At the beginning of this week, I found out my boss is leaving by the end of this week. Initially, I didn’t know what that was going to mean. After all, despite our previous difficulties, he taught me almost everything I know about SEO. The only way I know how to do most things is the way he taught me. Further, beyond the cursory interactions of office smalltalk and the occasional question about some techie thing, I’d had almost no interaction with anyone else at Upgrow until this week. (Well, except Yitzchak. I suppose I should be saying “anyone more experienced than me”.) The exclusive focus had been becoming a better assistant to my boss, and now that he’s leaving, I didn’t know what to do.
Up to this point, the entire SEO team of our company has been three people: my boss, a part-time contractor, and me. So I realized, with my boss leaving, I was going to have to step up. How was that going to happen? The first obvious thing is that we’re in the process of onboarding two new clients, which is a big front-loaded process involving an SEO audit for their entire website. I’d want to prioritize that in addition to my other projects, and further, get to know the rest of my team better.
With that plan in mind, I got started working on Monday. By Wednesday, I’d met the person who might end up becoming my new boss – a fun guy with an intense smile. He’s part-time for now, and he has other clients, but he may come on full-time later on. (Or maybe not: nothing is static in the realm of business.) I got on very well with him, and it turns out he has a background in tech as well. We talked over lunch about programming, career paths, and other such things.
Over the course of the week, I worked with my soon-to-be-ex-boss to transition all my projects as best as I could, and I got the go-ahead to start sitting in on client meetings (one of my main goals for this week, since it seems like a long time coming). I started deliberately talking more with the co-founders in order to take on more projects, and I’m happy that I click much better with everyone else at the office than I did with my boss. I’m usually a very sociable person, and clicking badly with someone like that threw me off a little. I’m glad it was just that relationship, but I’m also glad I found someone like that so early in my career: it taught me a ton of valuable lessons about the corporate environment which I’m sure to use from here on out.
Overall, everyone, especially the co-founders, have been doing their best to make the transition smooth. Still, there’s always that period where almost nothing actually needs to get done and things can just coast on momentum for a bit, and I think this week was that period. If things are going to go downhill, I anticipate that they’re going to start doing so next week.
As such, for next week, on top of continuing what I started this week, I’m planning on overcoming a bit of akrasia. I keep saying I’m going to get stuff done on the weekends and after my workdays, and yet I keep not doing it. I recall something Eliezer Yudkowsky wrote, about the three types of hard work necessary to accomplish difficult things. First, you have to not run away, which takes seconds; second, you need to sit down and work, which takes hours; and third, you need to stick at it, which takes years. The first and third come naturally to me at this point, but the second one has always been hard.
It could theoretically be comforting, to think that one of my favorite writers has the same issues I do with working long hours, and I could leave it there. But then I think, that’s no excuse. In Eliezer’s own words, reality is not graded on a curve. If I’m trying to do something really difficult, I need to get a lot better at this. I’m not putting in a desperate effort as if my life were at stake, though of course, it is. That’s about to change.