Fixing problems and deal hunting/trip booking.
I am a problem solver at heart. I feel bothered and anxious when I see something that’s clearly wrong and is not being fixed. I would not mind jumping in and seeing what I can do. I remember when I was creating my interactive resume on Tableau (feel free to check it out here), I wanted a bubble timeline for the Experience section, which is similar to the picture below. On the internet, there are only 2 sites that provide instructions on how to do this kind of graph. I followed very closely and did everything step-by-step, but I still could not make it work at all. I even googled intensively to find the explanation behind every calculation from the example to see if I could adjust some elements to make it work. However, no matter how hard I tried, the graphs still turned out wrong and misleading. I even tried sending an email Toan Hoang, the person who wrote the tutorial. I hoped that he would reply as he responded to his readers that he would be willing to help them troubleshoot their problems (that was 3 years ago though).
Sadly, I never got a response, so I had to pivot to an easier timeline style. It was a Gant chart, but I was still able to make it elegant and easy-to-read by keeping only essential elements and making sure the descriptions and titles are clear and concise. Took me many many days to fix this and wasted so much time that was supposed to be allocated for other work at hand, but it’s all good since I’m very happy with the results.
Another activity that I lose myself in is deal hunting or trip booking. I say or because sometimes these activities overlap. Recently, I had to book rooms in a few cities to prepare for my parents’ visit this May. I spent hours and hours looking on Hopper, Hotels, booking.com, and Airbnb to find the best deal out there. I also waited until March 3 because that’s Hopper special discount day. I had to account for many factors, including but not limited to price, location, and reviews. It was such a time-consuming activity and I was completely soaked in it. I sometimes wonder if there is a better way to do this, but I don’t think so, because the reason why these sites can all thrive together is because of their site-specific deals and promotions. So, even if I have an algorithm to tell me the best deal based on my criteria, I would still only use it as if it’s one of the traveling sites and manually check the other one to make sure. And at that point, we would circle back to the same problem.