Posts tagged with "work"

A Pat On The Back

It was one of those days at work. Things weren’t exact­ly going wrong per se, but it was stress­ful enough as it was. People were all over me, want­i­ng this or that, under­min­ing my deci­sions, inter­rupt­ing my con­ver­sa­tions, run­ning around like their heads were cut off.

I kept remind­ing myself to breathe deeply (from the feet, as the Taoist sages are often described as doing) and calm­ly, kept think­ing about the word tat­tooed on my wrist, and it worked for a while.

By 3:15, I had to get out of the build­ing. It was sup­posed to be a three-song walk, but it end­ed up being nine. I did­n’t even bring my coat; I was burn­ing so much inside, that I did­n’t need it. The win­ter slushed creeped up my jeans by six inch­es, but thank­ful­ly no one noticed.

Tyler was leav­ing as I was step­ping back into the office. He invit­ed me to an art show at Bablyon tomor­row1. I told him that I’d think about it, know­ing in my head that I would­n’t go.

I had to stay late to work on the serv­er. Fifteen min­utes lat­er, Tyler walked into my office (he must have walked part way, then turned around) and asked if I was alright. Admittedly, I’ve nev­er been able to hide my moods very well, but I thought I was doing a decent job of it2. He told me he could feel that my ener­gy was low, so he asked if I want­ed a hug. I polite­ly declined, not because I did­n’t appre­ci­ate the ges­ture, but because I did­n’t think it would have helped. He gave me a firm pat on the back any­way and stepped out of my office.

And it helped more than I ever would have expect­ed.

  1. Which is strange, because the last thing I went to see at Babylon was a Dwarves con­cert []
  2. Something of an old habit of mine. Not being able to hide my moods is often a bless­ing in dis­guise for me, because it com­mu­ni­cates to peo­ple that some­thing is wrong. Otherwise, they’d nev­er know, and it would nev­er be fixed. []

New Hampshire: Conclusion

Thumbnail: Three drinks
Thumbnail: My clam appetizer
Thumbnail: Jazz night
Thumbnail: Scallop entree
Thumbnail: Tuna sushi
Thumbnail: Chinese food
Thumbnail: Pecan pie
Thumbnail: Guinness in a bottle
Thumbnail: Bath feets
Thumbnail: Fire hydrant
Thumbnail: Frozen river
Thumbnail: Fungus
Thumbnail: Cosmo horoscope
Thumbnail: Live free or die license plate
Thumbnail: The bed in my room

What an over­whelm­ing expe­ri­ence.

There was bare­ly any time to explore; we took one walk and pret­ty much stayed with­in a 10km radius. Too much read­ing, test­ing, and meet­ing to do any­thing else. It felt like the time went fly­ing by, yet dragged on, the longer I was from home.

There’s some­thing about being away. Being iso­lat­ed from your rou­tine and every­thing that’s famil­iar. It’s a dif­fer­ent set of stim­uli.

As an intro­vert, you fall back on mem­o­ries and past expe­ri­ences, and it dri­ves reflec­tion and re-eval­u­a­tion.

I’d be lying if I said that it did­n’t affect me. I learned more about myself in the last two weeks than I did in the last year, and I’ll be writ­ing about it for weeks, if not months.

Continue read­ing “New Hampshire: Conclusion”…

Today, Finally

It’s dif­fi­cult to sleep with so much on the mind, and even more dif­fi­cult when you’re filled with anger about not being able to fall sleep. With my duvet wrapped around me last night, I turned my alarm off com­plete­ly, decid­ing to get into work when­ev­er I woke up, know­ing that I’d need the rest to focus on a per­sis­tent net­work issue. After try­ing to fall asleep for an hour with­out suc­cess, and feel­ing like I’d waste the rest of the morn­ing, I got up very frus­trat­ed. Those who know me, know that five hours is con­sid­ered calami­tous. I cooked a heavy break­fast of bacon, eggs and toast, know­ing that I’d still have time to get to work ear­ly, a bit of sus­te­nance to get me through the rest of the day.

The main prob­lem I’ve been fac­ing for the last week has been the set­up of a VPN for a new out-of-office sales rep we recent­ly hired. It was the per­fect morn­ing to get to work ear­ly, because I could work on the serv­er for about an hour with­out hav­ing to wor­ry about affect­ing any client com­put­ers. I traced the prob­lem to an out­dat­ed ver­sion of the firmware, and crossed my fin­gers (after my last flash­ing dis­as­ter) as I burned the lat­est ver­sion. This was at 7:00 in the morn­ing. I spent the next 13 hours try­ing to fig­ure out why inter­net access stopped work­ing with­in the range of inter­nal IP address­es .1 to .36 (which makes absolute­ly no sense with­out being a pow­er of two, and espe­cial­ly odd when we had no DHCP ranges set).

