Stress, stress, and more stress.

I’m a contract programmer, a damn good one. I’m on a project that is based in Rochester NY, but which also has a programming team in China. Also, because I got this job through personal contact and reputation rather than through a headhunter, I’m very well paid. I’m sure it isn’t an exaggeration to say that the whole China team probably costs about the same as I do.

So my continued employment is probably dependant on being more productive and better than a whole team of Chinese PhDs. And so far, I’ve been doing that. Often the code they produce shows a lack of understanding of the tasks they’ve been set, or of the approach that we’ve been taking with the rest of the code that they have to work with. Although, to be perfectly honest, the biggest factor keeping me ahead of them is the fact that our higher ups are not capable of producing a clear set of requirements – but I can sit down and talk to them and build a clear picture of what is needed, or talk to the other developers and kick stuff around. I can even go to customer sites and talk to the end users. But even so, I feel a continual breathing down my neck.

Right now, we’re on a big push to produce some major new code for a new customer. I’ve been working my ass off. My code “lives” in between the user interface one of my fellow local programmers, and a module that is being produced in China. Fortunately, by working 50-55 hours a week for the last month or so, I’ve managed to keep ahead of both of them.

I’m going to see my daughters this weekend. Life events have conspired to keep me from seeing them for a while, and I need to see them this weekend. Unfortunately, I also have to do a bunch more work this weekend. Assuming I only work my “normal” 10 hours on Friday, I need to do at least 5-10 hours this weekend. That’s going to cut into the time with my daughters a bit.

I’ve got a very sore front tooth. I have a referral to a peridontist about that, since the gum is receeding so far it’s exposed much of the root. But I haven’t had time to go. And this evening walking out the car, my knee locked up in an extremely painful manner – it does that every now and then, and there’s nothing I can do about it except try to hop on the other leg. And now, right now, just to top it off, I can feel a bit of soreness swallowing. Which means that by Monday I’ll having a full grown cold, which means my productivity will be halved.