I was talking with a programmer the other day and trying to keep on topic. He was like a spaniel out on on walk by the creek... always bounding ahead or off to the side and finding things that I, honestly, didnít want to have to deal with. The sense of deja vous made me realize just how many technical people are completely ADD.
This isnít about a lack of attention to the details that make up a dreary day at the office. Honestly, most of the stuff that passes my desk doesnít require a lot of attention. Any deficit I may have is probably warranted. But the kind of Attention Deficiency Iím talking about with programmers is way more than simply dismissing a silly issue -- the act of dismissing something requires at least a little attention.
Iím talking about someone who canít stand having only one thing to think about. Someone who sees the solution to a problem exists, but doesnít bother working out what that solution is as they run down the path of another problem. Iím talking jugglers who donít bother catching the balls they throw in the air.
Now, you would think that the people who make the complex systems that allow us to live in a world of miracles and wonderment would be the opposite of ADD. It would seem that being a bit OCD would be a more useful malady to have when dealing with thousands of lines of programming and complex, interconnected systems.
And, it turns out, youíd be wrong. Being completely focused means you canít tear yourself away from a problem youíre working on. Even when thereís a nuclear bomb ticking down that you should really disarm.
We live in a world of changing priorities where a hundred new facts can fall in your lap even as a hundred other facts fall out of your lap. Honestly, if you try to hold onto all those facts youíll go nuts. Being a little nutty to start with makes it easier to let it flow past and pick the challenges that are most interesting.
It may be that the OCD lawyers and accountants rule the world, but it takes the ADD technicians to keep it... Squirrel!
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Lori S: Re: Michael Bissell: You say ADD like a bad thing
Michael Bissell: Re: Lori
"Squirrel" is a reference to the dog in the movie Up -- although he was given the ability to speak English, he'd still interrupt himself because he kept getting distracted by squirrels.