Wiggly Goals

Since my mind is on help this week, I thought a good follow-up to yesterday’s letter could be speaking in more detail about my Wiggle Work goals and that professional help I was vaguely speaking to.

Wiggle Work is currently a small, cozy, fun, down-to-earth, friendly Discord community for remote tech and tech-adjacent workers. We hang out all week, sharing funny and weird internet things. We also help each other with problems, share wins, and do questionable things together, like agreeing to write each day for a month. There are weekly video call chats and special events with prizes (reclaiming these from kids). It’s going well, but I have a lot of ideas on how to make it even better. I want this to be an enjoyable haven from overly business-bear spaces–a retreat where people can genuinely connect and break free from isolation, build each other up, and take refuge from the negative toll that working on the internet in a remote environment can have.

I’ve documented these goals based on needs and wishlist items. First, we need a new Wiggle Work site with a blog. The current site was never meant to be a long-term solution (I know, classic tale), just a functional space to throw an application link. We are ready for one that instills a feeling of what the group is all about by capturing the events, channels, and people that make it special. This is also a group of people who love to write and take tools seriously. A system that allows for multiple authors and breaks away from big tech” is crucial. I’ve been waffling over this a bunch, but I suspect 11ty is an ideal fit and I hope to tackle this over spring.

Wiggle Work is not free to run. There are server fees, prizes, and mail involved, at a minimum. We have a Ko-fi account, which helps, and I’m very grateful when people are able to contribute. In looking ahead, a stretch goal here is to have enough funds to pay for special guests, pay for help with specific tasks when necessary, cover the cost of participating in certain events, and have a fund to pull from to help members cover things like the cost of conference tickets or training–I’m eager to call this the Friendly Foundation, obviously. The community will always be not-for-profit, and I love the idea of giving this back in a helpful, impactful, structured way.

Part of the financial growth planning involves figuring out how to be helpful and provide value within and beyond the community. The first valuable thing that comes to mind is our daily discussion prompts, our Ponder Prompts. I’ve written about these with some examples in the past, though we’ve had a lot more since. These can be helpful for other communities but also teams and 1-on-1s operating in a remote context. Getting to know each other while spread across the world takes extra, deliberate effort, and these prompts are a great way to achieve this, hitting on things that would never come up organically. I like the idea of packaging these up somehow and continually adding them to the list to be sold or to solicit donations in order to help others while also supporting Wiggle Work.

There are countless ideas around additional activities that foster growth and provide a sense of knowing each other better, with a community podcast (I’m eager to call this Wiggle Work Waves), a mini conference, and a space to exist and document outside of Discord being among my favorites. There’s no limit to exciting ideas and the overall potential of this community, though figuring out what to do within the confines of available resources and when to expand these resources becomes the most important factor when prioritizing these goals.

To further complicate things, these available resources cannot be consistently relied on. I’m currently the only organizer, and I also have a major surgery coming up in March. It’s important to me that Wiggle Work grows and continues to be a fun, safe space for people to spend their remote days. To do this, I need to expand and diversify our reach and ensure daily tasks are minimally impacted, if at all. And I need to do this without becoming burned out since I have done this with previous community efforts.

These goals are too grand for a single person to deliver. Further, I recognize the importance that a different perspective and network can bring. I need help with daily prompts while I recover from surgery. I want to make sure no one is talking to an empty room during parts of a week when things are especially busy at work for many members. I want to make sure someone is regularly providing distractions–we’ve never had a shortage of these, but I’d never risk it. And I want to make sure video chats are not put on pause.

More than this, though, I’m also open to having a partner in all this, a coorganizer, to help with these goals and share their own for us to work towards. The best match here will be someone who believes in and wants to contribute to what Wiggle Work is all about. This person will find this a worthwhile, valuable space to spend time and contribute to. I haven’t figured out exactly how to find this person yet, but this is where my head has been, and I’m determined to figure it out.

In the meantime, though, if you’re open to posting a week of prompts and guiding a couple of weeks’ worth of video calls in the middle of March, please send me a very welcome DM.

See you tomorrow over breakfast.

February 27, 2024

A tiny project byJoni Trythall inspired by friends at Wiggle Work.