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A Key to Excellence, Passion

by fongsaiyuk (Pilgrim)
on Dec 01, 2000 at 21:24 UTC ( #44409=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

With a show of hands, how many people continue to work on personal computer/programming/perl/whatever projects after they have completed their Real Life(TM) jobs??

The I.S. departement at my company is fairly small, 5 people. Out of those 5, I am the only person who hacks around at night after work. So Far, I've only met one other person IRL that has a similar outlook. (Ok, maybe I need to get out more.. :) )

My co-workers think I'm quite crazy, "How can you continue to work on computers at night after you work on them all day????" I really had to think about this for a while. Am I obsessive? Am I an addict?? Am I an introvert? A total luser?

Finally I came to the conclusion that I was none of those things. What I am is passionate and I seek excellence and that is what makes me different from my coworkers. All of the people who I respect in life have that special something that makes them the best in their field--Passion.

I feel that in order to achieve Excellence in anything, perl included, you must have an unending passion to learn and experience. This passion is what drives us to overcome negative experience (IRL and here on :) ) and frustration that inevitably results during the continual learning process.

I stress continual learning process because Excellence is not a destination, but a journey. Fortunately, on the journey to perl excellence, I've found to help me along the way.


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: A Key to Excellence, Passion
by jepri (Parson) on Dec 01, 2000 at 22:18 UTC
    I think you may be asking the wrong question here, and so answers will only disapoint you. My answer to your question is: "Show my hand? I've nearly got this code compiling cleanly and somebody wants me to take my hands off the keyboard? I've only got five hours until I have to go to work again and I'm supposed to sleep sometime as well" :P

    I would have asked the question "How many people resent having to go to work because it gets in the way of all the coding projects I am trying to finish?". Myself and all my friends spontaneously code on our own time just.. because... errr.... somebody help me out here.... ;)

    I have noticed that we don't quite understand people who DON'T sit down of an evening and turn out a few hundred lines of code for the hell of it. I swear a number of times our greeting to each other has gone along the lines of "Hey, I figured out how to get that routine working... yeah... we were overlooking the obvious, it's easy when you realise that...".

    As for passion, we are all people who seem to be passionate about everything we do. When deprived of a terminal, we tend to passionately do other things, including throwing ourselves out of planes, riding our bikes down cliffs^H^H^H^H^H^H hills, hitch-hiking, hanging from cliffs by our fingertips (or more often, not) and falling in love with the most beautiful woman the world has ever produced.

    In fact, if someone could tip me off on how to live a 'normal' life for a couple of months I'd really like to give it a try...

    Update: People probably think I'm joking. I'm not. It's four thirty in the morning here, and I'm still trying to think about whether I should try to Tie two hashes together or if I should just post to SOPW.

    I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

Re: A Key to Excellence, Passion
by davorg (Chancellor) on Dec 01, 2000 at 21:36 UTC

    On average I spend about three or four evenings a week and one day at the weekend either hacking or writing about hacking.

    I'm not sure how else I'd spend my time :)


    "Perl makes the fun jobs fun
    and the boring jobs bearable" - me

Re: A Key to Excellence, Passion
by jynx (Priest) on Dec 02, 2000 at 02:23 UTC

    Recently a fellow admin and i were talking about what makes a computer scientist a computer scientist. His arguable point was that a person who genuinely is a computer scientist is someone who is obsessive about something. It doesn't much matter what that something is apparently. In the long run i saw his point and it seems valid even. So having passion about your code (that some could term obsessive) is apparently normal for the field.

    Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing i don't know, but you can at least take heart that you were meant to be a perl hacker (if this theory holds true)...


Re: A Key to Excellence, Passion
by royalanjr (Chaplain) on Dec 01, 2000 at 22:06 UTC
    If I am not actually coding or something else on the computer, I am reading and trying to learn more about something computer related. My girlfriend never ceases to be amazed at the books and papers and printouts I have sprawled all over the place studying.

    Now, is this passion on my part?

    *shrug* I dunno...

    All I know is that I enjoy it.

    Roy Alan

      Heh, I would definitely call that passion.


      If we don't enjoy what we are passionate about, then it's doubtful we will really achieve Excellence...

Re: A Key to Excellence, Passion
by marvell (Pilgrim) on Dec 01, 2000 at 21:32 UTC

    I'm working on some pre-PhD things. I hope to get an Artificial Life PhD started next year. I tend to get bits done during the day and the odd bit in the evenings.

    So, yes, I hack, for personal reason :)


    Brother Marvell

Re: A Key to Excellence, Passion
by FouRPlaY (Monk) on Dec 01, 2000 at 23:34 UTC
    Since I don't start work until 12:30pm, I divide my day into 3 parts: Before Work, Work, and After Work; where I divide my efforts into three corresponding areas: Fooling around with Linux, learning Perl, and heavy drinking/partying for no good reason.

    After that I find it hard to do anything else.

    Learning Perl or Going To die() Trying
Re: A Key to Excellence, Passion
by mr_roboto (Initiate) on Dec 02, 2000 at 00:37 UTC
    I confess that I spend my free time hacking around on my machine after I'm done hacking around at work. I agree that learning is an ongoing thing, and I enjoy learning new things about computers, and especially Perl. I'm still somewhat of a Perl newbie, but I figure the only way to reach merlyn-esque Perl skills is to work with it as much as possible, and try new stuff with it. Perlmonks is the best resource I've got after the Camel Book.

    Rest assured that you're not alone in your after hours tinkering.
Re: A Key to Excellence, Passion
by ivory (Pilgrim) on Dec 06, 2000 at 05:30 UTC
    I find that at the end of the day (work, school, homework, etc.) my eyes are generally too tired to stare at a puter screen any longer. I do, however, read computer books before bed...

    I have great respect for people who enjoy what they do and value excellence enough to take it upon themselves to further their knowledge even when not being paid. Obviously we hope to increase our salaries by increasing our skillset or knowledgebase, but there is a further reward. In philosophy it's called internal goods .


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