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Monday, January 21, 2002

I fell back in love with my job today. It's always a rocky relationship, but I found a way to remember what it was I liked about it. This isn't the easiest time to renew my dedication. Sometimes I think I don't get nearly enough back compared to what I give. That's especially true in January, when the year-end accounting occupies so much of my energy.

With the phones quiet because of the holiday, I lost myself in a complex spreadsheet for several hours this afternoon. It reminded me how much fun it is to play with formulas and macros, and then see all the different elements come together into a pattern that makes sense. Only at tax time, when I'm pulling together a year's worth of bank statements and check records, do I ever get to play with Excel for a whole day.

Fifteen years ago when we started putting the books on the computer, I'd stay up all night working on Lotus 1-2-3, refining and retooling my spreadsheets and inventing new ways of making them work. This was on a computer that was so slow I could punch a key and walk away for an hour while the program went through all its internal calculations. It was also before I worked at my house, but we had a portable computer that I bundled up and carted home at night, just so I could keep going on the projects I enjoyed so much.

I never begrudged the Boss all the time I spent, but I think about it sometimes. On days when I just don't have the energy to keep going from eight until five, I remember those long, nights of long ago. When I'm taking an unscheduled break in the middle of the day, I don't let guilt keep me from enjoying it. I've paid dues. I'd pay them again, if the work were as interesting to me now as it was then.

Instead, it's only on a rare day like this one that I get a chance to renew my enthusiasm. My fingers were flying over the keyboard today, and when everything started to fall into place I felt some of the satisfaction that's been eluding me. If I hadn't had this feeling often back when I started my job, I probably wouldn't have lasted this long at it.

paving stones

My front walk as seen from the driveway.

As I took account today of what the job gives me, besides enough money to live on, I felt an old, familiar warmth for the whole situation. It's what I felt when the Boss bought our first computer, then put me through several classes so I'd know what to do with it. I think it's safe to say that I'd have found my way into the machine world by now somehow, but it was through this job that I so often complain about that I actually did get here.

Not only do I get to work on lovely spreadsheets all day, but I get to do it at home, and I get to do whatever I want with the computer after working hours. This very journal comes to you courtesy of the Company, unless and until the Company finds out about it. So, mum's the word. Thanks.

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