Matt Hackmann


The thoughts and goings-on of some programmer dude.

Another Letter From the Past

Not sure how I missed it last year (or two years ago, I suppose), but my annual message to myself was delivered this morning. I've been looking forward to this one particularly because I was in a sad state this time last year. And it sure does show.

Dear FutureMe,

Haven't sent one of these in a while... well, I think I have, but I'm not convinced I've just not received them. Regardless...

2016 and 2017 certainly weren't the bounce back years I was hoping they'd be after the shit-show that was Voyager. HUE was good for a while, but knowing that winning just wasn't in the cards for that team (because needing to support every team in the company is hard), I'm about to bounce back to a product team. I'm apprehensive, as I usually am, but feel that's where my strengths lie. I'm also very mildly optimistic that it'll make the path to Staff level promotion easier. Not calling a prediction either way on that, but I anticipate that LinkedIn will still very much be in the cards by the end of 2018.

Of course, the biggest thing mentioned in these letters is my love life... well, lack thereof. At this point in time, [REDACTED] is the current "offering" in a year that's seen many "offerings" with little return. I like hanging out with her, for sure, but feel like I'm failing at the "long distance" thing. To be quite honest, I'm really really skeptical that anything would work out long term. Short term? Sure, can see that happening so long as I keep up my side of the bargain. But the doubts are great and I'd honestly be surprised if she's still in the cards come this time next year. Hopefully if that doesn't pan out, somebody else will have.

Other things on my mind right now are that YouTube channel. I don't really believe in it's possibility of wild success, but hopefully will have given it legitimate effort instead of heading myself off at the invisible pass. Electronics work has been the only thing to give me any kind of thrill in quite some time and combining that with some reasonable production value editing would be worth the effort.

I guess the last major thing on my mind is how that counseling is going. To date, it's given me some things to think about, but I don't know that I've really felt any change positive or negative that's worthy of note. These things take time, for sure, so maybe there will have been movement there in the span of a year.

Also, here's a coded message: penny for your thoughts? Wonder how that's going to go...

Okay, future self. You look back on this and contemplate. In the mean time, I suppose I'll be making the journey to where you are.

Oh man. Lots to unpack here.

First up, that bit about work. Looking back, it's interesting to see that I'm still mentioning Voyager at all. When I wrote this letter, that project was over two years past and I'd been working in a post Voyager world longer than I had pre-Voyager. It's definitely a good scapegoat for things I didn't like at LinkedIn because so many things changed. But, whatever. More interesting is the note of me jumping away from infrastructure work back on a product team, Learning Enterprise specifically. That indeed did happen and it was... okay. The team that I worked with was absolutely fantastic and I hadn't had that much fun since my days on Profile. The work, however, was stressful as hell. Indeed, I was back to making websites, but the deadlines were absurd causing the final product to be something I couldn't be proud of, mostly due to feature cuts along the way to meet the deadline. Between that and a couple of long time friends making their leave, I too exited and made my way to SurveyMonkey where I'd been referred by another good friend. The difference between the two copmanies is insanely profound, with SurveyMonkey being (at least so far) much more chill be comparison. It's not perfect, but the reduced stress (and commute) is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Now we move into the part that I was most interested to read about and... man. It delivers. 2017 was an absolute abysmal year for my dating life. For a solid eight months, I never made it to a second date with anybody. Of the nine or ten women I chatted up for dates, I ended it with one and a half (the latter was a mutual ghosting). Of the others, only a couple flat out said "no" and the remainder just ghosted me. The whole thing was emotionally draining and quite demoralizing, so I finally just quit trying at some point. Probably right around the time I checked myself into therapy. On the last evening of my Japan trip, I was in a bar in Asakusa when a message came in on OkCupid. She too was a Japanophile of some note and, under the influence of a few gin and tonics, I began drafting a response for me to review when I'd sobered up... except I accidentally sent it. That lead to a few dates with "REDACTED" and we were actually hitting it off okay... except something felt off. I couldn't put my finger on it, and you can see that manifest in my letter above, mostly in the form of me showing no confidence in myself. We kept in contact for a month or so after this letter was written, but never saw each other again. After some sussing things out with my therapist, I came to a couple of realizations:

  • I had a couple of legit hangups with her character, but because everything else seemed okay, I was denying myself that thought and internalizing the stress from it
  • I didn't actually want to be dating at the time. In that session, I was nattering on a list of excuses when my therapist interrupted with "maybe you just don't want to date right now" to which my brain stopped dead in its tracks. I'd literally never considered that before.

I mulled on that a bit and decided that my therapist was right and I ended future dates. My biggest regret (and now running joke) is that I'd left my prized purple sunglasses in "REDACTED"'s car on our last date and I was forever separated from them. There's a happy ending there, though, as one of my brother's surprised me with a new pair. Sunglasses aside, I've only very recently thrown myself back into the dating pool. I've thrown a lot of my previous mental rules away and am just trying to go with the flow. I often have to verbally remind myself not to worry about and to stop treating the whole dating process like a game, where I need to say/do the right things to get to the next level. Good relationships sure aren't built off that...

YouTube! That paragraph is mostly accurate, though I did manage to pump out one episode of Hakk's Lab that I'm pretty happy with. I've got a few projects lined up now that I should be able to shop around for views without biting off more than I can chew... probably...

Regarding the "coded message", I'm not entirely certain what this is referencing, but I have a hunch. And if it's that hunch, then things are going even more spectacularly ridiculous than I could ever have imagined. If it's not that, then I've no clue what the hell I'm talking about.

Sweet, that's gone on for a long time. I guess I'll go write myself a letter for next year. With this being the first year approaching the end of the tunnel (or exiting it, even), 2019 could be very interesting indeed.