Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

I Saw Some Unicorn Hunters, and Other Events This Month

Journal Aug 1, 2022

I met some unicorn hunters at a kink social, I'm arranging a cross-country move for my dear lady, not to mention my side projects, and more!

This month has understandably been busy, with far less time spent writing than I'd like. There's some consolation for such busy-keeping, however: I landed another promotion! I'm no longer considered a junior tech person.

In my last journal entry, I had just travelled to see my dear lady in person for the first time. I also faced down the looming uncertainty of potential lay-offs:

Carrying On My Life Amid Uncertainty
Since my last journal entry, I’ve travelled across the US to be with my dear lady. I’m also facing down uncertainties in life as best I may.

Uncertainty is still rampant, amidst all the chaos that is the act of juggling my life. Yet I am doing my best to prepare for the future. That includes the big cross-country move for my dear lady!

Without further ado, let's dive into the past month's happenings:

What Are Unicorn Hunters, and What Makes a Unicorn Hunter?

I met some unicorn hunters at a kink social recently. Not the venture capital kind, on the prowl for a hot new tech startup, but the non-monogamy kind.

If you're not familiar, unicorn hunters have become an archetype in the non-monogamy world. The prototypical case is an established cis-het-ish couple ("ish" because of a bisexual/bicurious woman) looking for another bisexual woman to add on to the couple's dynamic, usually focusing on sex.

It's not always a cis-het-ish couple, it could be any arrangement – but as I said, prototypical.

Often you'll find unicorn hunters steeped in couple's privilege, such as with explicit rules designed to "protect" the couple's relationship at the expense of the unicorn's.

The quality of unicorn hunters is also a total grab-bag, but overwhelmingly you'll find people that haven't done any of the necessary work to make a healthy dynamic.

Such unicorn hunters come with red flags galore, they wander around blindly stubbing their toes, hurt themselves and others, get complained at by the community, and complain about their plight.

For example, you might see a couple on dating apps looking for a "female" to "spoil and share their love with." Such couples often have the expectation of dating unicorns as a couple, with all the power imbalance that two-on-one entails. They might look for "discreet" unicorns so that the couple doesn't need to be out about non-monogamy.

Yes, there are some quality couples out there to contrast those. This classic post which I'll call to your attention speaks to such couples:

Unicorn Ranchers: Don’t Hunt, Create a Sanctuary - Poly Land
We should be unicorn ranchers, not hunters. If we want unicorns to come and visit us, we should create a safe place for them.

In brief, people who have more experience and healthy expectations may cultivate a relationship dynamic where they put in the work to break down couple's privilege. They can make something healthy and workable.

There's a world of difference between the naïveté of "tee-hee, unicorns and kink" titillating couples opening up in a rush for the first time, and individuals who have developed the personal framework to handle sex-positive, kink-aware polyamory.

Here's another article speaking to unicorn hunters, this time the ones who have less experience:

To Unicorn Hunters, From an Ex-Unicorn — Polyamory For Us - Sharing What We’ve Learned
You can see my other post on the topic here , directed at “Unicorns”. Note: This post is not referring to everyone that looks for a triad - in this context, “Unicorn Hunter” is specifically referring to the kind of people that make the  really common mistake

My favourite takeaways from that article are "it's up to you to keep the changes in your relationships healthy" and "grass is greenest where you water it."

The couple I saw at the kink event were very much fresh and naive. They were aware of kinks and had researched a bit, fallen into basic roles with each other, but... I had no interest in playing the educator that day.

It's not that being a unicorn hunter makes someone lesser. After all, everyone begins their journey somewhere, and it takes time to become informed and practised with relationship skills.

It does, however, mean that there's a lot more fraught territory to cover. As I said above, stumbling around blindly hurting themselves and others.

I'd rather steer clear for now.

Trust is Built in Actions (Like Promotions)

For a while I've had a FAAMG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google) recruiter checking in on me, gauging whether I'm ready to jump ship or not.

