Tag Archives: work

Better Dressed

Beth read something to me out of a book she’s reading about the first day of school (as a teacher) and how to set yourself up for a successful year.  It read:

As you are dressed, so shall you be percieved. And as you are percieved, so shall you be treated.
It is not what is, but what is percieved that counts.
Always dress better than your students. If you do not care about yourself, why should the students care about you?

Which is probably why I need to start dressing better as a college instructor.

So noted…

State of the Program

I came to quite a harsh realization today: I will never have the best IT training program in the country, and the reason is very easy to understand but difficult to accept.

The majority of the students would not make it through a program as rigorous as I wish to have it. The point of the college, it seems, is to say that graduates have been trained and to push out as many as they can. I believe this to be monetarily driven.

So while I’m not going to fight it, I will supplement the mediocre materials and provide as much relevant knowledge as possible. In addition, I want to drive the following unoriginal ideas throughout my instruction:

1. Your level of confidence is directly proportional to the limits of your ability. If you don’t think you can do something, you will not.

2. Overconfidence without backing knowledge is dangerous.

3. If you don’t know something, readily admit it and accept the fact.

4. Then work your ass off to learn it.

Weekend Rumination

I have had some thoughts over the weekend and I have decided to stay with the new job for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time.  I am gaining a great amount of experience, the money’s pretty good, and it is a lot more interesting than the last five years I’ve just spent in state employment.  I’m getting better at the new stuff every day (I’d said I was impatient and I was right) and I think I might enjoy it a little.

We’ll see what happens.

No One Knows What to Do When Their Needs and Their Dreams Conflict

I was writing to Scott this morning and discovered that I had something to say.

The new job has me at a crossroads.  I am back on a time clock and I feel like a monkey.  However, the salary is much higher than I was making without the clock so I figure at some point I’ll get over it.  Still, it’s demeaning and it makes me feel undervalued.  I also have absolutely nothing in common with anyone there.

I had some serious reflection time alone at lunch yesterday.  I’m giving up the better part of a business that, if taken full-time, could allow me to retire comfortably at 40.  Staying with the bank in my monkey chair with a headset on is less stressful and more focused, but I would retire with everyone else at 65 or something.  I really had to weigh my options and assess risks, and I still haven’t really decided.  For the time being, though, I will probably keep showing up at the bank every morning.

I think my discomfort stems primarily from the drastic change.  I just left a job where I made my own schedule, knew everything about my job (and made it up when I didn’t), and my boss bought the beer every time we met, which was not often.  I now work in the same building with my boss, I have a schedule set by the company, I have to follow a dress code, and I’m really confused about what it is I was hired to do.  Mostly, I don’t like having an earnings ceiling and a boss.  Especially the boss.  That really bothers me.  I have found that I am more comfortable with making my own decisions based on my own experience and knowledge – the department I am in has its little need-to-know hierarchy and it’s a pain in the balls when I can’t make a decision because I can’t get in touch with someone.  I do not feel empowered.

I have come to the conclusion that no IT department does IT correctly, and that bothers me.  I am finally experiencing that difference they speak of between college and the world, that challenge-invoking difference between education and practice.  However, that doesn’t have to be that way.  I mean – seriously – when I get an e-mail from the Systems Administrator telling me to ensure I adjust the power scheme on every laptop I deploy, there is something wrong.  The company has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on hardware, infrastructure, and management software that I should never have to touch a machine more than once to deploy it.  Group Policy exists solely for this purpose.  We have 600 machines deployed and it seems there is no standard.  How the hell does someone manage 600 devices by hand?  The answer: inefficiently.  Therein lies the source of why no one is very positive.  No wonder they’re busy and “understaffed.”

Whatever I decide, this job will give me some good experience to take to the next place.  It’s not all bad – I am learning a whole lot about some specialized software and gaining enterprise-level hands-on practice.  This could be the start of a successful career in the banking industry.  I could just be feeling growing pains exacerbated by my impatience.  I will wait a couple more months to see if I can inject some sense into the workplace.

