How Much Work is Too Much?

This is a rambling post that may or may not have a point. You have been warned...

I found this article about someone's negative experiences with their partner working at a major software gaming development firm. After seeing some of the "behind the scenes" stuff that was on the Halo2 extras disk, it seems like developing games go hand-in-hand with long, long hours to get the game done. On the one hand, I understand that if you want to do something well, you need to be completely devoted to it, heart, mind, and soul. But that level of dedication is (in my mind) hard to maintain, especially over long periods of time. Maybe that's why I've never considered myself great at things I do because I try to experience a bunch of things rather than focusing on one thing (sort of the "jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none" philosophy). There's a bunch of things I'd love to try, but I just cannot see myself spending every waking moment working on one thing all day, all night. That seems so narrow to the beauty that life has available to me. But I don't think Halo2 would be as cool as it is if the developers didn't have the dedication that they have to produce such a great product.

Somebody recently asked me what book I was currently working on. I said I wasn't writing anymore due to a number of reasons (a very soft market is the biggest one). He was suprised that I wasn't writing, but I just don't have the interest anymore in spending hours and hours slaving away at something that, while I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of it, it doesn't pay off financially. I've written books, I may write other non-technical books in the future, but I'm done with technical writing stuff, at least for a while. I've done it, I'm happy with what I've done, but there's other things to do.

At the same time, I feel like I don't do enough. There's only a limited amount of time that I have before I no longer exist, and I don't want to look back on what I've done with my life [1] and feel like I've wasted it. But I like relaxing. Pressure is a good thing to push myself to achieve more, but I also know there's someone else that's always better than me, and I feel like it's self-deceiving to blindly say "oh yeah, I'm the best there is". I've heard that you have to believe that you're the best at what you do no matter what, but that smacks of arrogance and stupidity. A more reasonable, rational approach seems to be an honest evaluation of who I am so I know what I'm good at and what I need to improve on and what things I'm missing out on so I can experience more out of life.

[1] That's assuming I'll have the chance. I could be hit by a bus and not have the chance to reflect on my accomplishments ;)

* Posted at 11.11.2004 09:45:21 AM CST | Link *

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