I moved, to my own house, in part in the hope of starting to consult as a sideline. To end up tortured by a series of neighbors.
I just had another one move in next door, and find my previously quiet neighboring property now has a fellow who plays music while he works in his garage. At least that I can't hear, inside my own house with the windows closed and the A/C on.
This "all noise, all the time" culture has invaded home life, too. And, it seems, for more and more people, not just from those you choose (or, are forced to...) live with.
Like the selfish people with their straight pipe Harleys. The absolutely ridiculous car stereos, which around here at least, the police finally seem to have cracked down on, a bit. (Once we got a noise ordinance, that for a long time they weren't really enforcing, I felt like pointing out to them, "Look! Here's your revenue stream! Third or fourth violation: $1000. You can afford to buy some calibrated sound meters.")
Choose where you live carefully. Home, like work, is a place where inconsiderate -- or, bad -- neighbors can drag your life and productivity down. Whereupon your options shrink, rather than grow.
I tried renting one of those small offices in a quiet neighborhood. Nope, they're apparently built with tissue paper so when the tattoo parlor moved in across the hall and started dropping the beat, there went all semblance of calm. Same for the small business just to the other side where they have loud stand-ups (with applause) and lots of sales calls.
So, yep, I know the old saying of "if everybody else is the asshole it's you who's the asshole." I still can't shake the feeling that I have nowhere to escape. Work is people loud, home is people loud, away is people loud, even the bus to and from work is getting people loud, the plane ride to vacation is people loud. Maybe I just need to hermit.
At home, it's pretty quiet too: I live in a tiny condo on the ground floor. Sometimes I hear sounds from the plumbing from people flushing toilets above, or from someone dropping something in the shower above, but otherwise it's very quiet. Large dogs aren't allowed here.
Years ago, I lived in a subdivision with my own house. It was much noisier: every neighbor around me had dogs that barked at all hours, we even got into a war with some of them that went to court (they lost: the police testified they heard dogs barking and that was that, since there was a noise ordinance). One neighbor had friends that would drive up to pick them up every day and honk the horn (the police were no help here). That neighborhood was miserable.
I recommend NOT buying your own house in a subdivision, and moving into a condo instead, preferably in a fairly new (and somewhat expensive) high-rise. The whole culture of cars, motorcycles, big dogs, etc., and the individuality that goes with that is anathema to people who want peace and quiet.
It's not you who's the asshole, it's Americans who live in the suburbs.
However, regarding work: any chance you can move somewhere rural, e.g. many parts of Vermont?
They played them so loud, and the subwoofers were so strong, that I would hear the glass panes vibrating within their frames, in my windows. In addition to the bass, itself.
There is simply no way to stop such noise from penetrating right through nearby structures.
In my last corporate job, that moved from offices to shared, low wall "cubettes", there was a contingent that would stand up and shout their conversations across the aisles. There was my immediate neighbor, on the other side of my cubette wall, who would pound our connected desk system incessantly while on hours worth of personal phone calls. (Sometimes "multi-tasking", which would show up when her work products would have to be redone.) Not only would I hear it, it would shake my own desk. When I asked her, very politely, to please not to hit her desk repeatedly, she reported me to HR and I ended up in the dog house.
All the... well, corporate propaganda, was about "collaboration".
And within that cubette you shared, you were supposed to tune out hour long cube meetings taking place 3-4 feet from your shoulder.
Grandparent commenter: I sympathize. That... "sounds" very familiar.
I had no support from family and friends. Actually, sort of active anti-support, until they experienced it for themselves. Which few, other than family, did, because I was so uncomfortable that I didn't invite people over.
My strong advice, after having let the stress pull me into a downward spiral, is to do whatever you can to get yourself out of it and to someplace safe. Screw what other people say; they're not living with it.
And, we don't all have to be corporate -- or start up -- environment drones.
Get out, before it's too late.
P.S. Lest people say I'm "anti-social" or poor at working collaboratively, at one BigCo, I had a senior manager outside my reporting structure present me with a corporate-wide award for independently and pro-actively throwing a cross-country team together to troubleshoot and solve a process that had been in chronic, repeated crisis for some years. These weren't people who reported to me, just people across the organization who benefited from -- collaboratively -- establishing responsibilities, expectations, deliverables, dates, and a process for problem resolution, for something we all depended upon and knew needed to get done.
"Collaboration" does not mean tuning out a bunch of noise that has nothing to do with what you're working out.
