Spotted this Dilbert cartoon from Scott Adams the other day and it kind of resonated with me and the way I am feeling regarding work at the moment.
To put it lightly, I’m tired. I’m stressed and I’m tired. I’m tired of being responsible for everything, I’m tired of running everything, I’m tired of having to implement, maintain and monitor everything at work. Never enough resources, too many bent and broken promises and agreements, and too little focus.
I’m tired, and probably very near the end of my lengthy journey within the current environment.
I take solace in the fact that I’ve restructured my week to now work 80% of the time from my Gordon’s Bay home office in order to spend more time with the family. The truth however is that I now end up putting more time into work instead of less because of the more flexible working arrangement.
Perhaps this imminent two week complete break from my job responsibilities will lift my spirit and revitalize my working soul, perhaps, but for now it is a simple fact that I am stressed and that I am tired, and in all likelihood, need some change.
At last, I have a respite in my daily grind of that horrible commute that sucks up two hours of my life each and every day, with the hour to Westlake via Baden Powell drive in the morning and then the hour back to Gordon’s Bay via Baden Powell in the evening.
I don’t enjoy the commute, despite the scenic route, and it was starting to get to me. I’m tired from the early morning starts, my fuel bill is too high, my poor car is clocking on the kilometers at a far faster rate than what I’m comfortable with, and my evenings are far shorter than what they should be!
I brought this up with Rudi the other morning just as an aside as we were chatting downstairs during one of our regular, informal SurveyThumb meetings which happens before the rest of the horde arrives at work. Out of the blue, he suggested that I start working a couple of days from home during the week then, and after a little deliberation, I put forward that Tuesdays and Thursdays would be most fair and cause the least disruption in the office.
From there it was straight onto the e-mail draft in order to highlight my motivations to Simon for the final go ahead, and seeing that there aren’t really any juniors left for me to mentor in the office any more, and the fact that I’m working completely isolated on a standalone project, the request was given the okay without any hassles, much to my delight of course!
Naturally, I promptly set about pulling a laugh out of Chantelle on the first Tuesday back home, by acting completely normal, packing my bag the evening before, going for my early morning walk, showering, eating breakfast and then giving her the customary goodbye kiss as I grabbed my bag and left for the office – except of course the office in question was the home one, meaning all I had to do was take a step around the corner.
It took a while to realize, but the look on her face when she finally dawned what was going on was absolutely priceless! :)
The day working from home itself was actually really, really productive, without all of the usual distractions that comes with an open plan office environment that I normally find myself in, and was further enhanced by some gorgeous weather outside, a walk down to the shops for lunch and then a walk with Chantelle later in the evening to pick up Jessie from the daycare to close things off.
So yeah, Tuesdays and Thursdays have just become my favourite work days in the week! :)
(NOTE: This was meant to be published last week – but thanks to a “kidnapping” of me by my wife for a surprise birthday celebration weekend away, I only get to post it now! :P)
So life has been quite busy on the work front as of late, not because of work (well okay, there have been a few crises to deal with) but more precisely thanks to our latest big move, shifting the entire operation from Unit 4 in the building down the line to Unit 1. This of course means that the dev team is no longer trapped in a box in a garage under the main office (though in fairness we did have a table tennis table to keep us occupied) and it must be said that the new office that we all now co-inhabit is a lot more airy and spacious than the previous one we came out of. I’ve got a nice seat with a good view and feeling of openness, so I’m pretty happy about the whole affair.
But man what a mission. Unlike the last time when we just moved the dev team downstairs and before that when we moved from the boss’ house (we didn’t have much existing equipment to move), this was far more strenuous and with a whole lot more heavy stuff to lug across!
Unfortunately things didn’t go all that smoothly and we’ve been plagued with connectivity issues since (which follows on the week of the frustrating Seacom debacle which also kept us offline), having lost a network card on the one proxy machine and more importantly, the diginet router, a hell of an expensive piece of equipment to replace. As it is, I’ve had to play deliveryman and pick up the replacement from a house in Somerset West, having to go there three times, the first time to pick up the router, the second time to return it to have a card in it replaced (at 22:00 in the evening!) and then one last time to return the spare cable we were loaned after the second visit! To make matters worse, there were some account stuff ups from Telkom’s side as well, meaning that this entire week we’ve pretty much kicked off each and every day with connection – bloody frustrating as you can imagine!
