Lately at work I've been letting others pick up the slack on simple tasks that I had been hoarding to myself for years. Nothing interesting—mostly database maintenance kind of tasks. Nothing intellectually nutritious—mostly things that I had learned to do either because they had to be done and someone had to do it or because someone had done it but not very skillfully and I just don't know when to leave well enough alone. It's work that I know how to do. It's work that I owned, not by any conscious thought rather that I can never get ahead of that default yes that escapes my mouth immediately after someone asks can you help me with this?
I can help with that. But should I help with that?
Death by small tasks. Death by a thousand minutes of a thousand small tasks.
There's a central office that works on these databases in the company anyway, and a smaller one in our division that does the same (but separately, of course). I'm glad I was stubborn enough to avoid all that help for a while—like a drowning man splashing intentionally away from a thrown life ring I taught myself how to swim.
Swimming is a skill. Sure. As is understanding databases. But to what end? Because I know how things work, I know how things work...? It's one thing to practice a skill repeatedly, honing it, respecting it, perfecting it. But this wasn't that. A person could get stuck in that role forever—though not quite forever, really just up until the moment of terminal obsolescence.
Someone stopped by and asked for some help with the database. I didn't answer, not out of pique, not by any strategy, but because my brain was stuffed with cotton balls, couldn't get the thoughts to congeal into words into sentences. And they looked at me with a slightly concerned ok...? before asking if they should ask the database office to take care of it. Yes, please do that.
That database is a monstrosity, and the fools that learn to use it are doomed to keep using it. Say yes until you understand it, then say no. Simple subtraction. Clear out those minutes and use them consciously for something else.
mysql> DROP DATABASE timewaste