One of the most effective, and senior, development teams I was on, within a rather large corporation and development shop, was about 50% remote, with developers upping their remote time as much as they felt they could, as that became acceptable. (This happened particularly after the move from offices to those "cubettes", for those who had been working in the office. Oh, and the distracted, desk-pounding neighbor was not part of that team.)
The team had no problem working together, nor with other teams, internal and external. People knew what they were doing, and they could make the space to concentrate on it effectively. One of the most effective guys, off in Atlanta, I never even met face-to-face, over the course of a few years.
Sorry if I've gone on about this, a bit. But this "mythology" of the primacy of "open space collaboration" needs to be... "dispelled" is too weak a word.
As far as I'm concerned, if people want to work that way, let them. Somewhere away from me. I'll outperform them, if my own work preferences -- needs -- are respected, and the metrics are fair.
Furthermore, you need a living space under your own control, to enjoy and also where you can rest up from the parts of the world -- including the work world -- that aren't under your control.
The idea that you should somehow learn to ignore, or even "enjoy" your neighbor's loud music and other behavior. No. And, I've found, most often the people making such comments aren't putting up with such circumstances, themselves.
People in other circumstances may live differently. Even then, I think there is a difference between community noise and penetrating, amplified noise that invades your space and triggers your autonomous nervous system.
Kids playing in the neighborhood, quite audible through an open window, are no problem for me. There is a difference.
I'm not sure that's literally true. With enough budget, I think you could pull it off with the judicious use of (a) lawsuits, and/or (b) extensive soundproofing.
Although it you have that ^ much money to solve the problem, moving is probably the best first step.
I gotta admit that I'm one of those people. But at home, not with a car stereo. However, I make sure to live in places where sound won't bother my neighbors. Partly because I'm a nice guy. And partly to avoid the hassle.
I've lived in close-packed houses. But we had A/C, so the windows could always be closed. For apartments, I've sought out old-school concrete slab and block buildings. And currently, I'm in a modern frame building, with extreme sound isolation (both floors and walls). Also, I put my speakers overhead, so I'm mainly driving the floors, which have better sound isolation.
I feel for you brother. If you have a chance, move ASAP. If not, make that chance yourself. Everyone who seeks it deserves peace and quiet.
I don't think that's anything new. It used to be that everyone had a boom box in their garage. What seems to be new is that the music is getting louder and louder because so many people have early stage hearing loss by age 30 as a result of cranking the music on their earbuds up too loud.
I'm semi-regularly amazed to discover the things I can hear and people 10 years younger than me can't.
Can they be bought outside America?
"Dedicate a work area for work and nothing else".
All I have on my work desk (which is an actual desk in a smallish room I converted for the purpose) is a monitor, keyboard and mouse and a coffee mug full of pens. The only thing in the room that isn't work is a Dualshock 4 PS4 controller that I use for gaming when I'm on lunch breaks or after work is done and I feel like playing some street fighter.
You don't just work at the house and expect to be productive. Much like muscles in the body working out for a marathon, you have to train at it, exercise and make deliberate efforts to get better. You don't just show up and run if you expect to have a good time.
YMMV though. I'm lucky to be a single-ish guy with a cat and no kids.
Combine that with the growing popularity of "all-in-one-bucket" PTO (IOW, your sick days comes out of the same bucket as vacation/holiday), and it's a wonder anyone stays healthy for any period of time.
For the longest time I joked with my wife that I'd take a $20K pay cut to not work in an open office. The job market called my bluff. gulp Sure, it's less money (and probably right around the $20K I was willing to trade), but I'm pretty sure my office is bigger than the one I had at Microsoft back in the day. Ask me today, and it's a trade I'm glad I made. And I haven't been sick in the five months since I started. :-)
This is of course illegal in the UK and I suspect most European countries:
> "You cannot force your employees to take annual leave when they’re eligible for sick leave."
Like my job and company alot, hate the open office. Literally have standing conversations start right behind my chair multiple times a day.
Move a big desktop with hardware? Good luck. Try to access local state from a laptop? Does not work or is inconvenient.
Multiply by number of people talking.
Not talking also kills pair programming.
But it wasn't all perfect - Chevron used to allow in office smoking. Fortunately for everyone else the two smokers had their own shared office but still everything in there was covered in a yellow tar miasma and the offices on either side didn't fare much better.