This is not to say that I hate working there, but so far no one has been very positive or outgoing and the whole lot of them are just downright strange.  I feel like I should just keep to myself and not bother with making acquaintances – there are no benefits to such things here.

The End of the Weekend

It sucks thinking about it – back to work tomorrow. Due to furloughs, I had a four-day weekend and it seemed pretty long. I thought I’d have forever to get things done, but reality is to the contrary. I’m getting ready to run the Labor Day 5K in Valdosta, and then the day is pretty much over after that.

What’s worse is that I don’t enjoy my job anymore. When you don’t look forward to going to work or talking to people about the work, it may be time to move on. My career is at a standstill at present and has been for some time now. I’m not allowed to touch computers in fear of a contract violation (sounds like a court order, doesn’t it?) and I don’t manage anyone. I manage information that is painfully extracted from those who care about these things less than I do. I see the job now as a futile effort to get things done and make things right. IBM has hosed this all up and there is almost nothing else to take apart. I’ll say this: it takes at least five days to install a desktop printer and there is nothing I can do to make that any faster. Everything is officiated and nothing is efficient in State Government I.T.

So I just don’t like it anymore. All we’ve been doing for three months is bitch and moan about how IBM/Dell/AT&T have come in and screwed everything up and GTA let them do it. And nothing has happened as a result of it. We are absolutely powerless. The things we say make a whole lot of sense, but no one hears it. It’s like telling the CEO that the server has a security issue, to which he replies “…hmph. We’ll have to look in to that,” while never making eye contact. He doesn’t care what you’re saying. The sun is up and people are at work, aren’t they? Everything is grand!

I am beginning to feel as if I’m rambling. I am losing the organization of my thoughts and that means it’s time to quit writing for now.

RAGBRAI 2010

I was thinking about my future today, and I have come to the conclusion that I can’t switch jobs for another two years. Here’s why:

I have said I’d go to RAGBRAI in 2010 with Scott (and he better still be on board), so I can’t start a new job because then I won’t have the vacation time saved up.

And that’s all. That is the sole reason I can’t move or change jobs. Things like that can really screw up some plans.

Oh, and I just thought of this – after five years at this job, I’ll be vested in the retirement plan. Not that it’s worth anything, but I might get some more out of it than I would by leaving early. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a job for more than four years. Next October will be four years at this one, so we’ll see. I hope it gets a little more interesting. But that’s for another post.

I Don’t Want to Speak Too Soon, But…

It looks like I’m back. I went running again today and finished without pain. I ran on a level quarter-mile track to work on my running mechanics and it looks like I’ve found a good stride. There aren’t any marathons in the near future, but at least I can sweat a little more these days.

I’ve applied for a job far away. That’s all I’m going to say at this point. The day after I sent my resume, another possibility popped up out of nowhere. They say “when it rains, it pours,” but I’m not one to believe that. Nothing is pouring yet, and it is unclear when anything will happen if it does at all. I should know something more in two weeks.

Aside from that, there’s not really anything to report. I haven’t been in deep thought until a few days ago when I was contemplating the possibly drastic life changes that are imminent and how to plan for that. I’ve just been trying to get motivated in to doing my schoolwork and it’s not working. The last two Friday nights found me experiencing crunch time and almost missing deadlines because I just don’t want to do the work. Two classes: one is boring and one is difficult. “Professional Communication” is boring and “Discrete Mathematics” is proving to be a challenge.

In a classroom setting, this would be a breeze even at this pace (5-1/2 weeks), but online work is different from that. There are no tests or quizzes. There are live online presentations, and two assignments due each week for each class. One must stay in a constant state of concentration (or at least have it in the back of the mind) to keep up with it while avoiding crunch time on Friday night. My problem is that the classwork doesn’t concern my everyday tasks or interests, and so I don’t care.

One must then decide whether it’s better to just do the work on time and keep up with the class and instructor or to crunch and still get A’s. I’m still in debate. Until then,

Why Do I Bother?

