Work/life balance, step 2 -- be happy as much and as often as you can (and not just at work!)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/10/20 11:46 -04:00, original URI:

There will probably be some technical stuff in here but it will be mostly not so much.... 

I have had both friends and colleagues warn me about BWI (Blogging While Intoxicated).

They usually cite some examples from me, e.g. TechEd Orlando: Day 3 and Amazing what a difference a preposition makes (aka Boy with stick, gets no chick), and suggest that these were not good posts to do.

Of course they would do better without those citations since I enjoyed doing them tremendously at the time and I thought they were fine when I looked at them later. I simply have no idea what they mean about how bad BWI is.

If you want to think about dangerous tasks, one I have never tried to avoid is CWI (Coding While Intoxicated) because if you're up then you're up. May as well use the energy while you have it if you have nothing better to do. And a clean, tight algorithm helps one keep one's mind off the fact that it was a mistake not to kiss that girl or ask for her number or whatever (to momentarily channel my more distant past!).

Though I admit I have truly never been foolish enough or drunk enough to CIWI (Check-In While Intoxicated). No matter how smart the ideas seem when you are coding them, and how occasionally you may have been right, it is also possibly some of the most ridiculous crap that ever made its way into the source tree. So all things considered, it is better if it does not. Thus while CWI is something I have done before, CIWI is not.

Makes me wonder if the check-in suite should include a Breathalyzer or something to avoid CIWI, for people with less self-control?

Or maybe functions your write while CWI should include the Breathalyzer value in the header -- and perhaps one of the people doing the CR (code review) should be equally drunk so that they can better appreciate the algorithm and thus assure they are in the proper state of CRWI (Code Review While Intoxicated).

This might make lots of sense also for maintenance on the code later, so that they can understand the code properly? :-)

Funny how I can sit here and say it is such a big deal not to CIWI yet BWI is no big deal, now that I have committed it to show up on the blog. I mean, any check-in, no matter how late, can usually be reverted prior to the next build if it was a bad idea, while one can't ever take down a blog post.

So the consequences of BWI are potentially much worse than CIWI could ever really be.

As I write this post, I am actually BWH (Blogging While Hungover) which although I think this post is fun I definitely don't feel like I am having as much fun doing it than I remember in the past while BWI. It take a lot more effort to think through the general feeling of blah that is the downside of using alcohol as a tool to help take back the weekend, so I think I will not go down that road.

I could be crazy but it seems that I am drinking more these days after having fallen in to hanging out with a slightly younger crowd. But then I think no -- the not-quite-so-young-but-not-really-so-old crowd might do it a bit differently (wine tastings and grabbing wines from their cellars as opposed to clubs and bars) but social intercourse seems to have always included alcohol to some extent.

The only real difference is the times in the past that I have been on medications for my MS that I did not want to have metabolize too quickly. Which would make me a bit of an oddity at times (who the hell goes to a wine tasting without drinking a lot?), but I think people understood mostly. The ones who din't can actually just go and get bent.

I feel like without actually having a true mid-life crisis I have accidentally (by the people I have been hanging out with in various contexts) fallen into re-living my twenties a little bit, in the twilight years of my thirties. Though not fully re-living, since the lessons of the book I Worship the Very Dirt She Treats Me Like: The Story of a Warm, Caring Guy in a Society of Cold, Calculating Women were always in the back on my mind since I first read the book at the tender age of 21 or 22....

Lessons which I learned back in my early 20s with Chapter 5 (I Wish I Could Love You, but I Can't) and Christine's immortal words "Well, I guess there's a fine line between 'warm and caring' and just being a pest.". And then it helped me defend myself in my 30s with Chapter 2 (The 30-Year-Old's Achilles' Heel - A 23-Year-Old) -- a chapter that applies even moreso as one gets older! :-)

Though in truth I was hooked by the title and subtitle and the back-cover quote "Have you ever laid your heart on the line -- and have the skid marks to prove it?".

You can find the book used on Amazon here or here if you are curious!

This book has had way more of a shaping effect on my approach to romance than it probably ought, but it definitely keeps me much more aloof about this younger world than I was the first time I was in it. To misquote Robert Duvall from that movie The Paper for a moment:

The people you hang out with, you move in their world, but it is their world. You can't live like them. You'll never keep up.

None of which stops it from being fun, and that can certainly count as stage two of taking back the weekend -- enjoy life. Working on it, and succeeding more often than not....

I think I have now realized one of the strengths of BWH -- I forgot all about my hangover when writing most of the above, and the general philosophy of mind DCA (Don't Code Angry) makes the idea of CWH (Coding While Hungover) a much less pleasant idea.

Much better to be happy, as much and as often as one can manage, something I won't add to my commitments at work even though it will have a lot more to do with my success as an employee than any of the crap that is in there.

Can one do that with just work? Well, a little bit. But not all the time. In that way it is like sex (a night of great sex all night can make up for the fact that you got no sleep that night, but it won't work two nights in a row), and you need to have more balance between work and life if you want to be happy.


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# nbradbury on 20 Oct 2007 1:48 PM:

TWI (Testing While Intoxicated) is also productive - you can uncover all sorts of little bugs while sloppily mousing around your app.  Just make sure to write down the problems you find, since you may forget them in the morning.

Stacy on 7 Nov 2007 7:07 PM:

If I may - WWI (Writing While Intoxicated) is generally a bad idea - especially if it an angry e-mail to your boss, or ex, or just someone that probably shouldn't see that side of you ... although, CWI has been fun in the past .... ;)

Anastasia on 7 Nov 2007 7:08 PM:

Michael - I thought you "always" got the girl!!

Michael S. Kaplan on 7 Nov 2007 8:23 PM:


I don't always get the girl -- I don't even usually get the girl....

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