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Pursuing perfection

December 23, 2009

Pursuing perfection, originally uploaded by Thoroughly Good.

I woke at 8.00am feeling very excited despite the hangover from the night before.

Me and Significant Other had been investigating a technical thing on the internet. It tested out our theories and provided a very useful piece of learning. It might even have been an educating experience.

There was just one problem. It was a work thing.

I’d booked leave from work to start from last Thursday. I’d wanted to make sure I was fully prepared for the holidays. I really look forward to them. I always like holidays. I appreciate the opportunity to relax especially when I’m at home.  Things were going well until I foolishly checked my email the other day.

What that email succeeded in doing was promoting a sense of guilt. It also laid down a bit of a gauntlet. There was nothing in the email which demanded my immediate attention, let alone me working during my leave. There were no urgent calls on my mobile. No one screamed down the phone. It was an email flicking a switch in my mind .. everything isn’t absolutely perfect yet.

That’s why I ended up spending the next 36 hours thinking over various different ways of resolving what I perceived to be the problem. To go into the details here and now would be both boring and almost certainly professional suicide. The long and the short of it however, was how the resolution of the problem – a mere four lines of at first sight impenetrable web server code – occupied my mind during that time I’d initially booked as leave from work.

On one level it’s something I’m used to. On another I don’t like it at all. It’s not without good reason friends and family say to me “like father/mother like son”. It’s what us Jacobs do. We don’t easily delineate between work and pleasure. One bleeds into the other. And it’s because of that necks get stiff and shiatsu therapists get work.

As it happens, the solution me and Significant Other arrived at was something of a delicious one. Delicious largely because he and I were working together on it, discovering stuff and making stuff work. Both of our inner geeks were coming to the fore.

But more than that, it was the bigger question which was posed by process of finding a solution.

At what point is it OK to shut the laptop down and actually enjoy time off guilt free? Is the desire to make sure everything’s covered a measure of inefficiencies or an illustration of still latent obsessive-compulsive tendencies? Why does work define us all to the extent it does?

The answer is complex and pointless at a time like this.

It’s Christmas. It’s the holidays. It’s time to indulge. It’s time to movies. It’s also time to ice the homemade Christmas cake I made last year.

Merry Christmas.

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