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Category: work

things related to work

The husband posted yesterday about how he launched his novel-writing career. (I hope it’s a career! Fingers crossed!) But, he didn’t quite get our conversation right.

The real conversation:

TH: I don’t want to work any more. [Manly pout.] I want to write a book.

ME: MmHmmmm. [Log into YNAB.]

TH: Complain, complain, complain …

ME: Yeah, it sucks. [Run some reports in YNAB.]

TH: I’ve always wanted to write a book, I’ve started so many.

ME: Yeah, I want to know how the cable guy one ends. You stopped just when it got good. [Budget analysis in YNAB.]

TH: Retirement’s so far away, I wish I didn’t have to wait.

ME: Can you do it in 6 months?

TH: Can I .. what? Write a book in 6 months?

ME: Yeah, can you write a book in 6 months?

TH: I don’t … Probably? Probably, yeah.

ME: Ok, let’s do it. You have 6 months. But that’s all, you’ll need to go back to work after 6 months.

TH: Wait, you mean just … quit my job and write a book?

ME: Yeah. But only for 6 months. That’s when the savings runs out.

TH: Really? You mean for real?

ME: Yeah. But not forever, ok? Just, you know. 6 months.

TH: [Manly cartwheel.]

Ok, ok, so maybe that’s not how it really, really happened. I don’t know that there was any pouting and there probably weren’t any cartwheels. Probably. But, in any event, it all came from a place of careful calculation … not from anything like a ‘heart’. I’m not so noble or generous as the husband’s post would imply. But, I suppose, that’s the novelists’ prerogative.

I answer complex coding problems in my sleep! 

For the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a trend:

Tuesday through Saturday, around 5 am, I am struck with a thought.  And not just any thought – the answer to a problem that I walked away from at work the afternoon before.

This morning, it was the realization that my java object contained a java.sql.Date, NOT a java.util.Date, and so of course my JSON serialization would be off. 

I’m hoping for the magic solution to dealing with circular references in my hibernate objects tomorrow morning.

I love my unconscious mind … now if only I were that smart ALL the time.  THEN I might be able to get some work done.

Is really kind of awesome!  At my new job, we get to work from home as long as we don’t abuse the privilege (i.e., when you have to sit at home during a 6-hour window for a 3-minute service call).

I had to wait for the not-blind blind man to come measure the basement sliding glass door so we can get new vertical blinds put up – which took him all of 37 seconds.  So I left work early this afternoon – which meant I was 2 hours behind on my workday.

But, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I was able to vpn into my work network and remote desktop to my machine.  And work for two hours! 

My tiny little laptop screen isn’t the best thing for juggling a java ide, two web browsers (gotta make my web app work in IE and FF …), an oracle ide, notepad++, and my services manager, but it works well enough.  Especially since now I’ll be able to have a regular-ol’ 8-hour friday tomorrow. 

During my two weeks off, I was fairly active. And I didn’t eat as much as I normally do. Which meant my li’l britney belly started to disappear and my pants don’t fit no more …

It’s not that I was trying to eat less – I’m a big proponent of eating whenever I’m hungry. It’s just that I wasn’t hungry! I did a little googling, and I actually found that exercise is a natural appetite suppressant. According to ‘them’. On the ‘internets’.

But now, I’m back to work, and it’s back to constant eating: breakfast at 6 am, second breakfast at 9, lunch at 11, afternoon snack at 2, post-work snack at 5, dinner at 6, after-dinner snack at 8. My belly will be back in no time!

back to work

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I headed back to work yesterday, which is good, because I really like spending money.  And buying stuff.  So a paycheck coming in really helps make that habit work.

Yesterday was filling out forms and learning about benefits and policies.  The boss man chatted at me for a few minutes in the afternoon to talk about what I was going to be doing, but since it was the first time in, well, 17 days that I had pulled myself out of bed before 7 am, it was mostly in one ear and out the other … 

This morning was meeting all the bigwigs and getting computer accounts.  And this afternoon was setting up my computer!  Eclipse and plugins (wtp and subclipse), tortoisesvn, tomcat, all the necessities.  I’m toying with the idea of buying a textpad license, I do so love textpad.  Even if you can’t edit hex in it.

I pulled down the code I’m going to be working on and determined it’s a spring-based web app.  With test code!  It does so warm my heart to see test code.

And, I get a window office!  It’s a 3 person office, but my desk is right in the window.  On the 15th floor.  Overlooking a hotel pool.  So when I get bored, I can look out and see little bitty peoples swimming.  (Seriously bitty – I can’t tell what gender they even are.  Promise.  So I’m totally not pervy.)

There’s no place on my desk for my batmobile, I have cupboards over my desk instead of open shelves like my last desk.  Which really is a shame, the batmobile is awesome.  And a half.  It should be shared with the world.

There’s also no parking garage … which I lamented as I got in my 100 degree car this afternoon to head home.

