Just Work Harder?

Yesterday, I put in a marathon of coding and work. There are a lot of different parts to my job, and I don’t usually have time to do all of it. By staying up and working until 11PM, I was able to get most of it done. Not quite all of it. I focused on the most important item, which is a change in the way we move data from the sites to the cloud.

I did an unreasonable amount of work, and I’m going to do another unreasonable amount of work today. It’s Tuesday night, so I’m going to enjoy some time in Shut Up and Write, then I’m going to join Michael Gallowglas’s stream where he’ll have Jennifer Brozek on as a guest. It’s going to be a great evening for writing things! But as soon as that’s done, I have to switch back to the work laptop and get some more stuff done.

Some of this is a reaction to what I was feeling yesterday, about wanting to quit. Rather than look externally, I’m focused internally, trying to do as much as I can so that I can be as blameless as possible with regards to my work. It’s not necessarily healthy, and it mirrors how I deal with other problems. I blame myself first, then try to fix it by fixing myself.

What effect did this have?

My boss is very happy with me. He wanted something done and I did it faster than anyone could have hoped for. I wrote a major feature in less than a day, and it’s already tested, primed for going out in the field. He expected it to take about two weeks to get to this point.

The coworkers I showed this to seem impressed, too. They also seem a little bit hurt that I didn’t use their expertise. Basically, our boss wanted a team to get this thing done, and I did it all. Not because my team couldn’t do it, but because it was the fastest way to get from point A and point B. Also, if I didn’t do the work, it would have reflected poorly on me, because I’m the one responsible for this system that’s been failing.

I should probably clarify something.

Would it actually reflect poorly on me? I think it would, but it’s not the sort of thing that would show up on my review. Some of what I’m describing is how I interpret the situation. My intuition told me that if I didn’t stay up late and get the entire feature finished, it would have been bad for me. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true, but it’s the information I have to work from.

I’m not working for a sweatshop. Trimark has always taken good care of their employees. I have always felt valued there.

If I’m wrong about the various levels of approval and disappointment I’m wading through, then making the extra effort isn’t going to hurt my standing at work. If I’m right, then I’m doing exactly what I need to do to continue to be valuable to the team.

It’s definitely way too much and is not sustainable by any stretch of the imagination, but what can I do?

I have some time right now to get this blog post done, then I’m going to rest a bit while I listen to friends of mine talk about writing. Once that’s done, I’ll go back into the coding mine and extract and refine the next feature.

There is no way I’ll be able to do Nano next month if I keep this kind of workload. I’m going to need to write during lunches, and I’m going to need to spend extra time on the weekends in order to get ahead, in case I have a really bad work week. I’ve succeeded this way before.

I’m also going to have to fall in love with my story and really believe in it. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting there. Right now I think it’s a good idea with some interesting potential.

That’s it for now. Tomorrow, I’ll write my post during lunch, and hopefully talk about something other than work.