35 thoughts on “A question for ya”

  1. What makes me unhappy, the really small stuff like getting interrupted when I am zoning and grafting on a piece of work and get asked to do something that could/should be done by the person themselves. It breaks my concentration and train of thought and it takes me a while to get back the momentum I lost while doing the new task that I was asked to do.

    What makes me happy is the feeling of accomplishment when I finish something and it works, it makes me want to jump back in and get going so that I can feel the same way again.

  2. Unhappy:
    * People asking for stuff to be delivered within unreasonable deadlines or with unreasonable resources.
    * Mails containing the abbreviation “ASAP”.
    * People not following up on stuff, and then suddenly coming up with an impossible deadline that was not communicated properly.

    * Things going as planned.
    * When difficult issues are resolved.

  3. Happy:
    – Seeing something through to completion.
    – When things go as I percieve they should.
    – When a team comes together as a single unit.

    – The little things that ought to be simple and aren’t.
    – People keeping quiet about issues until the very last moment.
    – People getting involved at the very last moment and disrupting the flow of things that have gone before.
    – Over engineered processes that seem to be aimed at stopping people doing things rather than doing them.

  4. Unhappy:
    * Someone asking for my help, but not giving me enough information for me to help them
    * Not being able to get in touch with someone because they don’t answer their email, are on personal phone calls when I pass their office, or are always in meetings
    * Not being able to express a desire for change.

    * Having my thoughts and opinions valued
    * Seeing positive change, or an attempt at positive change
    * Feeling secure and valued as an employee

  5. Happy:
    – doing creative work
    – being part of a team/cooperating with someone on a task (think eXtreme Programming)

    – monotonous work
    – having something to do, that I view as nonsense/useless
    – having nothing to do
    – being disturbed by IM messages

  6. Happy:
    – Getting credit, no matter how small for my work (such as “good work” that would have been nice, I’m not bitter though, no I just left the company. To think I probably would have stayed if I’d been complemented more than once a year on my work.)
    – Getting a complex problem to solve.

    – Having my tools slow me down in trying out my solution.
    – Small decisions / purchases requiring more time and money to get passed than they’d cost.

  7. Unhappy
    * Trivializing of my job/work because people don’t fully understand what I do or what I’m capable of.
    * Cramped office environment that doesn’t give me room to think.
    * And the constant noise that comes standard with the package.
    * Having to maintain the illusion that I am “working” by typing at a computer when being able to leave may be beneficial to think about the problem.
    * Useless, negative people who are kept on due to weak management.
    * Misassigned credit.

    * Creating simple solutions to problems that were believed to be impossible/hard.
    * Random acts of thoughtfulness no matter how minor.
    * Sincere appreciation.

  8. Happy:
    * People taking ownership over their mistakes and working towards solutions instead of blaming others
    *Taking a full hour lunch without reprimand
    *Employees who smile and say good morning
    *Recognition of my contributions to the organization
    *Getting honest feed-back from my employees regarding my performance and what they need from me, regardless if it is positive or negative

    * Working more than 50 hours a week (old job, not current)
    * Employees who are self-deprecating or who are too timid to tell me what they want to get out of their job and out of me as their work-overseer
    * The little things, like: stolen lunches from the fridge, missed meetings (or being late and disruptive when you enter), dishonest feed-back on program initiatives, brown-nosers *i really DO want to know what you think and your ideas for changes, i don’t need someone to tell me i am always right.

  9. Happy: Getting things done (finally)
    Unhappy: Having to ask too many people to be even able to get things done.

    Happy: A smile in the morning.
    Unhappy: People not even greeting back.

    Happy: My favourite soccer team wins on the weekend.
    Unhappy: May favourite soccer teams looses on the weekend.

  10. Unhappy:

    –being told that I shouldn’t be working on something because it isn’t my job, then being asked to do it an hour later.
    –receiving only criticism and no praise.
    –having a small error blown up into a large one (e.g., there is a spelling error in a document, therefore, I didn’t write it carefully).
    –passive-agressive bosses.


    –completing a task involving a new skill
    –receiving thanks for the job I’m doing
    –given independence to make mistakes and learn from them
    –Leaving on time Friday evening with a clean desk, a clean slate, and a plan for Monday.

