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isn't quite ashamed enough to present

jr conlin's ink stained banana

:: What does “Career Growth” mean?

Apparently continuing to journal my personal career epiphany.

Every six months, we are asked what we’d like to do to grow our career. For some, this may not be an obvious answer, and i’m hoping that i can help explain to those like me. 

Let me explain how i was wrong 

i was raised not to speak well of myself. Bragging was frowned upon. Folks that sent Christmas Family Updates filled with accomplishments and awards were quietly mocked. Family members who managed to rise through the ranks without drawing attention to themselves were heralded as heroes.

A cartoon featuring two people working hard. The second person announces their awesome work and gets recognized by their boss and superboss, and is taken off to greater things. The first continues in silence and wonders if they've been promoted yet.

When i began my first career, that was true in the workplace. “Keep your head down and do a good job and you’ll go far!” was the silent mantra. Bonuses were handed out in private. As one prior manager said “It’s like we do these things like drug deals”, and they were pretty accurate. 

If you had said to me that i had to have an active hand in my career growth, it would be like saying i had to steer the continent. It would seem like an alien, impossible concept, particularly since that obligation belonged to my manager, right?

Well, no.

It turns out that your manager is also a person. Depending on the organization they may have too many reports, plus their own task set, and far more meetings and paperwork than you can possibly imagine. If you’re also a “pure engineer”, they may be doing things that feel like dabbling in arcane arts, with terms that sound like gibberish. The good thing is that it may also be mutual. They may have no idea what you do aside from whatever mutually agreed metrics you’ve presented. “Has JR done the four items he listed three or six months ago? Check. 4% cost of living it is, then. Oh, he also single handedly refactored the CriticalSystem? Huh, forgot he did that. Ok, let me see if i can budget out an additional 1%.” 

Add in that many organizations tend to reshuffle fairly regularly, meaning that you, or your team, get a fresh, new scorecard with every change to the management chain. More than likely, they’re new person with little experience with your team. If i’m lucky they may be able to distinguish me from a rock, provided how empty the field was. 

This is not a slam against managers. As i said, they’re people who are also overworked and generally doing more than their fair share. They do a job that i recognize that i cannot do. It’s a very specific set of skills and empathy that not a lot of people have, and when you get a good manager, you should enjoy the great opportunity you have and realize that nothing is permanent. Managers get promotions too.

Positioning Save Points

If you play platformer games, you probably know about save points. Well, if you’re as terrible at video games as i am, you’re thankful that save point keep you from starting over from the beginning when you die every five minutes. 

It’s not a bad idea to think of ranking up as kind of a career “save point”, but instead of getting eaten by a grue while you were getting coffee, the “save point” kicks in during a reorg. Like i noted, bosses are people. People are neurologically hard-wired to take short cuts. When a person gets a new team, they get the brief overview of the members and do a quick assessment. They may see two people at level 2 and one at level 3, and in their minds they see them at about 50% of their respective levels. 

Mind you, one of those people may have been working way beyond their level, but doing so quietly, so all that effort is lost to the winds. Or at least put in the same mythical Permanent Record that your elementary school teacher threatened you with. 

By the way, this is why it’s absolutely CRITICAL to keep a personal, detailed log of your weekly accomplishments. This document should be something that you control (although you should share it with your boss), that logs the high and low points for yourself. It’s amazing what you’ll forget if you don’t and it’s absolutely vital when it comes to self-review times.

But why might you want to go beyond what you’re doing now? Well, it kind of depends. If you’re absolutely comfortable with what you do, that’s fine. But if you find yourself doing more than what’s in your job description, you might want to consider leveling up.

In fact, it’s a really good idea to do an honest self assessment.

What grade of houseplant could replace me?

Ok, that’s a bit facetious, i admit, but like i’ve said, i have a pretty low opinion of myself. Don’t be like me, in that respect.

