Friday, April 03, 2009

Weekend Assignment #261: Have You Done Your Homework?

The fact that I'm late in posting this is only the secondary inspiration for this week's topic:

Weekend Assignment #261: For most of us, school was quite some time ago, but I bet we all remember what it was like to have homework due. Did you start right in on homework when you got home, or put it off until the last minute, or put it off until it was actually late?

Extra Credit: Are your homework habits reflected in the way you handle tasks now at work or at home?

Homework, for a seminar I dropped but will pick up again.

Obviously I'm doing something school-like at the moment, completing assignments for the Auditing and attestation section of a CPA exam review course online. The assignments are due every three days at midnight MST (Arizona Standard Time, it's sometimes called, because we have no Daylight Time). If I haven't done at least a little work by the second midnight, Their computer sends me a "reminder" email. At midnight 24 hours after that, it grades what I've done, and I get an email sending me to the site where the automated grade is posted. It's all numeric, based on scores for tests you can do as many times as it takes to get 100%.

The first day, I usually take a break after the previous night's marathon. The second day, I may start work, depending on how short the assignment looks and what else is happening that night. The third night, I may or may not finish by midnight. If I don't make it, I can get it done late, and tell the computer to regrade. All my scores are 100%, and unlike in the FAR course, which I've dropped twice, that represents my actually having learned the material.

Wednesday night this week, I had just two units (modules, lessons, whatever) to complete, having already done the first of the three assigned. They didn't look all that work-intensive; the video lectures weren't very long, 4:45 for "Overview :: Governmental Audits" and 5:37 for "Overview :: Reviews and Compilations for Nonissuers." But wait - there were 35 Past Exam Questions on the former, and 63 of them on the latter. I was at it all night, literally, finishing about the time John left for work on Thursday morning. I could have done it more quickly had I not been so tired, or taken breaks to monitor Facebook and clear my head, or walk around the house trying to wake up enough to wrap my head around the difference between an engagement letter and a management representation letter on a review engagement.

When I was in actual, face-to-face school at the University of Phoenix, I worked on homework pretty much every night, but still ended up writing many of my papers the day they were due, mostly typing them on my laptop during lunch at Golden Corral. And trust me, I was much worse about homework when I was in my teens and early twenties. When I left Syracuse University in 1979, I had four incompletes, all in English Lit or Commonwealth Lit courses. I had reached the point that last year in which I could not do a literary essay, a deadly problem for an English major! And in high school, I was always fudging the reading of books, getting through half and then skipping to the end, and fudging the class discussion by listening to what everyone else said. I don't recommend this. But really, I have gotten better. Honest!

As for procrastination in Real Life, I still struggle with it to a degree, but a lot of the time my motto is "Do It Now." (John will disagree with this self-assessment, believe me.) Unfortunately, that mostly only carries me through stuff I don't find problematic in some way. Small jobs, day to day stuff, stuff due every week, no problem. Stressful or large jobs, not so much. To see the truth of that, one has only to look at the unsorted boxes around here, or the 1984 New Yorker still in the driveway because I haven't found the title so we can donate it to charity.

How about you? Do you knock out work at a steady clip, get it out of the way ASAP, or put it off as long as you can? Tell us about it in a blog entry, and please remember to link back to this entry. Then leave a link to your entry in the comments below. I'll post a roundup of your responses a week from now. Meanwhile:

For Weekend Assignment #260: It's a Wonderful Job, guest professor Florinda asked what your all-time favorite job was. Aside from an ALL-CAPS screed about "Zionists" and my annoyed comment when I deleted that, there were three responses. Here are the excerpts; click on the names to see the whole entries.

Julie said...

My best job ever was working in radio. I've had two jobs in the business. My first was in college, when I worked for the late lamented KNUS in Dallas. I did market research, but the morning DJ discovered I could do a passable British accent and had me do a few things that actually got on the air. My favorite bit was when we faked a phone call from London. I called from home so know one would know what was going on, then went in to work. Once I got in, I discovered that one of the executives had stormed into the studio demanding to know why the DJ had called London without prior authorization. (Overseas calls were still every expensive.) That made me feel good!

Florinda said...

If I were still at my favorite job ever, I would be celebrating my eleventh anniversary this week. I began work as Controller of the Memphis Zoo on March 30, 1998, and left in early June of 2002, shortly before my move to Southern California.

Mike said...

I've worked at a few restaurants over the years, and I think I've had the most fun at those. I think a lot of that had to due with the lack of responsibility I had when working at them. I wasn't in charge of anything, and the biggest thing I could screw up was accidentally ordering someone's stake rare instead of medium. On top of that, anytime I was working in a restaurant I was in school, so I was younger, had less stress due to less bills, or kids health and welfare to worry about. Each restaurant job had it's own unique high points.

That's it for now! I look forward to hearing about your good and bad jobs, past and present - and no, I don't expect you to name names unless you want to.

I'm still running low on "guest professor" suggestions for these Weekend Assignments, so I ask again: please, please, please email me some new ones. Thanks!



barrettmanor said...

Here's a very wishy washy answer for you:

Mike said...

Heh. You sound a little like me. :)

Mine is up now.