Why I'm Awake Tonight


There was quite a bit keeping me awake. My child didn't want to sleep until about an hour ago. My wife got violently ill and asked me to get up and help her out (which I did, once I realized exactly who and where I was). But those are just the reasons I didn't fall asleep when I was good and ready. They aren't why I'm still awake.

I'm primarily still awake because I let my mind wander and riled myself up about work. Overall, I like my job. I believe I work for a good company and with a good group of folks. But, the last year or so has been frustrating for a number of reasons. My mentor got pulled off the project I was working on and ultimately quit (to start his own business doing something completely different). The person running my project for my client changed from someone trying to do the best thing for the company to someone trying to do better statistical analysis and check off boxes so he gets a better bonus. The software I've been building for this client is something that, in spite of its success, I view with disgust and shame at its failure.

And then, there are the people I just don't deal well with. There's one guy who really should just be doing something else that I've been managing very poorly. He probably should've been fired by his previous management and I probably should have been on top of things and fired him awhile back. But they didn't and I didn't. I suppose I could make excuses. I was ridiculously busy trying to get the software I don't really care for out the door -- and he was constantly undermining my attempts at doing that.

But, more than that, there's another guy who works remotely that I also failed at managing properly. He and I just started off wrong. I thought he was more acclimated to the company culture and practices than he was, that he'd gotten ridiculous concepts like Node.js out of his head and understood how some of the foundational architectural components we were using worked. Or, at least, that he understood that you have to clean up your memory in C++ and would make a concerted effort to do that. But, more than that, he and I just didn't communicate well. I could be in a meeting with other people and all but him would understand what I wanted them to do. He just made passive-aggressive comments in code commits about how he thought something was stupid but was going to do it anyway. I'd have to call him up, ask him what was going on, tell him I'm interested in his feedback if he sees something wrong (or to at least give me the chance to explain it), and then discover that he completely misunderstood me. After explaining myself, he'd agree it was a good direction and get back on track.

Working with him failed miserably. My mentor had similar issues with him. And now they're talking about bringing him back on my team because he's freed up. Fortunately, both of us seem against the idea. He apparently had about as miserable of an experience as I did. So, I guess we've got that going for us. But here I am, late at night, thinking about how much I don't want to work with this guy and how much he doesn't want to work with me.

Really, I've got to learn to let things go. Yesterday, Chris Isaak came on the radio and I just couldn't stop myself from revisiting old wounds. Usually, I'd just turn it off or change the station. I know better. I know I'll dwell. And I'm really not sure why I left it on. Maybe I was testing myself. Maybe I wanted to have an excuse.

Maybe whatever that was is what this is about tonight. But, I couldn't shake the emotions while I was lying in bed, trying to force myself to relax, as though breathing weren't something I did while upset. But, here I am. Breathing.