From Whose Perspective?

Java Posse Roundup 2010 is now history, and I’m still digesting and pondering. But one “Aha!” moment was worth posting quickly.

During a discussion on productivity and job satisfaction, a participant stated a view that I suspect many of us have shared: “If I can get to the office early, I can get my work done before the distractions and interruptions begin.” After a moment in which many of us nodded appreciatively, Diane Marsh replied, “But it’s all work.

Earlier in the same session, several of us had mentioned “learning” or “helping others learn” as one of the joys of our craft. But it occurred to me that perhaps there was an implicit “…what I want to learn” tacked onto the end.

I am not defending pointless interruptions or feckless meetings. But I benefit from Diane’s reminder that the programmer’s equivalent of taking out the trash and washing the dishes are still valuable parts of the day. Flow is good. So is individual accomplishment. But so are balance and avoiding tunnel vision.

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  • Chris Phelps  On 2010-03-25 at 17:29

    Great post. I totally agree with your implicit question. I am currently struggling with trying to adjust my expectations from what I want to learn on my current project (what I was promised on the interview, but that’s another story) to what I am really doing. I wasn’t expecting to learn about the Ext JavaScript library or the complications of very large SQL query tuning, but in the long run, this experience will be better for me if I pay attention and get something out of it, instead of closed-mindedly protesting that it’s not what I wanted to learn. I don’t intend to be on the project long-term, but in the meantime, I should be gaining whatever insights I can.

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