Friday, February 15, 2013


To my son Tommy,

Programming and designing software systems and business systems can often be compared to sliding naked down a razor blade in to a vat of lemon juice. Frustration is rampant and bugs and problems always exist. You have to deal with your naysayers who always doubt a system will accomplish anything, as well as dealing with those who stuck in the fantasy that programming is easy and can do anything and be done in seconds. It often ends with the programmer stuck in the middle and making less accomplishments than Congress. Though it probably makes me a masochist, I love every second of it.

There is a serious sense of euphoria and accomplishment when you achieve a programming breakthrough. Even if that moment lasts less than a minute, it is very real and tangible. Seeing a job done automatically and correctly in seconds that when done manually takes a full day and can be fraught with possible errors, that is what I live for. A lot of people don't realize how fast my brain works on a problem and solution and how excited I get about solving it. I don't put off the right vibe that portrays that feeling.

Perhaps it is years of people blaming the computer for their mistakes and thus blaming me. Or perhaps it is from developing systems and requests that go un-utilized or under-utilized. Or perhaps it is just a keen sense of when a solution won't work all the way. Or perhaps the realization that if you create a foolproof system, only a fool will use it. What ever the reason I have learned to hide how much I love programming, which is a real shame.

But then that moment comes when you digitize a process or form that is antiquated and you see the light bulb come on in the person who just realized they save a significant amount of work or hassle per week. It is usually quickly followed with a request for more and more; no one revels in the accomplishments of the moment for long.

I love programming. I may be antiquated in the programming niche I occupy but it still works and, to toot my own horn, I am good at it. I am so good that things I programmed and built in to our custom software years ago finally are being realized. I can take a small vague idea and work out the specifics and foresee problems and solutions and frameworks needed to expand in the future. I am good and I love programming.

I write this to you not to brag (too much) but to point out you have to do what you love and be good at what you do. Work is a frustrating four letter word but if deep down inside you really do love what you do, and do it with a passion, you can get through even the worst days. I think recently I had a couple more of those moments that reminded me why I love programming and it may have re-awakened a passion that was hidden even from myself. Now I need to decide if showing this more to my co-workers will end up swamping me with too much work. Because I am more passionate about being a daddy and a husband and love that job even more than I do programming. And I am darn good at those jobs too.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

No comments:

Post a Comment