Friday. Weary. The last few days were long, working towards today’s software release. The last few nights were spent setting up the playschool website. Did the school run this morning so I’m later than usual. Now the road ahead is closed. Every alternative direction is a disaster – not moving, completely stopped. Sounds more like the Five of Wands you say? I’m just giving you context.
There is so much to do and I’m already behind. In case I didn’t mention it, I write documentation for a software company. Been doing it for nearly twenty years. (Not the same company obviously, lol. Maybe that’s an inside joke.) I’ve learned a few things in that time. For example, how can you tell when people are going to criticize your work? Simple. When you show it to them. I have yet to meet any reviewer who refused to criticize any document put in front of them, not just mine. It is human nature. You get used to it, and you try not to take it personally, but sometimes you do.
Another thing I’ve learned is that, in a software house, documentation is at the low end of the priority list. Of course it’s important to have a working product to document, and over the weeks or months when the product is being constructed, deconstructed, reconfigured, tinkered with, and reassembled it can be difficult to get either input or feedback. You have to be proactive, and pretty good at eaves-dropping, and even then it’s a constant challenge acquiring the source material you need.
Finally, on the last day, five minutes before release, (relatively speaking) suddenly everybody remembers that this product is supposed to have documentation and, heck yeah, I guess it is important. The normally dim, soft light around me is replaced by focused lasers.
There is always someone who wants to know why the information they never gave me isn’t in the document. The answer is, “because it’s still in your head. Unless you intend to do a Vulcan mind meld, you’re going to have to find some way of communicating it to me, preferably last week. So start up the Tardis too.”
The perception seems to be “How long can it take to change a few hundred pages of text? You’ve got ‘til 6. That’s plenty of time, isn’t it.” (Sigh) And so I go make that happen. The problem with consistently producing miracles is that people come to expect them as a matter of course.
I know I’m making this sound bad. Usually I love what I do – it’s never dull. But there are days when it just feels like much too much, when I’d like to chuck it all in and run off with the gypsies. Inevitably, however, I find the resources to do what needs to be done even though, on occasion, I first have to find the will to do it.
“Hey! I thought we were going to talk about the Nine of Wands.”