I’m in sort of a mood this evening. I spent quite a lot of the day working on a project that involved sorting survey responses into categories in excel only to discover that when I saved the file, the file type only saves the last worksheet that was open. I was getting ready to send the file to a colleague and I noticed that the file size was only 3KB and that seemed impossibly small so just to double-check, I opened the file and found that many hours of work was just gone, vanished.
Laura was a super good sport and tried to help me find/recover the rest of the file, but after much Googling and asking for assistance from the excel help oracle, we discovered that excel files of the .csv type are limited to one worksheet and so when you save a file with this extension it automatically gets rid of all but the last touched worksheet. And there was no going back to an earlier timestamp on my machine because I didn’t have the “time machine” function on (and even then, it’s apparently unlikely that I could have gotten the work back).
The major booger deal is that I was saving as I went along and all the worksheets were there and appeared to be functioning fine. It wasn’t until I closed the darn thing that this wrinkle became apparent. The somewhat ego-saving deal is that neither Laura nor I had any idea that .csv files behaved this way so I couldn’t have known about this “feature” of .csv files (though she did know the difference between a .csv file and a .xlsx file and I didn’t). But dang – it’s frustrating.
And this particular work wasn’t exactly an emotional cakewalk so the prospect of having to do it all over again is not making for a happy camper. Hopefully it will go some faster (and emotionally easier) since I’ve already figured it all out once. I can’t remember specific times in the past when such things have happened, but there’ve been lots of times when my system crashed or I messed up and deleted some piece of writing or another. What I remember very well is the sick, sinking feeling of having to accept that whatever it was is gone, which is always a blow.
I realize that telling you about this is silly since I’m 100% certain that you have never, ever in life spent hours working on an intellectual task so there’s no way you could ever have lost hours worth of such work. It’s just not in the realm of possibility. It’s also not remotely possible that you’ve lost hours worth of work on something you were trying to make, like a chair or a painting or a meal. You aren’t a hands on sort of person either.
Of course you’ve lost plenty of other sorts of things – businesses, a university, a charity, market shares – those sorts of things you’ve definitely let slide right through your fingers. Bunches of times. You’ve also lost millions of peoples’ respect and trust and I suppose it could be said that you worked for at least a few hours trying to gin up enough of a smoke screen to gaslight said people into respecting and trusting you, so perhaps there’s a similar letdown on that count. Maybe. What’s more likely is that you toggled manically back and forth between assigning blame elsewhere and denying that anything was (is) amiss so you didn’t have to feel any sort of letdown. Anger and magical thinking are good covers for disappointment and sadness, aren’t they?
May we be safe to feel what’s real.
May we be willing to regroup when things go wrong.
May we have the strength not to beat ourselves up over mistakes.
May we accept disappointment and sadness.