Yesterday, someone found my blog using the search term “lims nightmare.” That peaked my curiosity as I now wonder what kind of nightmare they had. And I know that people on other projects in laboratory informatics (ELN, SDMS or other) have problem projects, too, so I’m sure they can identify with this, as well.
I’ve had a couple nightmares about projects but usually revolving around some of the people and usually only on the worst projects. But I do have product-based dreams. Sometimes, if I can’t figure out a particularly difficult problem, it will come to me during the night. Sometimes, it seems to be part of a dream, a “LIMS dream,” to be more specific, but I suspect it could be the case that I was only half-asleep.
I think it has to do with the fact that, when we’re trying too hard to think about a problem, that that is sometimes what blocks us from figuring out the answer. Sometimes, by going away from it, that’s when the pieces all fall into place.
On the other hand, regarding the nightmares, if you’re on a project that is really that bad that you’re starting to have nightmares, I suspect it’s because it’s a case where you feel it’s beyond your help. If that’s the case, all you can do is do your best until it’s done. If it’s not going to be done anytime soon, consider this — if you stay on it and can’t help it, you’re not only not helping the project but probably not getting a good night’s sleep. Maybe it’s time to go. If you’re an employee, find another job. But if you’re a consultant that’s promised to say for some kind of timeframe, you’re stuck. Try to find other things in your life to make you happy. As a person who gets really invested into work, I know firsthand that that is a hard thing to do. But you need to try your best for your own peace of mind. One of the hardest things to do is to admit that a project is beyond your help. Especially if you’re a consultant. We’re supposed to just “know” how to fix these things and to “add value” and the like. But, even we have our limits and it is a terrible thing to come across projects that can’t be helped. I try to be as honest about it as I can and to be in the mindset that I shouldn’t spend all my time rethinking that. I’m not claiming I’m all that successful a lot of the time, but I know that I have to try hard, at least. 😉