And Shell's offices were in a building that could be resold as a hospital, so we sat in rooms that were meant to be a private hospital room and were jammed in with easily removed furniture: in my case that meant sharing a room with four card tables and literally getting up and leaving the office so my office mate could walk past my desk and exit the room.
In my company everyone from the janitor to the CTO sits in the same shitty chairs in the same giant concrete warehouse. At least they're fair about it...
It won't hide the voices of people's talking but it will mask them somewhat (like if they where more far). It's the only way I'm able to be functional and talk with clients and continue working in an open space..
However Bose mic is catching everything, but that's another problem..
Programmers have also lost a lot of respect, and are now seen as simple factory workers who glue things together according to best practice.
My only issue is the matter of supplies. If you hired me as an electrician but wouldn't let me have any wire cutters, I would have a very difficult time doing my job. Likewise, a quiet space to think is one of the necessary reagents for programming.
At the same time if someone comes to my cube and is close by, I can still hear them. Far away noises, not so much.
I highly recommend getting a pair, they're super cheap, all kinds of styles and sizes.
Everywhere I work is an open office and we all wear our noise cancelling headphones, playing whatever music doesn’t break our concentration, and communicate via Slack.
Saying "toughen up and use headphones" is such a dismissive response to noise that employers use. I'm extremely sensitive to noise distractions, and music is, for me, just as bad as coworker chatter. Even white-noise apps make me feel like I'm getting barraged with sound. I want "library quiet." It's amazing that "open office" workplaces don't generally have a policy to keep the space as quiet as possible so people can get real work done.
I follow some of the executives of the company I work at (we have an open office) and they are constantly posting pictures of "teamwork and collaboration" that just have a bunch of people standing around each others desks talking. They see all the movement and noise and they love that it seems like everybody is hard at work, collaborating and discussing problems etc. But if you look a little closer, the people doing actual work are hunched over their desks with huge headphones on, and everybody standing around are either not talking about anything related to work or they are rehashing discussions that have already happened over IM/email/meetings. I expressed to my manager that I had a hard time working in this environment and would like the chance to work from home a more often but was dismissed because he "likes the open office" and our management has the view that if you are working from home you probably aren't working.
The executives tend to be extroverted and at the top of the primate social-power higherarchy. Much of this is unconscious, or at least un-admitted, but the people in charge of our offices get a rush when their subordinates visably do the work. They enjoy people gathering around them and telling them about the issue of the day. To an extrovert at the top of the ladder, that power wouldn't feel as good if it was manifested solely as Jira tickets, slack pings, and performance dashboards in a home office. They would not feel nearly as important.
One open office I worked regularly flew in parent company executives from around the world so they could watch all that geeky brainpower under their command grinding away at our Macbooks.
I think this psychology has had a cumulative effect on creating our work culture. Did an individual executive decide to build your office based on how it made them feel? No probablly not, but when you take the psychological profiles of all business leaders together you get the open office, the business trip, and the all day meeting.
It made me think of another: perhaps executives wrongly assume that what's a productive environment for them and their tasks is appropriate for everyone in the organization.
Might as well put you all behind a big glass wall, with a placard underneath that says “Developers” and toss a few bananas in every once in a while.
I don't hear that phrase much lately. Which makes me quite happy.
The book "Managing Humans" is worth a read if you're so cynical about managers. Though the actual problem is corporate culture in my experience.
The ones that aren't are worth their weight in gold, though.
Of course I don't think that's necessarily 100% true, but it always stuck with me.
/r/IBM is an IBM-controlled sub, and the original was deleted by the IBM-employed mod, hence the screencap.
It doesn't even need to really show anything, just say it does. Kind of like the Connection Machine's random blinkenlights "activity mode".
I work in a similar dystopian open office panopticon, and I'm shocked, every day, that this isn't something that everybody is intrinsically aware of. But where I work, there are some Important People who have offices with doors - who leave the doors wide open, put their phones on speaker, and shout into conference calls all day, every day. The inconsiderateness of some people is really mind boggling.
The middle ground I have is noise-cancelling headphones (bose qc20) with white noise app playing a low volume mix of grey noise and... maybe brown. The grey gives a low feeling, and helps mask out some frequencies that the noise cancelling headphones miss. It's not perfect, and it's not "library quiet", but I've found the combination is relatively calming most of the time.
Just a guess: some extroverts find "library day" just as unpleasant as others find non-library days?
