I am predisposed to believe that everyone knows the saying “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning” … but I also spent a great deal of my childhood by the sea. So, if a sailor awoke to a red sky, it meant there was a storm a’brewin. If a sailor sees a red sky at night, the sailor can relax. Well… for the last month or so, every morning my team and I come to work, it is a red sky we see out of the wrapped windows of our little corner on the 9th floor. But today… the day I am writing this post, the sky is a glowing crimson… so to speak. But for us, it is not the calm before the storm, but the storm before the bigger storm. The big storm that is the Red Hat Summit. An exciting, exhilarating, wonderfully challenging, and rewarding storm—but a storm nonetheless.
We work long hours, we don’t leave our desks to eat lunch, sometimes we skip lunch altogether by accident because we forgot lunch was a thing! We wake up in cold sweats from nightmares about logistics. What if the video doesn’t play, what if this banner doesn’t get to the printer in time, I have how long to edit, add b-roll, colour correct, cut up music, get approval for these videos that just rolled in? What if I… single handedly… ruin Summit?!? Some of us even like to have an occasional cry in the bathroom or the stairwell. BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED A GOOD CRY OKAY?!
Everyone is stressed and breathing weird and swearing as loud as one can in a whisper as they walk to and from their desks, on their way to meetings, behind the screens of their computers when a program crashes. Okay when that happens, it’s usually a loud slue of swear words. And it’s usually me… Or Stephanie… Or Brett.
We, like many other teams at Red Hat, are obsessed with pulling off the best Red Hat Summit yet. We execute on hundreds and hundreds of design and video assets, and put out fire after fire with the help of our fearless team leads, dynamite project managers, and of course the boss man.
BUT… even though everyone is seeing this red sky, and tensions are high, there is never a shortage of jokes or laughter, and most importantly, there is never a shortage of offers to help one another. This team is like a huge extended family that doesn’t argue at Thanksgiving… an extreme rarity. We don’t always agree, of course, and we will sometimes be curt with one another, but it’s never without a follow up of “Hey dude… bro, sorry I was so curt with you just then man.” No one talks like that, but you get what I’m saying.
It’s actually quite a magical thing, this team. The amount of work we do, the amount of stress we are under, the amount of care we have for one another as well as each other’s work, stress levels, and happiness. We build each other up, we make each other laugh, we do anything and everything we can to help one another, and we always have a bucket of water on hand—should someone have a fire that needs putting out.
We are there for each other now, and we are there for each other behind the scenes at Summit. An event that, if you didn’t understand Murphy’s Law before, you certainly will afterwards. And it’s all worth it. Every. Single. Time. It is worth it. And every single Summit, it is the best Summit yet. Thanks to a great many people. But a great many thanks to us. Can I say that? I’m saying it reader! Please don’t think me arrogant. I am but one crew member, along for the choppy ride. And I am beyond humbled to be a small gear of the incredible machine that is our team. Cranking away until we see a red sky on the last night of Summit, and we can delight, that we made it through that glorious storm.
These are some of the best humans I know.
They are my team. And they are awesome.
[Disclaimer: None of them had time to take this photo, but they are doing a really good job acting like they’re not annoyed with me. Sadly not pictured: Jacques and Beth <3]