Saturday, June 12, 2010

How I Cope at Work

I’m a dork. I know. You know. But I didn’t know if you know I know. (Ya. I know).


Over the years, work has certainly had its ups and downs. Through it all I’ve developed a unique way to cope during peaks and valleys.

Some people read, some people run, some people golf or fish.

Me? What do I do to cope?

I write Haiku. English Haiku to be precise.

Yep. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my robot innards, there’s a satisfaction about funneling all my thoughts and feelings about a stressful work situation into that deceptively complex 5-7-5 syllable rhythm. Not much space to say much, but at the same time, much can be said.

Here are some excerpts from over the years…

…like when my job is going really well…

I love my job now
I invent things all day long
Time to change the world



…like when our product really shines…

Look at the Blue Clouds
What makes them look so perfect?
Our team, our designs!


But sometimes things don’t go well at work, and the Haiku gets a little more sarcastic…

…like when our product goes out and the marketing is so over-the-top that only super-human software could meet expectations…

Our product blooms high
What made the product succeed?
Much fertilizer


…like when those who view status and schedules as more important than the user experience we release…

Project manager
the death of all that is good
smell the rotting flesh


…like when a customer review goes bad…

Smell the aroma
Even the dogs run away
my UI design



And sometimes they turn personal…they try to bite at work, but turn around and reveal true emotion…

…like when it’s really overwhelming…

Status reports suck
I want to burn them with fire
but I drown instead


…like when they reflect my perceived performance compared to others…

Kickball team chosen
The best players run and play
I sit on sideline



…like when they are an honest reflection of how my work values me compared to how I value myself…

I bring great value
Users feel joy and peace here
Me? Lost. Without hope



And sometimes they make me cringe at the truth they shout…

…like how work adventures affects my family…

Exotic travel
Feeds my exploration bug
Hear my kids cry "bye"



Finally, sometimes a thoughtful Haiku just doesn’t dig into the emotions that burn through a tough project when daily status meetings are occurring…

…so what else can be done…

…but parody a Christmas tune…of course…

…to the tune of “Twelve Days of Christmas”…

On the thirteenth day in Status Hell the devil* gave to me...

...thirteen bitter arguments
...twelve performance lectures
...eleven stop-ship defects
hours of debug
...nine scrums a scrumming
...eight design rejections screams of agony
...six dropped enhancements
...four status charts
...three broken green threads
...two design debates
...and a product that still doesn’t work

* editors note: Apologies to the devil. I am implying project managers because they run Status Hell, but ‘project manager’ just didn’t fit the rhythm of the song. I mean the devil is mean, but not THAT mean.

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