More hard fought wisdom

If a not very urgent, small and uncomplicated project is on the order of an afternoon’s worth of work, and you put it off sufficiently long, eventually the number of meetings about it (not involving you) and the number of other people involved (up and down the management chain) will reach the point that you could start a whole new division on the intellectual and organizational energy being spent on the issue. Yes, wait long enough and they will mint a VP just to take charge of about a hundred lines of code.

This, of course, makes it totally worthwhile to continue to find other shit to do. Popcorn is optional.


Work expands to exceed your capacity for stress.


Day one on the new job: Get something compiling and working, and do a check-in. That gets the ball rolling and greases the rails ahead of you. Most failures to onboard that I’ve seen involve folks who think this stuff is trivial, put it off for a few weeks until they “get around” to writing some code, whereupon they get behind and never quite catch up.

Bonus points for making things crash spectacularly (ahem, before checking in) — now you get a free intensive lesson from a debugging guru.


Nobody planned for things to suck as bad as they appear to. You just walked in at a bad time.

Or at least that’s what they told me. Grab a keyboard and start typing, they’re gaining on us.


If you can, take an unplanned mental health day. I’ve emailed my boss and cow-orkers at 5:30 in the morning, saying “Hey, it’s gonna be a beautiful day, and I’m going to spend it on two wheels in the mountains instead of pushing buttons in my stall.” Come back refreshed and grinning and try not to make them feel too bad.


The phrase “We do agile here” is nearly always followed by “But . . .”

Whereupon you can be pretty sure that there’s nothing actually agile going on.


There’s a logical explanation, but:

[ ] You’re not a logical person, and I can’t explain it to you.

[ ] Who says the law is logical?

[ ] Do you want to educate fifty million users?

[ ] That was in the 16th century, and they burned him at the stake.

[ ] I will fill you in while I low-level format this disk drive. Can you pass me that hammer?