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choices (long)

Donna Woodka woodka at spirit.sdsc.edu
Fri Apr 28 03:53:28 EST 2000

>I have control of some things and not others.  IMHO, the angst and anger
>comes when we feel we have NO choices-that we have to be a certain way in
>order to survive.  While that may be true of science, remember that we all
>define "survive" and even there we have a choice. If I constantly am unhappy
>with my choices, I can change the choices easier than I can change the
>world.  That being said, constantly being unhappy with one's choices can be
>a great impetus to changing the world :). 
>I hope this long post doesn't come off as a flip "Just deal with it",
>because it's not meant that way.  I just want to redirect the thread toward
>solving problems instead of discussing whose are worse.
>Julia Frugoli

Everyone makes choices, I think the issue is what choices should anyone have to make in order to pursue
a career. If the professionals in a career as a whole seem to believe that the career is the most
important thing in life, and limit choices for those who may believe differently, those people who want
to have different priorities will be forced out of that career. This has certainly happened in the
computer profession as 60+ hour work weeks became the norm and those who had families or other limits
on their schedules were seen as not dedicated enough to their careers. When I entered the computer
field, we worked hard but not excessively, and often worked from home. Now, it seems it is more
important to be seen in the office than to get the work done sometimes. So many have chosen not to be
in the profession since they have no interest in working such hours.

I took a long break from my career for my kids, my choice, no question, but also something I felt
forced to do because the profession had become very demanding. Now, I work as a software process
consultant, trying to restore some of the order that seems to have been lost from the profession in the
name of "working harder". I believe in working smarter, not harder, and setting up systems and
processes that support sanity. To maintain chaotic environments with limited supplies that people must
share and force anyone to work late hours or weekends is ridiculous. People are more important than
equipment, and more expensive. Any organization ought to provide the equipment and support that
everyone needs in order to do their job within somewhat normal hours, or else provide incentives to
those who take those hours rather than them seeing it as some kind of punishment.

I agree, it is not about whose problems are worse. It is about creating working environments where
people feel valued, rewarded, and accomplished. Having your needs devalued, for whatever reason, will
lead to unhappiness.

"Using one's willingness and ability to do intellectual battle to decide
whether you're smart, or whether your idea is good is works really well
for people who like to fight, and it tells you absolutely nothing about
anybody else." -- Anita Borg

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