I was supposed to go to New Jersey this weekend. Had my bags packed and everything. But then my car kept acting up, and the weather forecast looked pretty unfortunate, so when my alarm went off at 5:30 yesterday morning, I made the groggy decision to just sleep for two more hours and go to work instead of drive up there.

I’m glad I did work yesterday because I had a call with a prospective new client at 9:30, signed a contract to do some work for them at 10am, and was finished with the entire project and ready to invoice it by the end of the day. It was kind of a Salesforce project, but it was mostly a data cleansing and augmentation project. I find myself working on a lot of those lately.

I think I always had an affinity for data. It started out as an obsession with grammar and categorizing things into lists in my journals and diaries when I was younger. It evolved into immaculate file-naming conventions in college and impeccable folder structures, which were admired by everyone in my office at my first “real job.” It’s the reason I created such silly categories (then tags) for this blog. When TranSystems implemented a CRM system, I became vigilant about always using the system as the source of truth. And when my last company decided to overhaul their internal communication and multiple applications with Salesforce,  integrating it with their back-end system, I volunteered to lead the project because I couldn’t imagine anyone being able to get a handle on that company’s data (and processes) better than I could.

I never really knew the proper way to clean up a massive amount of data. Every time I’ve done it (until yesterday), I’ve done it in Excel, Google Sheets and/or Smartsheet, but I’ve always known that wasn’t the “right” way to do it. Last time a client asked me to take the lead on a big data migration, I chickened out and deferred to another consultant because I wasn’t confident enough in my strategy for doing it. That other consultant screwed it up royally, and I felt terrible for making that recommendation, which is why I did commit to helping them clean it all up.

It’s also why I spent this rainy day at work mastering my new favorite free thing I found on the Internet: OpenRefine. I cleaned up about a half a million pieces of data in three hours today. It sounds super nerdy, but I was pretty excited about it. 🙂

Speaking of work, today marks one year of me not having a “real job” anymore. And while that means I work excessively and haven’t had a real paycheck in 365 days…it also means I’ve spent an entire year not wasting a single minute wondering what I could be doing instead of my job. And that feels pretty amazing. 🙂

I’ve learned a lot about time, money, success, happiness, and work over the last year. Maybe I’ll write about that next.

Leave a Reply