My colleague, Mr. Crow

(Names have been changed to protect identity)

Some people love to sing. Only, you wish that they didn't love it so much. Especially when they are not alone.

The office I work in is in a very quiet area. There are only four people working in it. All of us sit in one room. Any conversation is inevitably heard by all. Very much against Joel Spolsky's advice of having offices with closed doors for each person in a software setting. So, if the two people who are involved in Project A need to discuss something, they discuss it right there and it disturbs the other two people in the room who have nothing whatsoever to do with that project.

Now, one of my colleagues, Mr. Crow loves to sing. And its not when he is alone that he sings. He sings all through the day. While walking into office, while starting up his computer, while having lunch, while walking out of office, during an important meeting. Ok, I made that last one up.

His singing isn't all that bad either. Its just the timing. And he sings the first couple of lines from one song and then without any reason (or warning) moves onto another song of a completely different genre. It can be quite disconcerting.

When you are writing code, as in software code, you need silence. You need to focus. You need to get into the 'flow'. It is very difficult to get into the 'flow' and very easy to get out of it. That's when your mind is so immersed in what you are doing that you stop realizing the passage of time. Most software programmers write their best code when they are in this zone. Of complete concentration.

I am back to coding these days and am enjoying it thoroughly. There was one such period when I was debugging my project to see why WebObjects was not generating primary keys for one particular entity, as it so effortlessly does for the most part. I had done quite a bit of analysis and was quite deep into the algorithm, holding different pieces of information and felt I was close to figuring it out. Just then...

"Premani, premani, premani, premani...", Mr. Crow decided to break my reverie. It was almost as if someone had broken glass. "Aaaarrrggghhhh", I shouted out in my mind. I lost the chain of thought. "Tere bina zindagi se koi shikava...", Mr. Crow effortlessly meandered.

Primary keys would have to wait till the crooner had had his fill.


Kartik said…
Well, the closest I could come to closed door cabins is while working at home at odd early hours :)

Otherwise, the best way I figured out is to alienate myself from my environment. I basically choose around 10 to 15 songs that I like, which should also have been heard by me a lot! I change the songs only once in a month, or 2 months. So, when I play these songs while at work, since I've already heard these songs so many times they just don't come in the way, but still keep all the other noise away :)

Well, I can't however listen to soundtrack of a latest blockbuster without getting distracted :)
Anonymous said…
hmmm... I have a colleague... he talks so loud, I get cracked... my adrenalin levels up... I get disturbed... his voice is not good, may be :(