The exhaustion of invisible labor

Into a community

It started at WordCamp Raleigh this year. One of my co-workers was attending for the first time and felt she’d chosen sessions badly, she wasn’t happy with what she was getting out of them. Trying to reassure her, I said that you get what you can out of the sessions, get some energy from being around the community, and maybe meet a couple of people…

In unison she and our other co-worker said, “Maybe you do!”

I have another friend who is trying to find his own way in the WordPress world and when he said he did not want to attend WordCamp at first I was surprised – for me it seems the most logical way to meet people. But speaking is one of my ways in with people at WordCamp, and without that, would I meet people? Certainly not as readily.

So I started thinking about how people find their way into the WordPress community, or any community to which they’re new.

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Just get in the pool

1. swimming

Some time last year, I began swimming regularly. I’ve made it a habit, three times a week. This was not easy. I’ve never had a regular exercise routine in my life. At my yearly physical, my doctor was stunned. She wanted to know how I had done this.

There are a couple of exercises that I’ve used to get myself past the mental barriers that would have otherwise prevented me from forming this habit:

  1. I state my intention, out loud, to another person. This means that the night before I tell my husband, “I am swimming tomorrow morning.”
  2. The only thing I have to do is get in the pool.

I don’t have to do a certain number of laps, or swim more or go faster than I did last time. I can get in the pool and just stretch, or swim one easy lap, or do all breast stroke (my easiest stroke), and that’s cool. Just so long as I get in the pool. I set the bar really really low, and I am not hard on myself if I don’t have much of a swim. That’s a fast rule.

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