I really like the way Amtrak handles this: At least on the Northeast Corridor, most of their trains have a "quiet car". Whether or not you sit in it is optional.
extroverts work at the office
introverts work from home.
(and yes, noise cancelling headphones is still sound, even if it's out of phase! I even wonder if it's worse, as the effect might be constant sound pressure on the eardrum -- does anyone have the science on this?)
As far as a DC offset, that doesn't exist in actual sound pressure waves. That's an artifact of discrete representation of sound as an electrical signal. When a DC offset is connected to a speaker you don't actually get any sound pressure, because the sound pressure comes from the cone's movement pushing air (resulting in pressure waves in air).
A DC offset just means that the speaker is being held still at some offset from it's "zero" or resting position. But the speaker is still being held still, un-moving, so no pressure waves are created. The "pop" you sometimes hear when a DC offset is present is the transition from a neutral signal (no offset) to the DC offset. The immediate change in the signal causes the speaker to move as fast as physically possible to get to the new position, creating a short, often very strong pressure wave (the pop). But once the speaker is at the offset it doesn't move unless the signal changes.
As you say, there is no "constant pressure" in acoustics. Or more accurately, it's typically not a factor in sound reproduction. Technically we are all subject to the constant atmospheric pressure. But it's not the pressure that causes acoustic phenomena, it's the rapid fluctuations in pressure. It's even possible that the headphones are forming a seal around your ear and subjecting your ear to varying pressures as you move and the headphones shift on your head (too slowly to be perceived as sound).
Active noise cancelling is what fancy Bose and Sony and (simply put) it involves cancelling outside sound out by playing the opposite sound. This shouldn't cause hearing damage because the opposite sound waves actually sum to 0, but I'm unaware of any studies about this so who knows.
Passive noise cancelling is when your headphones block out outside sounds the same way that typical ear protection does - by physically preventing it from getting inside the ears. Most headphones (excluding open-back headphones) will have some degree of passive noise cancelling just because they need to cover your ear.
You can buy headphones designed to passively block as much noise as possible. They are typically called IEMs (in ear monitors) because they are commonly used by musicians on stage to hear their instruments and what not.
This kind of noise cancelling will absolutely not damage your hearing or cause pain. In fact, because of the lower ambient noise while listening, you will be able to listen at lower levels. That will cause even less hearing loss and pain.
I've got a pair of these  Etymotic IEM's. I also use Etymotic's musicians earplugs and the IEM's block out pretty much the same amount of sound and fit in the ear the exact same way. Other notable brands are Shure and Westone.
If you want, you can go the extra mile and have custom molds made of your ears. Those will be far more comfortable than universal IEM's and will block more noise, too.
It’s 100% about virtue signalling to management. Headphones fit the visual stereotype of a hacker, so it’s OK. Ear plugs carry a connotation that the stuff generating noise is somehow “a bother” or “a nuisance” ... which of course is true, but you’re not allowed to actually acknowledge that truth.
When I’m actually listening to music, only earbuds will work for me. I suppose I could try to get earplugs that look like decoy earbuds.
However, if your comment was meant seriously, i.e. that employees should do some noise-cancellation arms race song and dance with employers, that mildly terrifies me. How could any person actually think that it’s acceptable to let your employer treat you that way? It’s insane.
The actual best option is to first do excellent work that makes your employer respect you and really count on you to such a degree that firing you for expressing reasonable preferences is not realistic for them. Then once you have established that bar of credibility, find the right ways to constantly remind your manager and other managers that the workplace conditions are unacceptable. This requires political tact because outright grumbling or long-winded feedback sessions will be used against you. Rather instead, you have to find key moments to unassailably undermine your boss by visually demonstrating just how hard you’re working but keep pointing out that because of noise and distractions, nobody (not even good, old trustworthy you) can get the thing done on time or get the full set of features implemented, etc.
You have to convert your pain into your boss’s boss’s pain, or it will never change. Capitulating with headphone contortions is a terrible approach.
But in tech companies it’s all about optics.
The downside is that every time someone wants to actually talk to me, I have to take my headphones off and take at least one earplug out.
Increasing collaboration is a bullshit excuse, but so is cost.
As someone who only tries to hire grown ups, I can assure you that many employees do not act like grown ups at all.
The only way to avoid this is to have the chance (e.g financial and social opportunity) and to use the chance (e.g by working and choosing) to set yourself in the right environment for you. Wanting the environment you are in to change does not work.
Just like you don't get more money by negotiating with your current boss, but by negotiating with bosses in other companies.
