Life Outside My Cube

My life, a work in progress.

Monthly Archives: October 2009

Um, Stimulating

Yesterday was pretty horrible, work-wise. In sharp contrast to the previous post, I was busy from the moment I sat down at my desk at 6:05 until I left at 4:10, working primarily on 1 issue all day. It’s difficult to explain the thing I’m working on, but it involves massaging of incoming data files, generating new data based on other data, building outgoing data files, and doing detailed database reporting. My boss, I and a co-worker worked  together on this pretty complex problem yesterday for perhaps 3-4 hours, and I alone for most of the rest of the time. By the end of the day I had a blistering headache, and no more than 5 minutes before I left, my co-worker discovered what appeared to be a huge problem with the code we’d been working on all day.

I was not a happy camper.

This morning, things appear to be a bit brighter; the huge problem wasn’t really that huge, there’s a clear path to resolution, and the client isn’t on our backs. So now I’m on the downhill part of that roller-coaster.

But I think I’m getting too old for amusement park rides. :-)


Not much happening at work today. In fact, my task list is totally empty. I have nothing to do. I dislike having to “look busy”.

I left early for lunch, instead of dragging things out until 12:00. I was feeling sorry for myself, and the light drizzle seemed an apt environment to muse in.

I remembered a job I wanted to do, so I drove to one local park and picked a quart of ripe crabapples that I’d sampled a couple weeks ago. Smallish, bright red fruits with a decidedly bright citrusy flavor. I think they’ll make excellent jelly. Not wanting to go right back to work, I drove around for a while, finally stopping in at a local restaurant to eat by myself (there’s another quirk – I eat to make myself feel better. Or, maybe I like to commiserate with my food. whatever). It was a bit pricey! One of the “specials” was seared scallops over rice with a wine and mustard sauce, bacon-apple cabbage and green beans. Very nice presentation, and wonderful to eat. A glass of house Chardonnay and it was a perfect meal.

Now it’s 4pm and I’m heading out. No sense in staying until 5, since I was here at 6:30am, and there’s really nothing for me to do anyhow. I hope I can find something constructive to do tomorrow!

Quirk #113

quirkThere’s probably a word for it, or a named psychological aberration, but I believe I have a problem finishing things.

I was sitting on a park bench this noon, thinking about how tired I was of working on the similar project stuff, and how amazed I was at some people at my company who’ve been doing the same thing – literally – for over 15 years. I cannot imagine. I have only been here a hair over 3 years, and there’s most always a tangible horizon to look over.

I’ve been doing the same thing, more or less, for about a year now, and it’s getting old. Quite old. I would love to make a complete career change, but have no idea what it would be. First thing I thought of was some kind of work involving connecting community people together. I seem to be good at talking with complete strangers. But then, I though, I have difficulty with more mature relationships.

I often get all excited about a particular book, but will shelve it after some time due to lack of interest and never finish it. I often start projects, but lose interest after a time. I tire of living in the same place after 4-5 years. All the while other people plow through books, complete projects and live in the same place for 30 years.

So what’s this malady called? I have a bad case of it.

I can’t Just Do It

The chocolate almond frozen yogurt was not forcing itself on me. It was not threatening. It did not insist I indulge. But I ate it anyway last night, a big bowl of it. I wasn’t even super hungry. I felt guilty afterward.

Self-discipline is such a difficult things to master. Some observations.

Ensure that the motivation is stronger than the urge to give in. Make it inconvenient, a major hassle, difficult to remain at status quo. You know, make it harder to not be self-disciplined. Don’t buy a bigger pair of pants; wear the tight ones as a constant reminder of the goal. Budget/control your ice cream purchases; for every gallon you buy, force yourself to put $10 in savings. This could really work… until there’s a great sale on pants, or someone else buys the ice cream. If that external is removed, the motivation doesn’t work.

Provide positive motivations instead of negative. Make it more pleasurable – or at least easy – to be self-disciplined than not. Plan for new clothes at each weight loss level. Splurge on 6oz gelato at a restaurant instead of 16oz ice cream at home. This could really work… until the rewards seem to expensive, or you conspire with yourself to be satisfied with the status quo. If the positive motivations aren’t attractive anymore, it doesn’t work.

It ‘s a mind game either way, and only works until the motivation or reward is removed, or you figure out a way to beat the system you’ve created. Or some other excuse to bend the rules. You see, it’s all about external motivation. I think we need to be looking at the internal problem instead of just trying to build external punishment/reward systems.

See the truth about where you are. If we’re overweight, we are likely guilty of gluttony, selfishness or laziness, for example. All character flaws. Being self-disciplined in an area is not just about changing a “habit”, it’s about making a change in character. The realization that my actions are a result of the character inside is pretty overwhelming, and it seems like an insurmountable problem.

As we have strayed out from under Christ’s rule over us, we have unseated Him and supplanted righteous character with sloth, self-seeking and hedonism. Let us – let me! – commit to restoring Jesus’ rightful place in my life, and to enjoy the mental, social, and physical blessings that arise when we bring all things in subjection to His feet!