  11. happy++
    0. High probability of job security until retirement.
    1. Nice, easy pace of work.
    2. Lots of quiet, alone time.
    3. Decent co-workers.
    4. Fitness center on site.
    5. Fairly nice computer and big CRT.
    6. No beeper or cell phone.
    7. Huge amounts of independence/self-management.
    8. Liberal personal time and vacation policy.
    9. Somewhat flexible working hours.

    0. Frequently rather boring.
    1. Salary lower than if I was in the private sector.
    2. Skills obsolete due to very slow adoption of new technology.
    3. Little hope of advancement until somebody retires or dies.
    4. Small travel/training budget [better than nothing, though.]
    5. Poor communication across silos.
    5. Total lack of any formal methodology or standards for anything [coding, testing, change management, documentation…]
    6. No succession planning or cross training.
    7. Cubicles.
    8. “No beer at lunch” policy. :)
    9. No telecommuting.

  12. I can’t really think of anything that makes me unhappy at work, since I wouldn’t be working there, nor working at all, if i’d made me sad.
    On the other hand; what makes me happy in general all have to do with freedom; I can’t stand boundaries or limitations. That is regarding time; tradition, authority, or ways to work, or even worse; deadlines… I recognize that time is a crutial factor everywhere; but I don’t believe the best result is done within a time; most need development over time.
    But if just a moderate amount of freedom is at work; then I stay and happy employee; but maybe I should creative my own someday. Then I could be truely happy
    Enjoying Ur blog very much; keep up the good work and great principles…

  13. Things that make me unhappy:
    – When someone who is not doing the work armchair-quarterbacks.
    – When my manager tells me what to do rather than what to accomplish.
    – When I am pressured to sacrifice my professional standards for expediency when it would not be expedient to do so.
    – When my manager tells me what I do that upsets him, but never what I do that makes his job easier.
    – When management makes decisions about my work but never asks me about them.
    – When I express my ideas regarding my own work and end up being labeled “confrontational,” only because I have a different take on it than management does. (That’s collaboration, not confrontation.)
    – Management assigns blame rather than looks for solutions.

    Things that make me happy:
    – What I do affects someone else.
    – Focus on one thing at a time, and see it through to completion.
    – I sit physically close to those with whom I must work daily.
    – When I grow hungry, I eat; when I grow tired, I sleep. (Actually, my current situation puts much pressure on me to listen to the clock rather than to my body, and this makes my unhappy.)
    – Unconditional love.


  14. Unhappy: The environment (cubicle farm with my back to the rest of the room), interruptions when I need to focus. The politics (’nuff said). Needless meetings that overflow with politics and repetition.

    Happy: Getting something done well, seeing something that I’ve been a part of finished successfully (well, on time, happy customer etc). Being left alone to make things better than they are.

  15. Happy:
    – Working with good people (think pair programming) – working alone too long bums me out
    – Always finding a way to learn or challenge myself. Even if it’s learning the thought processes behind fixing another stupid bug – the higher order gains/insight can be rewarding
    – Agile related thought processes — challenging everything, adapting and being feedback driven

    – Pointless, repetitive work
    – Working with people who just don’t care, and aren’t committed to trying to improve the situation or learn
    – Not having (or being allowed to have) a proper balance between work and the rest of life that we ought to be living
    – Traditional management styles focussing on control, fear, and intimidation
    – Rigid doctrine/dogma

  16. Happy at work
    – Funny colleagues.
    – All day Internet connection.
    – Meeting different people.
    – Light to medium workload.
    – Mostly off work on time.

    Unhappy at work
    – People listening to you talking on the phone and make comments while you are still on the phone talking.
    – Being the middle person.
    – Asking information that already been email earlier. Do not check email.
    – Constantly talking about improvement but no actions done.
    – Beating around the bushes to ask question.
    – No follow up and expect to be reminded of their own schedule.
    – Think that their work is more important than yours.
    – No pantry at work.
    – No parking/transport allowance.