A year ago I wasn't quite ready to, but I did have my doubts about my current employer. I wrote this after I had been passed over for promotion:

My manager agrees that it's ridiculous for me to continue being considered a junior when my competency outstrips the role, but for the next year I have to grin and carry on as I wait on his assurances that he will promote me as soon as possible.

Have I mentioned lately how little I trust other people? I enjoy holding power, and I coldly object to being ensnared within the grasp of others. As they say, "trust but verify."

Yet the only way to verify my manager's promise is in its execution, a year from now.
My Groundwork to Ask for a Promotion
The transition from junior developer to senior developer at work entails several bits of groundwork to be laid out far in advance.
The article containing the above quote

Now that it has been a full year, I am vindicated for trusting in my manager. He came through for me.

In that article, I laid out the steps I needed to take for a promotion. I have indeed followed them, although I've been keeping to a sustainable pace to do it.

Now with this promotion comes a big, high-profile project that went all the way to the president of my working group. It's my first real experience working with the larger collaborative sphere, rather than being cloistered away within my team.

I'm in the room where it happens!

The promotion is nice, and with it comes a significant pay raise as well. Yet that's not the only form of trust that needs to be built with actions.

Thousands of Miles to Bridge the Gap

I visited my dear lady a few months ago, as part of the ongoing effort to develop trust and security within our budding romance.

Time has simultaneously crawled and flew since then. Each full day passes slowly with lots of time together virtually, but the months have blasted by.

We've booked our second visit, and this time I'll be teaching my dear lady to fly so that I may bring her home with me for a week. I swear I won't be pushing her off the metaphorical cliff to learn how to do so...

Then very shortly after this upcoming visit – less than a month after – we plan on doing the big move to get her out here to California for good.

Escaping the rural US is so important to queer livelihood, and I can't wait to see her blossom into whatever may come.

Love is Blind, but the Neighbours Aren’t
At my core I still think of myself as a rural queer. It shaped my upbringing, and made me wary of neighbours.

If her journey is anything like mine, escaping rural life will let her explode in personal growth.

All it takes is crossing thousands of miles, and spending every waking moment building the life we wish to lead.

No small feat, but when broken up into the daily tasks, it's much more manageable.

We simply need to love one another, with all the work that entails.

Working on Side Projects

It's not enough for me to juggle half a dozen relationships, friends, family, work, and my home life.

I also get the itch to build things, to work on hobbies, to do something tangible and creative.

Sometimes I satisfy that itch by crafting a new collar for my dearheart. Other times it's in writing, either for this blog or for my novel drafts.

These recent few weeks, it's been a tech project I'm taking on to sharpen my skills.

It's a good way to learn new technologies and enjoy myself on the weekend. These skills I even intend to bring back to my work, as self-taught additions to my toolbox.

The technical words for my side project are that I'm doing "full-stack development," which is a fancy way of saying that I'm touching different areas of coding that are normally separate – frontend and backend work.

Such practise will be good, if I ever want to make my own startup venture.

I likely will, at some point in my life.

This month, I also received some feedback from someone about my sci-fi novel draft!

I've achieved 65,000 words on that draft, but it's still disjointed. It needs another 50,000 words, most likely.

This reader feedback helped, one of the first times ever I've had something useful come back from someone who reads my stuff – they had a lot of questions which let me know where I fell short on my world building.

I tend to write the most when under a healthy amount of pressure. Right now, I'm not sure if I'm overdoing it or under challenged.

Whichever it is, I'm off balance because I'm not spending nearly enough time writing or working on fun hobbies. I suspect I'm overdoing it.

Sadly, with the way work is ramping up again, I doubt I'll be able to make much progress on my writing.

We Had a Near-Miss Interviewing Candidates at Work

Being glutted with positions to hire within my team means that we're suffering from our own success. We've invested weeks of efforts into interviewing dozens of candidates.

