Spending nearly two weeks away from Chicago recently gave me all sorts of insights into my life. It made me realize how much I adore my family and miss them when I’m out of contact. The time away was spent at conferences, and as usual that made me think about how passionate I am about my work. I have fantastic colleagues and nothing motivates me more than computing education. I also didn’t bring a cell phone with me, and that much time away made me realize how dependent on my smartphone I’ve become.
A recent article entitled Taking Your Work With You merged the latter two topics in an interesting way for me. I am almost constantly able to check into work, smartphone or not. Nearly every hotel I stay at these days has Internet access available, and we have a nice, fast Internet connection at home. As a result, I’m never completely away from my “office”. The e-mail volume certainly drops during the summer, and I often take access-free timeouts when classes aren’t in session. But my work is a big part of me as a person. I teach computer science and do research in computing education and theoretical computer science because it makes me happy and drives me in a way that nothing else ever has. I wouldn’t want to be away from it for too long, any more than I would want to be away from my daughter or my partner or exercise or my spiritual life or anything else that’s close to my heart. So once again I’m reminded how lucky I am to be paid to do what I would want to be doing anyway.