You read it right. Excel-ification !. Don’t bother to search in the internet. Its not there anywhere. Its a name given to a phase of life I am going through now. But I can bet that you may have gone or is going through it right now .
To give a little background, I am very passionate about technology and programming. I identified my interest in the field when I was 15 years and is following it till now. Its been almost 15 years and have learned numerous languages and developed lots of working stuff.
I co-founded a tech startup and was spearheading the development of a product . It was a wonderful journey and I was able to enjoy my passion to the heart. Finally the product is done and we have got some good clients using it .Till now, its been a journey of content and passion.
Now starts the phase of Excel-ification. When we have got more clients and as the product matured, we hired more developers ( Before, it was just me and another guy ). The clients wanted to see more of the specification on the paper than a complete working system. I started delegating the work across the team and then writing the technical horoscope of the project. Things get worse when you have an enterprise client. There you need to make sure that the scope of work is clearly defined or else you will be working your entire life for them. This became more of excel works and calculation of man days and crap. Negotiations, discussions and again coming back to excel and word for updating the “for the record” and “word by word” shit.
In essence, I am not able to do the stuff that I always loved to do. As a result, even though I would have worked all the day on different things I feels like I am not doing anything. I started feeling that my productivity has come down to zero and I am becoming a vegetable in field of my passion. Microsoft office became my IDE and xlsx files and docx files became my output at the end of the day. I have been Excel-ified 🙁
This is not the case of just me, I am pretty sure that many others would have also gone through the same thing. May be its that you have been working for extended hours and now sometimes you get to come home early. Its a good thing personally, but internally it feels like “I didn’t do anything relevant”. I had this discussed with senior developers ( passionate than me ) and they gave some advice. Just putting the points I was able to understand and take to my heart.
- Its a normal phase of Life. Take as it comes.
- Everybody need to go through it once.
- Excel-ification happens only to those who has proved themselves in the field and it should be taken as a promotion and a recognition that you are elevated to a higher role.
- We should learn to design and delegate the work and also guide others on execution. This is as important as developing something on our own.
- Contribution to something doesn’t need to be in one form. It could in many forms and what you are doing currently could be more relevant than what you were doing before.
End of the day , you are what you are. If you have followed something passionately , you have learned some really great things. No one can take that from you. Trust me , you still have all the skills you have learned in your past. I have started taking it as a positive phase and have learned to get over the frustration. I did the following things to make things better during Excel-ification.
- Work more closely with the team.
- Assign small tasks to yourself and contribute to the development of the project.
- Explore and learn new technologies. Create a working model and try to implement it in the team or project.
- Go back to your old code and see what improvement can be applied.
- Start a personal project ( Mine is Microideation ) that is entirely different from your office work.
- You can guide some passionate junior developer and enjoy the same satisfaction you had once.
I have started feeling better and is able to manage the expectations. I am pretty sure these things could help you also if you are going through the Excel-ification phase :).
As a end note, lets not hate Excel! . After all, we earn our daily bread by putting the numbers on the tiny cells of it 🙂