When nothing happens

November 8, 2017

I’ve spent the last week in a buggish sort of hell trying to track down bewildering software issues that made no sense at all. It was, by all definitions, hell. I hated myself for writing bugs. And I hated software for being so sensitive to my human-ness. After spending several days collecting clues and checking the same code over and over again, I concluded there was nothing visibly wrong, and it was time to exile myself to some remote island.

The issue would later be solved, of course. And it was bewildering for good reason: it had something to do with the timing of the new iPhone release, where people started getting new phones and restoring them from iCloud. Well, it turns out restoring your phone from iCloud will restore your data, but not your keychain. This confused my poor little app. And since I discovered that, the rest is history.

I felt great after fixing this bug that had come to define my life. I was in the best mood I've been in all month. I had big plans now that I was a free man: go on vacation, treat myself to exquisite delicacies, maybe leave the house for the first time and rediscover the sun—oh the heavenly thoughts! After releasing a bunch of new updates and crossing off my todos, I felt so extremely accomplished.

But the next day, nothing happened.

Sure, less support emails regarding this issue. That should be more peaceful right? But it was a business as usual sort of day. My traffic was the same. Sales were the same. No interesting activity on Twitter. And, I was so exhausted from that week of hell that I just wanted to take one small day off from coding.

And that became a new sort of hell. And surprisingly, this hell of nothingness was 100x worse than the hell of a software issue you don’t know the cause of. All that to say, be grateful you have problems. Because boredom is the worst problem of all. I can confirm this sentiment dating back to all the many software development jobs I had—being a cog in a wheel sucks, but what sucks more is being a useless cog in a wheel. It sucks the most.

Luckily for wanderers, boredom will only ever be a small window of reprieve from the constant storm. The next day, it was back to the stress of work. And I’m grateful for it.