Inside Job: No, Really: What Is Quality of Life, Anyway?

Inside Job: No, Really: What Is Quality of Life, Anyway?

In this second installment of The Inside Job, I'll be turning over the quality of life discussion to an assortment of developers who have kindly agreed to answer that most ponderous of questions: What is "quality of life"?

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For concentrated mental work, it must be quiet and there must be no visual distractions, especially movement. This means an office with a door I can shut. Cubicles are barely adequate; European-style waist-high cubicles, or "bullpens" are unacceptable. Loud conversations nearby, music, or television, are productivity-killers. I used to be able to listen to music (on headphones) while I worked, but as my appreciation for music has deepened, I now find myself paying attention to the music instead of to what I am supposed to be doing. I have used CDs of nature sounds (rivers and oceans) to mask noise nearby, but this is definitely second-best.

I definitely need natural light and areas of light and shade -- completely uniform illumination is depressing. I also find it helpful to have a window that looks out onto a peaceful scene -- trees or fields. This rests my mind and gives my eyes something to focus on that's more than three feet away.

I strongly dislike all-male environments; they tend to be loud, crude, and competitive rather than supportive. The presence of women encourages better behavior in men.

It's very helpful to have an espresso machine nearby, and a fridge with soft drinks in it!

Deleted - meant to reply to a different column.


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