Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'd rather be coding (in quiet)

..but I'm not ! (I had to be social and come back home for the night)

I would have liked to spend the night in the office, doing the real work, because during the day the office is sometimes too damned loud.
We have this open space meeting room and my desk happens to be very close to it. Once or twice per week some people go there for a meeting and somehow they feel compelled to laugh like horny monkeys. A few (1-2) are extremely loud.

I complained on that regard to my bosses. I said that maybe there should be an order, a policy to keep things quiet in the R&D area. Their answer was: "that's right ! Please, point them at me when you hear them". But of course my bosses are almost never there, and when they are, I'm pretty sure they can hear the crazy laughter themselves. They know who the loud monkeys are.... Why should I specifically go there an point the issue ?
And also, how in the world do those people not even imagine that other coworkers could possibly be annoyed by their jolly laughs ?
Japanese society is based on respect.. but I guess there are exceptions.

Speaking of work, I wish I had a laptop with VPN connection to bring at home and continue my work there (here 8). I've been working 12-14 hours everyday regularly, and then some more. Sometimes I stay in the office for two days straight (30+ hours).
It's pretty harsh, but nobody is forcing me (not directly at least). I'm the one that decides to stay long hours because I want to succeed.. but at the same time, how can I possibly tackle tasks that should multiple people be working on ?
No matter how big the company is, Japanese game companies have this thing about loading people with 2-3 times the normal amount of work.
The people above will either say that all other coworkers are already busy and that's the end of it.

In game dev related programming jobs, there is never lack of new things to do, or new ways of doing things. Because what's out there is never enough and productivity is never good enough. This is all very exciting, but then comes the business reality which tells that one should schedule things.
Scheduling is very important. Without a plan it's hard to make progresses. At the same time, because things are so dynamic, plans don't really make much sense.
Right now I'm working based on some schedule that I predicted out of thin air.. because I had to. The schedule doesn't include my summer vacations (gave up on those) and, most importantly, doesn't include all the other things that need to be done. What was not predicted, the priorities that change, etc etc.

So, the pressure is pretty heavy, to come up on time, with some pretty daunting challenges. Thankfully I have a few very skilled coworkers. But, not nearly enough.. and that makes me wonder: could I be more efficient ? Given also the fact that my problems need novel solutions that would normally require a more relaxed and creative state of mind. Is it humanly possible to be sensibly more productive ?

...A quiet environment at work would be a great start ;)