My Noodle


It’s been a rough year and a half. For me, it’s been longer, a lot longer. A lot of things have happened and there is a need to have a retrospective for each.

This is not the actual retrospective; this is more about me sorting through everything so I can see what I need to work on, and I’m only doing three of them. I’m not trying to beat myself up, I just want to do better in the future. If you have advice, and you’re very compassionate about it, I welcome it.


I left my job about 3 weeks ago. My CEO had called me to accuse me of not doing my job. He told me I could be replaced and that I need to think about whether I wanted to stay.

The entire call was ludicrous because I’m a rock star of a manual Software Tester. The developers I helped knew that. The product managers knew that. I knew that. I have many, many flaws, but I can test.

The big thing was that they wanted me to test four products by myself. Two of those products never had the blessing of have a software tester look at them. It’s impossible for one tester to do. Not even a rock star could do it. And I told them that.

The second thing was that they were upset about the types of bugs I was writing. I was writing bugs about missing functionality. I was writing design bugs. The product managers were happy about that. The dev manager, and the CEO, were not.

The third thing was that they didn’t hire me to test four products. I wouldn’t have taken that job since it’s not realistic. No, my company was purchased along with two other companies, and they were trying to squish us together. I just did my job the way I’d been doing it for nine years. There wasn’t a new job description.

I wasn’t hired, I was a “gift with purchase”.

To my mind, I have a superpower. I’m a great manual tester, and in a world where the job of manual tester is going away, it’s very rare. It’s not whether I want to stay with them, necessarily, it’s whether they want someone like me on their team. Clearly, they did not.

So, I left.

The Questions

There are some questions about this experience that I would like answered.

  • Is there something I could have done to better communicate that their expectations about what I could actually do were unrealistic?
  • How do I navigate a software company that is not a Seattle based, or Silicon Valley based, and so doesn’t have the depth of knowledge and understanding of the software industry that I’m used to?

There are also general questions that came up.

  • How do I handle insecure managers who expect me to be a “yes woman”?
  • If I ever end up in that situation again, where I really don’t belong, but because of how the world is at the moment (ie pandemic), how can I reframe the situation so that it doesn’t feel like I’m losing my integrity, my sense of autonomy, and my self-esteem?

I had the opportunity to learn at the feet of Base Commanders and Admirals in the Navy. I got to learn what real power is. In a way, it’s hurt me because I expect my leaders to be better leaders because of my experiences in the Navy. I don’t have patience for anything less.

Yes, now you see why I’m trying to answer questions. Chip on shoulder? Check!

My Parking Spot

I don’t have a car, and my apartment comes with a parking spot. All the apartments in my building, except one, has a designated spot. The woman who didn’t have a spot came to me and asked if she could park there if I wasn’t using it. I didn’t even think about it. Yes, of course you can park there.

I should have thought about it.

The parking spot is next to my apartment. Literally 3 feet away from my windows and doors when parked. So, I’ve been working and as she comes and goes, the truck is right there going, in an out just feet from me.

The truck itself is a menace. It billows fumes and smoke that fills up my apartment. It’s not so bad when she starts it and leaves right away, but if she has to warm it up or if, for some reason, she starts it and just sits there, it’s even worse. And my windows and door don’t even need to be open. It stinks up my apartment anyway.

Add in the fact that I’m conflict avoidant and am trying to be a better person, and so am trying to be a good neighbor, and I ended up feeling trapped.

Last week, I’d gotten up at 6am, opened my window and door to air out my apartment and went to meditate. While I was meditating, the truck started and just sat there, and I was assaulted by fumes. And I finally lost it.

I went up to her apartment to talk to her about it, clumsily as I’m conflict avoidant, and she acted like it was her choice whether she parked there or not. She said she’d think about it. This upset me enough to call the landlords to let them know what was going on and to verify that the parking spot is mine. It’s mine.

Finally, I wrote her a letter. I’m better with writing than talking. I reminded her that I’d let her park there in the first place. I told her about the fumes, and how they were affecting my sinuses and giving me headaches. I told her that I needed to prioritize my health over being generous with my parking spot. And I invited her to talk to the landlord if she wanted to verify that it is my spot.

She wrote a very nice letter back, thanking me for letting her park there, apologizing for the fumes, and saying that she thought it was her space due to seniority. She’s no longer parking there. Thank goodness.

The Questions

  • How can I become better at handling conflict?
  • How can I become better at speaking up for myself when something isn’t working, and not let it go on for two years?
  • How can I not feel like an asshole over the whole thing, especially since my health is actually affected?
  • How can I be a better neighbor myself? What am I doing unconsciously that may be hurting my neighbors, that they might not feel comfortable telling me about?

Refunds and Credits

One of my goals is to not have so many “open loops” in my life. You know, those things that either need to be done, or a decision needs to be made, or a service needs to be stopped, or a question needs to be answered, or an apology needs to be said. All those things that pull on my energy that need to be handled are “open loops”. I have to keep track of them until they are closed. It’s an energy suck.

Well, I had signed up for a class at ComedySportz and then the pandemic hit. We didn’t have the class, and that credit was just sitting there.

I didn’t think about the credit much because I just assumed I would use it later.

Then, I started taking classes at VoiceOne and the classes conflicted with when the ComedySportz class was rescheduled.

I was ready to let it ride because I could use it next year.

Then, I left my job, and my noodle started thinking more about money.

This sent the credit into an “open loop” that I really wanted to close.

Anyway, instead of just letting it sit there, I tried to do something with it, like have it apply to Rec League practices or something.

I ended up feeling like an asshole because ComedySportz is struggling too.

The Question

  • What do I do when I have a credit and the world is falling apart?

I think I’ve already answered this question.

Unless it’s really going to affect me, just let it go. It’ll work itself out in the end. Only worry if it’s life and death, and this wasn’t.


Lots to think about here.

Okay, email just sent to Dave at ComedySportz apologizing about the credit situation.

I think the biggest open questions are:

  • How can I handle conflict better?
  • How can I know what to do in certain situations?

Yeah, I need help with that…