Agile 2018

Agile 2018
Speaking at Agile 2018

Monday, July 13, 2015

Take some time off for Pete sake!

Sometimes you have to get off the treadmill.
It is nice to start blogging again.  The last two weeks have been very difficult.  My brother died from complications from burst appendix and I had to take time off to lead the funeral arrangements and support my family.  After that experience, I had to slowly make my way back to work and return to the duties of my day job.  These experiences have changed me profoundly.  I am not the same person I was three weeks ago.  I also gained a little insight into why people need to take time off.  This week I wanted to share my discoveries.

The world of science and technology is unforgiving.  There is always too much work and not enough competent people to do the work.  This is why business people hire project managers and scrum masters to try and get the most out of the limited resources they have.  The problem is that many managers in the business world do not treat their people like human beings but as resources to be used up and disposed of.  This is wrong.

Making matters worse you have highly driven and talented people who work hard in the hopes of earning success.  Case in point, one of my online friend Mary Zeman pointed me at an article in NeuroDojo that has to be seen to be believed.  In short, a Ph.D. is working sixteen and seventeen hour days, publishing hundreds of papers, and only has to ask his spouse to sacrifice her career and have his children spend weekends with him in the lobby of his office.

Science and technology require a great deal of commitment but it should not destroy your family relationships and ability to function as a human being.  Being creative not only requires quantity of time but quality of time where you are focused and in a state of flow.  It has been my experience that you do not reach a state of flow when you are tired or in an environment with lots of distractions.

It bothers me when I hear people outside the profession say that technology people do not work hard enough. Obviously, these people do not see developers working late hours during a production roll out or spending hours looking at the same problem desperately hoping they can find a solution.  This takes a toll on the people and telling them they are not working hard or fast enough is not helping.

So I took the time off.  It may have affected my career but I doubt it because my company and leadership supported me during this difficult time.  I will also take time off later in the summer and during the holidays.  The reason why is in order for me to be a better scrum master and software developer, I need to decompress and take time away from the work I love.  Otherwise, I will be used up and thrown away.

Until next time.