Work worth doing, questions worth asking

It is better to know some of the questions
than all of the answers.

— James Thurber

When you work independently, sometimes the project you accept wouldn’t be your first choice, but you don’t have much in the way of other choices. Some of my work last year fit into the latter category.  For quite a while I was writing or rewriting standard operating procedures in a manufacturing facility–not as exciting as it sounds.

Opportunities lately pique my interest more, either because of the client’s business itself or because of how that business connects to the outside world. That’s the “work worth doing” part–when what you’re working on seems to have a larger value than the compensation you receive for that work.

Someone who seems to enjoy his work is Jeffrey Levy, a On a different track, I’ve been finding out more about government and social software tools.  On Twitter, I follow Jeffrey Levy (@levyj413).  He’s director of web communications for the Environmental Protection Agency.

I’m very interested in how the government will make use of new tools, and Levy’s approach makes  a lot of sense to me:

Remember: mission first, choose the right tool,
measure and evaluate, and then teach the rest of us.

Thanks to Levy’s messages, I find useful ideas and smart people like Gwynne Kostin, whose blog, Gwynne on dot-gov, asks, “How do we use technology and communications tools to make government more useful, more efficient, and more transparent?”

As with her post, Open data: compare and contrast.  It highlights some of the constraints government works under–for example, implications of the Privacy Act, which bars agencies from releasing records without a request from, or the consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains.

No answers, but good questions to think about before everyone’s entire data history is available online to everyone else.