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Thursday, March 13, 2003

It's only when I'm flying that I realize my wings have been clipped. On a day like this, when I soar through so much difficult work and sense that I'm doing it well, I know for sure I'm in the wrong job. When I'm at my best, it becomes clear how much better my life could be.

My dream job would be day after day just like this. The phone doesn't ring, and I don't keep hitting roadblocks that can only be overcome by someone else's input. I don't need anyone's help, and no one needs mine. I don't get interrupted either from without or from within. And everything balances on the first try.

Since I started at this job sixteen and a half years ago I've been working toward the point where the hard things become easy. Everything that went right today did so because of something I've laboriously learned along the way. I've spent the most productive years of my life setting up a system that makes spreadsheets and financial reports fun to create.

Nobody else can use the system I invented, because it doesn't apply to any other situation. The Boss's unique way of keeping accounts is so arcane and convoluted that the accountant snickers (behind his back, of course). He goes along with it because we pay him well.

Somehow I've managed to make the computer reflect the Boss's byzantine brain structure. It's not a skill that would translate well to any other situation, and nobody else could come in and take over without about sixteen and a half years of training and experience. It's great job security, but at the same time it locks me in to current circumstances for ever and always.

So there is, in fact, no dream job. I'll never be able to do what I did today all day long every day. That's just not going to happen, so I have to be happy with the days like this one that come along a few times a year at best. It makes me a little sad to have such a happy day and know that it's an aberration. I have these great wings, but I can almost never fly.


Looking out the front door on a very rainy day.

On the other hand, it felt really good to get so much done in one day. I spent the whole afternoon without looking up. I didn't even put a new CD in the player when Lyle Lovett was finished singing, so I worked the last couple of hours in silence. Maybe that helped me get even further along. I still have a way to go, and I don't know when I'll get another excellent day like this one, but hope springs occasional, as they say.

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It was so quiet today that I considered checking to see if the phone was working. The idea exited my brain just about as fast as it entered. Must have been on one of those high-speed Japanese trains.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Seeing Straight
"I don't know what kind of drops he put in my eyes, but I felt all afternoon as if someone had overturned a goldfish bowl and plopped it on my head."

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And the culminating pleasure
That we treasure beyond measure
Is the gratifying feeling that our duty has been done.