KarlieRobinson.com

Rural Housewife or Tech Entrepreneur? You Decide

Withdrawing my FPL Application

with 4 comments

I should probably trust my gut reactions, they usually don’t lead me astray, but this time I decided to suppress my initial reaction and apply for the Fedora Project Leader (FPL) position.

Here’s the thing, I’ve been having reservations for a few days and had sort of hoped that the FOSS talent pool was so deep that my lack of Software Engineering experience and my hit-or-miss involvement in the Fedora Project would filter me out rather quickly.

Then a couple of things happened today. First was an email from Paul Frields, the standing FPL, trying to nail down a time for a Phone interview with someone at Red Hat.

The second was a cattle call IRC ping for a meeting that was taking place face-to-face somewhere else.

So why should that lead me to withdraw? Let me explain…

Knowing my prompt rejection was off the table, I had to get myself in gear and prepare for wowing everyone I met in the interview process. That means running through possible questions and answers… etc.

That process, for me, can be a lot like a psychological test. The first thing that comes to mind as I begin the Q&A practice is very enlightening for me because it’s not always the answer I would or should give, but it’s usually very accurate as to how I really feel about something.

So while I’m reading and prepping for the call, I got another pointless IRC meeting ping from the guys at Open Video Chat.

So as I’m getting myself polished and sorting through proper answers, I was getting pissy and telling OVC to stop wasting my time… well if my other insights didn’t tell me anything this did. And what it said was “this is a bad fit.”

You see, FPL is not about what I can do, it’s about what I could help the community do and it just doesn’t seem like I should be so cranky about a pointless meeting ping.

In this case, the right answer would have been to go over to RIT and slap the guys around politely explained that they need a lesson on transparency and IRC meetings. Instead, I had the eureka moment I needed to have. I finally could see that I’m ok letting the opportunity slip by. That I’m ok with not being one of the few women leading FOSS projects. I’m also ok not trying to be a rising star.

It’s not failure, it’s just the right thing to do.

computer danger 3 by Gabriella Fabbri

Written by Karlie

April 21st, 2010 at 4:04 pm

4 Responses to 'Withdrawing my FPL Application'

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  1. Very interesting read, and thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. I'm also very pleased that you considered the position in the first place, for whatever reasons. It's good that folks are acting outside of their own boxes and the boxes the community places on us.

    I don't know personally if I'll ever have the temperment, time, and inclination to be the Fedora Project Leader, but I do know one thing if experience is any indication. We'll both have a chance again in a few years. Don't think of it as a job cursed (like the Defense Against the Dark Arts position at Hogwarts), it's more that this is the proper way to do things:

    https://www.theopensourceway.org/wiki/How_to_loosely_organize_a_community#Turn_over_project_leaders_regularly

    We all benefit from the fresh energy, ideas, and emotions that a new leader brings us, and I've been pleased to see all the FPLs, past and present, recognize and act on this. It has benefitted the project in many ways. For example, it made Max Spevack and Greg DeKoenigsberg (both former FPLs) form the team I'm on at Red Hat. :)

    http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Community_Architecture

    quaid

    21 Apr 10 at 7:06 PM

  2. All of the points you bring up, Quaid, are ones that I did consider. I don't doubt that I could do the job, I just don't think the timing is right.

    There's part of me that knows I could adapt and shine in the job. Then there's the other, little, nagging things like a possible move to MA and the awesome little school my kids attend right now. I can't rent a hole in the wall for the price of my current morgage in MA, let alone one that would allow us to keep our chickens.

    I've also been feeling burned out for the past 6 months or so and while I'm feeling better, I think it's best to wait. Maybe even take more time away from my usually heavy FOSS Schedule and focus elsewhere. Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Or maybe the grass is greener in another industry? I might just have to explore some and if the stars align in the next 2 or so years, I might put my name in again.

    ~Karlie

    Karlie Robinson

    22 Apr 10 at 8:41 AM

  3. Interesting post, Karlie.

    The possibility of tossing my hat into the ring had occurred to me, but I dismissed it perhaps for a collection of very different reasons.

    For some time now Paul seems to be working hard to help me be a better open source leader. But the fact of the matter is, it is a very hard road. I have a long history of software engineering in the very closed, corporate world. The kind of reckless openness that a successful open source project requires goes very much against my history. While I think there are things I could bring to the table, I can't see them offsetting that critical skill, which still requires a lot of work.

    It does make me a little sad to see one of the few women in OS drop the possibility, tho. Sounds like it was probably the right decision, but it would be nice to see a little more diversity in open source, and a woman in a visible spot would do a lot to foster that.

    jjpmcd

    25 Apr 10 at 8:09 AM

  4. Linux and Open source has been our life for most of the last 11 years. I wouldn't call that a marathon, or even suggest that it's some sort of record. However, I am willing to say I live, breath and sleep it.

    On-Disk.com is where we make a living. It is home based but it's not like working at home, it's more like living at the office. Which is why the burnout has been haunting me for a little while.

    I know there are more than a few people who were cheering for a woman at the helm, and while their support was part of the reason I put my name in for consideration, I'm much too independent to allow their opinions to be the ultimate deciding factor.

    I didn't get to where I am by being demure, I think guilt is a wast of energy and believe, for the most part, the glass ceiling is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    In this case, the choice before me was Lead, follow or get out of the way. I'm not one to follow, and going off on OVC wasn't leading, so I got out of the way.

    The decision was made easier by factoring in family and lifestyle considerations.

    Karlie Robinson

    25 Apr 10 at 9:02 AM

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