Thoughts on Brussels' week


This is a really weird feeling – just a few weeks ago I was deep on a 10-month search for a job within the digital democracy / online voting industry. In my head, there was a 50/50 probability between leaving Replai being a really stupid decision on my side or the best thing I could have done.

Here you are though, you made it motherfucker. I remember seeing CitizenLab several months ago and thinking how cool it would be to have the opportunity to be part of it all. I thought I could influence my chances of nailing a role in the industry by chatting with other peers, but in the end, it was a combination of the sheer luck of Yaesul leaving a few weeks before I contacted them, plus me having a killer profile for what they needed it when they needed it.

Last week I went to see the team in Brussels. I feel weird, and I needed to unpack it somehow:

  • I'm 99% confident this is the place. The team is confident, motivated, top at their game (at least the ones I met directly) and cherry on top, have a non-toxic relationship to work. This feels like late-game Replai, minus the part where I couldn't really connect with what I was building.

  • I'm feeling excited about connecting with these people, I like their stories and why they are here.

  • Somehow I'm still feeling slightly alone & lost. I thought the lack of a job was one of the main reasons behind my being unstable these months (I was running out of time to find something before having to shoot for anything UX related).

  • The feeling won't go away. After breaking up with Jimena, but maybe even before, something has been off. I felt like Aleida and I needed some time alone to cool it and reconnect, but I'm still not feeling... I don't know how to describe it but… hyper?

This is funny because CitizenLab was a culmination or at least the first step towards linking my work to something I can feel proud of. I really felt that was the root of part of my unhappiness, but I guess not. I do feel happy for being part of the team and I do feel purpose in waking up and working on this (I'm on a fucking plane to Vilnius as I'm writing this), it's the outside part of work that's missing.

  • I feel weirdly disconnected from my family, it's like they exist and are there but maybe I'm not actively exploring/evolving my relationship with them.

  • I feel disconnected from Aleida, sometimes it's just the sheer amount of shit work-wise I'm putting on top of myself, other times I think it's something deeper that makes me sad and disconnected.

  • I feel she is doing her best to be excited about looking for flats in Brussels, and I'm kinda reactive to it but not proactive.

I don't know! Last week has been awesome, but at the same time, I feel a weird void inside that creeps me whole. In any case, paraphrasing Laura, you need to celebrate your wins, and I'm celebrating this one! I used to be a Product Designer, now I have real democratic/participatory experience.

There's no turning back from this, from now on I'm fully focused on enhancing democracy, either from a government, private-enterprise, open source, or otherwise approach, as a PM, BD, GS, technician, designer, growth, or all of it, I don't care.