You can, and my, decide it's your mission to change your environment. It's possible. But you usually can only one mission in life, so choose carefully.
I've learned the hard way that you appear to be right, one can't change this alone and doing so is maddening, depressing and frustrating. Especially when the verbal outward presentation by people is that they want and value the things I mentioned, but the actions don't match up.
I think I need to change, but, I can't help feeling cynical, like I'm giving up and running every time I see such a situation. And then I wonder, if everyone follows the same pattern, how are we actually improving the situation on a bigger scale?
I guess a question is, is it better to stand whatever ground you are on to help encourage positive growth and values, or just find new ground, as you seem to be saying.
I'm getting older and I still haven't figured it out. I think you might be right, but it seems depressing to me to accept it.
I don't have a total answer, but I suspect a basic problem is that we have too simplistic an understanding of human psychology.
It's also possible that it's a chasm you and/or I can never cross, because to effect the kind of improvements you're describing requires having a particular persona.
I'd love to hear any ideas people have on solving this issue.
I agree completely and have no argument with change cannot be forced. And I also agree that most of the time, the thing you have more control over to change is yourself and your environment.
My only thought was, there must be some kind of equilibrium or balance that tips one way or another here. For example, if you're in a place that cannot achieve what you as an individual see as best - so you change your position - what if everyone does that and then nobody is left to do the work in that place?
That might force the place to change. Or, it might just attract people who don't care about how that place is. So in that regard, while it might have been better for you as an individual, and in a sense, by leaving you did that place a favor by demonstrating your convictions, you also didn't stay to work through the challenges and maybe improve the place you were.
So, I'm saying that, if everyone does that, is anyone staying to fix things in place? Or does the world really work if everyone gravitates to only the places where everything is working well and we leave behind the places where things don't work so well?
- can you pull it off ?
- does the cost outweigh the benefit
In that particular case, some people can't pull it off. They need the job or don't have that many opportunities. Some, like as both the chance to be able to, and have the mean to. That's a combination of luck and the result of your previous choices.
Now, does the cost outweigh the benefit is a personal evaluation. Personally I will decline working for a company with an open floor plan unless I can work remotely. It's on of my important items.
For some people, the prestige, the project, the team or the money can override this.
It's not rocket science really.
Here's a weird one: There's a number of people at my work who leave filled coffee mugs on the restroom countertops.
I suspect cubicles effectively cost more than $200/year because they eat more space than open-plan desks, which forms the real cost. But even so, I suspect you could find a lot of people who would give up $1000/year of salary for that benefit.
And even closed offices could probably be offset on a salary level. I think a lot of mid-career or later devs would probably give up an annual raise in return for a private office if they were offered an explicit choice.
I could be wrong about specifics, maybe it's not cost effective to offer. But I seriously doubt that's how the choice is being made - I think a lot of people really do believe the hype about 'better collaboration', or just want to look like other companies.
Somewhere else on this page is a comment from me that I'd take $20K/year less for an office with a door. I got my wish. There are other aspects to the job that make it appealing (short commute, laid back atmosphere, etc.), but if it were open office, I wouldn't have taken the job for the money it pays.
Midway compromise, that we've joked about at work: Use those walls per-team instead of per-person.
A little more spending would have obtained traditional cubicle walls to close off the open side, but it worked pretty well in practice.
On the other side of the room were a whiteboard and a conference table, and lunch was typically eaten at that conference table.
That said there were only like 5 desks in that room, and I'm not sure how well it would scale.
Refers to cubicles which in my experience DID solve a lot of problems. People talk less when they don't see other people around them.
The architect insisted on 8ft aisles and cramming in so many completely unused "collaboration" spaces we couldn't get enough desks in.
Just note that the kind of "open space" that's designed to both maintain/boost individual "deep concentration"/research work and boost collaboration requires more space pr worker than individual offices.
In the typical "cramped open" setup; either any one on one conversation will disturb everyone, so people are polite and don't collaborate that way as easily as dropping by an office with an open door; Or people gets lots of collaboration done, but no "deep work" done.
Though try working as a contractor at Microsoft without your ass in that chair eight hours/day and see what happens.
BUT, why the elaborate dance around that fact? It’s always dressed up as something else? It comes across as a sham explanation when anything but cost is attributed.
