Feeling All Rip Van Winkle

Lately I’ve been having dreams in which I’m having a nightmare from which I’m trying, but failing, to wake myself.  In real life, too, I have been sleepwalking the past six months. At least, professionally. I’m fortunate to have enough work to keep me afloat, but I haven’t challenged myself to grow, and so it’s been all too easy to become stagnant. There are times to yield to dormancy, but it’s all too easy to forget to wake up.

So, how will I challenge myself? Programming always offers new challenges because of the rapid pace of market developments. At the same time programming can be pure drudgery. Oh, I don’t mean in terms of the product the client sees and uses. It’s always invigorating to work with a human being to design something that will make a difference in their day. The actual programming, though, in some ways is no different than it was 20+ years ago when I started. I still love the methodical, chaos-ordering process. At times. At others, I am…bored by it. This is terrible to admit. My brother and I learned as kids that one did not admit to being bored or The Parents would find something for us to do. Besides, there is too much interesting stuff in the world to be bored.

A few years ago, diving into refactoring saved me from ripping my hair out over maintaining old code; but, it’s been a while since I’ve reached out in new directions. Is it my age? Am I done? I really don’t believe that. But no one is going to hand deliver intellectual excitement.

I’ve given a lot of thought to what tools I’d like to explore, and I’ve settled on learning Ruby on Rails. Partly because people I admire recommend it, and partly because it makes me think of Dorothy’s shoes. (Yes, I buy wine based largely on the label.)

Does anyone know where I can find a pair ruby red shoes in size US 7-1/2?

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5 thoughts on “Feeling All Rip Van Winkle

  1. My expedition into LAMP ended up landing me in the Ruby camp. It has a different attitude than Fox or DotNet, and it’s always interesting to learn a new view of the world, imo. One suggestion: learn Ruby first. Good luck, and swing by NHRuby.org if you’re ever in the neighborhood.

  2. Nancy…

    While Ted’s suggestion is more “practical” and relevent to your career, I would offer you a different perspective. A while ago, you expressed a desire to learn Photoshop. NOW, might be the time to do just that. Consider the knowledge and skills you will gain as “icing” on the “cake” of your career. It is another skill that will allow you to make those minor graphic changes you (may) have had to farm out in the past. i.e. a new icon, modify or design a splash screen, etc. Besides, it is just plain FUN!

    Bestest,
    …Dave Aring

    • Hi, Dave- Thanks for the suggestion. My problem with doing more design-centric work is that I spend altogether too much time going “oooo, that’s a pretty color combination, and this shape overlay makes the figure-ground ambiguous.” In other words, my alter-ego artist comes out and I get nothing done! (But I do still want to learn Photoshop, but for personal projects.)

  3. Daring Dave is right that it’s fun to work on the edges of your vocations, too. Last year, for example, I attended the Red Hat conference (and decided sysadmining was not for me!) and the Event Apart conference (which increased my admiration for those who design, I saw some cool tools and made some good contacts).

    Photoshop is something worth learning.

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