I take naps at work.
There. I said it. My career is probably ruined now.
In grade school I don’t remember what classes I had after lunch, but I probably came close to failing them. There is something evil — or at least unthinking — when an institution requires intellectual activity in the early afternoon. I found it utterly futile to absorb trigonometry or history in that desperate hour or two after lunch, when I was yawning and trying valiantly to stay awake. In college I scheduled nothing important from noon until 2. In public school you don’t always have a choice, and your best bet is to take a class from a teacher who is cool about your forehead hitting the desk occasionally.
Civilized societies have siestas.
In the corporate world, meetings after lunch are commonplace. We schedule meetings during lunch. Jeepers, we have lunch interviews — just try explaining how a hash table works while you’re scarfing down cafeteria food:
Candidate: “Okay, these olives represent hash functions. And these Fritos are hash buckets. Now, we probe using this carrot, following the linked chain of peas until the end of the bucket or we fall off the table.”
Me: “Fine. And deletion?”
“Well, the peas are chained, so it’s a simple single-list removal. And when the list is empty, we get to eat a chip. Uh, list header.”
“Okay, radishes are now threads. How do you handle radish-safety?”
“Oh, a lock. But I’m allergic to radishes. You could go lock-free if you knew your system’s memory model really well; I’d rather eat celery all week.”
“So Q/A is all of this mysterious green crap over here, and your management chain is, well, we can build a little fort out of the potatoes and cauliflower. Your annual review is this flabby little pickle, bonuses are the pile of toothpicks, and HR is the smear of ketchup left from the last guy’s exit interview. Now, as I spill the soda (representing layoffs) over the whole organization, who stays high and dry?”
Naturally, dessert has chocolate chip cookies representing scheduling tokens in a real-time embedded system (“Let’s kill another process … yum”), with a slowly melting ice cream cone being the hard deadline. Oh, our interviews are merciless.
The problem with naps at work is where to take them. If you have your own office with a door that locks, you’re golden. If you’re in a warren of cubes you’re pretty much out of luck unless your cow-orkers are cool with seeing your feet stick out from under your desk. In the latter situation you also run the risk that someone not in the know will come by, spot your unmoving feet and call 911.
“Operator? One of my cow-orkers is dead!”
“Never mind, come quickly!”
… and when you get up and groggily try to explain that you were just taking a quick 20 minute schnozz, you get a face-full of double-ought buckshot because “Shit! He was daid and he’s gone an’ turned into a zombie!” Ka-pow, that sucks.
I firmly believe that twenty minutes of shut-eye, even just calming down and letting your mind peacefully wander, is conducive to an entire afternoon of creative work, and should be encouraged by modern corporations in the form of nap rooms and group quiet times.
And milk and cookies.