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Stuck in high-tech hell? There's a way out!

http://msn.com.com/2102-1106-940287.html

Bella
Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Good stuff.

Ryan
Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Garbage.  Worse than useless, could be harmful.

So we work in a stressful unsupportive environment and his solution is to take a nap or maybe a day off once in a while?

This reminds me of the little anecdote in Peopleware where the executive was proudly telling the author how his company had surveyed employees and was implementing a plan to resolve the #2 problem.  So what about the #1 problem?  Oh, they couldn't do anything about that.

This sounds like the kind of book that CEOs would like because it gives them an excuse to avoid the #1 problems.

What does this guy know about software development anyway?

mackinac
Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Well, Mackinac, if you can offer the world the solution for problem #1, write a book about it and get rich :-) As long as you don't, I prefer to take a break from time to time, change the things I can change, leave the things I cannot change and try to make my personal life as happy as possible.

I will take a break in August and travel through British Columbia with some friends for four weeks. And man, I am really looking forward to this.

I love my job, and I kind of like that many people depend on my work here, but at the moment it is my greatest pleasure to laugh everyone in the face and tell them that I will not be able to do task x or y because I will be river rafting, feeding bears or whatever.

Have fun,

Jutta Jordans
Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Sometimes the problem is out of your control. We sometimes deal with clients that don't want to give an inch but have no problem taking a mile and expecting a smile. Sometimes our managers become the enemy instead of our trusted protector, searching for ways to boost hourly billing at the cost of our sanity.

I think his point was this - all the success you gain and problems you solve will mean nothing if they come at the expense of your life. You'll be wishing you had spent more time with your family or went on that vacation you've been putting off when you realize that there is no end of the road. No silver bullet solution that will lead to development bliss. The problems continue, the stress continues, the work goes on. So take a little time for yourself, it's not gonna kill anyone. But working yourself into the ground will - you'll be on the receiving end of a heart problem.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't go along with society's obsession with self happiness at the expense of everyone else. I think that sometimes work just sucks and you have to just deal with it. But I also keep work in perspective now. It's merely one piece of my life. I take time off from work to spend with my daughter and enjoy it. And because of that I remain a happy and productive worker.

Ian Stallings
Tuesday, July 16, 2002

There are basically two kinds of people in this world.  The ones that are responsible for themselves and the other kind generally known as whiners.

The whiners should be lined up against a wall and shot.  Only problem with that approach is that there ain't that many walls.

Joe AA.
Tuesday, July 16, 2002

>>>Well, Mackinac, if you can offer the world the solution for problem #1, write a book about it and get rich :-)<<<

DeMarco and Lister wrote a book 15 years ago.  They have been mostly ignored, at least by people who might be in a position to implement any of their solutions.  The reason I dislike books like the one that started this thread is that they offer junk solutions that might displace real solutions.

The hard problem is getting employers to implement the known solutions.  As a developer the only thing I can do is find a company that has implemented those solutions.  I am finding this to be an amazingly difficult problem, but I am working on it.

mackinac
Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Dalay Lama says: "Measure your success not by what you've reached, but what you give away during the road to success".

Alex Givant
Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Excellent stuff. I think it's generally well known that Winston Churchill used to take an hour nap after lunch, even at the height of WWII. He was so much more productive that one of his top Generals started following his example (one at HQ, not one actually on the battlefield). However he slept sitting up, because he didn't think it was fitting for him to be seen to be asleep.

It comes to the measurement thing Joel talks about. If you could have a nap, and not loose productivity (and I believe you can), and more importantly show that, then most managers would be OK with this (I think). Until then, managers have to guess how productive you are from how many hours you work or something.

David Clayworth
Tuesday, July 16, 2002

General Ulysses S. Grant was rumoured to over-indulge in alcohol.  During the height of the Civil War, a congressman complained to President Lincoln that Grant was a drunkard.

Lincoln, who was impressed with Grant's abilities on the battlefield, allegedly replied, "Find out what kind of whiskey he drinks and send a barrel of it to all my other generals."

Sarah Tonin
Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Any employer that doesn't "allow" you to have the time you need for yourself is not a qualified employment services vendor. Remove them from the short list.

