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Downtime and Motivation

By Cactus Pete ·
I was trolling the articles and came across Max suggesting this might be a good discussion topic. Since I agree, I'm starting it.

We all have downtime, real or relative. How do you keep yourself relevant during these times? What if they're extended periods?

My current job is slow, by nature. During downtimes I hang out here, reading questions and articles and discussions. I don't participate too often [this is only the second discussion I've started - the other being started yesterday, and I've been here for a couple of years, I think].

I also read some other sites that are tech related, but this one I hold as primary.

My position doesn't grant me the option for beingmuch of a self starter, so I pretty much resign myself to learning more about what's coming, what's likely to be implemented here, and general technological advances.

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Pick one thing, but make it relevant

by dirk_k_publish In reply to Downtime and Motivation

Three things that work for me:
1) Choose a new software language and resolve to learn the basics...enough to get beyond "Hello World" but not much further than manipulating a simple input.

2) Advance knowledge in my specialties: It seems that there are always better ways of doing something in SQL. Even the new release of Enterprise Manager holds some genuinely useful features. The idea is to explore some of the changes that have occurred during the last couple of releases.

3) See if a co-worker needs help: the message here is that sometimes it only SEEMS like there's a complete lull in work. But often I look around and find that somebody is actually feverishly trying to finish something that I could lend a hand on.

THREE THINGS THAT HAVE NOT WORKED FOR ME DURING PROJECT LULLS:

1) Going beyond the basics when learning a new language that I have no hope of using in the near future: I've spent too much time trying to read a book cover-to-cover only to find that only a fraction of it is retained by the time I finish...and only the very basics after a month or two of disuse. I might as well have just studied the basics to start with.

2) Complaining that I have nothing to do. I learned the downfall of this early onin my career. And after having been on the management end, I understand how frustrating it is to try and find something for a whiner during a slow period. My solution is to work on training that I don't normally have time for...education is reallywhat the company is paying me for anyway.

3) Surfing the Internet for news: It seemed valuable at the time, but honestly, I'm no better off for following day to day changes in the war. It's not like the important details weren't summarized in 30second radio reports anyway.

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Certs

by ghstinshll In reply to Downtime and Motivation

The CCNA has kept me plenty busy this last few months, but my usual routine of checking personal mail and techrepublic fills the time. Long periods of lull call for drastic measures though. Picking up the book for the certification you should have had a year ago - but were too lazy to just go pass it - is always a good idea. I bet that theory is valid for most of us out in the field... We work with things we could certify in, yet our lack of interest in books holds us back.

Once I'm done with the CCNA exam next Friday, I'm going to take a little time off, but then start reading on a new MS exam I should have finished a long time ago ("damn 240 test...")

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