If you have ever written even a single line of code, you have also probably done “it” – the program without end. The infinite loop. Hopefully it was just to print out “Hello World” to the screen, or all the numbers to infinity, or calculated all the values of pi.
BUT… probably not. It was probably to delete a series of files (that went tragically too far). Or to reboot a set of servers (“and then the entire data center went dark”), or to log something to a file (until the hard disk filled up), or some other time-saving automation gone horribly wrong.
That’s when you learned: Everything needs an escape, a way out, a check for a conditional to know you’ve a limit was reached.
Same with our lives.
Too much overtime (or too much work in general). Too much to drink, or eat. To many hours spent online in a fantasy world. Too much time spent crafting the “perfect” subroutine, or network design, or email response. Too much time spent trying to create the perfect ANYTHING, really.
There’s a point where our bodies are no longer meant to carry washing machines up 3 flights of stairs. A point where peekaboo is no longer the funniest game in a child’s life. A point where we should hand off the mantle of leadership – of our company, of our family, of the backyard grill – to someone else because like us at some point in the past they have prepared for this day and patiently waited their turn.
Not only do we need to realize that all things WILL end, we need to recognize that all things MUST have an end. And that the things we start or engage in regularly need to have an end point built-in – by us if it’s not part of the natural order.
As IT professionals, we have the chance to see and experience what happens when actions loop without end. It is never pretty.