While sitting here on an early Saturday morning, sipping my freshly brewed Verona, I noticed that I haven’t posted in a few days. Things have been pretty nutty this week, and I’ve been really heads down writing code. Though, something happened this week though that’s been on my mind. No, it’s not about the reorgs or the ship delays (frankly, I think the blogs and media have a their own crazy spin to it, so I’ve been mostly ignoring the external posts), but rather a small comment that was made in passing.

The other day, one of my coworkers said (not maliciously, just as a comment) that I’m usually negative (and I didn’t even have my pessimist mug near me) and that I focus on things that are going wrong versus the things that are going right. While I’m certainly not going to disagree with that statement, it is somewhat disturbing to be thought as a ‘negative person’ by others. Personally, I like to think of myself as someone who’s extremely ‘passionate’ and really cares about what I’m working on.

This particularly bothered me though, because I actually have been trying to see the positive side of things and relax a bit more. Between trying to balance a career, spending time with my son and my wife, and trying to find some time for myself, it usually turns into a really hard balance that’s sometimes a bit stressful. And, when I get stressed, I tend to get negative. I need to work on that.

I’ve also been thinking alot about "the furrygoat" lately and how I’ve been basically just posting whatever’s on my mind, regardless if it’s positive, negative, boring or interesting. Back in 2001 when I started writing here, it was more of a brain dump for me than anything else. Now 5 years later, blogs have become completely oversaturated. While some folks argue that websites and blogs have "given people a voice", I sometimes I wonder if blogs are actually useful or are they just turning into an easy medium for whining.

One other wierd observation – most of the people that I know who grew up on the east coast are pessimists while native Washington folks are usually optimists. Not sure why that is.

Anyways, I’m just rambling now (isn’t that the point of a blog?).Back to your regularly scheduled blogging.


    Dave Goodman (March 25, 2006 @ 10:43 am)

    It’s your *job* to be negative. When you run a program, and something works right, you don’t think to yourself, “Gee, I gotta fix that.” You look at what needs work, and you think, “Okay, that needs work!” It’s part of the programmer mentality to think of worst-case scenarios, look at an application and constantly search for weaknesses that you can address.

    I know how you feel, because I remember being accused of being pessimistic and negative when I reacted to a demonstration with comments on what needed improvement. I now make an effort to start by commenting on what I really like about the app, then I suggest constructively how something could be improved, and I finish by commenting again on something that works or looks good.

    But the truth is, I will always be pessimistic and negative, not because I expect things to go badly, but because I try to prepare for things going badly and I seek out weaknesses.

    I am a programmer. :)

    ralph (March 28, 2006 @ 5:59 pm)

    Oh, Steve, get off it. :-) When you do something cool, you’re spot on happy, tell the truth. The thing is that you got a touch of good old-fashioned perfectionism in ya, dude. This is a good thing (when not a genuine extreme), but I do note that the real problem with “negativeness” is that it can cause problems in social groups. What your “negativeness” means to you is entirely different to what it means to others. I think it’s healthy to pay attention to how people report perceiving you to see whether you expected it. However, depending upon the context, I wouldn’t immediately leap to the conclusion that it was your issue, rather than their inability to believe the positive without your social reinforcement. :-)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.