For better or worse, I think I am probably perceived by some at my day job to be a “troublemaker.” I like to consider myself the good kind of troublemaker who makes trouble that leads to meaningful improvements. Because I do bring about a number of those. But trouble is trouble. Given that causing positive trouble has probably cost me far more in effort and energy than it has netted me in recognition and praise, I think one could reasonably ask why I persist in doing it.
I remembered the answer today, when I stayed a couple hours late to write a Perl script that would track the cumulative time that myself and our team of 15 people spend building our project every day. I’ve been wired to derive a feeling of exhilaration from finding solvable problems and figuring out the steps to get those problems solved. So when the day comes in a couple weeks that I can assemble 15 people worth of build data and present my interpretation of what the cost of those times is, it won’t matter to me what kind of trouble I’m causing, because ultimately, a problem will be one big step closer to being solved.
The shareable observation to make here is that, though the pleasure I took from writing this script was tremendous, there were still a few days that I prioritized it lower than my everyday tasks, because technically, it was optional. But once I finished it this evening, I realized that this is what makes me really happy. If you’ve got something that sounds like a good idea to you but is going to take a couple hours to get done, listen to how you feel once you finish that thing. If it is “good” or “great”, hopefully you will join me and be smarter about what gets precedence next time you’re prioritizing standard responsibilities, distractions, and whatever makes you feel like a champ.
The other point is that every company needs some quality troublemakers.