Instead, try to abstract “you” from what you do. Could you be replaced by someone else for less money or experience? And be fair. Include all the additional stuff you do that’s not part of the strict job description. Let’s say that your job is to keep the widget server running. You do that, but you also provide the QA teams tools to test the widget server, fill in missing documentation on how to use the widget server, teach classes on effective use of the widget server, and answer customer emails about bugs and issues. Yeah, all those are around the widget server, but if you were eaten by a grue (sorry), could someone just promoted to your position do the same, or even think about that sort of thing?

Likewise, it can be VERY hard to recognize your level of influence. “i was just answering a bunch of questions.” can be easily dismissed, but can carry a huge amount of impact. Eventually, you’re seen as an expert, and you may well be. Your gaining, and more importantly sharing, experience which makes things easier and others more productive. 

If it helps, take “you” out of it. Make up a person like “Pat” or “Chris” who happens to be a lot like you and talk about them as if you’re trying to get them promoted. Point out the things they do that go the extra kilometer. 

Extending your reach

Remember how i said that people are neurologically hard wired to take short cuts? They really are. When you go up the ranks, folks tend to change how they interact with you. (i’ll even add that you will change how you interact with yourself.)

There’s an old adage called the Peter Principle which says that folks will advance up the ranks to the level of their incompetence. i tend to also think about what i like to call the Inverse Peter Principle, that says people are held back by their levels of competence. If you’re particularly good at your job, there may be little reason to move you out of it because, well, why would any sane person willingly break something that cheap and functional? 

But, going up a rank broadens the number of folks that you can reach. That has a real impact. It gives your voice more leverage that you can hopefully use for good. Because of your higher rank, more folks will listen to you. You have a smaller, more focused peer set that you can connect to, and they also have wide audiences that you may not be connected to. Working with them you can cause real change and progress. 

If you’re like me, you know that what matters in life is how often you reach down to help folks go up. It’s a lot easier to do that when you’re higher up yourself. 

Plotting your goals

Goals are hard. i get it.

We use OKRs. Those can be tricky as hell because you specify them six months out, they need to be aligned with the company, group, division, and team objectives. Be actionable, accountable, with clear success markers, and you’re graded on them at the end. That grade gets reflected into your possible raise and bonus potential. 

Clearly, the incentive here is to be fairly conservative about what goals you set for yourself, or at least, vague-ish enough about them that when future fudging the results, you still come out better than average. 

That’s terrible for a number of reasons, but i won’t go into all of those right now. Instead, i’ll note that after that exercise, you’re then asked what personal goals you want to achieve. 

There’s a funny trick you can pull on some folks, where you ask them “What does Y-E-S spell?” They’ll respond “yes”, because of course yes is the answer. Anyone who has greater than a 3rd grade education would absolutely say that Y-E-S spells “yes”. 

Then you ask them what “e-Y-E-S” spells. 

Some will tell you that it’s not a word, Others might say it’s “ee yes” or something. 

Again, neurology is hard and shortcuts are easy. 

After playing mental chess and filling out the OKRs, you get that one thrown at you, and you’re probably still going to play mental chess. “What answer can i give that will give me the best chance of not getting fired/laid off/paid more?” and you say you’re going to do something like learn a new programming language or study machine learning or something. 

That’s also probably a terrible answer. i mean, it may not be, depending on what your personal end goals actually are, but if you’re just writing that without any sort of long term plan, then it’s not a good answer. 

Instead, you should be asking yourself “what would i like to change?” or “how can i improve things around X”. If you’ve been working somewhere long enough, you probably  know the sore spots and sticking points. You do have the ability to change them, you just need leverage. If you need more leverage perhaps you should consider levelling up? 

Likewise, if there’s a graph or chart that shows all the things that someone the next grade up should do, and you’re already doing all of those things, why aren’t you getting the proper recognition? 

A work in progress

i’ll note that all of this is pure speculation on my part. i’ve been at the same grade for about 20 years, through multiple companies (See: “Let me explain how i was wrong”). i’m currently working to try and address that, and i fully understand that it’s not going to happen overnight, nor am i going to be greeted by banners and balloons. 

