Thursday, September 26, 2013

Version 2.0

I travel for work. It’s just a fact of life for the business I’m in. People frequently say something like “Oh I’m so sorry”, upon learning that I have to go out of town. Outwardly I smile and thank them for their concern, but my inner thoughts sing a different tune. Why should people feel sorry for me? This is my profession. My family is the one that bears the brunt of my job. Missed birthdays, holidays, and endless questions like “why do you have to go” become our family norm. I mourn for time lost but look to the future and see opportunity.

I dabble in many endeavors, one of which is programming. The lifecycle of a program goes something like this: come up with a problem to be solved through programming, create the necessary code, test your program for bugs and undesirables, and release the program. Once the program has been released, the programmer has a chance to watch the creation take on a life of its own. The programmer, ever on a continuum, makes notes and starts revising the code instantly. New ideas are discovered, efficiencies are discovered resulting in a better, smarter version. We call this version 2.0.

The opportunity I see when I’m away from home is one of self-study and improvement which results in revising my code. For short trips, this might be no more than working on responding to answers rather than reacting. Longer trips afford me the opportunity for deeper study and the time necessary to make bigger revisions. For instance, time management has always been my nemesis but it’s not something that can be fixed over the course of a couple of days, the code is complex and requires thought and testing. The end result will be a more efficient program, which will be a better version of me.

So for all those road warriors out there, remember, you can look at business trips in several different ways. You can treat it like a vacation from your family, which begs the question, “What is wrong in your life that you need a vacation from your family?” You could try to re-live your single glory days. A little advice, your body can ‘t recover from binge drinking like it did when you were 23, your hair is gone or graying, and you might not be able to see your toes. Still think you should party like a rock star? You could, however take some time, conduct some self-study, revise your code and come home as you, version 2.0

-Gary

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