Update: The happy ending is here.
I wrote an email to my bosses tonight. This one’s kind of special and I haven’t seen many of them around, so I’ve decided to post it here. The background is that I’ve been working on a neat little project for the past couple months. I was really excited to do it and had some fun results. Now, even though I spend a good chunk of time thinking about it, when I actually sit down to program I can’t seem to get it implemented.
This last week I clocked 4 hours, down from 20. I wasn’t sure if that was going to be indication enough that I wasn’t working, so, here’s my email.
I’m writing this email because I have a problem. It’s been bothering me for a little while now and I’m not sure how this is going to come out, but I thought I’d best bring it up.
The problem is that I’m stuck. For the past couple weeks I’ve been unable to do any work on the project that actually feels like progress. I place all the blame on applicable-sounding excuses, like school/exams/projects, but to be honest I’m just not as motivated as I was before. I understand that the idea is to create a usable tool and make it available to people via a friendly interface, and I have a lot of design ideas I feel strongly about, but I just don’t see it being used enough to merit the implementation effort. I’m not sure that I have the full picture on the issue, but it seems like my program, as iffy as it may look and load, does about what you need it to, since it’s only going to be run every few months by a select few people.
It’s hard for me to express it precisely, and also to approach you like this, because I don’t want to come across as though I’m giving up, even though it feels that way a bit. I just feel much better coming clean on the issue. And long story short, I still do want to work on it, but I would like to come back to it in a little while. Or pick it up again before then if I feel so inclined. I just don’t want to keep banging my head on this when I could potentially be working on another project. Not to mention banging one’s head gets old kind of quick. I’d appreciate it if we could talk about this some more, if you have time.
Let me know what you think. This could just be something easily remedied with an expectations-management pep talk or a poignant anecdote, as far as I know. I’m just a proto-professional experimenting with openness techniques. I haven’t seen many guides on how to tell your boss you suck, so I’m guessing you don’t get a lot of emails like this.
So it’s kind of wishy-washy and not the proudest display. But it’s honest and I feel better. Not as good as if I could wrench this program out of my brain and onto the server, but this way he knows now’s a good time to chime in. Also, maybe I’ll start a trend of circumlocutive openness in the workplace.
Well, I’ll post the result if it works out. Otherwise, I’ll downplay my double failure. I don’t want to turn this into a whiny blog.