Expert or Addiction?
Like most of you I once had cause to use Excel many years ago for a mundane task thinking, “how on earth do you get it to work?”, no matter what you typed or how you typed it, it seemed so alien!
What’s all the fuss?
After a little more fiddling and lots of help from forums (Excel Forum!) a light suddenly switches on!, I used to think this is easy look at the great things I can do, pretty colours, make one cell show the contents of another, make it larger, smaller, or even glue lots of cells together to make one big one!, how great I will look amongst my peers having found this magical tool that makes me look intelligent.
I found myself in the midst of a disease of which there is no known cure – I had contracted Excelitus, I would make it my business to walk through the office section to get to my job in a factory, on my way I would peer at the sea of computer screens scouring for someone using Excel, if I could see someone struggling I’d slide on over and offer my “Expert” advice and help, this Excelitus was gathering speed it was swelling my brain and my head with it!. I’d usually leave the stunned office worker with the parting words “…..so I’ll get it back to you fixed in a couple of days”, it was worse than expected, my condition was allowing my mouth to write cheques (checks for our American friends!) that my brain just couldn’t cash – back to Excel Forum for someone to provide a solution for something I said I could do, hmmm, maybe I will answer all their questions too!, after all I am an expert aren’t I?
So, I’ve posted my question…….I’m waiting? one look at the clock, its been 3 minutes since I posted, hit F5, what???? no reply? aha! I know I’ll add a reply to my question “……I’ve tried twiddling the knobs and dials any more help with this?” , that’s bound to get a response!, another 4 minutes passed…F5 again!, yahoo! a response,…..oh no its a moderator pointing out the content should be relevant, back to waiting, tick, tick, tick, tick…………, that’s it over an hour now, what’s wrong with these people don’t they know they are making me look bad, why don’t they answer?. Two hours more pass and so many hits on F5 that the markings show something resembling smudged spaghetti, but what’s this?, a response, and its not a moderator, yes, result……., I’m not sure what it means but it must be right!
The Bug bites deeper
Sat in front of my pc trembling with excitement as I now have the solution to the task I said I could do, open Excel, Alt+F11, Right click, Insert, Module (did some reading on the internet for that, well, I’m not going to buy a book am I?), Ctrl+V, its in!….hit “run” and…………”Runtime Error 1004″, hey a yellow line, wonder why?, a little cut here, a little change there….click run, “Runtime Error…Invalid Argument 5″, I can fix it, honest!, a little more change, add a dot, wow another menu, I’ll choose one it can’t be that difficult can it?. Who would have known there was all this behind that rather plain looking spreadsheet. I’m making it do something, something’s changed, not what I expected, I can feel the blood course through my veins giving me a rush of excitement as I can see I can “COMMAND” Excel, the addiction has just begun as I have experienced the hardcore substance that Microsoft was peddling behind that plain, softcore Excel exterior……VBA!
Where did the daylight go?
Tapping away, numerous hits on run, researching the internet and dozens of questions on the forum at last I have success!, look at this work of art, I have to scroll for 30 seconds to get through all the code I’ve pasted together but what a result. I think I’m pretty dehydrated now best get a drink, a walk past the window and I believe someone has actually stolen the sun!, its pitch black outside, look at my watch….now way!, 6 hours!, I’d better be off to bed.
In bed tossing and turning nothing but Excel running through my mind, I’ve tried everything to get to sleep, counting sheep, counting backwards but the addiction is so strong it came out IF Sheep = 100 And IF Jumped = 20 Then…... now I know I’ve got it bad!
Back to office to present my solution, proudly I announce “I was up all night with this” and present them with their solution, yes, I of all people have managed to change the colour of a cell if it shows a negative value and it only took 400 lines of code…pure genius!. The adulation from the office was fantastic I was a hero!, hey here comes the boss “you did that quick….I’ve got something else that shouldn’t take you too long!” , did I say I was proud?, doesn’t pride come before a fall? what have I done?
Still thirsty for using my new found Excel skills I accepted and spent many, many, many hours searching the internet, asking forum questions (and answering one or two) and coding 100’s of lines if not to provide a solution, to at least get a fix for my addiction!
it is now many years on and I have to tell you my friends and fellow addicts, I have sad news, there is no way out of the addiction, there’s so much to learn, so much to do and that damn Microsoft keep bringing out new versions that throw me off centre again!
So an addict I remain, am I complaining? no way!, what else would I be doing with my spare time?, what else would challenge me so much?
If you find yourself wanting to be an Expert then be prepared for the addiction!
- Friday, November 7th, 2008
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