An Invite for Problem Solvers
I have spent my life trying to create a culture around me work that I find engaging. The problems I try to solve are a big part of this, I give up years of my life and lots of my money trying to find problems that are interesting and engaging and keep me creatively stimulated. I have changed jobs many times to find a better match, even moved cities in the hope of finding more interesting problems to explore and solve in the ways that I care about them. The problems are differently shaped, but a good job is where I can solve just the right ratio of social and technical problems that really speak to me as a person.
The people are arguably more important. I spend years getting to know the ways in which my carefully chosen work colleagues think about problems, the way they process information, and what strengths and weaknesses each of them bring to the table.
We have meeting after meeting about how we can improve our collaboration in problem solving: reduce friction, build trust, and solve problems better while maintaining the work life balance as we do so. We try to plan ahead and minimize the occurrences where outside stress and time pressure force us to make shortcuts in that process.
Beyond that, the tools that I use are very specifically picked to the problems I enjoy solving. I’ve spent many thousands of hours learning new tricks and tools to make solving the problems I enjoy easier and keep me focused only on the 1% of the problem I most enjoy working on and thinking about. Even further, I have special furniture and other equipment that makes doing this kind of problem solving, especially for long periods, easier and more comfortable. It may seem small, but even the right kind of chair can make a huge difference in how well I can focus. Sometimes I stand or change chairs in the middle of the day to help me refocus without stopping.
I delight in these tools, in these practices, and these people enough to do this work for almost 1/3rd of my waking life. It’s still not ideal…I won’t lie about how much I enjoy it. I’d rather be wandering the planet meeting new people and trying new food. That said, the cash from this arrangement has covered some things like food and housing, both of which proving pretty important in my survival. And I can even go on the occasional trip, pretend like I don’t have to return to the problem solving for a little while.
It’s better than the alternative. Goodness knows I’m not equipped for weeks of back-breaking labor at this point. I don’t think I could survive for a week doing some of the other jobs I hear about. I respect the heck out of the folks that do that work, but I just don’t have it in me at this point. Sometimes I think about that life. Maybe if…
Sorry, I got a little lost there. You had asked about the escape room? About paying to voluntarily lock myself in a room with a lot of people I hardly know to solve unpredictable riddles while wearing uncomfortable footwear in an unnecessarily stressful situation? It’s gotta be a no for me, dog. Thanks for the invite, tho!