Envisioning My Future – Day 5

On this, day 5 of my envisioning exercise, I was still comforted from my arrangement and reflections from day 4. I also was excited, and somewhat reluctant, to start the last day of this process.

Following VizBot’s advice, I read over the entries from my previous 4 days, including fixing some typos and adding a section about the influence of the conversations I have had about the tenure process with 2 faculty who had recently been promoted. I also looked over the images from the previous 4 days to see if any patterns appeared to me when they were placed next to each other:

I noticed several things, though I do not know if any of these are that profound:

  • The biggest thing that stood out to me was the disconnect between using the different backgrounds rearrangements: the cutting board versus the blue sheet of paper. I wish I had used the blue sheet of paper every day.
  • The piece of paper as a container was useful, especially on day 2.
  • My mind is uninterested in the arrangement from day one. I have no desire to investigate that arrangement.
  • I like how the tenure image that was so prominent in days 1-3, almost disappears in day 4.
  • I had not realized until just now how different the tenure image is from the rest of the images. The color palette is different. The range of colors is much less than on the other images. The other images feel much richer.
  • Yesterday’s image continues to comfort me. It feels like a nest. It looks like a nest. The other images provide no comfort to me.

I then took the 7 images, discarded the boat image that had been giving me problems each day, and arranged the remaining images:

This arrangement came quickly, with very little if any conscious thoughts involved. It took perhaps 30 seconds to do. I tried to think of ways that I might want to change it afterwards, but felt no need or desire to make any changes. It felt done.

Now my question is what is the story that I read from this arrangement?

I continue to like using the energy of the colorful pencils as inputs driving the process of getting tenure. Tenure has reemerged in its full glory at the top of the page, but it is only slightly connected to the core processes below it. The colored pencils provide diversity and energy to power the core process of exploration, ideation, experimentation and collaboration represented by the by swirling fish. The Reflective practices redirect some of the energy generated by the swirling fish toward the activities that I do. A small part of that redirected energy periodically flows into the tenure image to build the tenure file for its eventual use.

I then arranged all 5 images together:

Does this arrangement show something new?

  • My eye continues to come to day 4’s arrangement. It is so cozy.
  • It feels to me like day 5′s arrangement and storyline is the simplest one yet. Perhaps, that is because it is the most recent storyline. When I think back to my writeups, it is also the shortest storyline.
  • I think I will keep both day 4′s and day 5′s arrangements. They both tell different facets of the same story. As I write that, I realized that all of these arrangements tell different facets of the same story. All of the stories are in me. Some of them give me more hope and comfort than others.
  • I like how the reflective practices have become more of a prominent input to the process in day 5.
  • It feels healthier that the entire tenure photo has reemerged in day 5. And that it is connected to, but not driving, my work. It is a step in the process, not an endpoint.
  • The angst from day one has gone from my storylines.

So, what are the concrete actions I can take forward?

  • Continue to periodically add to my tenure case. This is like the source code repository vital to software development projects. It is the “truth of the world” which I can refer to when I craft my annual reports. A repository of data.
  • Return to and strengthen my reflective practices and those of my team members as we go through our research projects. Put more energy into building structures that help my team do this. Interestingly, this is what I started doing yesterday during the conference call I was having with 2 of the students doing research with me.
  • Celebrate in my solo work while being completely involved in and supported by the teamwork of my collaborators.

Now that I have gone through this five-day envisioning process, I wonder what the next step is. When do I return to re-envision my path to tenure? In a month? In 6 months? When I feel the need?

It is remarkable how much calmer I feel about this whole tenure process now.

Thank you, VizBot.

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About davidsocha

In autumn 2010 after spending 19 years working in a variety of software organizations as a programmer, architect, manager, teacher, ScrumMaster, product designer, change agent, and agile coach, I finally listened to what everyone had been telling me I should be doing and joined the University of Washington Bothell as an Assistant Professor in Computing & Software Systems. My interests are how to create and maintain great teams, particularly those in software development organizations. I am most interested in distinctions that dramatically increase the effectiveness of teams, such as systems thinking, design thinking, biomimicry, and human centered design. I am a pragmatist, a collaborator, and an optimist.
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