A miser knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. I feel that way sometimes about the people tracking my time at work. The thing is, they don’t bother me about how long it takes me to do my work. I bother me about it.1

A constant source of frustration for me is that everything I do takes longer than I expect it to. This is true whether I am doing something for the first time or the hundredth. I try to build it into my time estimates, but it is often impossible to guess how much time may be wasted on overcoming a technical setback. Most of my coworkers don’t have technical setbacks, per se. They are working primarily in Excel and Word rather than creating databases queries and analytical scripts. Consequently, they don’t understand how difficult it is for me to make time estimates. I can’t possibly create an accurate estimate of how much time I could lose to a bug I created, some analytical framework not working as promised, or the speed of a database or a network share being far slower than expected.

It also bothers me that it takes me the same amount of time to do a lot of my work as it did ten years ago. It isn’t because I haven’t gotten better at my work; the quality of my work is better, but adding that level of quality takes more time than doing the work in a slapdash, non-repeatable, non-controlled way. This kind of thing is true in my hobbies, as well. I can’t solve Sudoku puzzles or crosswords must faster than I could years ago. While solving quickly isn’t necessarily the point of doing puzzles, it makes me feel that I have plateaued in my abilities and possible cannot get any better.

I suppose, as I have gotten older, I have learned to be considerate and to care about quality over speed. Unfortunately, the world, I am afraid, still values the glib and quick over the thoughtful and slow.

  1. The calls are coming from inside the house. ↩︎