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Turning the Page

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I have been thinking back and forth of how to best put my thoughts down on “paper”.

This week, I had my last day of work with the Drupal Association.
The Drupal Association is undergoing a lot of changes and this is a result of one of them. My position is being moved to Portland, Oregon, where the physical office of the Drupal Association is; and since I am halfway across the world from that place, I was let go.

I started working on DrupalCon Paris in 2009 and it became a heavy workload, which I was happy to do. The result was that I had a little burnout and my brain wouldn’t function for several days. Also, I barely remember the week itself, as I was sick and simply exhausted by the time all you guys flooded the halls. :-)
Nonetheless, I enjoyed working on DrupalCon Paris so much, that I decided to remain involved as a volunteer and as someone, who had done it once, so I can share some experience and knowledge. At that point, it became a bit more personal, as many members of the Drupal community know. - We, volunteers, put a lot of extra effort and time into Drupal and its development, because we care, believe in its success, because we like working with enthusiastic and passionate people and want to make something happen.
The road evidently led me to project-leading DrupalCon Copenhagen. I had the chance to be the link between the Drupal Association and the community. I considered it as part of my vision/understanding to represent the local community and to implement the maximum of their vision.
Everything, that I built until then, I didn’t want to let go. I was lucky to find someone like NodeOne, which offered me 50% of my work time to be dedicated to community efforts with NodeOne’s involvement.

In the meantime, there were a lot of things happening within the DA; staff got hired, among others an events manager and sponsor manager and DrupalCon, starting with DrupalCon Chicago, became more professionally organised, something more like a model for future DrupalCons to be built upon.
The Drupal Association needed more people to help with DrupalCons and I guess it was only a natural move to offer me a job as event coordinator.

I was very enthusiastic and motivated helping to better internal processes and documentation to make life easier for volunteers and to make DrupalCons even better for the community. However, there was little time (and little priority) to focus on long-term improvements. I had to focus on DrupalCon London, which had a higher priority.

I am not going to lie and say that everything was great, whilst working at the Drupal Association. There were misunderstandings, tensions, frustration, mis-communications, more frustration. I quickly realised, that I cannot do all I envisioned to do due to many reasons (no time and too many things, barriers, changes are hard).

Overall, I think, I have (had) a different approach on how to carry things forward. I think I always have considered myself as a representative for community interests and a link between the DA and the community volunteers, trying to implement and execute the conference to fulfil the needs and wishes of both sides. I also believe, that I have a very different approach in how to communicate and share information; I believe it is crucial to be as transparent as can be in an open source community. This makes it harder to manage people to get things done, true.

I guess it was time for me to go and to embrace something new. I am taking some time to reflect on what I want to do, whether it’ll be in Drupal or something entirely different. But just to make it clear: leaving the DA does not necessarily mean, that I’ll leave the Drupal community :-)

Despite what I wrote above (again, there is always good and bad), I learned a tremendous amount about working with other people, communication and processes. I thank the staff at the Drupal Association and DrupalCon volunteers for your knowledge, experience, support and wisdom in this journey.

A wonderful Christmas (or other) time!

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