Jun 14, 2023

0.2 seconds faster

Over the past few days I watched “The Days”, a Netflix series about the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Far from flawless and clearly inferior to HBO’s Chernobyl, it is still well produced and manages to seize your attention and keep you locked in the seat.

Besides just recounting the events, portrayed from the view of the plant manager, the series carves out some space to pose uncomfortable questions and touches on human ambition, power dynamics, and its inevitable clash with reality.

Oddly enough, this got me ruminating about the stark disparity between the seemingly important everyday choices we make and the decisions that possess the power to genuinely alter lives, for better or worse.

Just a few weeks ago, I was ensnared at work, debating the optimization of a one-time migration code, attempting to shave off 0.2 seconds from the process. The absurdity of the situation struck me even then, but watching this reinforced a realization: the value we believe we’re creating through our jobs is often, regrettably, ephemeral and devoid of deep meaning.

Sometimes, we’re so entangled in a cycle of perceived productivity that we build a false sense of importance in what we do. Yet we persist, hoping to make an impact somehow, somewhere, routinely choosing a familiar illusion of value over the prospect of questioning our contributions.

The realization is a bit unsettling, yet also presents an opportunity to recalibrate, and reflect on what truly matters. Most of us may never face decisions with such high stakes as those made in the throes of the Fukushima disaster, but there’s always an opportunity to question our perspectives and values and shift focus to the true significance of what we do every day.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash