Busy Bees

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  _Robert_ 1 week, 5 days ago.

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  • #29310

    _Robert_
    Participant

    No way for me to know for sure, but there seems to be a group of people who are afraid to be alone with their own thoughts. They seem to be super intent on doing busy-work and spend little time on big picture thinking. They often have many unfinished projects that go on and on and have to do a lot of “rework”.

    I will not lift a finger until I have a plan. As a result I am efficient getting tasks completed. I have pre-computed “time in motion”, probable hiccups and contingencies to remain flexible. I seem lazy to those busy body types. I have had past issues with bosses who run things like headless chickens.

    #29311

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    There’s an ethos in Buddhism that people shouldn’t try to do too much, be over-busy or “over-burdened with duties”.  Apparently they call it “zen time”.

    As I’m burned out from stress, I find it difficult to be busy.  So I tend to move at a very slow pace.

    #29312

    _Robert_
    Participant

    There’s an ethos in Buddhism that people shouldn’t try to do too much, be over-busy or “over-burdened with duties”. Apparently they call it “zen time”. As I’m burned out from stress, I find it difficult to be busy. So I tend to move at a very slow pace.

    Me too. While in Italy I noticed that many natives were paced. I also noticed Brits and ‘mericans were frequently annoyed with  what they perceived as slow service. The Italian could not care less, LOL.

    #29313

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Jamaicans are famous for “Jamaican time” which I think means “in my own chilled out time”.

    #29314

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Simon, Jamaicans are famous for their work ethic. Also Jamaicans are wont to help one another and take advantage of particular skills. Further they give each other good pricing or barter when there are particular service needs.

    On other hand there is a cultural norm of arriving late for social functions. I think that may be what you are getting at with the Jamaican time.

    #29316

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    I’m comfortable being alone with my own thoughts, to a fault. I don’t lift a finger until I’ve over-planned and over-big pictured it, and then my day is an unfocused mess of jabbing at this or that thing I’ve planned and am still planning, with unexpected diversions taking over to boot, although (imo fortunately) few of those diversions are for entertainment. That’s here at home, while retired. I still have “big plans”, and I swear that fruition is around the corner!

    Meanwhile in (a previous) real life, at work, I managed to focus on my long term plan(s) more than on the list of accomplishments prescribed and officially measured in my job description. It seems to generally take about six months for people to trust my good intentions, and then a couple of years before management trusts in my plans and products. By four years I’ve made a big enough difference for both company and customers that my official job description has evolved to be less detailed, and broader in scope wrt to doing well with “company and customers”.

    In my division at Symantec, at the cost of somewhat low evaluations based on my initial job descriptions, I created the first FAQ, the first set of help documents available and searchable online and later available on demand by fax server, and most importantly the first bug database. I was lucky enough to work there for seven years during their ten or so year fast growth stage (including when they bought Norton), but decided to leave them when they started consolidating a dozen or so USA-wide tech support locations into one location in Oregon. They kept me long enough to train new employees there, let me continue to work with/for other departments before the whole division’s location moved and shut down where I lived, and I got a sweet severance package.

    My biggest “failure” there (albeit a successful learning experience) was supervising a dozen software product techs. I had it down to a mathematical science, evaluating them on their own customized list of objectives, each weighted and agreed upon between the employee and myself. Everyone working for me liked me, partly because I neglected to watch them or interact with them closely in between evaluations except when they came to me for technical or customer service advice… due largely to what my boss (and later myself) called my “social retardation” which he said in the kindest way 🙂 ). It took me another twenty-five years or so to pull myself up out of that disability. My therapist said I show symptoms of Asperger’s, but I haven’t officially sought a diagnosis on that. I’m certainly not a savant. I’ll just keep dealing with what I am versus what I want to be, regardless of cultural conventions or labels.

    Although I liked Oregon, the biggest reason I didn’t move there was so my wife could stay in the work she loved near home. It turned out to be a very good decision for both of us and for a daughter or two, I’m fairly certain.

    I was a “busy bee” in the sense that I always acted too busy to interact with people. I’m so lucky I got enough support from family, friends, and therapists to “fix” myself to be ten times happier now than I’ve ever been. And a few times healthier, physically, after a couple of recent scares. (My apologies if anyone finds my long personal story not very interesting.)

    #29317

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Symantec huh? We always figured half that company was designing viruses. The other half was selling auto-renewal subscription protection.

    #29320

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    We always figured half that company was designing viruses.

    I think way back then, that may have been part of our secret eastern bloc division. 🙂

    I have to say, those were awesome days, working in the project management software division (Time Line, specifically). I thought it would be really boring, but I fell in love with it, and it was very popular with small and medium sized businesses–especially construction companies and contractors, and large departments inside of large corporations… until Microsoft swallowed up several markets by integrating several products with Office, including their project management software.

    #29321

    _Robert_
    Participant

    My early days as an engineer was focused on writing embedded assembly code for 8 and 16 bit processors. I loved it. Over the years software became more and more abstracted and isolated from hardware so I switched to HW design. There are so few software engineers who understand systems and HW these days. That was evident when I reviewed their code. Usually they expect HW to function perfectly 100 percent of the time. That kind of thinking can result in effects ranging from user frustration to fiery explosions.

    #29322

    How many software engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?

    ……….

     

    None. It’s a hardware problem!

     

    #29323

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    My early days as an engineer was focused on writing embedded assembly code for 8 and 16 bit processors.

