One of the greatest flaws we humans have is thinking that we have control of so much more than we do. That we can fix it if it breaks, that we can get ahead of anything….dramatic.

But life can be a lot more like a wildfire than it is like anything else. A small spark suddenly incinerates a life you knew, one you thought was totally under your command. The flames leap from one place to another, out of control and the damage spreads. The fire burns, brightly, violently, until it’s ready to give up, to let go.

For every…


This is a hard time. Some days it doesn’t feel hard, despite the crush of fully remote work, the never ending doom of the news cycle, the uncertainty. sometimes we can forget and push it to the side and pretend things are “normal.” but other times the stress is ever-present, low-grade but thrumming in the background. relentless.

Every day, the teams we work on, the organizations we work for, the layers of our lives, the school drop off, the checking in on your mom/your grandma/your neighbour, the constant hand-washing, they all blur together.

More and more I have been having…


You’re supposed to ring the bell when you finish treatment as some sort of catharsis, some closure. A sign that you conquered the disease that tried to take you over, but failed.

This year, because of COVID, there was no bell. Which I guess is apt, because there is also no closure.

It seems easy to mentally prepare yourself for treatment being over. Of the end to the machines, to the demise of the “frequent fryer card” (cancer patient radiation joke haha), to no more daily screenings, no more weekly checkins with oncologists and nurses, no more being aligned just…


Knowing when a change is necessary is not always as easy as it sounds.

It’s human nature to stay a little longer, to dig in and try to “fix” things, to try a little harder, to persevere because of loyalty, to have a little faith that whatever you’re not liking will be more likeable soon. but sometimes, you just need to call it and tap out and find a new path. Resilience does not mean sticking it out forever, it means you pivot and adapt.

Part of my life as a Free Agent is about being comfortable knowing when to…


picture of a rolling stool in a hospital exam room.

One of the first forms you get asked to complete asks, “have you gone through any of these major life events in the last two years?” I scan the list and start checking.

Move (can I check this box three times, I wonder?)
Death in the family
Job change (check, check, check)

There is no checkbox for Pandemic so I add it under “Other”.

Later, my surgeon looks over my checkbox heavy list and jokes, “so, you avoid stress, right?” and we laugh together about the absurdity of it all. I am in the right place

I’m not one to…


What a week! Getting to Friday felt like time passed both super slow and super fast and I was extra ready for the weekend.

Trying to get back into the habit of writing more this year, and sharing more openly about the kind of work that I’m doing, so taking a stab at a weekly retro.

What went well

This was a big week for connecting with people. On Monday, after a conversation I had had the previous week at the Free Agent retreat, I reached out to see how I could help with course design at the Digital Academy…


The procrastination edition

In January I got sick, which scattered all of my good habit plans to the wind, including these weeknotes. Amidst a ridiculous amount of work, job hunting, and general insanity, I’ve been trying to pick these back up but have failed ridiculously every week. Just ask me how many versions of volume 4 are kicking around in my drafts…it’s embarrassing.

It’s been a rough time. A year and a half ago, I took on a product management job that was a job for … well, a couple of people. With a tiny but mighty team, we accomplished a lot, but…


Another week has come and gone. How do the days disappear so fast? I’m late posting last week’s notes, but I suppose I’m only accountable to myself here. Getting back into the groove of writing has been, and continues to be, hard work.

This week was a busy and productive one, which was nice — I have found that over the course of this project those two things do not always go hand in hand! Beyond just work, though, it was a good week personally, too.

What happened this week

This week marked the end of a project development stage for my team, so…


What a week! It was short but mighty, and I’ll admit, I could have used a few extra … days … of vacation mode before jumping back in to a million and one issues to tackle. Did you get to have a break over the holidays? I managed to have a few days of downtime, and it was so worth it. Sometimes you don’t really realize how tired you are until you stop moving.

Things that happened

A big part of my week revolved around documenting the requirements for the next release of the products I’ve been working on for the last year…


Time for something new.

Ask me a decade ago and I probably would have told you that I could write. And I did, a lot. I had a blog! I ran corporate blogs. I wrote about technology and learning and frivolous things all day long. Fast forward to 2018, and I seem to have misplaced how to do it for my own sneaky, self-satisfying pleasure. I stopped writing because “I didn’t have time.”

But after an ultra exhausting year of too much time spent working and not enough time spent indulging in learning and being creative, I’ve had enough. As…

robyn paton

product manager. free agent. introvert. unable to sit still. YOW via YUL and YHZ.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store