Saturday, October 06, 2007

Make Your Life Better: 6 Ways To Achieve As A Knowledge Worker In The Web 2.0 Economy

We have all been there: staying up 3 days in a row trying to force Websphere or BEA or ASP.NET or Python or PHP or Ruby-on-Rails to do what thousands of existing websites already do with AJAX and CSS and XML and so on, but with that little twist in design or business plan that ensures we will not be sued, or that we, unlike the creators of the other 999 web sites, will turn a profit. We have lost spouses and significant others, been written out of wills, found the decomposed remains of forgotten and neglected pets under piles of laundry. We have eaten Hot Pockets. We know it could be better. That's why we're here.

1) Stop writing code.

Just stop it. There is already enough code in the world. Almost all of it is very, very bad. Everybody writes code. True, everybody shits, too, but the plumbing industry is much more mature than the software industry. If you must stay in software development, take some existing code and shuffle it around a bit. Make the error messages more pithy. That sort of thing.

2) Devote at least 20% of your time to evaluating Life Improvement Strategies.

There are many of these floating around. Many, many blogs like Lifehacker, Dumb Little Man,
and Zen Habits present great life-improvement strategies and tactics. There's lots of software to help you put together to-do lists, identify patterns in grocery shopping that correlate with peaks and valleys in your mood and sexual potency, and determine whether that special somebody has DNA that complements yours well, or you should cut your losses now and move on. 20% might not be enough, but if you can achieve this you'll feel the satisfaction and pride of achievement, which might motivate you to put in the extra 5-10%. When you've reached this level, start writing your own life-improvement blog, because there really can never be too many of those.

3) Stop following professional sports, or pretending to

Pretending to is worse than doing it. Really, it is a big waste of time, unless you are betting on it, and then it's a big waste of money, too. And $7 for a fucking hot dog, what the fuck is that? What is this, Iceland?

4) Build your post-apocalyptic survival community

In the event of an civilization-shattering emergency or extinction level event, you will NOT make it on your own, Ayn Rand. Cultivate friends with diverse and complementary skills: sharpshooting, hunting, trapping, hide-tanning, identifying edible plants, hand-to-hand combat, interrogation techniques, purifying urine into drinking water, installation and maintenance of solar power systems.

This is far more important than establishing a good retirement savings plan, yet nearly nobody does it. After the bombs have gone off, it will be too late. You'll be like one of those people who has their first child when they're 50. You don't want to be like that. Speaking of which, this is an area where kids come in handy, and can really start to pull their own weight.

5) Eat less

By restricting your caloric intake to P.O.W./hunger strike levels, you will extend your life span. This has been proven in many studies involving rats. All that extra life span will give you more time to de-clutter your work-space, become debt-free, visualize the completion of big projects, yadda yadda yadda, blah blah blah.

6) Exercise more

Magazines like Men's Health can help you here. Men's Health is particularly good as while nothing is more boring or painful than abdominal exercises, every month they present a new plan to achieve washboard abs. If you are still bored after exploring the rich variety of ab workouts Men's Health has shared with flabby men throughout the years, maybe it's really just that you are a boring person.


I hope you've found this entry helpful and that it enriches your life. More importantly, I hope in the event of accidental nuclear holocaust you don't find yourself imprisoned by cannibals who use your limbs for meat, like in that Cormac McCarthy book, The Road. I did not read The Road, and Nick Hornby in a recent column has assured me that I don't want to. Oprah put the book in her book club, ensuring many uneasy nights and much psychological scarring for countless Moms and Grandmas across our great land, but gods bless that Nick Hornby, he's one of the good guys. Even hearing about the stuff in that book second-hand creeps me out and fills me with gut wrenching despair, the kind of despair only a mind-blankingly intense ab workout will banish.

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