If you're taking the whole company on an international vacation, or paying to do their laundry and offer daycare, or offering whatever other widely-mocked perk you care to name, it's hard to imagine that worsening employee experience to cut costs is the goal. (Especially when you see open-plan offices even at non-urban companies.)
I think a lot of people really do believe the hype about open plan being better, especially if they're the boss and don't have to actually experience it.
If you can get a community of people who work together to ignore the basic human idea of privacy by cramming people together such that they are forced to live out in the open without privacy, it then becomes easier for them to ignore questions about privacy when creating privacy violating services.
Big successful new companies started out scraping by being built in garages with just a computer, table, chair to use, no private offices. When they grew up they saw no reason to change because it worked for them. So now the company is big and successful and believes that part of its success was the open plan office. So now other companies try to emulate the new young fresh hip fashionable company and so everyone gets open plan, even if its worse than offices.
Considering everyone is wearing noise cancelling headphones, and everyone is on Slack anyway, I don't believe this claim.
More importantly: Stress.
Why is that surprising? You removed offices so of course people don't talk anymore - politeness dictates that you don't want to interrupt other people.
And performance declined, which they blamed on switching to email rather than talking, while ignoring the even more obvious: now every time your coworkers have a conversation it interrupts you.
The use of cubicles and open plan has been shown in every actual study to have a negative impact on performance.
I have friends in open plans, and literally the best thing I have heard is that if you get the right place there isn't that much distraction.
My opinion is that if managers and executives are convinced open plan is "better" they should be placed in an open plan environment for at least 12 months before /any/ employees are moved into it. Of course that will never happen because the real purpose of open plan is to make sure that non-management employees know their place: they [and their health] are not individually important, and are just fungible units that can be replaced at will.
Making them "take their own medicine" is unlikely to be effective in this case, because the nature of manager/exec work is perfectly suited to the open layout. That's probably a large part of its popularity -- the people who decide for it fundamentally don't understand its problems. Even if they intellectually grasp that writing code requires concentration, they don't likely understand how fragile concentration can be.
Much of their job consists exactly of moving around, having conversations with various people. They have less use for stretches of uninterrupted concentration.
Cf. the excellent "Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule" essay http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html It's about the organization of time, but the basic insight applies to space/noise as well.
Of course again the purpose is to denigrate the employees who actually do work, rather than to be a better work environment.
And as other people have pointed out: the turn the office into an experiment in the spread of contagious diseases
That was apparently rampant when TBWA Chiat/Day tried a radical open plan office redesign.
Maybe, but I think it's more of a clash of personalities rather than politeness.
People in my area (all technical/engineers/product managers) are all quiet and communicate mostly over Slack.
The people opposite us are from business development or something definitely more people oriented, and they're all yapping away at each other all day. Have no qualms about interrupting other people, because that's just the way they work.
Might be a bit of an extrovert/introvert thing too
It’s basically the closest to a controlled study of office vs open plan in the real world that you could ask for.
The one thing open plan is meant to just “obviously” result in is collaboration and face to face communication. The numbers they got directly countered that.
My current employer has a "strict" no WFH policy.
And this is the best working environment I've had.
By the time I left my previous jobs I was almost clinically depressed and a big part of that was the horrible open office culture.
Can't wait till the entire industry goes mostly WFH so it's easier for your average dev to get such a job.
I didn't get a diagnosis until my late 30's. Once I had the diagnosis, not only did my life's quirks make a lot more sense, but I also had a clearer idea of what I need to stay productive.
Also, I'm not going to try talking you into medicating. But just a data point for your consideration, based on my experiences:
- The problems generally get worse when not mentally alert.
- The following things help with being mentally alert:
- Good sleep
- Keeping a healthy body weight (obesity --> poor sleep)
- Daily vigorous exercise
- I've found Vyvance to be all upside with no downside
- I can supplement with Adderall as needed, but it has downside:
- Easy to hyper-focus on the wrong task
- Can cause insomnia many hours later
- Can make me grouchy during wear-off
- Can make me seem emotionally flat to others
Hope this is useful.
I've been fit before getting a desk job and caffeine doesn't do much for me, so these are out.
Sleep impacts my ability to be productive I have noticed, so I am indeed getting as much and as good quality sleep as I can while having a baby.
My current rituals are, have something I enjoy for breakfast, ideally while in front of the computer doing something work related. I feel like ego depletion is a real thing for me, and I am more likely to be able to focus if I baby myself in some ways.
