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We Need to Talk (if you want)

I've always been available to chat, but now I've taken it a step further. Anyone can book time in my diary to chat about anything - even if you just want my advice. Why did I decide to do that? Let's talk about it.

Originally posted on the Lexoral blog


I've never been someone to do things in the 'normal' way. I try not to follow (or break) best practice until I understand why it's best. Sometimes it's great to think outside the box, and sometimes it means I take a bold leap into the unknown.

This is in the second category.

Office Hours

At university, professors have a few hours each week called office hours. During those slots, students can turn up and talk to them for any reason. They might need guidance about an assignment, they might need a specific topic explaining, or they might just want a casual chat about the professor's research.

I have office hours now. They're not quite the same, because you need to book a slot and tell me what you want to talk about. Other than that, it's a pretty similar concept.

Every day, at 8:30, 12:30, and 20:00 UTC, I am available to video chat for half an hour. Anyone can book a slot, for any reason, and I'm not going to complain if it's only 10 mins.

You could:

  • Give feedback about Lexoral
  • Ask questions about Lexoral
  • Get help self-hosting Lexoral
  • Get feedback about your projects
  • Ask for my advice
  • Teach me something cool
  • See my cat, live

Seriously. If you want to talk to me, I'm waiting:

Why?

That's a pretty reasonable question. This isn't exactly a common thing to do, and people are generally very protective over their time.

Earlier this week, I was at a workshop about networking. As they discussed all the different kinds of networking events, I felt my heart sink. Nothing appealed, and every kind of event sounded really stressful and tense. Was I just doomed to never build a network?

No, that's ridiculous. I can network, those events just aren't the right way for me. My ideal networking event would be:

  • Informal
  • Structured
  • Over Video Chat

I thought about what kind of event could achieve all of that. Surprisingly, I didn't think of office hours. I thought of my blog posts, and especially the conclusions.

Ever since I started writing blog posts, I've always ended with an open invite to email me. A lot of people do. Those emails are some of my favourite to receive, and it's rarely just a one-off message. We'll start chatting, have some back-and-forth, and end up on a call.

However, not everyone wants to use email, and I'm happy to video-call strangers1.

Conclusion

Lexoral is built on trust, openness, and transparency. I've always been available to chat with anyone, and now I've taken that a step further by adding office hours into the mix. If you want to chat with me, for any reason, get in touch.

Use whichever method you're most comfortable with:

Please don't be shy, I'm excited to chat with you ♥



Footnotes

1 It's interesting, because I'm usually quite anxious about phone calls, and would absolutely be the kind of person that still emails instead of using someone's office hours. For some reason, I feel fine about this. I think it's a combination of things:

  • I find video chat much less stressful than phone calls
  • I'm in a position of power because you're the instigator
  • You tell me what you want to chat about when booking

Just thought that was a fun observation!

Steven Waterman

Steven Waterman

Technical Coach

I've spent my career making development simple. I'm always happy to chat with you - feel free to get in touch!