Still, my gross legacy of mistakes and near-sightedness should not be yours, and there are ways and approaches you can take to this to make it far less uncomfortable.

i mean, it’s never going to be super comfy, but at least it won’t be something you dread doing as much anymore.

    What do you think, sirs?

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    :: Obvious Career Guidance Isn’t Always

    i am, and i need to make sure i’m very clear here, an idiot.

    i’ve been working for my current employer for just over 10 years. i am still pretty much at the same position i started with. It’s not a huge deal in my life, since i make good money, working with good people on interesting things and am able to both tell people what i do, and sleep at night knowing i am not screwing them over. Heck, it’s an open source company, so it’s possible to audit everything we do, and frankly, that’s pretty unique.

    Still, it’d be nice to get a kudo every so often or at least some sign of progress. Part of the problem comes because every so often we have a reorg, and i get a new manager, and i basically have to start all over again. Myself and someone i’ve worked with even created a “New Manager On-boarding Document” that lists various things to do (like, make sure your github credentials are in order, here’s some groups to join, here’s the slack channels and calendars we use, etc.). It’s mostly pre-emptive because then we minimize the disruption that occurs whenever there’s a new boss. New boss arrives, and mentally classifies me with my various peers, and starts to either question all the things i currently work on or “help optimize” things which usually results in me continuing to do them because stuff breaks otherwise.

    i tend to work on some fairly long lived, highly critical, but not super showy projects. That means less “Hey, we launched Shiny New Thing in three months then forgot about it!” and more “here’s a system that people have relied on / will rely on for years, can you make it better?” Not super glitzy, but solid work. Sometimes, it’s even the less shiny, less new Thing that got thrown over the wall and now it’s my problem. So, after a regime change, we’ve got a new reporting structure, and either old boss goes on to new things, or i get re-assigned to new boss and things get reset across the board and i have to spend time mitigating the impacts of the change.

    Because of that, i’ve actually gotten fairly OK at understanding larger corporate psychology. i’ve tried to consider how folks at each level tend to think and operate and why they may make the sorts of weird decisions they do. Re-orgs, for instance, often have less to do with fluffy corporate goals, and more with just plain workload. Your move to some tangentially related org is probably due to Current Boss being overloaded and New Boss having room. This is true up the chain, so things get all sorts of screwy at times. Bosses who have more than 6 or so direct reports have a HUGE amount of work just on dealing with having that many reports. Think of the review process alone. All bosses will find as many short cuts as possible, and frankly that’s encouraged. The “self assessment” isn’t for you, it’s for them. It’s a cheat sheet you hand them to determine why you should continue to be employed, and usually it’s cut and pasted into their review, with maybe a few additional “points to work on” to justify why they spent more of their raise budget on someone else.

    This is something i’ve told peers for literally decades now. It’s why i keep a document outlining all the things i’ve done over the year, so that i have a reference when doing my “Self Review”. i forget all sorts of crap and there’s zero expectation that my boss would even remember a fraction of it.

    Ah, right, the “idiot” part. i’m getting to that.

    So, like i said, your boss is mostly your boss for organizational reasons, and while there’s a notation about “career growth” unless it’s something that’s fairly low bar (like signing off on a conference ticket or picking between two programming languages), they probably don’t have a lot to offer.

    So why the hell was i expecting them to figure out i’m ready for a promotion?

    Yeah, like i said, i am an idiot.

    i was recently reminded of this fact by someone far smarter than i, when he noted that he had to put together his own doc talking about why he qualified for a change from IC3 to IC4. It was like being hit by the back hand of Captain Obvious. Of course, being introverted, talking about myself is a bit like riding porcupines bareback, so not something i willingly want to ever do, but it’s something i absolutely need to do for any form of career growth.

    i sat, feeling both dumb and dumbstruck at that revelation. Mind you, i am also a HUGE advocate of stating things that seem obvious to you because there’s always someone to which it’s not. i am the lucky someone in this instance. So, yeah, make sure you do that if you don’t already. If nothing else, keep a longer list of the accomplishments you’ve done over your career at X so that when you’re ready to put together that document detailing your accomplishments, you have them at hand.

