Quiet risks

A few weeks ago a friend talked about worrying that she’s not doing anything with her life that “matters.” And it struck me, so much that I’ve been thinking about it since, because she’s someone who’s influenced my life in profound ways over the past several years.

The way I think about work, the web industry, and diversity have all changed due to conversations with her, her writing, and her speaking. And I’m fairly confident that I’m not the only person who feels this way. She does amazing work and she does so quietly, without a lot of fanfare. Her work matters a lot to me.

I’m job hunting which means I’m doing interviews and talking about myself a lot. Yesterday I spoke with someone for an hour for a “life story” interview. How did someone who studied art and spanish and then theology, end up doing code for the web?

As I was talking about the past ten years in particular, with all the various job transitions they’ve included, the interviewer asked me a question, “Did you have a job when you left the insurance company or were you taking another risk?”

Another risk. That’s been rattling around my brain. I’ve taken quite a few risks over the years and I don’t often give myself credit that they were risks. I quietly do what is right for me, with support from my partner and close friends.

As I sit in this moment, a moment where I’m figuring out what is next and what I want to do for work, I’m reminded that doing quiet work is a good thing, it matters to someone, even if you don’t know it. And that risks, no matter how big or small, are usually worth it.