master is still relatively low – nobody’s bringing me much in the way of blockers yet because we don’t have that much in the way of work yet.  Honeymoon.

Still, it’s been over a week and nobody, yet, has asked me to do anything blatantly stupid or obviously pointless. It bodes well (or at least, better than my previous role) to have lasted this long in that happy state. And there have been a couple of frustrations around the time it’s taken to get a security pass of my very own, rather than having to be escorted around the place on a V-badge and a couple more days working from home as a result than I would have liked this early on. Nowhere near enough to dent my mood, which has been, frankly, amazing for the past seven working days.

I can’t remember the last time that was true.

Today, for example, I was happily playing with Jira, reviewing who’d done what (in terms of Jira stuff, not in terms of ‘real’ work) to work out who needed what help and in what priority order, and thinking about which of our ‘almost ready’ stories to take to the grooming session, and wondering how I go about booking a room to schedule that session and generally wallowing in Scrum Mastery Goodness when I happened to switch to the screen on my Mac that still has the clock at the top and realised that I could have left over an hour ago and probably should have left at least half an hour ago. It reminded me of something I think I’d forgotten somewhere in one of my past three or four jobs:

Working on something you enjoy doing, with tools you enjoy using and people you like spending time with isn’t “work”.

You get paid for it, you’ll catch hell if you mess it up, and you’ll probably end up putting yourself under more pressure than anyone else could ever manage, but it’s not “work.”

I told myself this afternoon that it’s just the honeymoon period. I told myself it won’t last. I set myself up for that moment when disappointment strikes and it all just becomes “work” again, but that’s just dumb. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. Worrying about it, becoming cynical ahead of it, is pointless. Bringing that kind of negativity to the office is a terrible idea, one that will only serve to hasten the end of this state of occupational bliss, when the truth is that I can’t remember being happier in what I do and how I do it.

Yes, maybe it’s just the Honeymoon Period. I plan to enjoy every single day of it as if it’s the last, and in doing so perhaps it’ll last a bit longer than it otherwise would.


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