Sunday, July 15, 2007

Backoffice

Know what that means? I will tell you. It is the place where it is only you and the computer. Some movies have painted a picture of a dinghy room with no lighting, quiet humming of machines, general disorder and wild-eyed fellas with unkempt hair, terrible clothes and bad shoes. It fits. Where general operating conditions do not permit dinghy rooms, it means a secluded corner, a guy with headphones listening to music, generally not talking to anyone.

There is no glamor to the work. Quite the opposite actually. People (other than you) collect feathers on their caps because you busted your balls over some awfully difficult routine. You get to celebrate by getting plastered; arriving late the next day and not having to give a s**t about it. If your superiors know what you are about, they look the other way. Its a nice system.
"Techies are all weird .." they all say. It passes into legend. Ati questions and follow up? You have two approaches you can use. "I am looking at it" and then sullen up and continue reading Wikipedia. The person can choose to stand at your desk as you finish some 5,000 word article on the Mayan culture (inspired by Apocalypto of course) but you are done talking. If you like the person you spin a long tale. "Guess what, I just discovered your requirements can't work now because the current patch level is 56 when it should be at 68. I have been talking to sysadmins .......". He/She will go "Huh?", discover you are wasting time and leave you to your devices. Thats the plus. People just leave you to do what you do. Minimum meetings, no email wars, no trying to outdo each other and all this other drudgery guys indulge.

Not that guys don't work. I work. Hard. Just don't work in a uniform even and calculated, fashion like most people, for instance like having to hand in 5 reports daily, doing orders and such. I can go into mental paralysis and do zero work for days; Then one day I will snap out of it and knock off project after project in three weeks; after which my mind switches off again for weeks. Ah well. Everyone has their system.

Try that mentality on this new planning and architecting stuff I am now doing. You get caught in the headlights like a dazed and drunk deer. There is nowhere to run. You have to call people to meetings, or get called to meetings. Tolerate hours of people in love with the sound of their own voices droning on and on. You read email word by word, take note and commit them to your dazed memory else someone will blindside you in a meeting and then you will look like a complete idiot. No playing with deadlines. Money is involved in the decisions and choices you make. EMail wars. Phew. Reading documents not only in your field of expertise but others. Then having to square it out with guys who have the pleasure of sticking only to the stuff they know. I have to check my calendar at the end of the day. What meeting is there tomorrow? I once did the Wednesday festival and I had a meeting at 8:00 AM on Thursday where I was fielding questions. Got plastered till like 3, switched my phone off, and checked in the next day at 11:00 AM. I was rebuked in a tone devoid of any emotion (even anger). Thats when I knew I was in very deep and dark waters.

I am being dragged out to the light, kicking and screaming. Its scary. Whatever. Got to make the best of it.

1 Comments:

Blogger Samborera said...

My boss's boss was telling me how I should learn other stuff, and what other people do [not that I'm much of a programmer anymore]. He also talked about learning to manage other guys. All stuff I'm not too keen on.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 7:26:00 AM  

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