I’ve been doing some soul-searching lately (I’m running a bit low on souls).
You see, I’m always trying to figure out what makes me “tick”, and I am constantly amazed at how difficult a task that is. You’d think that I would know why I think and act the way that I do. But, I seriously think that I have an easier time figuring out other people than I do myself.
Me: So… How was your day?
Myself: Stop trying to psychoanalyze me!
Myself: Your mama’s a bitch!
I: Would you both shut the hell up!?
Me & Myself (meekly): Sorry.
I’m a douchebag.
I truly sympathize with you folks.
But, despite my uncooperative nature, I have somehow been able to discern at least one very important aspect of my being. At my core… deep in my nougaty center… I am a lazy sot. I would rather spend my days sitting on the couch, harvesting Cheetos crumbs off my belly/snack-table, imbibing copious quantities of root beer and playing computer games instead of… ya’ know… working.
No, really, it’s true!
And yet, surrounding that core, like a creamy caramel coating, is my “work ethic”. Always at constant war with it’s lethargic sibling. Using every weapon in its vast arsenal to motivate me. Forcing me to do my job, even when my job sucks… alot.
In summary, my “lazy sot” side compels me to do as little work as possible, whereas my “work ethic” side demands that I do it… no matter what. I’ll get the job done… I’ll just do it without expending too much energy in the process. The result can sometimes be viewed as “efficient”, but I can assure you that this is not by design.
For example, one of the byproducts of this distinct mental condition is that I have elevated procrastination to an art-form. I wait until the last possible minute to do work on any project that is assigned to me. This active procrastination has produced two surprising results that I have observed thus far:
- I have become quite good at “scrambling” to complete projects in a short timeframe, which has given me a fair reputation as someone that “gets things done”.
- Many projects have been de-railed before I got to work on them, and thus procrastination has frequently saved me from wasting time.
In fact, I would argue that procrastination is extremely appropriate in many cases.
Sure, I could work on parts of a project over time, as my schedule permits, instead of waiting until the “do or die” point. But in some cases, doing things in numerous low-energy bursts over a long period of time isn’t as efficient; kinda like emptying a swimming pool with a dixie cup.
I think I’ll just stick with my way.
And, as luck would have it, I manage a group of people who are… largely no different. Don’t get me wrong, I have the most talented group of engineers in the entire company, and I would not trade a single one of them! (unless it was for Angelina Jolie)
Just sit in a single one of our staff meetings, and you will never question how we are able get things done… you will, instead, question how we are able focus long enough to make it all the way into work without the aid of a guide armed with a cattle-prod. (Oh, or Megan Fox. I’d trade two of them for her)
The Magazine Engineering Group gathers for their weekly staff meeting…
(the names have been changed for their protection)
Me: Ok, let’s get started. Paco, how’s the DAM upgrade going? Paco…? Paco!?
Paco looks up from his BlackBerry, annoyed at being disturbed
Paco (grumpily): What!? It’s fine! It’ll be done on-time!
Me: It was due last week. Ok, whatever, nevermind. Pedro, what’s the status of the Research System project?
Pedro: What color would you say this shirt is?
Me: I don’t know, it looks like… wait… what?
The rest of the group studiously ignores me as they deliberate about this crucial topic and ultimately decide that it is, in fact, “Periwinkle”
Me (patiently): Research System…?
Pedro: What? Oh, yeah… it’s done.
Me: Ok, great. Shane… how you doing with the database server migration?
Shane (waking up suddenly): WHAT?! I wasn’t anywhere near that server! That’s not my SCSI cable! You can’t prove anything!
The meetings typically go on like this until we get kicked out of the conference room.
Naturally, I am exaggerating here… really… I am…
But back to the topic…
So, I ask myself, what have I learned from this deep introspection? I have learned that I would hate to be my Psychiatrist. I have learned that I have a severe allergy to planning (sorry Aggie). And I have learned that I actually like what I do at work (yeah, surprised me too).
I’d dive even deeper into my psyche, but my boss reads my blog, and I think I’ve damaged my career enough for one night.
Besides, those Cheetos crumbs aren’t going to harvest themselves!