Rule #32: Enjoy the little things

by Seanba on November 27, 2009

Zombieland scene

It’s Thanksgiving and, apparently, I’m mature enough to write a post of thanks, but still cynical enough that I feel a comedy Zombie slasher flick is the best vehicle to introduce the theme.  (By the way, one of the things I’m thankful for this year is Zombieland. It’s my new favorite movie of all time.  Sorry, Unforgiven, but you had a good run.)

But I didn’t start off my day all incredibly thankful.  The idea of four full days off work is pretty exciting, and I made a loose list of things I wanted to do:

Man, this was gearing up to be an incredible long weekend. That was until my wife told me that we had Thanksgiving plans that would take up most of today.  Ugh. My whole weekend ruined. Now I’m going to have to talk to people and stuff. I’d protest, but my poor wife only asks me to be sociable a couple of times a year, and besides, I probably agreed to this weeks ago anyhow.

On the drive over today my wife suggested that we, Team Barton, discuss the things we’re thankful for. There’s the regular stuff that I wish on everyone:  good health, great kids, happy marriage, our countries of birth and residence kind of rock with the freedom and such , etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Not bad, but I’ve also got this to add:  I really like my job. A lot. Even when it sucks I tend to love it. I can’t just imagine what it’s like for other people, the majority I’m sure, that just punch the clock with some soul-sucking career to pay the bills.

Final Fantasy 6 screen

There’s a bunch of little things to enjoy about programming that I’m forever struggling to express effectively, but I’m sure other passionate programmers know what I’m talking about. We deal with these odd abstractions and puzzles and the unique challenge of getting them to work together. And sometimes we even manage to compose this arrangement in a way that is not only functional, but elegant and extensible too.

Fellow programmer Gustavo Duarte, on the luck of programmers, had this to say …

“Another source of pleasure is that under certain conditions, beauty arises in programming. It may sound like bullshit but it’s real, the kind of thing that makes your day better.”

Damn straight, brother. I just love those days.

Further, on top of these fulfilling brainy snacks we are also handsomely compensated and in high demand. If your place of work makes software then the programmers in the building are probably taking home the most pay. They’ll also be the first ones to find work if the lot of you are laid off tomorrow.

And further still, in cases like mine all this awesome career goodness is made even awesomer because I work for a video game developer. Holy cow, do I ever love that part.

So yeah, I had to give up some precious me time today, but it wasn’t too bad. My super-charged long weekend plans could all go to pot and I’d still be driving into work Monday morning with a devious grin on my face – truly something to be thankful for.

By the way – right now I’m curling up to that book I bought specifically for this weekend. It’s no coincidence it would be titled The Passionate Programmer. 🙂

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