Archive for February 2010
Got laid off today, sausages for tea.
Even when you’re an old hand, there’s a first time for everything. Myself, and plenty others more talented than I, fell under the unexpected cash-cushioned hammer of a lay-off today. This marks the first time I’ve not had a regular income since 1985, which is a bit of a thrill. Also it may have been while you, dearest reader, weren’t on solids yet. (Hopefully I’m being read by people younger than me. If you don’t wear glasses, that counts. Or I’m claiming it at least.)
What’s keeping me bouyant, in the non-physical sense, is the fact that I’ve spent the last few years contributing and being a part of open-source communities. The wheel is still turning and the hamster is not yet dead — while my employers may change, I can still write the code I want to write, further the projects I favour to be furthered, and continue to do the things I enjoy doing. This is the beauty, for any developer, to be in open source. You get, for free, an option on continuity that is new and unique, a possibility of satisfaction that your contributions to the global corpus of software is not going to rot in a hopelessly un-administered clearcase repository in the bowels of a corporation. I’m going to spend some time now working through some karmic burdens which have been drifting up against the for-pay-wall, and I’m going to enjoy it.
By the way, I’ll see you all at EclipseCon. If you don’t put speaker names to your talks right now, as soon as I write this, your ass will be slung out of the program. We will make an effigy of you, and either burn it in situ or send it to be consumed by hollowed-out meaty integuments of the NetBeans engineers. You don’t even get the choice.
Oh, and by the by, if you haven’t already discerned, I will attempt to ensure that the removal of the restraining bolt will result in a bit more than a choppy video of some lady in a dress 🙂
For shorter spoutings, follow @oisin on twitter.
The Guardian online edition recently published a two-part article called “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction”, which polled a number of well-known writers for their ten, or three, or one, rules that they apply while plying their trade. Colm Tóibín‘s ten I particularly liked, and they apply well to personal industry in general:
- Finish everything you start.
- Get on with it.
- Stay in your mental pyjamas all day.
- Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
- No alcohol, sex or drugs while you are working.
- Work in the morning, a short break for lunch, work in the afternoon and then watch the six o’clock news and then go back to work until bed-time. Before bed, listen to Schubert, preferably some songs.
- If you have to read, to cheer yourself up read biographies of writers who went insane.
- On Saturdays, you can watch an old Bergman film, preferably Persona or Autumn Sonata.
- No going to London.
- No going anywhere else either.
Of course, rules are not for everyone. For some, a simple dictum is all that is necessary to provide guidance. I think Helen Simpson summarizes it best with
The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying “Faire et se taire” (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as “Shut up and get on with it.”
To which it might be useful to add, for balance, one from A. L. Kennedy
Defend your work. Organisations, institutions and individuals will often think they know best about your work – especially if they are paying you. When you genuinely believe their decisions would damage your work – walk away. Run away. The money doesn’t matter that much.