Monday, August 20, 2012

(Yet Another) Lost Weekend

I spent the entire weekend in my home office. The entire weekend. Not just sunup to sundown, but before-sunup to holy-crap-it’s-tomorrow.

In related news, it never ceases to amaze me how exhausting things like this can be. I was as bone-tired this morning as I am after I put myself through one of those brutal “today, I moved 137 wheelbarrows full of clay all by myself!” kind of days in the garden (well, minus the groaning and walking funny due to muscle pain)…but all I actually did, physically anyway, was park my arse in an admittedly far-less-comfortable-than-it-used-to-be chair and alternate between going “typity-typity-typity” on a keyboard and glaring at the screen. Why you no numbers I want see, eh?

I sat in this chair for so long over the weekend I started worrying about blood clots, bedsores and loss of muscle mass.


Yeah. I’m pooped. Not enough sleep, not enough moving-around, not enough sunlight, dammit…it’s been a helluva weekend. When I filled out my weekly timesheet, I discovered that I had a 75 hour workweek last week.

I checked my numbers, like, eight times. (And also noticed that the three days I was in the office were all nice, compact little 8 to 8.5 hour days – whereas my work from home days? 10, 12, 14 hours at a stretch. Hopefully, none of the Powers That Be will notice this, because I suspect they would put me on an “always work from home” schedule so fast, which would be awesome from the perspective of “I don’t hafta drive / train / blah blah blah” but unfortunately, knowing myself as I do, would definitely end in “…and that’s how I ended up working twelve hour days every day!” situation because disengaging from This Stuff, I am not good at it.)

In related news, my house looks like holy hell. I can’t find half of the towels. The kitchen looks like a bomb went off in it, and, there’s nothing ready to eat around here. What’s for dinner? Beats the heck out of me, gang.

And I don’t care what is on fire: I am !!!!!NOT!!!!! working this coming weekend. Enough is enough, and I’m frankly getting just a leeeeetle tired of this outfit and its tendency to not communicate things well at all, followed by suddenly dropping enormous amounts of work due, like, yesterday or we’re all fired.

Y’all know how I am. First they come to me with some crazy re-re-re-re-re-re-direction of, well, everything. That walk up to me and confidently, even cheerfully go, “!!!!!!!”

Where “!!!!!!!” boils down to “we want you to throw out everything you’ve already done and start over, this time doing it in mauve (which we just learned from the Interwebz has more RAM), and we also want these eighteen new things I am totally sure I told you about [ed: no, no you didn’t, actually] oh, YOU remember, a long, LONG time ago [ed: not-UH, dude] and it all has to be ready for them to pick up in production by end of day tomorrow! YAY US!”

And I say, “Dude. Read my lips, I’m not gonna tell you this again: We need at least four days to code all that, plus probably a good 6,000 hours of continual server-time to get that done. It cannot possibly all be done by end-of-day Friday. CAN. NOT. POSSIBLY. HAPPEN.

And then they say, “WAH! Because !?!? you said it was already done [ed: I have learned not to say anything is finished, ever – including my lunch hour because whatever the actual target of the statement is will be replaced with whatever the audience most wants to be finished, thus resulting in a massive spaghetti-bowl of he-said-she-said WITH OF COURSE the Management™ siding with whoever’s version agrees with their desired reality] and I promised them IN WRITING that it would be there and please-please-please and Mr. Manager said ‘@*^&@*^&@(*^&@!!!!’ and THEY WON’T ACCEPT THOSE DATES!!! [ed: I’m so sorry that they believe the laws of time and space do not apply to them…why don’t you tell them to hop on out their window [ed2: on the 33rd floor] and fly [ed3: because OF COURSE THEY CAN! Why not, since time and space and also PHYSICS are not laws they have studied!] over to the Never-Never Land Complaint Office and file their grievance on this deal?] and here, have a couple helpers! They can pull data too! [ed: that’s exactly as helpful as saying, ‘Oh, you’re having trouble walking from San Francisco to New York in sixteen hours? Here! Let’s have these toddlers walk with you! So, you’re good now, right? Totally going to make it, because they’re walking too!’] and waaaaaaaaaah, I’M GONNA GET FIRED OVER THIS!!!!!!!!!

And then, well, I feel sorry for them. No matter how many times I say to myself, “This is the very last time, next time? You are on your own, pal!” and make Resolutions around how I’m going to let people make their own beds and sleep in them blah blah blah…I then turn right around and feel sorry for them.

So then I say, “{…sigh…} OK, tell you what, lemme take a look at this thing and see if there’s anything I can do…”

And then I start looking at it.

And then I get absorbed in it.

And then I start taking it personally that I can’t do this, because, really, it should be possible…heck, at MegaBank? We processed twice this much data every night, THAT’S RIGHT, EVERY STINKIN’ NIGHT, and we did it in six (6) hours, not six DAYS like THIS place

And then some hours later, I pull a rabbit out of my hat.

Which doesn’t help us at all, because what we needed was reconciliation against SAP for the months of September and October 2010. The rabbit has NO IDEA what the balances were in SAP in September or October of ANY year, let along 2010 specifically.

Useless rodent.

