Week 124

Maddie’s new career plans, a reflection on good bosses, and a note on getting input from new people on major projects.

New things

As Igor said in a cryptic tweet last week, things are “happening … fast.” I’ve decided to follow an ever-growing urge to become a maths teacher, and will be leaving Third Wave at the beginning of June to pursue this. Though I’m still working out plans for afterwards, I hope to either study maths further or get some experience in the world of education (or perhaps even both simultaneously, if I’m lucky). I’d considered this path even before moving to Berlin over a year and a half ago, and now I know it’s something I have to try.

A brief story on this front, because it is worth sharing.

I’d been in a bad mood for a while, and after my long Christmas holiday hadn’t put a dent in it, I began to realize that I was neglecting something important, and this was becoming more and more troubling and distracting. I had only just come to the conclusion that I needed to go after the kind of work I spend so much time thinking about, when Igor and Johannes called me in for a meeting. They’d noticed I was unhappy, and wanted to know why, and if they could help at all. After tearing up a bit and debating how much to share, they reassured me I could tell them, whatever it was. Of course, they were not at all surprised. The great thing was that we’d all come to this realization at the same time, so little explanation was needed.

Their empathy and perceptiveness took me out of a potentially awkward position, and made a potentially difficult conversation easy and productive. This mutually respectful approach saves everyone involved a lot of time and worry. Had I not been prompted, it probably would have taken me another few weeks to muster up the courage to broach the topic. Igor and Johannes have been unbelievably supportive, and I can’t thank them enough for this. It can be hard to realize these things yourself, since your first instinct is often to suppress thoughts that might rock the boat, and being able to discuss your feelings openly with your bosses is invaluable.

To conclude, I am very pleased with how things are working out, and look forward to collaborating with Igor and Johannes for many years to come. I will hope, but not expect, to find bosses this great further down the road.

What I’m working on

It is fitting, then, that my major goal for the next three months and a bit is to get our learning project online. To recap: It will be a website about how technology is changing the way people teach themselves things – or in other words, the impact of technology on autodidactic learning.

We’ve just had a great chat with our friend Marguerite Joly about our learning project, what she’s working on at txtr, and exchanging ideas for each other’s projects. This is something we could stand to do more often, since she is both a joy to talk to and had some thoughtful input for us. It’s really refreshing and productive to talk to someone not involved in a project about the nuts and bolts, to check if you’re on the right track or have left out any key aspects of the problem.

Author: Maddie

Maddie is a strategist and researcher. She spends much of her time on the think tank side of Third Wave, and enjoys getting into the details of many different topics at once. Through this foraging for information, she finds ways to apply knowledge from one field in new, seemingly disparate ones, both in client work and other research. She holds an interdisciplinary BA in Computer Science, Linguistics and German, and has previously worked at VCCP and at the Science Gallery in Dublin.