Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Because self-inflicted pain is the BEST KIND

I stayed up too late last night. AGAIN.

Considering that anything past 8:30 means less than the daily recommended eight hours (which I seldom get under the best of circumstances anyway thanks to my insomniac ways), that’s not exactly hard to do.

BUT, last night I really did it.

SEE, there was this spreadsheet? And to make a really long story short…blah blah data loading, yadda yadda run errors, something about will be finished SOON and then the next thing you know it’s 10:30 and I’m just beginning the process of shutting down for the day.

It was a fourteen hour work day, y’all, with five hours of commuting tacked onto it – only two hours of which entered into the total billed. (And was on top of a twelve hour day Monday. Oh yeah. It’s been a week so far, and it’s only Wednesday!) (On the positive side, though – HI! I AM PAID HOURLY! WOOT!!!)

So not the way I like to work. I prefer to be the person in the group who under-promises and over-delivers, plus also the person who started working on it three days before it was due so that all that crazy ‘this didn’t load / that didn’t run / oh darn we appear to be missing everything from December in this data can you please start the whole frackin’ run over again?’ stuff has time to play out without impacting my ability to jump onto my desk and yell, “TA DA!!!!” when Due Date rolls around.

Oh, you’ve got to try that. Coworkers love it when you jump onto your desk and yell things. ‘Ta da!’ is good, but a rendition of “I’ve got a FIE-YA in my PANT-SA!” is good, too. Or you could try a round of I Wear No Pants…

Oh yeah. Classy! office behavior, right there…

Anywho, this is why I can become cagey to the point of being evasive whenever a manager (especially one that isn’t my direct manager) starts asking me how soon I think X or Y or Z will be done.

It isn’t that I like withholding information, really it isn’t. It’s just that I have a certain history with reports that have been promised within a short timeframe – as in, the data “should” be loaded by such-and-so a time, and it “should” take no more than X {minutes, hours} for me to run the queries that cut the data, after which it “ought” to be no more than a hop, skip and jump to me giving you your data.

Seems like every single time, “something” “happens” “along” “the” “way.”

Which was the case yesterday. Nobody’s fault, nobody did anything bad, nobody blew it…unless I want to consider me using words like ‘should, ought and will’ when I knew full bloody well that there were about sixteen zillion things outside my control waiting to work their wicked wiles on my day.

Oh. And I was so tired by the time I deployed that I made some manual changes to the wrong spreadsheet. Awesome!

…but at least I deployed the right one…instead of the one I went, “Oh yeah!” and did the changes on all last-second-y, which was like two weeks old and furthermore had its data all mucked-with because I’d been playing around with formatting and stuff like that and had whacked out roughly 75% of the data so it would quit taking forty minutes to recalculate all the danged cells.

Yeah. If I’d deployed that one? It would have been what we call in the industry “bad.”

Sorry for the technical lingo, there. But sometimes, there just isn’t a ‘plain English’ word for things, you know?


This is, of course, part of the nature of the business. I don’t actually know very many people who work with databases – whether developers, analysts, or report-writers – who don’t find themselves occasionally up late at night, surrounded by empty cans of soda (or in my case recently, spent bags of tea oozing on plates all over my desk), cussing at a server and muttering, Yes, yes, I KNOW you’re waiting for it, caught your ‘sense of urgency’, please quit pinging me about it I’M ON IT, DAMMIT.

And in the general, overall sort of way, I don’t actually mind. Like I said, it’s part of the job. And when I’m a little better rested, I have to admit it’s kind of the fun part of the job – which in lots of ways is like a long-running role-playing video game.

Some parts of the game are irritating. Some levels are harder than others. Sometimes you get so frustrated you want to quit…but you can’t of course because it’s fun, dammit.

And of course when you figure it out, when things snap together and you get to say, “Ah ha!” and hit ‘execute’ and the data flows neatly into place…well.

BOO-YEAH! (Coworkers also like the Funky Chicken Desk Dance. Seriously. You should try it. Make sure someone videos it, you can put it up on YouTube! Righteous!)

…but I’m awfully tired today. The alarm went off and I just lay there for a while going, …no it didn’t

And then I was cranky and not enough coffee and my back hurts and my hip hurts and my head hurts and I wanna go back to beeeeeeeeed but I caaaaaaaaan’t and I hafta this and gotta that and the train is LOUD and it’s all stupid right now…

But it’ll be better soon.

First of all, my mother-in-law gave me a Starbucks card for Christmas.

Secondly, there is a Starbucks in the building lobby.

Thirdly, I don’t have the same kind of urgency going on for the rest of the week. (Ha! HAHAHAHA! Good one…)

And fourthly, I am still rather charmed by this whole blogging under water thing.

…now if they could just make it like an aquarium, with a clear tube so we could see the fishes and stuff..although of course they’d have to sanitize the Bay first because I’m pretty sure if we could actually see what is actually on the bay floor we’d be all, ewwwwwwwwww! and the real estate values would plummet and maybe the whole area would be condemned as a toxic waste site and then where would we be, huh?

…other than moving to Colorado or something, I mean…


RobinH said...

I am so freakin' with you on the underpromise/overdeliver spectrum! And I have management that routinely says 'sure, Robin will have that for you this afternoon'. Still- hourly pay! You go, Tama!

And I've spent most evenings the last two weeks listening to my husband with half an ear as he peers into his laptop saying things like, 'six and a half hours and counting, won't this damned query ever finish?'. And then he looks at data and curses loudly and sets up another query to run overnight so he'll have something to do in the morning. (I do less work with databases myself, though enough to understand your pain.)

Louiz said...

Sounds just like my partner! Who isn't paid hourly:(

And yay on blogging under water:)

Rena said...

You da Queen! Now get some sleep

Tola said...

in one particularly anachronistic episode of Star Trek TNG, Scotty told Geordi that he should *always* tell the captain double the amount of time needed to perform a miracle, so that when he performed it in half the time, he was lauded and heralded. just a thought. BTW, hubby LOVED the tie-dye hankies.