In the interim, TAKE the time you need and want for yourself. Make it priority #1.  Your employment services vendor will survive until you hire a new one.

Repeat until life=null
  if  doYourOwnThing.complete
        work

"asset"
Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Clearly, "asset" naive idealism reflects his lack of children, a mortgage, and/or elderly parents to support.  Your time will come.

Bella
Wednesday, July 17, 2002

I only lack the children Bella. At 40-something, I'm past my reality phase. And I choose to work in high-tech because I love it, just like I did 15 years ago.

If everyone put their "job" on the line every day,  unemployment would be lower.

"asset"
Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Employment services vendor? LOL

A
Thursday, July 18, 2002

i think boredom or "life sucks" is necessary to let one get totally pissed and do something about it...change it for the better..which becomes eventually boring....begining the cycle all over again.

the key is to have new experiences. i was cycling yesterday along a less known path and found a plum tree. stopped by to have a few plums. they were raw but i enjoyed the experience of plucking as many as i want, eat a little, chuck some to the birds and squirrels. hmm nice.

hope that made sense ;)

jag
Thursday, July 18, 2002

jag-  exactly!!

people spend too much time worrying about the 9 to 5, when they should be paying more attention to the 5 to 9.

apw
Thursday, July 18, 2002

>>>people spend too much time worrying about the 9 to 5, when they should be paying more attention to the 5 to 9. <<<

Maybe it is just an effect of getting older, but I am finding that it is getting harder and harder to enjoy much of the 5 to 9 while the 9 to 5 seems to be going down the tubes with no potential for improvement in sight.

mackinac
Thursday, July 18, 2002

I would encourage anyone who wants to do something different during the day - a nap, read a book, walk, whatever - to go tell their manager and just do it. The trap people get into it is being defensive about it, which then lets a Dumb Manager turn them down.

Hugh Wells
Thursday, July 18, 2002

Yea, sounds smart in a recession.  Go tell your manager that you're going for a bike ride after lunch.  LOL.  Sounds even smarter if you have children.  (Disclaimer: I have no children, but have nothing but awe for those who handle this monumental task)

Bella
Thursday, July 18, 2002

Stuff the recession.

Hugh Wells
Friday, July 19, 2002

If you are your own manager, you can answer "yes" to such resonable requests.

"asset"
Friday, July 19, 2002

Hugh,

You've got it together. You're absolutely right this is the way to handle it. if a manager who would have a problem with it, I'd consider myself warned that it's time to move on. But I've not yet had a boss that would have a problem with it.

Last year, I was reading that productivity and well-being was higher in developers with a window view. I came in on the weekend, moved my stuff into an unoccupied office with a window, set it up and walked into it on Monday.  Later I overheard my boss's boss ask him about the move and he said "I decided to give him an office with a window because he deserves it and needs the privacy."

Later that week I told the department secretary that I needed a drafting table, a drafting chair and a decent bookcase. Didn't ask anyone for permission, though she did clear it with my boss first. They were ordered and desivered promptly and now I am working better than ever before. My boss knows that it pays big dividends to have team members who are not unnecessarily hobbled in their efforts.

Imagine that! If you expect respect, you'll often get it. And if you don't get respect, you've acquired some extremely valuable information.

I will say that I would not expect these acts of being a self-starter to work if one is not competant in their profession.

Sarain H.
Friday, July 19, 2002

Sarain, that is just beautiful! Good work.

Hugh Wells
Friday, July 19, 2002

Beg for forgiveness, never ask permission.

Well, almost.  It may not be your "boss" that would have the problem - if you are doing something physical outside of your normal job description... such as moving yourself or even furniture from one desk/office to another... there is the possibility you could be violating a company/union agreement and you could get yourself into a lot of trouble, regardless of your competency.

Just be aware of other possibilities when you decide to knock your own chip off your shoulder.  You may not be as smug as you want to believe.

Joe AA.
Sunday, July 21, 2002

No-one's talking about doing things that are selfish, foolish or irresponsible. That's not what it's about. So I agree with your point Joe AA.

Hugh Wells
Sunday, July 21, 2002

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