Sunday, January 18, 2015

Some companies have "work on what you want" days


Today, at a congregational consultation class held at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC, Rev, John Wimberly mentioned the “work on what you want” policy at some companies, for one day or afternoon a week.  At Google, this was the source of Gmail. Here’s an account  At 3M the policy is said to have resulted in the sticky pad.
  
Many companies had long had strict policies on “non business use” of corporate computing resources, even extending to doing school homework.  I think a “work on what you want” policy could have helped me back around 2000 when I tried to switch from mainframe to client server.  I had taken a week of java in 1999, and took one week of PowerBuilder, but it is impossible to become skilled at a language without building some things from the ground up.  It’s very hard to jump into supporting random problems on systems developed by others. 

Of course, at Hennepin County Technical College in the fall of 2002, I took C#, and XML, and there were projects in both courses, which met once a week.  But the knowledge didn’t “stick”.   The project were done with Microsoft Visual Studio .NET which I loaded on an old Sony machine upon which I had put Windows XP in 2002. 
  
I then played around with a “java starter” website trying to develop an “opposing viewpoints” database, before the hosting company failed completely in 2006.  However, had I enjoyed the freedom to do this at work back in 2000, maybe I really would have learned to code more java (or C++).  Had I been working for Google, maybe I could have!   I do recall playing around at home (even before I had Visual Studio) with some sort of application to keep track of the characters in my novel, but I didn't get that far. 

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