I take very (too) frequent breaks and walk around, get coffee etc. without judging myself for slacking, and the positive attitude helps me feel good enough to really buckle down and get work done when I feel I really need to.
I try to stop working for the day at a point where picking back up should be straight forward.
I also started getting to work earlier in the day, before most people, so I get alone time in the morning. This works out great for me despite not being much of a morning person.
Seeing as I need to use music to drown out noise, I choose agreeable classical music, nothing avant-garde or noisy, when I really need to get things done. I try to avoid music that I enjoy too much, as I tend to get sucked into it and find myself hand-picking "just 1 more" song.
Or when music gets tiresome but noise is still present, something like brain.fm helps me eek out just some more attention.
Finally, although it's a bit of a cheat, some autonomy in what you work on helps me immensely. I am way more likely to procrastinate if I have to do something too hard (for my current skillset, even if technically accessible) or too uninteresting. So I leave these tasks for someone else and try to pick up things that I am more likely to keep working on.
All in all, at work I can manage myself fine due to the added structure and the routine around it.
I have a lot more trouble getting things done outside of it.
I sincerely wish you the best. My one parting piece of advice, as someone who I think has been exactly where you are, is to connect with a healthcare provider that can test you for ADD and help you find more effective solutions.
That's advice that I really, really wish someone had given me 15 years earlier.
Fortunate. Vyvanse poops are a thing.
Also made me watch a lot of porn all of a sudden.
when and why would this ever happen?
Of course, all this because we generally, since we invented the internet, seem to avoid commuting to things we would rather spend less time on and don't require out actual physical presence. Same reason we pay our bills online, do our shopping online etc.
They're probably more likely to start designing office buildings with 6 foot ceilings in order to squeeze more workers in without exceeding the occupant limits per floor.
A boolean simple means you need to split the method.
There are occasions where a longer method makes things more readable.
And "a method should not even take on boolean ever"? So you split that method into two methods, and then every call site needs to have a conditional check.
Or you hide that under a method that checks and calls your 2 methods. That new method, takes a boolean. Oh...
6 booleans can just be a way to represent 6 flags - it might be modeled as a state-machine - but depending on the language and code base passing in 6 booleans to a function (or procedure) might be a fine way to isolate the entry point.
Now given that you have such a function, you need to be able to concentrate in order to refractor it.
I've recently untangled some hairy old front-end js code that takes in parameters from an "advanced" search form in order to validate the input, and construct a proper search.
Basically the same thing, but with much more than six inputs.
After squinting at it for an hour and trying a few things, it boiled down to a few simple checks and a map() over the remaining parameters.
These companies ask themselves, why put energy into a system when we can foster serendipitous collaboration?
There is something to it, and especially with putting people geographically near each other, but I think reliance on this kind of form actually is a detriment to most white-collar type jobs. There needs to be a reason for people to interact in a work context, to find common or linking skills or activities.
I think it would be better served if most companies just had a once a month mixer and the rules were that you had to sit at a table with all strangers, introduce yourselves, your background, what you did and what you were currently working on. In my experience that exchange seems to bring for more promise of future collaboration than any number of passings at the coffee machine or trying to drown out your neighbor 3 cubes over with headphones and loud music.
I feel like a once a month mixer would be social anxiety hell. It would be the one introvert per table making noise.
It was cool to break daily bread with the CEO. It probably was one of the keys to avoid having org-chart hierarchy become social hierarchy.
The other day I was in the city and I noticed that there's large crowds of people and that people not interacting as much unless they already know the other people. And this is in absolute terms not just percentage terms for some people. In regional areas there's fewer people but the times you bump into people you tend to have much higher quality interactions, even if the people you bump into are strangers you tend to say hello at the least. I wonder if open plan offices have some of this sort of effect going on.
I think the biggest difference between where I am now, and other places I’ve worked is that all my colleagues like and respect each other. I like talking to the people I sit near, because I like them.
I wonder if condition (i) makes sense. From my experience in open offices, communication mostly happens when I and some colleague are both sitting behind our pc's. So there is no uninterrupted line of sight.
Based on the image of the Sociometric badge and how it lays on your chest, it seems like this condition would miss a large portion of the communication that an open office incentivizes including talking over your computers, turning your head to the side and speaking, and speaking without being face to face.
I won’t take any job with an open office floor plan for the rest of my career. The stress of environmental oppression (noise, people cramped together, close quarters, etc) is just not worth it.
I am much happier now.
So to me the idea of being in a cube farm seems more uncomfortable.