So then I take it even more personally, and time passes, and the next thing you know I’m wandering around squinting because there is this enormous ball of fiery light in the sky what IS that thing, anyway?!, with my hair fifteen feet long and there are flying cars and everything is chrome and what the heck year is it, anyway?!?!

But I got at least something figured out. And the puzzle itself was usually pretty fun to work on. Which, combined with that stupid over-protective tendency of mine, pretty much guarantees that I will always be a sucker for weekends like these; instead of doing the rational thing and saying, coolly, “If you wanted it like that, you should have been clear about it three weeks ago. You can’t just walk up to me three days beforehand, throw a bunch of new crap at me and expect it to somehow, maybe by MAGIC, get done by end of day three days from then. Pffffft!”, I’ll end up going, “Hmmm…let me see what I can do on that…”

Maybe I’ll just get a t-shirt with a post-it that says “Kick Me” screened onto it. Geez.

But…at the same time…I have to admit: I did rather rock it this weekend. What I actually accomplished was pretty epic, if I do say so myself.

Buuuuuuuuut, also kind of boring for anybody who isn’t into getting around database server limitations, bad coding practice, redundancy, lack of documentation and figuring out how to eke another couple thousand rows per second out of a load process.

So…let’s just leave it right there. It was a long but rewarding weekend, the end.

(You’re welcome.)

(And man, I really am bushed…I think I’m gonna hit the showers and then go to frickin’ bed…!)


Barbara said...

yeah, I get caught up in that too - I love the logic puzzle inherent in data analysis. Love the question of "what can you tell me about this?" But,I've found that I have to take the cape and tights to the cleaners too many times. It won't ever change unless you make it painful for it not to.

It is so seductive to be supergirl and save the day - even if you are the only one who truly knows how kick ass it is that you were able to do it at all, much less in the short time they gave you.

The problem is that you teach people how to treat you. And these people have learned that no matter how outrageous their demands, you will not let them down - you will do some super human stunt and save the day again. There is no incentive for their behavior to change.

Stop it! No really - stop it!

They don't appreciate it and I will bet they didn't spend the weekend the same way.

On the other hand, if you need to be supergirl (and who doesn't at times) and are getting validation about your awesomeness - then keep it up - but own that.

I've been known to pull these all nighters all weekend long super human stunts - but only in true emergencies - a POS piece of code was deployed into production and we have to back it out and clean up the processes - but I've stopped the 60+ hour weeks.

PipneyJane said...

What Barbara said.

Also, I hope you take some of your profit from those long hours (just one hour's share will do) and spend it on something just for you. You did almost two week's work last week and that deserves a ball of yarn/medal/massage...

Nicole said...

I love reading these posts - about everything from gardens, to code (which I know nothing about), to canning, to kids.... totally makes my day when I see a new post!

PBear said...

Have to agree with Barbara here, knowing that you already know this.... you are training them well. I understand, my company is the same way. The hardest thing to do is to teach them that 'your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part' and that just because a manager repeats something as loudly and as often as he can, it does not magically become true.

Of course, they are shutting down next year and getting rid of me, so it's a bit easier to stick to that attitude.... :-)

Bonnie said...

I hope you are being paid for all this extra time. I don't ever work weekends, but it seems that lunch hour or 5 pm don't mean very much in my office. "Just make this call or get this letter out or I need copies for tonight's group". I am on a salary, so that extra time is really mine and I am not paid for it. I am trying to be more assertive about time boundaries in the office, but so far I'm a push over.

Colleen Mole said...

Suggestion. We had a bad case of the he said, she saids here at my office so I finally convinced my boss man to let us try out Basecamp. It tracks EVERYTHING! yet is amazingly simple. You just respond as usual to emails and such and Basecamp records everything that was said down to the minute. You can upload files and such to it too. Pretty spiffy. 14 day free trial, no commitment, cheap cost per month, yadda yadda. Check it out.
(I was not paid for this endorsement, but man I wish I was, I could use the cash)
Good luck hon!

JustGail said...

Another one agreeing with Barbara. Or at least tell them you'll start working the magic miracle when they show up at your house to take care of all the other stuff that needs doing on weekends like cleaning/weeding/laundry/grocery and supplies shopping....

wait - first check that they know how to do that stuff. Recovering from "help" is sometimes more work and expense than it not getting done in the first place.

Monday's Child said...

I love reading these posts where I can just laugh hysterically and nod my head. I'm a programmer, not a DBA, but it's exactly the same deal. Even down to there only being ME to handle anything they want.
The biggest difference is I don't work weekends unless something really is on fire. As a salaried employee (with an unimpressive salary) I've gotten burned too many times for working all weekend only to be told on Monday that they've changed their minds again and I've put in 20 hours for free and for no reason.
You're awesome for doing it. Which is probably why you get paid more than I do. I wish I could claim my superior sanity instead, but I know better.
If I were a contractor I'd probably do exactly what you're doing. It's what makes you awesome and much sought after. And I suppose if I were in a new company even as an employee, and the shiny hadn't worn off yet, I'd still do it.
Meanwhile, around here, I tell them it can't be done. And lo and behold, despite their panic, the wheels still don't actually come off the bus. Amazing.
Hang in there, Wonder Woman.