Intentions for 2023


I don’t believe I participated in a new year resolution-taking exercise before. This is probably because it requires 1) the time and ability to take a high-level approach to life, vision, and values; and 2) to commit!

I won’t go into detail about why I don’t much like the former, and why I suck so much at the latter —suffice to say that I am closer today than I ever was to wanting to set some intentions for the year.

Watch me making hay while the sun is out!

General intentions

  • Finish things
  • Exercise daily (continued)
  • Read more, more consistently
  • Draw or paint more, more consistently
  • Be awesome (continued —tee hee!)
  • Optimise for successful recovery from last year’s burnout
  • Make choices that protect the planet (continued)
  • Progress in mountain biking
  • Make a difference

Priorities

A reminder to myself on the order of priorities:

  1. Health and family > friends > work
  2. Spend quality time with your loved ones
  3. Get some fresh air regularly
  4. Accept help when it’s offered
  5. Propose help when you can
  6. Prefer smaller manageable chunks (procrastination leads to rushed and unwieldy chunks)
  7. Treat others respectfully lest you compromise your honour
  8. Acknowledge others, acknowledge a situation, acknowledge most everything
  9. Do not ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by selfishness
  10. Steer clear of your enemies so your honour remains intact :)

In-depth: Making a difference

Work is where I spend the bulk of my time (contrary to folklore spread by the jealous, the French do spend more time at work than on holiday!) I care about making a difference. This is what drives me.

2023 may well be a year of transition for me professionally. At heart is my desire to continue to make a difference. At heart could be my inability to do so. I don’t know what the future holds but barring any force majeure, this year has an equal potential for status quo and for revolution.

We spent all of 2022 accelerating the launch on January 1, 2023, of W3C as a public-interest not-for-profit organisation, at the detriment of a lot of our regular job duties (although a few of us, unlike me, were exceptionally good at juggling both and I hope they hold up and get a break soon because the toll this must have taken on their free time must be substantial.)

This is a project that was three years in the actual making (and at least seven more in the conceptual making) and for the most part we did it on our own, seeking outside help only near the end and when we could afford it. We know very well what the Consortium does because we’ve been doing it since 1994, but we had little to no idea how spinning a legal entity should be done, let alone one that has staff all around the world, and whose values and 28 year-old work mode are an ecosystem of its own!

I approached the turn of the year from the angle that I had “unfinished business” at the Consortium. I believed to have the means, in addition to the motivation, to make a difference.

Although my hopes remain unchanged, my fears start materialising.

Hopes

I want to continue to help the Web Consortium make the web work for everyone, make the web a better and even more useful medium.

I want the Web Consortium be so successful that everyone and their neighbour join as paying Members, and in turn our means increase and we can FINALLY do all of the things that we could do if we had the time and resources.

Fears

I fear I’m not the right person to help, that I lack the expertise, the assertiveness, the craftiness, the authority.

I fear that the work ethics and values of the Consortium that I hold so dearly and that are so fragile and worth preserving may be at risk of being sacrificed in the face of prosaic needs such as financial integrity.

I fear that the modesty and humility that have characterised and driven our approach for almost 30 years might hold us down when we need to be bold and thunderous to finally reap some of the benefits our work has enabled. It is a paradox that so many corporations became so wealthy thanks to the work done at the Consortium when that consortium remains barely known and barely sustainable financially. It is a paradox that so many people who are not in the know of how the open web standards ecosystem works seem to think the Consortium is filthy rich and why then don’t we fix everything already.

A lot of my frustration is external to me: I am not given the necessary means to do as much as we could (and trust me when I say there is so much potential!) But I also have a lot of frustration inside of me: namely my desire to make a difference, and my guilt to be part of the problem since I’m not coming up with a solution.

Repurposing myself

Two paths are obvious, in case I need or want to change course.

  • Repurposing myself within the Web Consortium
  • Repurposing myself elsewhere

If I believe that the ethics and values according to which we’re used to working are preserved and if I believe the right leadership is in place, I will flourish as a pawn willing to help where I can, yielding my role to someone else, even joining a different team.

If not, I’ll want to repurpose myself elsewhere. Preferably in a similar environment value-wise, where remote work is the default, where there’s meaning in the work that is accomplished and true benefits for humanity.

I do not care to (or mind if I) find work as a communications and marketing specialist because this is a by-product of how I progressed at W3C. Previous work experience and even the internships I did during my curriculum had (without me realising) prepared me for that kind of work.

The principal hurdle I see is that since 1999 I have gradually shaped myself around the W3C process, its team, its model, etc., making it difficult if not impossible to be any good elsewhere. Or it’s a smokescreen and I’m not seeing that this isn’t a valid hurdle.

In any case, the other intention I have in 2023 is to consider my strengths and weaknesses. See if that exploration yields a trend or pattern. See if a path becomes visible behind the smokescreen.

What do you think?

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