Oh, and the new project manager arrived. Pretty cool guy and I am looking forward to working with him as he strive to implement a more structured, agile development methodology moving forward.
It would also seem that winter is now well and truly beginning to stretch her cold limbs as we’re finally being hit with bucket loads of wind and water – which always seems to trip up the less competent drivers. I’ve already spotted two fender benders happening right in front of me because the driver behind a) isn’t concentrating and b) doesn’t increase his following distance in these wet and slippery conditions.
That said, I myself nearly put a little dent in Gina G., not because of the weather conditions but rather because of a momentary lapse in concentration. I had just pulled into a parking bay in the underground parking at the gym and was leaning over to collect my card and access keys when I realised that the car was actually rolling forward – she was still in neutral and I had forgotten to pull up the hand brake!! I jumped on the brakes and stopped her dead in her tracks, literally a centimetre from the wall and a nasty pipe which would surely have left a bit of a ding in my beloved Getz.
(Oh, and I’m pleased to announce that she’s finally becoming less greedy in terms of her petrol consumption – seems to be moving around in the Jetta’s consumption area at last!)
Now on to my completely next arbitrary topic for this quick post of shorts deals with the fact that I completely crashed on Wednesday. I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep lately (really my own fault, so no one to blame – stupid desire to tinker on websites) and as we moved into the afternoon I suddenly found myself falling into a complete and utter state of exhaustion, literally both mentally and physically fatigued all at once. So instead of driving through to karate, I found myself turning in at our flat, where I hit the bed, woke up when Chantelle arrived home at 08:00, ate supper that she made and then went back to bed. Seriously, I have no explanation for it, but the extended period of sleep did seem to help somewhat for the rest of the week.
Okay, what next? Ah, Andri gave birth this week to a healthy little baby boy, Arum Reid Jack (I’m not sure if it is Arum like in the flower or Aram. I’ll get back to you on that one). Chantelle has already been to see the proud parents (this is their second one) and I’m sure I’ll get around to seeing the new tyke sooner than later. Shame, little Zandea seems to have recovered from her bout of illness that saw her rushed off to hospital and poor Zania spending about three nights sleeping there! But man, everyone around seems to be pregnant at the moment. Michelle (Ollewage) gave birth just a short while ago to a beautiful little boy (who looks like his dad) named David, Michelle (Oosthuizen) has just reached the halfway mark in her pregnancy, Andy has come out and officially announced her pregnancy!
So maybe it is no wonder that Chantelle and I also feel that now is the right time for us? ;)
Anyway, I think that about wraps it up for life at the moment, so now you can’t complain about not being in the know! :P
Oh well, turns out that I wasn’t awarded the Development/Project manager job in the end, so I guess it just wasn’t meant to be – well at least not yet anyway. As it is, they cited the reasons as to why I didn’t get it as simply being that they are looking for someone a lot older than me to fill the position as well as someone with more experience in the field of project management – which makes perfect sense considering the importance of this position in the company going forward, so no arguments from me there (though Chantelle seemed a little bit disappointed when I broke the news to her funnily enough).
(And to be quite frank, I don’t think they can AFFORD to lose a senior developer at this stage of the game anyway!)
Oh, and I got wrapped over the knuckles for my blogging (mentioning anything to do with work) again (anyone remember the Commerce IT saga?), so considering that I don’t agree with them on the issue raised, I have at least got them to now tighten the official policy and thus I will now adhere to it – though I guess this post means I’m probably breaking that rule already! <- but it should be the last one ever, so you can rest easy there Mr. Marketing Manager! ;)
Was annoyed though when it was suggested I work on my interpersonal skills – as far as I’m concerned, there really shouldn’t be a reason to treat any adult with “kid gloves” – after all, aren’t those meant for kids?
Meanwhile, it’s pretty damn hot here in our temporary developers’ shoebox down in the garage of the building, but thankfully the awesome new table tennis table more than makes up for that – what a fantastic way of taking a break and resting one’s eyes from all that dreadful monitor strain!
