A spoon full of programming makes the medicine go down.

Now that the school year is wrapped up, my other College job has me wrangling reports all the live long day.

The better part of the work is fixing problems. Word that a particular function or report has gone wonky means that I get to play detective for a while. Sometimes that "while" is an excruciating inch-by-inch crawl through reams of programming and database code, hunting down the one faulty assumption that is to blame. A recent bug concerned an employee with two jobs -- sounds familiar -- only one of which had come to an end and yet the report in question assumed that meant that the employee had quit entirely.

It's not at all sexy, but solving these mysteries does afford a sense of gratification. It also affirms a software conviction of mine: "it can always be fixed."

The less-better part of the work is wading through the execrable documentation that accompanies the execrable system that runs the College. This system's technical writers have mastered explaining everything about a feature except for trivial details such as what it does or how to use it. They are good at dreaming up seven-letter abbreviations though -- GURINSO or FABCHKP anyone?

So, when faced with five-hundred pages of verbiose flapdoodle (just one of many, many such manuals), I look for any procrastiphilic diversion at my disposal.

My favourite such pursuit is programming. You'd think with a job title that already contains the word "programmer," I'd have had my fill by now. To be accurate, my job title should really read "reader, decipherer, and critiquer of existing progams" -- writing new code is often the least of my duties. So, whenever I can sneak the chance, I let 'er rip.

Given that I'm still on the clock, I don't get to spend this snuck time developing first-person shooters or anything that exciting. No, instead I write little tools and utilities that attempt to deexecrate the College's system: 100-line Python programs that help me navigate through the some 1,600 database tables that make up the aforementioned execration. Hardly glamourous, but terribly satisfying nonetheless.

I think there's also the suggestion in there somewhere that I chose the correct profession.