Three Breaths

Musings on code, management, and life

Energized Work and Personal Responsibility

Posted at — Mar 27, 2008

Logically, I believe in the concepts behind what the XP community refers to as Energized Work. Software engineering is a complex activity and it requires you to be fully engaged and focused. That is hard to do if you are working long hours. The problem I have with it is that over 20+ years of working as a software engineer, I have conditioned myself to work to the limits.

I was talking with another developer about this recently and I said that it really takes buy-in from management to make Energized Work possible. He turned it around and put the burden back on me. His thinking was it only worked if I made the decision to follow the principles and it would never work if I waited for someone else to make it happen.

That meant I had to make the decision to leave work at a regular time. That I had to make the decision to spend time with my family instead of sneaking off to do work. This developer and I have worked together in the past and he knows my work habits pretty well. His analysis stopped me in my tracks.

Bad habits are hard to break. One of mine is not being able to turn it off at the end of the day. I have to put the blame for that squarely on me. I have no problem saying to another developer “Go home, you’ll get it in the morning”. I need to remember to apply that advice to myself from time to time.

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