Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What I have been doing a lot of lately

It's 10 PM on a Tuesday and I'm pacing around my apartment having several conversations with myself. Most of them have to do with what I need to do at work over the next few days.

I have been very busy lately at work. I have been busier with straight-up work (as opposed to work-and-school) than I have ever been excepting the 12 day week I worked in Winter 2010 when we moved our environment to new servers.

I like being busy. I like learning new things (and I have certainly learned a boat-load of new things in the past few months*.) But I am overwhelmed. I feel like a processor in a computer. I move all day and cannot say at the end of the day what I have done (partly because my short term memory is shot, but also because I feel like I spend all day answering requests for data that someone else has to process.) I've become afraid of going into the kitchen for coffee because some staff member might corner me with a problem they're having with a printer or our Document Management System or worse, a problem that a client is having accessing our online client vault. I feel bad about this.

At the risk of ranging into Christian metaphors--the user community is my flock and I am their shepherd.** Or to put it another way, they are *my* clients and when they ask me for help I would like them to see my willing, helpful face as opposed to my "whaddayouwantnow-I'm bizy" face.

It's times like this that I wish I had some sort of partner. I can't explain everything that's going on at work to my friends and I can't express everything that I feel to my co-workers. I wish I had someone who could listen with a sympathetic ear and provide advice "Look into the SQL Management Console" or alternatively "Never touch the SQL Management Console again."

However, the technical problems are not as worrisome as the "people" problems. Technical problems can be hammered out, usually by speaking with software and hardware vendors. Technical problems are matters of electrons, resistors, conductors and the software that was written to make these things all work in concert. I cannot imagine that the ways in which we are trying to make our software work have never been though of before, so somebody must be able to make them work.

Working, as I am now, on IT projects all the time I had assumed that once we had gotten a blessing from the owners I would be working with geeks--INTJ types like me and that would make everything work smoothly. Sadly, no. I don't understand why.

Here I can't go into the details, because it's private, but suffice to say that people, who I had known for years to be sure to think "x" had suddenly decided to think "y."

I know that large technical projects are rarely completed on time and within scope (70% are not according to my Project Management professor Fall term.)

I am beginning to take a cynical point of view. I think of two things that people have told me. The first is my best friend on advising me on how people in New England drive "think of the least logical-the stupidest--way that people will behave and expect it and you'll be alright." The second thing that comes to mind with this current project is something a friend of mine in high-school said "My mom says that the number of teenagers present is the inverse square of the number of brains present" (assuming I stated that correctly 2 teenagers - 1/2^2 or 1/4 brains present.)

If anyone is actually reading this post I apologize for being vague and rambling. The point of this post was more to scratch a boil on my brain than to make any sense.


*to the point that I've had bad dreams about SQL 2008 Management Console and Microsoft Exchange
**Only in terms of technology. It is for others to decide everything from standards of customer service, trading workflows and financial planning workflows.

1 comment:

dtm said...

Yeah, it's tough not being able to vent safely. Very occasionally things come up a work that are both socially stressful and sufficiently confidential that I can't really vent to my wife. At least in those cases, I do have co-workers I can talk to. (Fortunately, I'm far enough away from truly secret stuff that if there's anything confidential I know, it's also known by thousands of others at work)

I believe that there are therapists making good money by allowing guided, confidential venting. If ELIZA-type programs were a bit more sophisticated, you could go rant at them. (Actually, you might try ranting at them anyway)