  17. Happy
    – a place to learn lot of things, both technically and non-technically
    – good team members to work with, who really care about what we make

    Not-so-happy about
    – the hypocritic & authoritarian leadership
    – people who resist to admit that they are wrong
    – absence of open communication about anything and everything

  18. Unhappy at work:
    – Being told perception is reality by people with self serving perceptions.
    – Being told to act like I own my job when every official piece pf paper from the company states that I own nothing.

    Happy at work:
    – Doing work I love and think is important.
    – So owning my job that I took it with me when I left the company.
    – Schooling the company on the reality of what free range engineers are paid as contractors.
    – Continuing to do work I love and think is important.

  19. Happy:
    * When I find a best-of-both solution to solve a problem between two stakeholders
    * Being able to work with our great collection (I work at a heritage institute)
    * Feeling like I add value to a project I work on
    * Great co-workers

    * A co-worker that is feeling depressed because he didn’t get my job
    * No consistency/perseverance by the management. They’ll give you a project to build something and by the time you’re finished they’re not interested anymore or had a totally different idea despite you keeping them informed all the way.
    * Big commute

  20. Unhappy:
    * Cliques, gossip, and talking about people behind their backs
    * Information hoarding in all its guises:
    – People not sharing useful information because they think it’s job security
    – People not sharing because they had to work hard to learn something and you should too
    – People not giving you enough information to help them
    – Managers who don’t understand that information should flow two ways

    * Learning something new every day
    * Fixing problems and helping people
    * Not having to work fixed hours
    * Playful atmosphere
    * The trust and respect of management and co-workers
    * Doing the right thing

  21. Happy:
    Working on interesting projects

    Working in an organization without direction
    Working in an organization without priorities
    Working in an organization without great collegues
    When politics rule the organization

  22. I love your blog!

    * Being able to work at home (thank you Internet)
    * Noticing how my proposals produce positive change once implemented
    * Complete, nice, and ergonomic project documentation (that someone actually reads!)

    * Clients/bosses that are clueless about what they want to get from a project an change directions or don’t get to implementation stages
    * Being provided with tools I don’t feel comfortable with
    * Not following up with requests

  23. Unhappy:
    Being at work when there’s nothing to do (but I still have to “work” full time)
    Having to work overtime because a bunch of new features have just been approved (and have to be done ASAP)
    Having to do boring work
    When my improvement proposals are not considered until 5 months later, when everything is “critical”
    Not having control about any of the above
    Not being able to speak my mind
    When I speak my mind and management says “yes”, and then do things as usual
    Each and every time that one of my colleages leaves the company (which happens offen)
    When somebody steals credit for something I did
    Not having free time and or vacations (or just two weeks a year!!)

    (basically, the opposite of the above statements =)
    Do something interesting
    Having control of my time
    Being heard
    Having great teammates (working with smart and interesting people)
    People commited to their work
    Having time to spend with my family and friends (and myself)

  24. Happy:
    – Solving problems. I love to investigate, work through problems and solve issues.
    -My manager is a pretty cool guy. Working with him is a pleasure.

    – My co-worker. The project I’m on has two developers, him and I, and he’s a jerk 90% the time. He doesn’t listen.
    – We have no project requirements document.
    – Work gets tossed out after it’s done.

  25. Unhappy:

    Having my work arbitrarily assigned to someone else without my knowledge. I really feel reponsible for my work and am willing to re-work if necessary. There is NO discussion involved!

    The idea of “Open Office On Demand” is potentially a great idea. In practive it is a lip service diaster. Try to talk to the boss openly. You can do it once, wellll, part of once because he storms out in the opening statements.

    Getting essentially all assignments through email. It would really help if I could have a discourse to understand better. email strips away a *LOT*!

    I check in several thousand lines of code. Then the manager chews me out for a small matter in the code is easily changed. No mention of the thousands of other lines of code.


    Being able to have a constructive conversation with a manager.

    Going home to a great wife! :)

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  27. Happy:
    Walking into the office door w/ positive vibes all around me and a smile on my face.
    Feeling APPRECIATED!

    No one responding to my e-mails.
    Coworkers not even thanking me for bringing in treats to work ( how RUDE! )
    Thinking to myself ” I can’t even fake this anymore”

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