All in all, though, I’m still glad I took the new job.  🙂  I’m even looking forward to getting in nice and early tomorrow to buckle down and get to work.

I just bought a book on regexes. For those less nerdologically inclined, ‘regexes’ is short for regular expressions. Regular expressions being ‘expressions’ you use to match a certain pattern in text. They really are way more impressive than they sound …

Having just started a new job, I’m full of all the excitement and go-get-em attitude that comes with it. Which is what prompted me to buy the book. It got 4 and a half stars on amazon, so it must be good, right? Plus, it was recommended by an old colleague.

My new job makes good use of regexes. Which sounds completely … lame … but if used correctly, according to the intro of my new book, regexes can shave hours off of tasks.

The last time I got all gung-ho about my job and bought a book, I made it to chapter 5. Here’s to hoping this purchase was money well-spent …

new job stresses

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New jobs are exciting, because you get to embark on a whole new adventure – but then there are also all the stresses that come along with it.

I have no doubt that I can master my job. I have confidence in my technical skills – and my ability to quickly learn new skills – so there’s little pressure coming from that aspect of things. The stress all seems to lie in the social aspects of working in an office.

It’s like the feeling I get when I leave a phone message – the paranoia of “did I remember to say everything?” – “did I leave my name?” – “was I loud enough?” – “was I too loud?” – “did I say my phone number slowly and clearly enough?” – “OMG, did I LEAVE my phone number?” – “did I sound like an idiot?” – “are they going to play my message over and over again and LAUGH at it? – and then put it on youtube?” You know, that feeling. The feeling that you really are rather stupid and insignificant, and the rest of the world just wants you to stop bothering them.

I worry that they don’t believe I’m really a grown up. One of my new colleagues asked if I was fresh out of college – from the look on his face, I don’t think he even thought I was THAT old. When I told him that I’d been out of college longer than I was in it, I think perhaps he decided I must have some 18-month certificate or something.

I worry that they think I’m not very smart. I’m no Einstein, and I’m well aware of that fact – but I am a capable, intelligent person. Who just happens to ask really dumb questions. And say dumb things. And not know all the eclipse shortcuts. (Ok, but honestly, who does??? There’s got to be half a million of them.) I was working on a ‘getting started with the team’ programming project with the other new team member, and since his computer hasn’t been built yet, we did it on my box. Which meant I drove. Which meant he had to watch me spastically go about our ‘assignment.’ I’m not exactly one for going through all the steps in order … And then he got to witness my true anality firsthand, as I was compelled to update the ‘assignment’ whenever I found things that weren’t right. On the plus side, even though he now knows what a nut I am, I learned that he’s very capable and knows his stuff.

The truth of the matter is, my new coworkers don’t think about me. They really aren’t expending any effort to think bad things about me. They aren’t at home, right now, telling their spouses about the impossibly young and exceptionally stupid new hire. And for that, I am thankful.

two year itch

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I recently took a new job for the simple reason that I had been sitting in one place for too long. The work was challenging, the mission worthwhile, the customer hungry for what I had to offer, and the colleagues were among the best in the industry. But, alas, I suffer from a 2 year itch – and so it was time to go.

I opted not to send out a mass email to my coworkers, to thank them for an amazing 2 years, because I hate it when I get those things from people who just send them out to a group address, and I don’t even know who they are. I make fun of those people. But I didn’t want to just send it out to a list of people I made up, in case I inadvertently left someone off the list, and ended up hurting their feelings forever, which might cause them to run me off the road in a chance encounter 15 years down the line. And who likes being run off the road? Especially in the shiny new Lexus I’m sure to be driving 15 years from now.

So then I had the brilliant idea to thank my old colleagues in my blog! Then the 1 person who reads my blog might point it out to the 2 or 3 other people who actually care.

So here it is:

The last two years have been amazing. But, alas, I suffer from a 2 year itch, and so it was time for me to go. Also, there’s actually an unalterable law of the universe that if you have two female developers working in the same place at the same time, you risk planetary implosion. And, well, Teresa’s rock beat out my scissors …

It was a really hard decision to leave – it’s not every day that you have challenging work, supportive management, and the resources that you need to be successful as you fulfill a mission that has world-changing impact. And it’s especially not every day that you get to work with a team of people as great as you all are. Working on the team, you very much get the sense that it’s a hand-picked group of talent. And not only is everybody very skilled at what they do, it’s also a team who knows how to work together, who’s not interested in playing politics or fighting turf wars, and who was always willing to help me out when I needed it. And – well, you all know – I needed plenty of help. 🙂 There wasn’t hardly a day that went by that I wasn’t asking someone for something – whether it was for yet another explanation of what the 36 different IDs mean, or help with installing and configuring a tool, or getting clarification on how a particular process worked, or having files transferred from one network to another, or help in getting a a web server built, or … the list could go on and on.