I think as more people start with open workspaces it'll become normalized even further.
Why does it have to be black & white?
You can cover that up with stuff. One of the benefits of a fabric covered cube wall is that you can use pins to stick things up. I went to a fabric shop, got a bunch of the remnants that they sell cheaply, and put them all up over the gray.
For some reason the people higher up the chain don't work in cubes or open space. So they shouldn't tell us that these are the only options.
Personally, I find them incredibly distracting; there is a TV right behind me playing the World Cup right now, and people cheering every couple minutes whenever something happens. I work relatively close to the eating area, so I have to hear lunch conversations.
I'm also not innocent of office annoyances; occasionally I will argue with my coworkers about a design or how some code should be written, and I'm sure that that is annoying to the other people sitting on my floor, not to mention me typing on my IBM Model F keyboard noisily.
I live in the NYC area, so I guess rents are expensive enough to where private offices are out of the question until you're a CTO or something, but I would definitely prefer if this trend of open offices were to die. It's gotten to a point to where I'm thinking that my next job will have to be remote so that I can work in my guest room on my desk.
The cubes were very similar to these: https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.sZX3B6yJTUoJHOJ-t_3-TQHaF...
At the time, we had a fairly small group. Four front-end devs, three back-end devs, and a two designers. The devs all sat together on one side in a row and the designers on the other side. When the back-end guys had a JS or styling issue, they could just stand up and walk around the desk. If they needed a PM or a designer, they would use the interoffice IM system. We had a ton of back-end and front-end collaboration since we had several large whiteboards on the wall next to our cubes. A lot of time, you would be working and hear two devs talking about a problem. It was easy to just swivel in your chair and see if you had any input or ideas. We solved a lot of issues just with devs overhearing something and chiming in.
In the open space I'm in now, people won't even look at you when you're sitting next to them. Everything is done over IM. It's like there's invisible walls around everybody, even though we're all working shoulder to shoulder and on the same team. Our team is scattered throughout the building we're in so in person collaboration is really rare. It's practically the exact opposite of what they were hoping for.
Die Open Office Die...
Just because it is good for Silicon Valley startups does not mean its a good fit for the rest of the world.
As a programmer you need peace and quiet when solving problems. You also need non interrupt time. Working in open office space is both loud and interrupt driven.
As the article shows open office space decrease collaboration which is not what was intended.
Office design can be as creative and unique as you need it to be, there is absolutely no reason to have the black and white approach to open plan / cubes.
Before heading out, I did a bit of homework about coffee shops from where I can work from. I woke up early, biked to the station and took a pleasant one hour train ride to my destination city. After a small walk, I arrived at a good Coffee Bar / Roastery (with a decent internet connection). Spent three hours of my productive morning work day there.
Then, a longer walk for lunch break at a not-too-expensive vegetarian place. Following that, walk to a calming and tastefully designed book café that I already researched about; it was one of the most relaxing and productive coffee shops I've ever been to. I worked a good three-ish hours there. During my break time there, I also discovered a wonderful book. Then I walked back to the station, took the return train, and biked back home.
It was a long day, but a nice change in scenery. Glad I work remotely.
P.S. One of the most fantastic things about offices is learning from your peers. This doesn't happen to the same degree in open plan office that I can see, but with the privacy of offices it's much easier to have a conversation open up into talk about various subjects. And those can take the form of a lecture (here's how this system/algorithm/process/whatever works) or a conversation (here's an opinion I want to share about the fundamentals of software development, or such-like). That sort of thing is pure gold in terms of personal development and career advancement, it not only shares knowledge between people and opens up people's eyes to different takes on "the craft" in general, but it clues people in to the idea that it is worth caring about and thinking about fundamental questions like best practices, people management, interpersonal relationships, and so on. Some of the best and most lasting insights and advice I've had in my career have come from impromptu conversations in offices with small groups of people.
The paper states that one criterion for an F2F interaction to be counted is that the devices ("sociometric badges") used to collect the data must be facing each other with uninterrupted infrared line of sight.
From my experience, in an open workspace this is most of the time not needed to conduct a short F2F conversation. It's possible to quickly talk to people walking by, standing behind one's chair or sitting on the other side of the table. None of these requires an uninterrupted line of sight.
Also the device seems to have been located at chest height so a visual line of sight between eyes has not been recorded.
I wonder whether these considerations have been taken into account. The paper doesn't say anything about that.