Google Answer to Filling Jobs Is an Algorithm (New York Times)

Google is trying something new with hiring folks these days, and I began to read this article with enthusiasm, thinking a dream just might come true and I could find myself on the payroll next year with my favorite corporation. Alas, I still need to finish school even to be the janitor.

Mathematics is absolutely required for engineering at Google, and it’s a subject I have long put away after going nine rounds with Calculus earlier in the decade. I feel comfortable with math but it takes a good bit of time and an inordinate amount of self-discipline to operate at that higher level.

Google has created a survey that its candidates will begin taking this month, and it predicts it might double its workforce this year (which is 10,000) and that means about 200 hires per week. They had to find some quantitative method, didn’t they? I probably would, too. With my current level of education and experience I still don’t qualify even for systems administration. So…

If given the chance I would propose to Google that they buy me. That’s right, me. They can put me through the rest of school and I will work for them to pay it off. If Google gives every employee so much to come and stay, why can’t that be education? They’re building an army and they seem to have the money to accommodate me (not to mention a little pull with the folks at Stanford), the only question is how do I ask this? Who do I e-mail, or where do I show up to yell “I want to finish school so I can work for Google!”

If I could ask the right person and they can answer me objectively as to why it’s not a good idea, I’ll quit. But until then, while the United States Army is still offering to pay off student loans to any flunkie who went to college, it’s a good idea for Google to front me some education. Hell, I’d even settle for Berkeley. Everyone says they’re starving for people, but I just don’t see it yet. The Department of Family and Children Services will pay for a Graduate degree while the social worker goes to school while employed, and some school districts will pay for education so long as the future educator signs a contract to teach in that district for a period of time. I believe I have a case.

Borrrrrrring

Okay, so maybe I’m back for a couple more times before January 1st. I’ve just finished re-creating a document that I lost on a flash drive (physical loss, not corruption or stupidity) that is 32 pages long, has 21 screen captures, and 4459 words. It was slightly aggravating, but it is done and has been improved upon greatly. I’m just sorry I can’t publish it in the public domain due to some copyright restrictions for the images I captured.

It is an instructional document for my team to aid them in setting up each of their Linksys Wireless Broadband Routers. Everyone seemed to like the first and second editions, even the boss. He started passing it out to the Education and Training unit, and you know what they had to say?

“The page numbers are wrong.”

I got “This is very professional” from several folks, and “This helped a lot!” from others, but from a unit that had no other clue about how to set up the device, I get “The page numbers are wrong.”

So it’s no accident that the page numbering is perfect this time, the font has changed, and all illustrations now have a reference number. It was created in Microsoft Word 2003 and will now stay that way in case I lose this new flash drive (I had previously published it in PDF and had no way else to freely convert that file back to Word to recover it.)

I realize you don’t care about any of that, but I’m glad it’s all out in the open. In other news:

I’ve been reading the archives from a year ago and I’ve got to say that I’m amazed at my promises I never kept, like reading all those books. I “vowed” to read them all, and I probably could have if I’d taken the time away from the computer and desk. I’m even busier now but take more time to read since my desktop PC stays dormant much of the time. I’ve taken to do more of my learning at work, since that is what I’m paid to do – to know. So time at home is more well-spent, I’m more relaxed, patience is more abundant, and I can get out of bed easier (could be these new meds) to write and read for hours before work.

I think a good ultimate goal would be to have a new MacBook Pro by the end of the year, but there is absolutely no way I’ll promise something like that. I’d gladly give up my chance at a MacBook Pro to move to Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, or Arizona this year. I’d even take California for the right company.

But like I said (and I encourage everyone to do the same), I’m going to rock steady this year and continue my solid progression toward success, without the huge promises and false hope. I’m not going to lose any weight, buy a new car, or do any of that crazy talk. I’m just going to keep my flash drive close to me at all times, be prompt for work and school, and see where I am this time next year.