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Programming on a full brain

I like my job. Remember that.

“It helps to remind those who think of programming as a “cushy job” that programmer burnout rates are high, programmer divorce rates extraordinary, programmer work hours are obscene, programmer job security is next to non-existent, programmers come home from long work weeks of programming to spend hours more in unpaid self-training to keep up with a field that abandons those who stop learning for even six months.”

Found on USENET

Right now at work I’m juggling three projects, assisting on a forth and preparing for a fifth.

Add to the mix an endless parade of requests and email and phone calls and the fact that I haven’t had an official vacation (more than two consecutive days) in just over a year and you’ve got the recipe for programmer burnout.

There was a time just today where right in the middle of writing some code, I completely blanked out and could not remember what I was doing. I’d forgotten which project I was working on and even forgot which language I was writing in.

Luckily, my phone rang before I could regain my senses and before I knew it I had agreed to donate a large chunk of any future free time to providing yet another solution for yet another department (although, the programmer in me saw that this re-engineering job, while not officially a “Project”, really needs to be done. The way they get their data and process it currently borders on ridiculous… Must fix that.)

The problem I run into is that it feels so good to solve problems. I love knowing that I’m the one responsible for changing the way entire groups of people do business during the day. It’s especially nice to hear “Hey, thanks. That program / database / template / spreadsheet / webpage you made has helped me so much.” or “What used to take us all day now takes us an hour!” and just the occasional “You Da Man!” is nice too. That kind of encouragement makes me want to keep doing what I’m doing.

So I accept another project…

…and help out with somebody else’s project.

…and promise to meet a tight deadline.

…and return the phone call I know is a request for more work.

…and keep going to work day after day.

I like my job.

But I need a break.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.