    Because, yeah, i didn’t do that.

    Because i’m an idiot.

    :: Smart Watch Experimentation

    i used to love watches.

    Honestly, i still do. My desk is littered with older watches that i’ve kept for various reasons. A quick inventory shows i have a Timex Indiglo, a Casio World time, A Howdy Doody wind up and a Babylon 5 promotional Shadow Crab watch. None of which are currently running, but are present none the less.

    It’s worth noting that the former two are basically the early 90’s equivalent of “Smart Watches”, featuring all the sorts of gee-wiz sort of things you’d expect from the times before we were online. Which really weren’t a whole lot. Still, i had the various observatories on speed dial so i could make sure that my watch was accurate.

    i stopped wearing watches once i realized i had to carry a cellphone around that displayed the time, and it kept the time better than my watches did since it auto-updated via the interwebs.

    Still, the phone was a bit annoying, and i kinda missed having a watch. Plus, there were a few things i could use a current “smart watch” for. Things not having to dig out the phone when i’m on my bike to see who’s calling or what that message was, or select what i’m listening to. Crap like that.

    Oh, so you got an Apple Watch?

    Yeah, no. Not that. Aside from my long standing semi-antagonistic relationship with Apple, i really don’t want to spend $500 for a watch, and another $300 for the required iPhone accessory. i already have a phone i like, thankyouverymuch.

    Apple products are a bit like kudzu. They’re invasive tech. Not that they’re poking into your private crap, but instead, they’re doing what they can to convince you to switch everything over into the Apple Ecosystem. Which is Ok. Not that i approve, it’s just that everything in the Apple Ecosystem is just “ok”. The hardware may be amazing, but it’s crippled by stupid UI or OS decisions. (Everything is obvious, once someone tells you what to do.)

    So, yeah, no.

    Granted, not that Google’s Wear OS is good by any stretch. From what i can tell, it’s a few steps off from being abandonware, so that’s probably not a great idea either.

    What about the hackable ones?

    i have to admit, i didn’t know that there are some hackable wearables.
    Bangle is a complete, fairly open device that runs about $100, and runs JavaScript. The apps are a mix of the usual suspects, and you can use bridge apps like Gadgetbridge to get messages and what-not off your phone.

    Speaking of which, Gadgetbridge is a replacement OS for a bunch of devices which will probably result in far more useful and longer lived things, including some of the Asian market wearables like the Amazfit GTR 2 or the Mi Band 5.

    The only problem with a lot of these is the same thing i hit whenever i try them out. These are edge market devices. That means that unless i get things like multiple chargers and bands ahead of time, they’ll become increasingly harder to find as time goes on. i might get these to muck around with eventually, but for now, i want an unbiased experiment.

    Ugh, so what did you “settle” for?

    i bought a Fitbit Versa 3 from REI (which is not Amazon). It’s comfortable, and does most of what i want, even if i’ll never use “fit pay” or whatever. The constant hard sell on various “Premium” upgrades is annoying, but so far, i’ve not seen any reason to actually upgrade. i’m not going to be using this to get into “the zone” or get coached, or otherwise try to convince my body to release endorphins it hasn’t before in my life.

    Hilariously, the fitbit app doesn’t work on my more restrictive personal network even if all the functions do, which, again, is delightful to me.

    So, what’s the point of this? Basically, are watches still useful in the modern era, and do i still have a reason to like them?

    i have no idea what the answer is.

    So that’s why i’m doing an experiment.

