Today was the last work day of the year. It was also the last day that I understand that my direct supervisor will be out on paternity leave. It seems like it's been ages since I've seen him, and reviewing the calendar it actually has been three whole weeks. Time flies when you're having fun, I suppose.
As the afternoon started to grow long in the tooth, one of the directors from another group stopped by to chat with the couple of us that were there and we made some good conversation about existing and pending technologies, as well as received an invitation into their testing environment. That last part is super exciting for us as we don't have a lot of hardware where we can do much testing, so we'll be taking advantage of that for sure.
Fortunately I work with a group of people that do like to socialize outside of work, and the late afternoon today was no different. We made our way out to a happy hour and chatted over drinks and snacks for a while. While here, I was able to ply the ear of my skip-level a bit to express things that I haven't directly expressed to him about my long-term career goals. He was extremely receptive and even started to send an email or two on the spot (thankfully I dissuaded that given the situation and timing).
In these somewhat seemingly casual encounters, I was able to make connections that I hadn't to date. While it isn't the progress I want to make in the long-term, it is the first step in what I think will be the right direction.