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What a Day, What a Year

New Year’s is typically a time of reflection for most people. It happens on a schedule and is pretty unavoidable (birthdays too, I guess). You get close to the day and say to yourself “huh, these things have changed since last year” or maybe “I can’t believe it’s been another year and I still haven’t dealt with this issue.” I didn’t have that instrospective moment this December 31. I think it was because of work, mostly. I was very focused on short-term tasks and that kept me busy. The holiday rush was all new and all different and didn’t lend itself to deep thought.

Until tonight. I went out for a beer with people from IMlogic. It started my brain going and now it won’t stop. A year ago yesterday we got acquired by Symantec. A year and two days ago I had to have my dog put to sleep. I changed jobs, moving away from these people that I’d worked with more than two years. I started the hard work of building relationships with a new set of colleagues. I lost 15 pounds. I started working with the fraternity again. I watched friends have kids and lose parents.

Before I saw the IMlogic people, I was burning with thoughts about work. I’ve had a blog post idea on the back burner for a while about how hard it is when smart, well-intentioned people disagree. It’s one thing to be frustrated at a big company where it’s easy to show that you’re right, but difficult for any change to come out of it. It’s much more difficult when these smart, well-intentioned people have different ideas about direction and execution. My writing fails to describe what this is like. It’s hard. It takes everything you have. The specific issue today isn’t relevant. All that matters is that it’s important and defies easy resolution, so I keep turning it over in my head, trying to find the way through it.

The year-end thoughts didn’t displace the work. Everything just added on top. So, here I am at my keyboard when I should be going to bed. 2006. 2007. Grizelda. Friends. Where should the company go. What can I do to help it get there. How much of myself do I put into the job. What do I want out of the job. What do I want in the big picture of life.

How much thinking can you do about one day? About one year?


Comment from Dave St.Germain
Time: January 5, 2007, 3:09 am

in my experience, you can do far too much thinking about one day, or one week, one month, or one year. sometimes it’s helpful, but sometimes it’s destructive.

but don’t take my word for it — i’m a little drunk right now.

Comment from doug stewart
Time: January 6, 2007, 12:52 am

Thinking is seriously overrated. It just makes your head hurt.

I’m more worried when smart, well-intentioned people all agree then when they disagree, to tell you the truth. But being unable to convince others of their folly can be frustrating and disheartening.

Comment from dunster
Time: January 6, 2007, 10:54 am

I agree that failing to convince others of folly is frustrating.

In this particular case, it’s not about folly. I don’t know what the right answer is. Maybe that’s the key to what makes it so hard: the constant questioning, the doubting. If I knew the answer, it wouldn’t be hard. I’d make the argument and either be happy or frustrated depending on whether I found agreement. But when I don’t know what is the “right” solution to a problem – that’s what is so hard.