To Plan on Planning

To plan or not to plan? I’ve never really considered it before, which is the same as not planning. Funny how that works. If this sounds familiar, read on.

Common pessimistic wisdom says that if you plan ahead you can only be disappointed. If you live by the seat of your pants, expecting nothing, only good can come your way. Is that really true? For me, it seems to cause more and more stress to be planless. If you’re stressed too, don’t worry – I’m not suggesting that you write up a life plan or know your 5-year goals at all times. If you’re like me, that’s just not possible. You have to know what you want first.

Knowing what you want isn’t as easy as it sounds for some of us. Well, not in the area of life, anyway. (I want a Wii. I won’t get one any time soon because of the ridiculous hordes, but I know I want one.) If you’re the type of person that’s always known what you wanted to do, and you’re actually doing it now, then congratulations. I’m half of the way there. I’m in the same general occupation. I’m in the right ballpark but the wrong position. Possibly the wrong team, if you anthropomorphize corporate America a bit. I’m a shortstop for the Yankees when I want to be an umpire in the minor leagues.

Planning for the next few years might get me out of that mess, if I can figure out how to prioritize my dreams and make it all work in the real world. A good friend of mine did just that this week – he moved closer to home and got a job doing what he loves while earning three times more money. Getting everything you want in one fell swoop is a bit much to ask, lucky bastard, but I’d at least like one of the three: enjoyment, location, or money. Preferably enjoyment or location. Money can’t solve the problem of spending 40+ hours each week hating life. Location, for me, could save almost 15 hours per week. Enjoyment could save my sanity. Money should follow naturally because I’m well under the average, sadly.

The long term plan will probably take a while because there are several large factors to juggle. In the short term, I’m going to read (or reread) a few books (my personal selection – Programming Ruby, The Mythical Man-Month, and The Pragmatic Programmer) to get my perspective back. I’ll probably take on a project or two to hone my skills. I’ve been in a fog for months now. Finding my way out is the first step of the plan.


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