I hate to be cliche, but it was truly an honor and a pleasure to work with you all. And I especially thank you for respecting me as a fellow human being, and treating me with respect. Thank you for being the kind of place I could climb under my desk to plug in a lamp, and not emerge to find that a crowd had gathered to gaze upon my upturned derri̬re. Even though it is 2007, there are still places that the gender war is still being fought Рthank you for being a place where I could leave that particular chip on my shoulder at the door.

And a special thanks to my officemates: I had no idea that I could learn so much and work so hard, and simultaneously have so much fun and consume sooooo much chocolate.

So, thank you. I already miss you all, and I sincerely hope that I get the opportunity to work with you again in the future.

Ampersands are out to get me this week. That’s right, the cute little &. He seems so harmless … and yet he is wreaking havoc on all my tools. At quitting time, nonetheless.

Tuesday, 3 p.m. (Yes, that’s quitting time. I get in at 7. Really!) I get a frantic IM from one of my users, the transfer app isn’t working. Now, we have this transfer app because we have no less than 7 networks. (Ok, ok, so maybe it’s only 4.) So, this transfer app moves a file from one network to a different network. I only worked on the first part of the transfer process, but it’s the first part that the customer sees, so that means I get the frantic IMs. Plus, I’m way more approachable than your average developer, so I get frantic IMs for tools that aren’t even mine. Because, honestly, if you have a choice between adorableness or cranky-pants magoo, you’re gonna go with adorableness. Even if you know adorableness may very well refer you to cranky-pants.

But, anyway, the transfer app stopped working. I’ll spare the details, but it turns out that transferring a file that contains an ampersand in the filename causes the whole tranfer app to just quit working. A DOS, if you will, for all the nerds out there. I haven’t fixed the issue yet, I just told the user to avoid ampersandy filenames for the next week or two. Seeing as it’s been 5 months and this is the first ampersandy filename any of the users have tried to transfer, I’m not *too* worried it’ll happen again before I fix it.

Thursday, 3 p.m. IM from another developer, one of our web apps can’t display search results from certain criteria. I started digging through log files, and I discovered the problem: ampersands. The search results end up in xml, that is xslt-ed into html – and ampersands aren’t allowed in such things. So I patched that up, and proceeded on my merry way. Luckily, that particular web app is in a permanent beta state, which means that we, as developers, don’t guarantee that it will run without kinks. Or even that it will always be available. But, I fixed it in 28 minutes, because that’s the kind of dedication to my customers that I have. Or maybe it just really bothers me when someone finds a bug in one of my tools. Either way, it’s fixed.

Ampersands. are. the. debil.

I’m not the kind of person who can do the same thing every day. I thrive on schedule variation. I loved college, with classes scattered throughout the week, with time to use for studying, labs, homework, apartment cleaning and shopping, to do at my discretion, and at my whim. Plus, the schedule changed every 4 months.

I’ve been slogging through this daily 9 to 5 for 4 years now, and it’s wearing me down. Vacations help, but then it’s right back into that same old same old.

I have a great job with flexible hours, and I think that helps me cope. I get paid monthly, so I just have to make sure I get my hours worked within the month. On my timecard, I work anywhere from 0 to 11 hours in a day. Today, for example, I was there for an hour. And then I left. I’m sure people think I must be sick or something, but the truth is, I was completely unmotivated to do anything on my at-work todo list. Which is a shame, because there really are a lot of things I’m supposed to be working on. Due to the fact that I’m the ‘last man standing’, as it were, we’ve had 3 developers leave in the last 6 months. And they’ve been replaced with one. Who is awesome, but he’s still coming up to speed, and they’re trying to preserve his sanity by letting him focus on one project. As opposed to, say, 8. (Oh, I wish I were exaggerating…)

I am not a lazy person. In fact, I just wrote out a todo list of what I’m going to do with my random day off, and I will be hard pressed to accomplish it. Especially if I keep getting distracted by things, like, oh, blogging. Here is what I hope to get done today: Laundry (2 or 3 loads), possibly some ironing (I really hate ironing, so I probably won’t do it), change the kitty litter, take tortellini for a walk and give her a bath, put away the camp gear (this involves cleaning a lot of it first), dishes (you’d be amazed at how many dirty dishes 2 people can generate, all 32 of our forks are dirty), straighten up the living room and kitchen (the two rooms on the main floor, once they are clean, the house is clean enough for guests), change the sheets (oh, that will make another load of laundry), clean the floors, and dig up a bush stump or 3. Before I can do the laundry or dig up the bushes, however, I will need to buy dryer sheets and a root cutting tool. Which means 2 stores, and seeing as I am incapable of just walking into a store and purchasing the one necessary item, I will have to allot an hour or two for shopping. Because I love wandering through stores. Even Home Depot…

I have to go back to the 9 to 5 tomorrow. But as for right now – I have some laundry to do.

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