Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Work-Life Balance

Surfer, Natural Bridges Beach, Santa Cruz, CA

This is just one of those days where you can't help feeling you've got the balance wrong. Above, a shot from Santa Cruz last weekend where we again had sunshine and gusty winds, offering an excellent excuse to get the car out the garage and the camera from the cupboard. Surfer-dude was having fun doing what he does, and so was I.

Contrast that with today where I am in a seminar from 9 am through until 5 pm, the first half of which was so dull it risked sucking all the life from me before I'd even made it to lunch time. In fact, I'm declaring defeat. While being well organised and reasonably well attended, the agenda is all over the map, ranging from detailed, low-level things to do with semiconductor physics right up to multicore-based software benchmark design. From my perspective, two mistakes were made:

  1. All the boring stuff was in the morning, rapidly killing any spark of enthusiasm you may have started the day with, and

  2. they handed out printed copies of the slides at registration, instantly negating much of the value in sticking it out to the end. Few presenters - me included - are capable of adding much to whatever is on the Powerpoint these days, so a paper version of a decent slide deck gets you 90% of the way there.

I got as far as eating lunch which, as usual in these things when they are hotel-based, comprised those two wacky characters "chewy chicken" and "stringy beef", before throwing in the towel.

I should instead have just bunked-off for the morning, and gone for a walk or sat in the library for a while and got some decent thinking time in. Quite honestly I and the company would have got way more value from a bit of introspection and analysis, something I could have quite happily done sitting at a cafe somewhere.

Whatever you do in life, it's all in how well you balance things. Bit like surfing, really.

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