The Assurance of the Unknown

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

The last few weeks have been an exercise in admitting I don’t know things. There are futures I can’t predict. There are results I can’t estimate. There are times I’m not sure I can do something.

As you can guess, it’s been a hell of a few weeks.

Yet, we’re taught not to admit our ignorance, or our inability, or our exhaustion. People tell us to be strong, to double down, to forge ahead no matter what. We fear being seen as weak if we admit we don’t know something. Such pressure drives us to pretend, to deceive, or to make things up.

My recent experiences have reminded me this isn’t true. There is great power in saying “I don’t know” about something and moving on.

There are things I desperately want to predict right now that I cannot. By admitting I cannot accept that common truth, I also have come to appreciate my adaptability. The future may be unknown, but I see I can deal with that.

There are skills I wish I were better at, but I have to develop them. Now that I admit this, I can focus on developing those skills while working within my limits. It gives me a plan.

I’m doing projects with unpredictable ends – from my writing ambitions to new challenges at work. I admit I can’t calculate what will happen, which prod me to make an effort to get the ends I want. The unknown is a canvas to paint on.

Having confronted so much unsurety, I find myself more relaxed. I’m not trying to “know it all” because of social pressure. I’m not worried over my ignorance as I’ve come to see it simply is what it is. In admitting the unknown, there’s a lot of comfort.

I often challenge my reader to know and learn more – but what is it you don’t know?

Steven Savage

The COVID-19 Timesink

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

You’ve noticed that I’m not blogging as much since the COVID-19 lockdown. I do apologize, but in going over why, I had a valuable insight. So I’m blogging about it – ironically.

We’re all at home, with less to do, but everything takes longer because of COVID-19.

Obviously, the sheer stress of fear and concern is draining. We have less time and energy because of our concerns. But that’s the obvious answer – there are many other ways COVID-19 is draining our time outside of the emotional toll.

First, many normal things take longer. That trip to the gas station means having to clean up first and after. Buying something at a store may require you to find which store has it. A surprising amount of extra effort comes into our everyday lives.

Secondly, we have to preplan a lot more. We’re not supposed to go out much, so when we take that trip to the store, we have to get everything. If someone is going to drop something off for us, we have to work out a way to avoid inappropriate contact. Simple activities require strategy.

Third, we have to do extra things. I wasn’t exactly cleaning off every important surface in the house each day before, but now here we are.

Fourth, we’re dealing with shortages, access, etc. Things we could get easy aren’t as available. This means planning ahead, doing without, and strategizing. That takes time.

Fifth, we’re doing things differently. Yes, its great to find I can order so much online – but now I have to for things I’d normally grab spontaneously. We’re learning to shop, interact, etc. in ways we haven’t had to before.

Sixth, none of us are used to this. We’re all learning or relearning habits to live differently. In short, we keep screwing up everything else and have to start over, course-correct, etc. This is a giant mind-shift.

For many of us, our entire lives are disrupted and everyday things are being done differently. This sheer difference is a giant timesink, even outside of the fear and concern. All this supposed free time is being used to figure how to live in a way we didn’t have to.

So, look, give yourself a break. It’s not easy. We’ve got a scary virus on the loose. Were learning to live differently. That means this supposed free time from no commute, etc. is not as free as it seems.

In fact, it doesn’t feel very free at all.

Steven Savage

Geek As Citizen: Change In Your Geek Job Guru Routine

Time Moves On.  As A Geek Job Guru You Need To Move With It.
Time Moves On. As A Geek Job Guru, You Need To Move With It.

For the last week I’ve been posting on how you could do your own geek job guru work and help your career and how it’s a good part of geek citizenry.  It is my true hope that you, my fellow geek, will seek to help others in their careers and indeed in their lives. I’d like you to coach, speak, and be a role model.

I want you to be the kind of person you could look up to if you were younger than . . . er . . . you.

There is, however a problem.

Also at some point you’re going to have to realize you’re going to have to change what kind of geek job guru you are. This is because no matter how good you are, smart you are, and helpful you are, the inevitable march of time is going to alter the value of what you know, how you communicate, and how relevant you are. When this change happens you need to catch it, or you’re going to end up giving the wrong advice and setting the wrong examples.

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