Another Day in the Junk Room

At lunchtime today I walked up to the local pharmacy with my eldest daughter to pick up a prescription – and joined the remarkably patient queue of people standing in the rain outside. So this was social distancing and safeguarding in action. It’s shame some people completely disregarded it.

While quietly waiting, an elderly woman walked towards the health centre, emblazoned with bright red “DO NOT ENTER UNLESS YOU HAVE AN APPOINTMENT” signs, and spotted an acquaintance in the queue. Completely disregarding that everybody in the queue was stood a couple of meters apart, she walked straight to her friend and began talking in her face – loud enough for the entire queue to hear her many and varied complaints about anything and everything.

She was an exception though – on the whole people seem to be trying to follow the guidance they have been given. We passed two women talking in the street – having a conversation with raised voices, several metres away from each other. I might have smiled a little as we passed by.

In other news, work is going well. I’m working on a significant piece of software development at the moment, and having the chance to cut myself off and really focus has helped enormously.

I tend to work a lot better on my own – I suspect most people do, unless they don’t know what they’re doing. That works both ways though – sometimes working in a team helps you learn new skills, but that also slows everybody else down. It’s chicken-and-egg, isn’t it – because without mentoring and sharing, skills transfer doesn’t happen.

Knowledge is a curious thing though – there’s only so much you can learn from books or courses. Certainly in my field of work, experience and rigour count for perhaps more than “knowing things”. The internet has made it possible for anybody to find out how to do pretty much anything incredibly quickly – and we all take advantage of that. Being able to write neat tidy code that’s easy to read, easy to maintain, efficient, and consistent is a whole other ball-game though. It crosses over from “toolmaker” to “artist” pretty quickly – but in this case a really pedantic artist that suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder about anything and everything.

I’m doing a great job of selling software development as a career, aren’t I. I won’t even get started about a huge proportion of your knowledge becoming obselete every four or five years. I suppose that’s no different than doctors and nurses though – where the drugs, procedures, and practices they work with change year-on-year.

Anyway. Somehow it’s already 11pm. Time for a quiet coffee, some rubbish TV, and then bed. Tomorrow is another day in the junk room.

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