Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Week in Alpha John-ness

Since last week's news cycle blew.

The end of last week was split between a project at work and a paper for school. The project is a disaster that landed in my lap after the person who owned it left a few weeks ago. No notes, no knowledge transfer, just a stillborn piece of garbageware the vendor gave us and its desire to break all rules of common sense. A day of digging and a couple phone calls to Barry was all it took to...well I have no idea what the fuck is going on with it now. We have no concept of project management here, so for all I know the Baby Jesus is the only one making sure this piece of shit doesn't implode and kill all of us.

Monday was our second lock-in for the CMS proof-of-concept. I had a call on Friday to make sure the vendor showed us what we wanted to cover. The call was my idea, which worked out since they were planning to spend hours on some bullshit we didn't care about. Instead the training went very smoothly and we saw everything we wanted to. We have a follow up meeting this afternoon to discuss what we have left to do for this POC.

Also on Monday, I spent time documenting our requirements for George's List, our answer to Craigslist. Yet another project that almost went to the coding stage without any written requirements or design documentation, Amy and I got a draft done [PDF] before the Web Team meeting on Tuesday. The Web Team was helpful in pointing out some things that had been overlooked, something that can only happen when you write your fucking assumptions down before people start coding!!

I've been very distracted at work for the past couple weeks, mostly due to the office full of Bobs living down the hall. Our Director left, and there is a consultant filling in for her for the next four months. In the mean time, the Bobs are here from the same firm doing analysis to figure out why everything is so fucked up. Senior and Executive management have done a piss-poor job of communicating their goals and intentions, and they have not (and probably will not) meet with individuals, only the managers. This has lead to tons of insecurity and doubt about people's own skills, how they fit in, and whether projects they're working on will be cancelled or stopped while others take priority. In short: nobody knows what the fuck is going on, and in that vacuum of doubt people are already jumping ship.

I'm the first to admit that I'm frustrated and unhappy, but I don't want to leave. I didn't take this job to love it, I took this job to finish school. Everything that's wrong here can be fixed, but the issues aren't being dealt with. Since it doesn't seem like these issues are going to be addressed anytime soon, I'd really like to move to another unit while things settle down. I've interviewed for two different positions on campus in the past six weeks, but haven't heard back from either of them (not even to say, "Sorry douche bag, you didn't get it"). I'm not in a position to quit my job and work full time (especially since my expenses exceed my pay here by $2000 a month), and taking another job will mean less time to focus on school.

I took yesterday off to regroup and get some errands and homework done, and it helped a little. I didn't get any homework done, but I caught up a lot of other lingering issues (caulking the shower in my bedroom was such a rush man). I have two exams next week, so chances are good that my weekend will be spent in the library.

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