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I can't see when I last posted or even what I said. I'm certain, though, it was quite some time ago. Many things were different than before and are different than now.

I've probably said before that I'm an alcoholic, though not recovering. I used it to drug myself into rest for the night. For over a decade, I had no trouble arising and going to work when I had a job. Nor did I drink more while I was looking for a job. Things seemed stable.

I'm sure I've described how stressful my last two jobs were - lodging and money, daily uncertainty that I would still have the job the next day. Each was far enough from home that I was alone in my hotel, which is what I prefer in those cases.

Actually, my last two job searches haven't caused hardships. Maybe I've gotten better or maybe the market for my skillset has returned to the US.

Anyway, I was offered this 9-month contract at a relatively low rate but in an application I hadn't learned yet but that was trying to replace the application I'd been programming with the last 15 years. Since the two programs are nothing alike on the other side of the screen, programming with the "new" app was difficult at first. I needed a few months of intense study before I understood enough to read through someone's else's customization from the past. When I did, I saw immediately that the style that was followed resulted in code that was extremely hard to read, even if you understood every line. IMO, it was unmaintainable and TG it was only a proof-of-concept and didn't have to be used any more.

So, then I learned enough to copy what I needed out of the old code to write my new customization. I've developed a style over my 29 year career by adopting many of the practices I've learned from other professionally developed programs. I, of course, choose only the ones that produce the best results - correct, concise, well documented, maintainable code. Since the client I work most closely with is also a developer and knew the old code, my style was not what he and my employer had used before, and my designs were different that ones they'd seen in the past. Those changes made them uncomfortable, so at first, they added "fixes" using their old style. The mixture was really ugly.

After 6-8 weeks of me writing, debugging, testing and documenting the first feature, they started looking more deeply and doing user-level tests. They found some bugs that I was able to fix in a matter of hours (not days or weeks :) ) and that fact impressed them as well. The low number of bugs improved their confidence, too. After they'd learned all of what I'd designed and written, they were happy to leave me alone, doing things my way because they were sure it would end up good. The client even said that he'd learned quite a lot from me already that he'd continue doing for the rest of his career.

Although the client manager thinks he is preventing me from "stressing out," by not telling me his schedule, his milestones, his deadlines, I have no clue whether I need to change my plans to accomodate his needs. He receives changes from the users all the time and I have to be flexible, nothing new there. The uncertainty, though, did increase my stress. That added stress cause me to drink more heavily.

I realized just Friday morning that I'd lost my grip on the addiction. It was now risking my work, my job, too often for me to ignore. Friday, I turned off the tap and haven't had anything since. I don't intend to start again, but relapse can happen. Care about me and send me your spare power, please. Thanks.


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Posted

Sending you hugs with best wishes for strength, happiness and success. :)

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Daneela,

I just discovered your blog this morning. It's been two years since this post and I hope you're feeling and doing better.

Hugs,

Emma

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