    :: Getting HomeAssistant 2021 Running on Docker and a Raspberry Pi 4

    Home Assistant is a marvelous app that makes your home smarter. It’s also a raging pain in the ass if you’re an early adopter and actually have set things up already. This post is not only a helpful guide for how to update and use the latest flavor of Home Assistant, it’s a lovely well for me to scream into instead of yelling obscenities at the squirrels in the backyard.

    A lot of this is going to be date dependent, so denizens of the future you’re probably going to have an easier time of things.

    Recently, HomeAssistant has gotten a lot of work done (i’ll blame the pandemic and idle developers, which are sometimes the devil’s playground). To that end, it requires Python 3.8+.

    Problem #1: Debian & Python 3.7

    As of this date, if you’re running Raspbian/Raspberry Pi OS on your Raspberry Pi, the underlying system you’re running is Debian Buster1. That means the Python you’ve got installed is Python 3.7.3. As of December 2020, HomeAssistant considers Python 3.7 obsolete and stopped supporting it2. You could download the source for Python, and compile it locally. You could also walk from Utqiagvik, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. You might want to consider not doing that though.

    When a version of python becomes obsolete, it’s not the main program that breaks. No, that honor goes to a percentage of the many, many small libraries that the software now uses and drags in like a hoarder at an unguarded Costco. For me, it was about two months in when i discovered that one of my webcams no longer worked.

    Fortunately, there is a solution, kind of. The HomeAssistant folks offer multiple ways to install, including an SD image (or if you’re like me and you have other programs running on your Pi, because, well, you can and HomeAssistant isn’t THAT big of a pig), you can run it inside of a Docker image.

    Docker is free (regardless of the impression you get from the site). And while you can install it using apt, i’d actually encourage you to install it using the (ugh3) docker install script at https://get.docker.com. If you prefer a few more steps, you can also follow the Debian instructions.

    Problem #2: Docker

    Docker is clever because it uses a combination of virtual images in order to run applications in a sandbox. It makes up for that cleverness by eating disk space and being horrifically obtuse about how it should be used. Suffice to say that you have images which are the bits of stuff that get run to do things and containers which are the actual, running programs. That will become important in a bit, but it’s also worth noting that you really need to keep an eye on how much space the images are eating up. There are lots of documents you can read, but suffice to say that

    $ docker container prune
    $ docker image prune

    are your bestest friends4.

    Problem #3: node

    Ah, but wait! There may be something else you’ll need before you can get going. HomeAssistant has moved onto a more modern (pronounced: “sə-pôrt′-ed“) Z-Wave integration system called “ZWave-js”. This is a node.js app. Again, the Debian default is going to be old. So, instead, grab a copy from the download page (for Raspberry Pi, you want the ARMv7 one). Once you have it, you can tar -xvf node-*.tar.xz which will extract node into it’s own directory. You might also need to sudo apt install xz-utils to get the xz decompression tool for tar. You can move that wherever (i usually keep those in $HOME/app). You may also want to add $HOME/node-v-linux-armv71/bin to your $PATH, since you’re going to need those in a bit.

    Node helpfully includes npm or the Node Package Manager. This nifty little tool allows you to install packages. What it doesn’t make frightfully clear is that the packages npm installs go into `pwd`/node_modules so you can wind up creating lots of node_modules directories as you try to figure out where the hell things are installed. For now, go to your home directory and run these there.


    $ npm install zwave-js
    $ npm install @zwave-js/server

    This should install some programs and in node_modules/.bin/ there should be a zwave-server.

    Yay.

    Well, sort of “yay”.

    zwave-server needs the device address for your ZWave USB dongle. You can get this from your old .homeassistant/configuration.yaml file. For me, it’s under

    zwave:
    usb_path: /dev/serial/by-id/usb-0658_0200-1f00

    Yours is probably under something like /dev/ttyUSB0 or /dev/ttyAMA0 or something more sane.

    Once you have the device path you can then fire up
    $ node_modules/.bin/zwave-server /dev/serial/by-id/usb-0658_0200-1f005

    and be awestruck by just how chatty this thing is. You’ll then kill it and add 2>&1 > /dev/null & to the command so that it runs in the background and all the chatter goes to /dev/null, because there’s a lot of it, -h and --help do nothing, and i just want to get things running.