(For the record, so far I’m leading in win/loss ratios, though Steve is hot on my tail! Dave still needs some consistency with his forearm smash! :P)
And that’s that. So no promotion/new position for me (but no biggie as I still get to develop which is my first love), last post related to anything Touchwork (didn’t really do much on this front anyway), loads of table tennis on our breaks (which is awesome) and some good projects sitting in front of me.
Can’t really complain, now can I? (but that could just be because another small raise is currently winging its way down towards us! :D)
Okay, over and out for today. Got a deadline to meet and a mom’s birthday braai to attend…
First up was the five-star gourmet meal that Chantelle cooked up (she can give you all the details in case you are curious) for Retha and Miguel’s late night visit here at Nagua Bay where they regaled us with tales from their recently completed month long holiday over in Europe. That in particular was an awesome visit considering the fact we hadn’t seen them since December (Miguel we haven’t seen since our wedding!), so it was a great chance to catch up and receive some awesome goodies in the process! ;)
Another bit of fun and games on Thursday night actually came an hour or so earlier on my way home from work, when I pulled off at Checkers in Muizenberg to get something to eat because my blood sugar must have been quite low considering I was on the verge of passing out behind the wheel! But to cut a story short, I returned to my car, pie in hand, when I watched a truck slam into the overhead railway bridge, literally collapsing the poor driver’s entire container and I imagine, leaving him with quite a bit of explaining to do to his boss when he finally made it back to work! (Geez, these trucks hitting into that low bridge happens far more frequently than what I would ever have imagined!)
Anyhow, Friday I finished up feeling pretty good about myself after having completed three 20 minute sessions on the treadmill, one in the morning, one at lunch and one directly after work. No hassles with the legs, no particular fatigue, just a plain old good sensation of having achieved that! Not that I returned directly home mind you. No, seeing as Chantelle was on work duty and Ryan had just received a rip of the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths movie I so wanted to see, I headed off to Bellville to join up with Karl-Heinz, Terrance and Ryan for some FIFA madness, where we slotted in a couple of games and some great goals for the next two and half or so hours! (Karl managed to finally end his goal drought and banged in three goals on the night, one being an awesome back header that completely flummoxed the keeper).
Saturday morning I broke tradition by starting the day off by watching the above mentioned Justice League movie, and man was it as awesome as I had hoped it would be. The only problem after that, was of course that nothing else seemed quite as exciting for the rest of the day! Now initially I had planned to do a ton of web work over the course of the day, working on websites, typing up documents, etc. but thanks to the oppressing 35+ heatwave that engulfed the area, I was pretty much left lying on the couches, watching anime, rugby, reinstalling Ubuntu and playing Devil May Cry 4 (and doing the much hated housework), so at least I ended up feeling fairly relaxed by the end of the day.
Funnily enough though, the one game I had been waiting for the entire day, namely the Stormers Super 14 clash, I actually ended up missing on the night, but all for a good reason it must be said. One phone call from Chantelle and all of a sudden I found myself sitting down at the table with a couple of glasses of beer in my hand and enjoying a fabulous snoek and crayfish braai with Chantelle, Wammy and Louise, and some of her guests, all under a fabulous warm summer night sky. It was lekker (and so was the Devil May Cry 4 gaming session which closed off the night for me).
Sunday however I didn’t make the mistake of turning on the TV to early and so I did actually end up behind the keyboard for the most of the day, but considering the horrible wind and heat outside, I guess it wasn’t too bad a play. Lots of blog posts neatly scheduled, an important letter scripted and proofread (well mostly anyway) and some further work on the Funakoshi website project that seems to be continuously trudging along, pretty much made up the most part of the day. Oh, and plenty of Devil May Cry 4 slotted in between. Turning out to be a damn good game, just as good as the previous one after all.
Outside of that, I did make a quick stop at GBL in the afternoon to have a look at Chantelle’s buggy wi-fi access point (as well as keep Candice and her mom company), and then later take Chantelle out for supper at the Sunset Spur after her shift ended come 21:00.
