Logic puzzles are my job.

I’m very late on this post for no real good reason. I wish I could tell you I had been on some swashbuckling adventures or, at the very least, was filling my time with fulfilling, inspirational projects that just caused me to forget all about the internet.

Sadly, this has not been the case. Actually, I discovered this terrible (wonderful) phone game called Parks.

I don’t typically have an addictive personality. I’ve never had problems with substance abuse or gambling or anything like that. But logic games? Give me a good logic puzzle and you might not see me for a long time. Give me a series of them, combined with the fact that I’m still a little zonked on painkillers, and … we’re lucky it was nearly 70 degrees in Chicago over the weekend or I might still be wearing the same clothes I was Friday night, my overheated phone clutched in my cold dead hand.

Parks is sort of like Sudoku, in principle .. the idea is that there is a gridded board with differently-shaped areas marked out as “parks”. Your task is to put a tree into each park such that every park has a tree, but no two trees occupy the same column, row, or stand adjacent to any other tree diagonally. The more you play, the larger the grid gets and the more complex the game becomes.

Parks - simple level
Parks – simple level

I will probably, as I typically do when I discover a game I love, play it to death and then lament the lost hours spent playing it. I will then delete said game, live a normal life for a little while, and eventually find a new one.

The good thing about liking logic games, besides the fact that they are probably a healthier addiction than say, meth, is that it occurred to me that my job is also kind of like one big game of Parks.

I can never explain what I do to people. People always ask me to explain my job to them and I usually respond with something like “uh, I fix the internet” or quote my company’s LinkedIn page — “I work in product data solutions.” For about 2% of people, that one works, but usually I get a blank look. My title is the even more unhelpful and vague “Analyst” which, let’s face it, could actually be just about anything. You may as well call me “Thing-Doer,” which is probably actually the name of a person in an Icelandic saga.

The thing that I actually do is figure out how to organize big jumbles of stuff in various states of disarray — currently the jumble is fasteners and the various tools used to fasten them. So, I have about 40,000 unique products including things like screwdrivers, screws, drills, drill bits, nails, hammers, hooks, hooks that have screws on the ends of them, hooks that have nails on the ends of them, etc.

My job is to put each of those products in their own place such that each has one and only one home, with like products being near each other but not confused for one another (a screw and a hook with a screw end are not the same thing, though they are related), and such that a person searching for any of those on the Internet could find them with ease. Minus the internet search part, it’s not that unlike trying to figure out where to place the trees in Parks. Except I get paid for it!

Gotta get back to my game, I’m on level 51 right now and jonesing for a fix.







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