    Problem #3: ZWave

    Wait, didn’t we just solve that? We solved about half of that.

    The old ZWave config system is deprecated. While zwave-js does an amazing job recovering and loading devices so you don’t have to re-sync them, there are a few things you still need.

    1. Your system security key. If you have a security key (because you have locks or garage door openers or something) you’re going to need the code for it. Hopefully you have it, still. You can sometimes also get it out of the zwave logs.
    2. Your friendly device names. HomeAssistant’s integration doesn’t use the friendlier device names when listing things out. You will probably have to reset them based on the device node-ids or device ids. Both of these are in the old configuration data. You can also fire up the old version of HomeAssistant, grab a notepad and take notes.

    Once you’ve got your list of ZWave things, drop the old, deprecated ZWave integration. Comment out the old zwave: section from the configuration.yaml file.

    Now you should be able to get HomeAssistant started.

    To start the HomeAssistant docker run

    $ docker run \
    -rm \
    -d \
    --name="home-assistant" \
    -v $HOME/.homeassistant:/config \
    -v /etc/localtime:/etc/localtime:ro \
    --net=host \
    homeassistant/home-assistant:stable
    Remove the container once it exits
    Run in the background (daemon)
    Name the container “home-assistant”
    Link the config directory as /config
    Link the time to the system time
    Use host networking
    What you want to run

    Give that a few and you should be able to bring up the admin panel on port :8123 like before. You’ll need to enable the ZWave-JS integration under /config/integrations. If the zwave-server above is running, you should be able to just connect to the default websocket port. Once that’s done and the device list is loaded, simply walk the displayed list setting each entity id back to whatever you had originally set it. They should show up on the Lovelace UI, work in scripts and all the other joy, just like before.

    There may be a few other things you’ll do, but it’s getting late and my tequila bottle is empty and i need to go make some tacos for dinner, so you’re on your own.

    Footnotes & snark

    1Debian is stable. It wants to be very stable. i’m talking “fixed to the bedrock” stable, and much like the bedrock, it tends to move at a geological scale. This means that stuff on Debian tends to be a bit “legacy”, and they don’t release new versions very often. It’s rumored that they only do so once the magic smoke released from overclocking a VT-100 terminal is white.

    2 One might ask “wait, why did HomeAssistant basically drop support for Raspberry Pi?” It’s a good question, but basically works out that 3.7.3 was releases mid 2018 and there’s a fair bit of cruft in it compared with later releases. i’ll note that 3.7.3 is still supported until 2023, and just dumping support for it is kinda rude to folks, but they do suggest docker and docker adds a fairly minimal amount of overhead. At this point, it’s looking more and more likely that running apps in some sort of sandbox, be it docker, flatpak, snap or something else will probably keep OS’s secure enough from devs that want to play with all the shiny, new toys.

    3 Yes, i get it. Giving folks a clever shell script they can run in sudo sure is a fun and easy way to get things done. It’s also like tossing a stranger the keys to your car so he can go get your take-away order. It’s usually safe, but there’s the off chance that he runs over a kindergarten class or uses it in a bank heist.

    4 i am absolutely not kidding about this. Dockers default setting is to fill your disk with old crap. Calling prune goes through and can delete gigabytes of old image data. You want to do that before your computer locks up because / is out of space. Hell, you want to keep a close eye on things using docker image ls -a because docker doesn’t always show you everything, and docker can keep lots of old versions of packages lying around for reasons.

    5 So, yeah, fun fact. If you try to later switch to a different ZWave controller USB, it won’t work because the devices and protocol specify the controller, not the local settings. Oh, but it may screw up your local /dev list forcing you to do crap like this because the /dev/ttyUSB0 device is now pointing to an invalid endpoint and something keeps resetting it. It’s super annoying.