So it was a good, Melrose cheese spread filled weekend of not doing much, meaning I’m all rested up for what could potentially be quite an important week for me – though more on that with tomorrow morning’s post in case you’re curious! ;)
So, life still isn’t quite back to normal here at Nagua Bay number 45 just yet. The pad is finally starting to regain some of its old composure but there is still plenty to be done: mountains of dishes to be worked through, dirty and unpacked clothing scattered everywhere, wedding gifts to find cupboard space for, documentation to be filed and updated, you get the picture.
And that’s pretty much what has been keeping Chantelle and me busy in the evenings following our triumphant return from honeymoon on Monday afternoon, leaving in all honesty, little time for anything else.
Obviously with me not having lived at home for a long time and being pre-occupied with all things wedding-related has left a pile of administrative things to deal with, and in time I will catch up I’m sure, but seriously, I can’t wait to have everything back to normal in our lives and pretty much let life go on as what it always has.
I can’t wait to return to karate (damn work, traffic and chores kept me from returning on Wednesday evening already) as well as just the feeling of walking into our place after work, turning on the kettle and just sitting down in front of the TV, content that there is nothing that I have to do.
Sigh. But I guess there’s simply no rest for the wicked. After all, we still need to sit down, work out our new combined budget, discuss the various name change-affected things that need to happen and of course plan just where we want the future to take Mr. and Mrs. Lotter.
But at least nearly all the dishes is now done, and that in itself is a blessing I tell you! :P
Well, old Jetta Jameson has now proved that she really doesn’t like the rain, because eventually after completely drying off, she was once again up and at them, ready to hit the road – at a fairly noisy and bumpy pace I might note. So, if I can get the boss to agree, I’ll try and fit her in for a much needed service next week. *sigh*, I’m not sure just how much more battering my poor little wallet can take! (Seriously, this wedding and honeymoon needs to come and go again sooner than later – my poor bank account WANTS a breather from it all! :P)
Working from Mom’s place in Bellville proved to be a frustrating experience with no dedicated office space or hardline into the network, meaning that my laptop chugged along on its VERY unreliable wireless connection which in turn meant a very unproductive morning I’m afraid (the presence of Ryan and FIFA didn’t help either). Thankfully though, Jetta Jameson did eventually make herself drivable (as noted above) and without further ado, I packed up and headed back to my office in GB where I set about quickly catching up all the time I’d missed in term of work for the day. (Unfortunately of course, I did screw up a little and all the code changes I made were neatly overwritten by Steve who was transferring the SVN changes up just before he left. Needless to say, I can kick myself from not communicating what I was doing with him in the first place! Doh!)
Karate practice was good as always and I’ve really got the second kata down quite nicely now, finding myself often helping out Ian and James with some of the trickier parts, though the evening took a twist when we learned that there’s a possible Funakoshi split hanging about in the air. As it was, I ended up chatting with Sensei Birgitt and Sempai Gert for a good while after training and unfortunately for Chantelle’s sake, only got back at about 20:30 from the night’s session!
Suprisingly enough though, me the anti-pasta guy found the tagliateli meal that C had prepared for us rather palatable, and it complemented all the wine I was drinking perfectly! :)
Unfortunately that did have the impact of us not getting nearly all the wedding stationery stuff doen that we had wanted to, meaning that tonight I’m going to forgo my only chilled evening of the week and instead drive through to GB after work to get cracking on getting the wedding programme composition and seating lists printing all in order.
So busy, busy, busy as per usual in the life of Craig! :P
Aargh! The futility of it all! The last while I have been rather busy at work (to say the least), particularly on the SAN system which needed to be in good working condition by this morning because we are finally going ahead and installing the production storage area network hardware today.
And of course, as karma would have it, the minute I have a really, really important project to work on, tons of other jobs will keep cropping up at an alarming pace. Of course, I can’t ignore these requests as they tend to be needed to be done ASAP, with the end result that my SAN system is not quite where I would have liked it to be. It works but the client interface is not anywhere near completion in terms of functionality.
This doesn’t really bother me all that much as I know I have been working hard and that there is only so many hours in a day, but what really does get my goat is when the lecturer walks into the office this morning, approaches me and thanks me for the emergency tutor application upload system that I created but then proceeds to tell me that they’ve decided in the end not to make use of it.
Over the years I have lost count of the number of unused projects that I have been forced to craft for people only to have them abandoned before they are even used! *Sigh* the futility of it all…