This word stuck in my head while reading Sandi Toksvig’s Almanac mostly because she used it often and rightly so as the book was about women who had achieved the first of something. Some centuries ago and others more recently and as much as I enjoyed reading and learning about these pioneers I haven’t retained any of their names.

If pressed I could probably name a handful of men and women who were the first to achieve something; find a cure, swim the channel, invent electricity. No one is remembered anywhere near as well as they should be or in the case of many who appeared in the book they were actively forgotten as they were women and not worth writing about at the time of their achievements.

After all this effort made I haven’t maintained any of the details, but I am left with the word groundbreaking and its imagery but also a palatable dread of the ground left to break.

“You’re pounding on a fault line”

The Perfect Circle

I guess this is true of how we deal with others achievements in this din. We are constantly connected to platforms that encourage us to boast, beguile and belittle.

I don’t reread as a rule as there is only a finite about of books that can be read in a lifetime but I feel compelled to reread this until I retain more of it. It could be the constant achievement on every page all individually important that causes a cascade diminishment.

What does this have to do with testing?

I guess our job is sometimes to pick apart achievement, lay it out into its components and confirm achievement has been realised. We critique, poke and prod achievement. Sometimes we get tools to do this for us that are built to understand what achievement looks like. Who died and made us John Wayne?(Totally paraphrasing from Buffy there)

This makes me think of Judge Dredd. Very black and white sense of right and wrong in a dystopian hellscape. One of my favourite villains from this universe is the Dark Judges from a reality alternate to Dredd’s where they have deemed life is a crime as the only people causing crime are the living. Certainly this achieves a very low crime rate but their conclusion could be labelled as extreme.

“The crime isss life. The sssentenssse isss death !”

Judge Death- 2000AD

Are we as testers diminishing achievement or evolving it? If our job is mostly analysing others achievements how do we break our own ground? Do we even allow time to stop and celebrate what we have managed? It is difficult to be visible at the best of times.

This hasn’t been the year to maintain positivity nor one for achieving much outside of surviving but even that had massive odds this year. We are almost at the end of 2020 and New Year begins the need to set goals, resolutions and the urge to muster up strength to try and be better. I understand the need to draw a line under this year and start anew but allow yourself to examine the accomplishment of surviving even if you don’t feel you really have, shake it up like a snow globe, let it settle and enjoy the lights. (but don’t follow them)



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