The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)
Last night was the series finale of Buffy. I’m sort of mixed on the whole thing. I’ve been devoted to that show for the last seven years, and now that it’s gone, there’s sort of a hole there. But I’m glad to see they went out while they were ahead and they didn’t choose to run it into the ground the way that X-Files did.
So that’s over. They’re auctioning off props and costumes from the show at BuffyAuction.com, but I think that paying upwards of $600 for a faux potted flower that had a cameo appearance in an episode is a little much, so I won’t be getting anything from there. I’d have liked to have gotten a costume or something, but the costumes are selling for $1500 and over, so no go there. Some people have too much money on their hands.
I discovered a new pet peeve yesterday. Maybe it’s not new so much as not often exercised. See, if I ask you a question, you know what I want? An answer. I don’t want to spend my time justifying myself to you about why I asked the question, I just want the answer.
Here’s the scenario: I’m working on a program at work that will do some web stuff. (Let’s just abstract it a bit so we don’t get lost in the details.) I know what I want the program to do, and I’ve got most of it done, but I came to a point where I didn’t know how to make it do what I wanted. So let’s say (arbitrarily) I wanted it to print “Hello, World” on the screen. I couldn’t get that to work after fighting with it for a while, so I sent a question to our on-site programming guru guy to find out how to do it. Here’s how that went…
Guru: Hey, what’s up? Travis: Not much. Did you read my email question? G: Did you send it a few minutes ago? I’ve been out of the office. T: I sent it two hours ago. That’s fine. I’ll just ask you while you’re here. I want my program to say “Hello, World” when I run it, but I can’t get that to happen. How do you do that? G: Why would you want the program to say “Hello, World?” Why wouldn’t you just make it say “Hello” instead? T: Because it needs to say “Hello, World” not just “Hello.” How do you make it do that? G: Have you done a Google search for other programs that do this? T: Yes - I’ve searched all the documentation I can get my hands on, and it’s not covered. How do I get it to work? G: Are you sure you don’t just want it to say “Hello?” That would be more useful. T: For YOU, maybe, but I need “Hello, World.” G: I’m not sure why you want it to say “Hello, World.” Why would any program need to do that? T: What difference does it make? Seriously - I just want a simple program that does this one thing. Please just tell me how to make it do that. G: You know, you could make this much more flexible by making the greeting optional. It could just say “World” and then give you the choice of “Hello” and “Goodbye.” T: It doesn’t need to say anything but “Hello, World.” G: And why are you writing this program? T: I’m going to fucking kill you if you don’t give me an answer here. I’m on a deadline and I don’t have time for this. G: Oh, well, I don’t know how to make it do that. Sorry. T: ARGH!!!
So basically I went around for half an hour with this guy trying to get an answer that he didn’t have.
The deal is that I don’t ask people for help very often. It’s not in my nature. I do things myself because, frankly, I’ve found that I can’t trust other people to do the job right. So when I eventually cave in and ask for help, it’s not because I’m slacking off and just don’t want to figure it out. It’s because I’ve researched every alley available to me and can’t find the answer, so it’s time to branch outwards. When I get to that point, I already have the question very well defined - all I need is the answer. It’s not the time to go “back to the drawing board” and discuss the philosophy behind why I’m asking the question in the first place.
I’m getting worked up just thinking about it. I should probably have my blood pressure checked. I’ve been more high strung in the past six months than I normally am, and for those who know me, that’s pretty damn high strung.
I think I’m going to try to put a positive spin on that in my yearly employee review. This year I have found my hard limits - the point at which I can no longer take the added pressure of more workload and am forced to either have a nervous breakdown, a heart attack, or a postal-style killing frenzy. I’m probably doing two or three peoples’ worth of work here, and in doing that I’m finding that I can no longer turn out the quality of work that I require in the quantity that is requested. I’m unwilling to compromise on my quality, so… No more work, or the coffee maker gets it!
I so desperately need a vacation. A vacation where I can go for a week and realize that things will get taken care of while I’m not there, not one where I go for a week and come back to discover that all I am is another week behind because there’s no fucking backup assistance.