Experiment #1.2: How Sleeping on Floors Has Made Me a Better Data Scientist and Person

So a lot of people have said to me after they read the Experiment #1 post that sleeping in one's office is not reasonable behavior (re: "you're f***ing insane") and I shouldn't encourage others to do so. Now, over 6 months after my 3 month stint of living out of my office, I have some follow up lessons from that experience that I think are worth consideration.

Recently, I had an interview in Austin, Texas where I missed a flight connection due to weather and slept in the Dallas airport before catching a 6 AM flight to Austin for a 9 AM interview. While this would be devastating for most people, I actually felt prepared for these *ahem* undesirable circumstances. Oh, and I didn't shower after my 50 mile bike ride that day in 90 F weather. Why not?

A cot?!?! what luxury!!
Upon arrival in Dallas at 11:30 PM, at first I found a darkish corner, put on my headphones, played the XX intro on loop to drown out the awful country western airport music (WHY?!), and promptly fell asleep ontop of my backpacks, using my interview jacket as a blanket. I was awoken around 1:30 AM by a guard telling me I had to leave the terminal and go to the lobby (boo!).

Fortunately, in another semi dark corner of the lobby, I found several Red Cross cots with blankets (seriously fortunate!!). I laid down on the cot with my XX intro playing and fell asleep almost immediately, waking up at 4:30 AM to chipperly hop into line and go catch a plane to my interview. You know what - I performed well at the interview too and wasn't a zombie. I did something right here.

So how does this relate to sleeping on office floors for months? Because without that experience, I couldn't have just had the successful interview I just had. Really. So here are 9 things sleeping on floors taught me:

1. Respect. If you're sleeping in your office, you are in a shared space of which you are taking up more than your fair share. You learn to accommodate and negotiate to keep morale up and keep your office mates from calling the police on you. Sleeping on the floor made me a more aware and empathetic person because that was a necessary survival skill.

2. Flexibility. Sometimes a office mate would stay at work till 2 AM and another one would show up at 7 AM. That meant less than 5 hours of sleep for Lo, and you know what, I still had to put in a full work day and get my things done. I learned to just do - don't whine, don't violate Learned Item #1 (see above) - just make it work.

No shower? No sleep? No problem!
Just apply hair bow!
3. Looking Presentable in a Public Bathroom in 3 minutes or less: This is a skill. It involves wet wipes, deodorant, a tooth brush/tooth paste, and a hair bow. The hair bow is really the key element here.

4. Sleeping. After my office antics, I found I could sleep anywhere at anytime. This includes on planes, at dinner, while watching Star Trek, during seminars, while in meetings, etc. After sleeping on dirty floors with artificial lighting for months, everything is comfortable in comparison and soporific really.

5. Cooking Meals in Microwaves. And I don't mean frozen meals, I mean like brussel sprouts with beans and pasta from scratch. Also a skill, but the hair bow is optional here.

6. These are choices you make. Flying to Dallas to make my interview was a choice I made - it wasn't other people's fault and heaven knows, no one controls the weather. Once again, Learned Item #1 - don't make others suffer because of your choices.

7. Thank your friends. If your friends host you, make you a meal, bring you a coffee, or do something out of their way to improve your life quality despite the poor choices you are deliberately making, thank them. They are wonderful people and deserve the same kindness they've showed you.

8. Resourcefulness. Sometimes you show up to the room you *think* you're going to be sleeping in, and the door is locked or they are doing repairs on the heater at 7 AM. You have to adapt to your situation and make the best of what you have when you're living floor-to-floor, so this means you have to get creative. In real life, this translates to looking for opportunities in the crevices or the overlooked areas, like finding a pile of cots in a corner of an airport.

Just Do It!!! 
9. Just do it. Go for the late night, go for the interview, go for the backpacking trip, go for your dreams!!! Just do it!! What's stopping you, feeling tired? That's ridiculous because you're always tired - you're sleeping on floors! Making things happen is a choice!

By sleeping on floors for a few months, I've gained a few really valuable skills. So maybe it was worth it after all :)









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