This meant care­ful­ly learn­ing the exist­ing struc­ture of a net­work I did­n’t set up and fig­ur­ing out the Windows inter­net pro­to­col. I’ve had no for­mal train­ing in being an MCSE, so a lot of the day was spent read­ing through white papers and tech­ni­cal notes for a pos­si­ble DNS/DHCP/IIS/firewall/RRA set­ting I may have looked over. Network ser­vice slow­ly degrad­ed through­out the day as I began trou­bleshoot­ing, includ­ing a simul­ta­ne­ous crash of the main cus­tom soft­ware on every sys­tem, a loss of dynam­ic dns address­ing (which brought our new online ser­vice down), until I could­n’t even find the net­work address of the router.

When you’re filled with angry per­se­ver­ance, you get a lot done. If only oth­er peo­ple could under­stand that. Wearing a face of deter­mi­na­tion means I don’t have time to be pleas­ant, or have a lunch, or lis­ten to innane sto­ries of your grand­chil­dren.

On the walk to work, I had already decid­ed that as soon as I got off, I was going to play some table ten­nis at one of the bi-week­ly ses­sions, vision blurred, eyes dry­ing, as tired as I was, and pass­ing out after din­ner. This obvi­ous­ly did­n’t hap­pen. I’d been seri­ous­ly plan­ning on going since last week, but things just kept get­ting in the way.

Until the last 15 min­utes, the only thing I could think about was whether I’d have to pull an all-nighter, and whether or not I’d even be able to solve things if I did. That’s the risk of tech sup­port; the solu­tion can be as sim­ple as it is elu­sive, and there can be no progress until the very last tweak. Halfway through the day, I already decid­ed that I’d call an exter­nal net­work spe­cial­ist to help if I did­n’t get any­where by tomor­row after­noon. I was too tired to wor­ry about not get­ting the net­work up before the next busi­ness day, which would basi­cal­ly bring the com­pa­ny to a stand­still, and too tired to be angry at every­thing that was going on. After fig­ur­ing out our net­work struc­ture, three calls to tech sup­port, and learn­ing inter­net pro­to­col the­o­ry from the ground up, I final­ly fig­ured out that all I need­ed to do was do a hard reset of the router, and con­fig­ure every­thing from scratch.

It was prob­a­bly the most dif­fi­cult day I’ve had since I start­ed the job, but I knew that if I could get through it and fix the prob­lem, I’d be able to get through any­thing that could be thrown at me. Not only did I get the web con­nec­tion work­ing through the entire sub­net, I also got the sales reps lap­top to con­nect to the VPN through dial-up. Yesterday was a late night, get­ting a web­site done for a client friend. Tomorrow’s anoth­er 14 hour day, and even though I’ve known about it for a month, I don’t think it’ll make it any eas­i­er.

I real­ized that I only real­ly feel lone­ly on days like these, when my body aches, my mind los­es focus, and all I want to do is have some­one else take care of me. To have some­one else decide what to do, because I’m too tired to decide for myself.

Stepping out­side, hun­gry and exhaust­ed, I put on a win­tery playlist for the walk home, since it was two hours past sun­set and the fall nights are get­ting frigid. The first song that came on was Explode by the Cardigans. I’d been sav­ing this song for months now, skip­ping it every time it came on so I would­n’t get tired of it.

Today I final­ly deserved it.

Keeping Myself Occupied Has Been Easy

Some things fall in my lap, oth­ers I active­ly seek out. It’s keep­ing track of every­thing that’s get­ting dif­fi­cult.

Too busy to think. Too busy to write.

I have to remind myself that that’s what I want­ed.

And here I am, turn­ing over in my head the idea of moon­light­ing at a home­ly used book store that’s a five minute walk from my house. Stuck to the glass door is a notice for part-time help dur­ing the week­end, that I pass by every time I go gro­cery shop­ping. I walked in there once and bought a Penguin Classics copy of The Odyssey for $1.45, because I lost my old copy from high school long ago. I’ve always want­ed to work at a cof­fee shop, but gave up on that idea after apply­ing to one a few years ago and find­ing out that my résumé end­ed up in the garbage, was picked out because of a good word put in by a friend, and prompt­ly placed back in the garbage again. In hind­sight, I’m glad I was­n’t hired because I would have quit before the train­ing was over. It was only some­thing to hold me over until I could find some­thing with a bet­ter career that’s more in line with my edu­ca­tion, which is exact­ly what I found two weeks lat­er. A book­store seems like a good alter­na­tive.

Aaron and Shirley are both encour­ag­ing me to go for it. The for­mer thinks that it’ll be a good change from the reg­u­lar 9–5 that I do, and a job that I can use to relax. The lat­ter is telling me it’ll be fun, and that she’ll pur­sue her own dream job as a wait­ress (moon­light­ing as well) if I apply to this one.

I’m still con­sid­er­ing.