In this episode of React Native Radio, the panel speaks with Lorenzo Sciandra about the stress of being an opensource maintainer and what is being done to help maintainers. Lorenzo gave a talk at Chain React about this his experience as an opensource maintainer, which fuels his newfound passion for helping maintainers everywhere find the support that they need.
One way this is happening is through the React Native Community Organizationa and the Lean Core Effort. Lorenzo describes what these two are doing and how it is helping react native developers and maintainers alike. Their efforts are providing a safety net for users while also removing some of the stress that maintainers carry.
Lorenzo’s goal is to make the role of a maintainer sustainable, making it a job that won’t wear developers down. He explains how maintainers are doing all this opensource work for free on top of their full time jobs and lives, leaving little time for themselves. Charles Max Wood shares the Sustain Our Software podcast and how on this podcast he hears a lot of these same thoughts from other opensource maintainers across all frameworks.
The topic turns to the importance of maintaining mental health and discarding the stereotypes of developers programming day and night, surviving solely on coffee. Lorenzo discusses knowing your own limits and being able to recognize the bodies warning signs that you are pushing it too hard. His main advice is to find someone to talk to and invites all opensource maintainers to join their discord channel where they will have a safe space to share their feelings with people who understand.
Josh Justice asks Lorenzo how his own opensource maintaining is going. Lorenzo explains that after his talk at Chain React he took a much-needed break, destressing and unplugging from the world. Currently, he is spending most of the time who would be maintaining opensource helping opensource maintainers receive the support they need.
Another way they are hoping to gain support for opensource maintainers is to find more companies like Formidable who are willing to compensate maintainers for their time working on opensource.
The panel considers why it is more important for React Native to have sustainable opensource than other platforms. Other frameworks are just now coming to the realization of how demanding being a maintainer can be, where React Native maintainers have been struggling with this problem for years. The panel discusses how much more complicated it is for React Native because of its cross-platform nature. Lorenze invites anyone who would like to help with this problem to the GitHub repo dedicated to solving this problem.
Lorenzo shares what it is like working at Formidable. Josh shares impressed he has been with Formidable as well. They discuss the culture that is cultivated their, how they empower their people, support open source and learning.
The panel gives advice for choosing companies to work for. Josh advises choosing a place that optimizes learning. Charles advises prioritizing the top things you want out of the job. He points out how priorities change when you reach a certain point in your career and salary matters less and job satisfaction matters more.
After you know what you want, you need to find companies that meet those needs. The panel gives suggests meeting up with employees to find out more about their companies, going to conferences and see which companies send their employees. Charles takes it one step further and advises you to ask the employees about the systems they use so you can take the initiative and learn some of it before meeting with the company.
Lorenzo suggests getting involved in React Native Community Organization. There you can see which companies value opensource. It also can give you a leg up in the opensource world. He explains that you can get started by approaching the maintainers of your favorite libraries and offering to help.
To end the episode the panel shares some last reminders about taking care of yourself. Take a break when you need it. Remember that we need people and support just as much as logic in our lives. Be aware of your needs. Last but not least at the end of your day remember your worth is much more than you can code.
Charles Max Wood
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