This isn’t about a lack of attention to the details that make up a dreary day at the office. Honestly, most of the stuff that passes my desk doesn’t require a lot of attention. Any deficit I may have is probably warranted. But the kind of Attention Deficiency I’m talking about with programmers is way more than simply dismissing a silly issue -- the act of dismissing something requires at least a little attention.
I’m talking about someone who can’t stand having only one thing to think about. Someone who sees the solution to a problem exists, but doesn’t bother working out what that solution is as they run down the path of another problem. I’m talking jugglers who don’t bother catching the balls they throw in the air.
Now, you would think that the people who make the complex systems that allow us to live in a world of miracles and wonderment would be the opposite of ADD. It would seem that being a bit OCD would be a more useful malady to have when dealing with thousands of lines of programming and complex, interconnected systems.
And, it turns out, you’d be wrong. Being completely focused means you can’t tear yourself away from a problem you’re working on. Even when there’s a nuclear bomb ticking down that you should really disarm.
We live in a world of changing priorities where a hundred new facts can fall in your lap even as a hundred other facts fall out of your lap. Honestly, if you try to hold onto all those facts you’ll go nuts. Being a little nutty to start with makes it easier to let it flow past and pick the challenges that are most interesting.
It may be that the OCD lawyers and accountants rule the world, but it takes the ADD technicians to keep it... Squirrel!