    My first job out of the Air Force was at TRW, which I left pretty quickly. I tested radar phase delay boards for Army tank applications while most of the testing department took hours at a time off in the break room, and my boss pressured me to increase my output even if I had to skip certain tests that were clearly required by the QA spec. In long lulls, instead of taking a break with the guys, I enjoyed learning how to use a new spectrum analyzer, took notes on it, and the notes became an SOP supplement for engineers (like the boss). By the end of three months I couldn’t stand the lack of work ethic and the lax adherence to test specs (for military field hardware!?), and fortunately had an Air Force roommate who steered me into a fantastic job at “Data I/O”, well known at that time during the Silicon Valley boom days for PROM programmers and testers.

    Short story, I played with 6502 machine language on one machine and wrote a paper tape reader for it for fun, and I thought you might appreciate that part. If you worked with PROMs/EEPROMs, you might know about logic design software to program logic chips called ABLE, from a company we teamed up with. (Athough I didn’t learn ABLE.) Was given an “engineer” title in my job description, and tripled my salary in two years. Got a big head, became an independent consultant, designed a compressed 16k byte database and methods to read it in one of the first cordless phones that restaurants used at tables, i.e. before cell phones took off. (TablePhone didn’t last long.)

    But my dream project (which was the main reason I went off on my own) was to modify Pascal-based BBS software into the first online but localizable (for franchising in several geographical areas) forum for technical consultants when the internet was first starting, because I knew this was the kind of thing coming to our world! My business was the first modem phone number ever added to the yellow pages in Santa Clara county and (as far as I know) in Silicon Valley. But I failed miserably for personal reasons, which I’ll spare you, but man, I could have really been a contender. Those days were the first days when my severe social anxiety (and other misadaptations) started taking their toll.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by  PopeBeanie. Reason: chgd "assembly" to "machine" language. talk about nit-picking, right?!
    #29324

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Oh yeah I programmed many 22v10 chips with ABLE and PALASM and then finally VHDL for big bad FPGAs. I installed ABLE from floppy disks, LOL. Sometimes we would use an EEPROM (without a microprocessor) with a counter driving the address lines as a code generator for logic circuits. PROMs were also use as converters…Polar to rectangular coordinate conversion or tricky exponential equations that would use up too many CPU cycles. Fun times to be in that business.

    #29328

    Davis
    Participant

    I wouldn’t mistake having a different concept of arriving on time with being chilled out. In the Mediterranean arriving a little late is a way of life. That doesn’t mean we are necessarily taking our sweet time.  It just means a lack of raising your blood pressure to unhealthy levels for the sake of being somewhere at an exact moment. In other words it’s about flexibility rather than necessarily about being laid back. I think every Spanish, Italian and Portuguese friend of mine are chronically late for everything (sometimes by one hour) but very few are remotely laid back or are known to spend a notable amount of time chilling out. Of course it can get to extremes which will bother absolutely everyone. Like you get to a café 30 minutes after you said you would and 30 minutes later you call your friend asking if they are coming and they say “they are on their way” which almost certainly means “I’m putting my shoes on” or even worse they say “oh sorry I fell asleep. Yeah I’ll head there straight away give me half an hour” and of course it takes longer. But the very worst is: “Oh I forgot. Man I’m kind of tired after work…raincheck”? after you’ve been sitting in a cafe waiting for your friend for half an hour. Which I know for a fact would drive most British or Canadian people into a furious rage. Still bothers most Mediterraneans and with someone like that you’d hardly make one on one plans any time soon again. 30 minutes come and go but there’s nothing funny about a whole wasted afternoon of your precious spare time.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by  Davis.
    #29333

    _Robert_
    Participant

    In the Mediterranean arriving a little late is a way of life.

    Do you find yourself intentionally being a little late because you know the others will be late as well? I used to tell this one girlfriend that the movie was at 7 when it was really at 8 knowing she was always late getting ready. After a while it became sort of a head game and I just stopped taking her out, LOL.

    #29339

    Davis
    Participant

    Do you find yourself intentionally being a little late because you know the others will be late as well?

    In many cases yes. It’s mutually reinforcing behaviour. There are major exceptions of course. While it’s not common to be “early” to show up more than 10 minutes late for a business meeting can create problems, so is the case when it’s cold and raining outside and you are meeting on the street. If time is a concern and things are made clear most people try to be on time.

    I don’t know anyone who would show up within the first 30 mintues of a planned party or event unless they came to help set up. And even then if you get there at 20.00 to “help set up” you may find your friend busy in the shower and unable to greet you.

    About ten years ago I had a party I expected to start serving food around 20.00 so I invited people in this way:

    Mediterrenians I invited to be there at 7.00 and asked them to be puntual (they mostly arrived around 20.00)

    Foreigners living in Madrid: I suggested being at 20.00 and being puntual. (they mostly arrived around 20.00)

    A few friends visiting from London and Belgium I asked them to come at 20.15 and of course they showed up early at around 20.00. So I basically achieved my goal which was to serve the first course to as many people as possible.

    Naturally a few showed up at 23.00 and a couple never came saying they got lost on the way or had a last minute family emergency (which is sometimes but usually not true).

    I think the over all effect is really a good thing. The stress involved with being on time and rushing should not be dismissed as unimportant. It is actually incredible how quickly it can contribute to highly stressful high blood pressure nut-cases and health problems.

    Of course, they are still mostly reasonable in Spain, Portugal and Italy except perhaps in the most deepest South. It’s nothing like in several Arab, African and Central Asian countries or Brazil where accomplishing anything can seem impossible some days and time is not just a different concept but some optional concept many simply ignore.

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