Thursday, June 9, 2016

On a good day

On A Good Day

For me, it’s a good day when I conquer a challenge no matter how small. And today, that came in the form of Excel spreadsheets.

There aren’t too many things in this world that have the power to break me like Excel. My day job did not require me touching that evil thing until recently, when some new responsibilities got transferred to me. I quickly crafted a workaround that resolved the affected tasks without having to fraternize with said enemy. And all was well, until early Monday when Murphy’s Law set in.

My manager sent an IM. A business process was disrupted and he needed answers. I looked at my workaround, but the situation was a little too advanced. This time there was no working around getting my hands dirty with raw data that was stashed away in those csv files. The last time sometime like this happened, I took work home and stayed up till 3am, running vlookup and all that jazz, while watching YouTube tutorials. Ugh!

This time I promised myself I wouldn’t lose sleep, and came up with a solution — even though my guts did not agree with my logic. What professional goes with guts? I reasoned, and turned it in just before calling it a day.

Following day, I got an indicator that the fix was not accurate. I changed my perspective, and told myself it was one more opportunity to learn, which meant impacting myself and ultimately someone else. That seemed to do it for me, and shrink the hatred. I started to ask better questions, from stakeholders and even from the data. Errors started to point themselves out, and corrections were made, and before long, I got clarity, was able to troubleshoot, resolve accurately and even went on to make bold predictions. Ha!

I gave my team and manager feedback, and world peace was restored. I felt a quiet personal victory. I won. I beat Excel! And then I remembered a quote I first read in primary school. I’d had little understanding back then but committed it to memory. It was from a textbook called “Mastering English,” and there was an account of Tenzing and Edmund Hillary after their successful expedition climbing Mt. Everest. The story ended with a quote from Hillary, “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

And oh, by the way, it’s my first work anniversary today! Cheers :)

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