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Joining Blameless



In psychology, grit is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual's perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state (a powerful motivation to achieve an objective). (Wikipedia)

Over the last few years, I’ve changed jobs a bunch. A bunch more than I’d like. As time goes on and resignation letters stack up, interview discussions about my history get more difficult. When the discussion inevitably comes to these short stints, I step through the last few companies and explain why each didn’t work out. The reasons vary from dysfunctional bro management to dishonesty to narcissistic managers. While I feel like my answers are solid and reasonable, it doesn’t change the fact that this sucks. I can wish all I want that I could adopt a zero-fucks mercenary mindset and collect a nice paycheck, but the thing life has taught me in these years is that that ain’t me.

I will always be thankful for the wonderful people I’ve met and get to have in my life. That said, I am furious at the state of things in the tech industry. Devops has been around more than a decade and mostly what we have to show for it is better CI/CD and velocity numbers. Misogyny and racism are as rampant as ever, diversity is a marketing tactic, and inclusion is an alien concept to all but a precious few leaders. Glue work is unvalued, brilliant jerks are promoted, and incentives favor the heartless.

I love the operations community that I’ve been part of for more than 20 years. I love our grit while I also lament how it is abused by company after company. As I’ve grown through the years I’ve gone from simple frustration at The Man to learning management & leadership, which lead to fully incensed. How does this keep happening? Who is making these decisions? What are the incentives? How can we make it better?

For a while, I thought finding answers would lead to change and resolution. I still believe that, but I also believe that having the answers isn’t enough. In order for things to improve we need to try new business models. We need better tools for understanding complexity. We have to change the world.

That brings me back to my career. After the most recent mismatch, I re-evaluated what I want to do with myself. It is clear to me that I can’t not care. While I have nothing but respect for production engineering, I had to rule that out because I’m really bad at staying in my lane. Leadership is an obvious path, but I recently learned the hard way that leadership is too often abused as a flimsy label put on followership and management. So what do I care about? I care about people. I think SRE, devops, and resilience engineering can lead us to a healthier future. I really enjoyed technical evangelism for engaging with the community and reaching large audiences. Roles where I could play with shiny tech and automate big gnarly distributed systems abound, but few were really aligned with what I want and enjoy. Really just one, it seems.

I’ve known the founders of Blameless, Ashar and Lyon, for a couple years now. Early on, we talked about my work on Scorebot and then kept talking about SRE work, incident management, and resilience engineering. As we talked more about Blameless the company, I realized that we are also aligned about what a company can and should be: healthy people working together to make great products while leaving the world a better place than we found it. We designed my role to be a hybrid of SRE and developer relations, so I can both keep myself grounded and continue to bring the big ideas of SRE & resilience engineering to our customers and the tech world.

I am so excited to have joined Blameless and look forward to spending a lot more time with our community.