    So, one of the HomeAssistant folks reached out and asked “Why aren’t you running the Home Assistant Operating System, which handles a fair bit of this for me.

    The short answer is mostly FUD on my part, since i’ve not dug super deep into the OS option and been burned by similar things in the past, but a bit more than that too.

    i may convert everything over to HAOS (trying to backronym a C to the start of that for some reason), but there are a few personal caveats:

    1. This would basically be a from scratch rebuild. Much of my HASS is still YAML based, so to do this right, i’d have to rebuild it all in the native UI. Not impossible, but a lot of work.
    2. i run a few things on this machine. It’s my understanding that HAOS is basically Alpine running a slew of Docker images, and it’s fairly easy to convert things into Dockers to run on it. This may mean rebuilding stuff like PiHole, as well as my semi-hacky python scripts, and whatever other bits i might need. Again, not impossible, but a lot of work.
    3. Much of the logging does not get written to the SD Card. i’ve gone in and softlinked much of it to write to a USB3 drive attached to the Pi. This is because Linux is “write heavy” and that can burn through SD card write cycles pretty quickly. Again, not impossible (since i can probably mount the USB drive and alter Docker files configs to use that drive), but … well, you can see the pattern emerging.

    i have no doubt that things would be a lot easier if i were to have started from scratch yesterday. i didn’t. There’s definitely sunk cost at play here, but sadly, i can’t ignore it because it’s actually functional.

    :: Ec-COVID-Nomics

    SARS/Corona Virus 2019 (COVID19) is a terrible disease, on a lot of fronts. The thing i really can’t get over are folks that say stuff like this:


    A NextDoor post where someone proudly claims their going to a 40-50 person gathering because the disease has a \

    i mean, sure? If you’re young-ish and fortunate, you do have a fairly good chance of getting through it alive. Hooray?

    Of course, that’s not really the problem, at least, that’s not the most significant problem you face in the US.

    Let’s consider what you face if you get the disease.

    First off, there’s dealing with the disease itself. For some folk, it’s nothing. As in they have no symptoms what-so-ever. Other folks require hospitalization. How your body reacts to COVID is pretty much anywhere in-between, and there’s no knowing what it will be. There are also potential long term considerations as well, since it’s still quite a new disease and nobody is quite sure how it will impact everyone.

    You may only be “sick” for a few days get “better” and since you got the ‘rona, feel you don’t need to worry about wearing a mask. You’re now a spreader since you’re still contagious since the virus is still very much present in your system. (You could also be asymptomatic, which means you have the disease, but aren’t showing or feeling any symptoms. Feel free to read up about “Typhoid Mary” if you want a nice, historical record of how this could happen.)

    But let’s say you’re unfortunate enough to actually require hospitalization. Because we’re America, once you’re released, you’re looking at a bill of anywhere from $32,000 to $73,000 (depending on how good your coverage is). It can also be a whole lot more than that, depending on where you get your care.

    i don’t know if you’re able to buy a car right now out of pocket, but that’s kind of the numbers you’re looking at. If you’re not, you’re going to have to figure out where to get that money. Again, since we’re America, you’ll probably turn to the age old practice of finding someone to sue. If not you, don’t worry, your insurance company will probably do it for you. They don’t want to spend that sort of money either, so if they can find someone who exhibited clear, reckless behavior, you bet they’ll be right on top of that.

    Of course, if you’re in the clear and someone you’ve contacted afterwards develops COVID, well, let’s just say that announcing your open defiance of strongly suggested health guidelines may not be quite as bold as you had thought.

    (i honestly believe that this is the major reason that the US has not implemented Contact Tracing like Canada has. i’m pretty sure someone figured out that having a clear path between litigant and plaintiff may not be fantastic.)

    What’s more, again, since we’re America, and our health providers don’t like pre-existing conditions, this is something that could actually come back to haunt you years from now.

    So, yeah, that’s why i have zero intention of going to large gatherings so long as COVID is still very much a thing.

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