I’ve Been Interviewing Tech Candidates
Despite being a relative junior at work, I’ve spent the past year interviewing candidates for technical skills. It’s worth reflecting upon.

We've got our juniors hired now, all that remains are the seniors. Yet, seniors are a once-in-a-blue-moon lucky find.

One of the recent candidates was a near-miss. That's good that we caught it in the interview stage, but it's still scary!

They were exceptional at interviewing, knew a lot about the language we work in, and breezed through our first interview rounds. Then they hit the wall with my technical challenge.

I made a challenge that can be completed at your own pace within 1 to 3 hours. It's easy for people used to software development, as you'd expect from a senior.

This candidate turned out to struggle with solving real-world problems. That's a huge concern when hiring a senior who needs to be proactive about solving problems and self-directing.

Seniors aren't allowed to get "stuck" on problems. They unblock themselves.

One of the warning signs was that the candidate had spent a lot of time on small algorithmic challenges on one of countless coding skills sites. If you're not familiar with those sites, you're able to practise coding problems and learn the basics of different languages through them.

It's a warning sign only in the sense that it's a poor return for time investment. A senior would have better things to do than get 100% completion on a bunch of basic certifications, essentially.

There's also still a bit of startup culture in our team's experience. We expect haphazard development, with agile ideals like ownership over features and cranking out solutions to problems.

We're not used to the morass of corporate life, where ponderously slow processes get in the way of things and obscure how much work actually gets done.

For seniors we expect to find problem-solvers, like most engineers should be. People who have a steady history of working on problems of all levels of complexity, who know how to work through a problem until they find a workable solution neither too simplistic nor too complex.

I'd like to be a senior someday, of course.

Until then, I'm glad that we missed this hire. I want a senior I can learn from, and better myself with.

My Day-to-Day is Triaging Emotions in Polyamory

I can only solve problems that are presented before me. I'm not a mindreader, yet.

This means that my day to day life involves a lot of asking people how they're doing, triaging their responses, and trying to do what I can to help.

Recently I've had both my dearheart and my dear lady go through the pains of starting polyamory. First when I went to visit my dear lady a few months ago, my dearheart wasn't sure he would be able to handle being alone at home. Then recently, my dear lady wasn't sure whether she'd be able to share me at home for bedtime.

Of course, they brought this up at a natural point, after plans had already been arranged and the minutiae was being worked out.

As I said, I can't know what needs must be addressed until those problems are communicated with me.

There's the usual feelings associated with growth: they both felt as if they weren't meant for polyamory because they faced these feelings of insecurity. They were uncertain and doubting themselves at the first sign of setbacks.

I think it's normal to need to unlearn internalised monogamy when first confronted with the reality of sharing.

There's countless other daily minutiae too. Everyone has emotions, and with so many people in my life it's difficult to juggle them all and know when to keep myself in reserve and when to intervene.

At times I wish I had a tidy, solitary life. Then I remember myself, and how boring that is. I'd rather take the messy reality that is loving other people, than be alone again.

I want to build community and many loves, and there's only one way to do that: by working through the minutiae with abundant grace.

Closing Thoughts

Carrying on my life amid uncertainty is great, but I'm worried still. As much as I am an optimist who wishes to see a shining utopia, I cannot ignore the mired mess that makes up today's affairs.

I focus my energies on my community and my people, instead of the powerless situation that is the world at large.

Ultimately if things keep getting worse, I will need to turn to my people for support and to support them in turn.

Out of Context Problems and Diversification
How prepared are you for black swan events? These improbabilities can gut your financial plan. So how do we cope with uncertainty?

I'm looking forward to getting my dear lady out here to California, and this promotion helps me afford the many expensive plans my household involves.

Let's see what the future may yet hold! Things may pull out of decline, after all – though I very much doubt it, even as an optimist.



Mistress of the Home, responsible for all matters financial. A loving Domme tempered with ambition and attention to detail.