Almost there...

Thursday, January 31, 2002

My project manager, Shirley said that she disagreed with their decision, but was bound by it. The reasons they gave her for not taking me on was that I seemed arrogant and not a team player.

Thinking back to the interview, I suppose my breathless arrival may have looked arrogant to the outside observer. I didn't arrive in a professional manner thereby implying that I'm so cocky I think I can get the job anyway. It probably set a bad tone for the interview as much as I'd feared. But dammit, I hate that my working hard trying to help my users translates to my not being a good fit for the team. I really feel the most sorry for my users. They're the ones going to get the short shrift. Come March 1st, I won't be supporting them anymore. Their only support will be Jo-Ann (the one member of my team who did make the cut) and there's just too many calls for her to cover them all. To date, she's answered 221 tickets. I've done 506, well more than twice the number she's done. The users are going to suffer. And that's the real bummer. I've worked to hard to keep them as happy as possible. There's been too many late nights spent here just to make sure that they get some sort of action on their request within 24 hours, even if it's just to say, "Hey, I'll call you tomorrow to walk through this, okay? Sorry for the delay."

Now I'm thoroughly demotivated. I'm having a hard time putting my heart into work when I know it's not going to be appreciated. The only thing that keeps me here is those users that I want to help. Otherwise, I would've gone home at noon. There's a big part of me saying "Aw, fuck it." and another big part saying, "Yeah, but it's not the user's fault, and they need you."

Fucking conscience. I hate it.

This message is to inform you that you have not been offered a position in the AS support or PeopleSoft projects organization.

Yep. I'm officially on the layoff list. Glad I took my day of sick leave. God knows I don't get paid for sick leave if I get laid off. Sad now that I've worked so hard. Hardly seems worth it. I'm definitely going to Morris practice tonight. I had planned to stay if needed to help catch up after being off yesterday. Now that ain't gonna happen. I'm taking my life back by force. If they don't want me, I'm not busting my ass for them.

I bet this isn't the reaction they were hoping for, but it's what they get with the way this process has been handled.

At least I found out before I had the meeting with the Delphi team. I just wish it wasn't 15 minutes before. I need to have a good cry, and there just isn't time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

I'm playing hookie today. Well, that's not entirely true. I started Tigger on her insulin last night and she was so lethargic that I wanted to make sure the morning dose didn't slow her down to the point of coma. That, and I had a wicked sore throat brewing last night that 11 hours of sleep seems to have more or less killed off thankfully. Still, I didn't want to spend all day on the phone when I was already fighting a sore throat. So I stayed home. It's been really nice to have a day away to think about things outside of work, but then I foolishly decided to log on to check my mail. Turns out Jo-Ann decided to stay home sick too. I guess they're going to find out what it's like without us there. Between the two of us, we answer 85% of the tech support questions for PeopleSoft HRMS and ReportMart. I expect tomorrow to be rather overwhelming, especially considering I have 2 big long meetings which cover roughly from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. Yep. Going to be tricky to get to dance class this week again. I wonder if Jocelyn will want to kick me off the team. That might almost be a relief.

So the thing I spent my day musing about was moving. Rick and I have determined that he needs his own home office because sharing the space with me (and the cat, and any guests) just doesn't work for the way he wants to have his computer stuff spread out. Our current landlord has been kind of lame, and we're finding the rent increase that took place last September to be rather offensive in light of current rental prices in the area. So we're looking at 3 bedroom places. The quirk is that we looking at both rentals and homes for sale in the Fremont/Newark/Union City area surrounding the Dumbarton Bridge. I can commute over it, and Rick can find a street (Fremont Blvd. for example) to get down to Milpitas on. For $1375-$1550 we can fairly easily find a rental. For $260k-$320k we can pretty easily purchase. The question is do we want to purchase in an area we're not familiar with? I'm not sure, but I'm starting to poke at the question more seriously.

Anyway, it's been a nice day. I'm really really burned out at work right now and I need to get away. For right now though, I'm just going to do laundry.

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

So there are peanut shells on the floor of the women's bathroom. I'm not sure if I would rather find out that there was a squirrel loose in the ladies' room or if one of my coworkers was snacking while on the can. Either way, it's very odd.

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Okay, so the depression has lifted. There was just something about one of those days where I felt really overwhelmed on a lot of fronts. And Wynn's commentary that the project was being perceived as a failure was probably coming from his wife, who is the Dean of Earth Sciences. Unfortunately, her transition team didn't get their act together in a timely manner, and as a result, the users in her group didn't get the access they needed on go live, and they've been playing catch up ever since. She keeps complaining to various people that no one is responding to her HelpSU requests, which is total bullshit. She sent one Thursday morning requesting training for one of her users. This not being an emergency, this wasn't something I ran out to arrange that second. I forwarded the ticket to Val to let her know that she would need to arrange one on one training for this person because she wasn't identified as a user and trained back in November or December when she should've been. That's not our fault, and currently, people who didn't get their paycheck is a bigger priority. Anyway, by mid-morning on Friday, Amy (Wynn's wife) was calling up Shirley (the Persona Project Director) and screaming about how we don't respond to help requests in a timely manner. By god, she submitted a helpsu ticket yesterday morning, and no one had gotten back to her yet (which was a lie because she had only submitted it yesterday afternoon.)So Val called her back, and arranged a time for this user to get trained. The user was going on vacation for a week, so the training won't be until a week and a half from now anyway.

Here's the timeline on this:
2:30 ish, the Help request is submitted.
7pm, I forward the ticket to Val
10 ish the next morning, the Dean is screaming about her non-urgent request not being resolved.
2 ish - I check with Val to see if she got my email because she hadn't responded to me about it and I wanted to be conscientious about getting a positve response back to the Dean in a timely manner. It's at this time that I hear that it's taken care of and the accompanying back story.

Meanwhile, I found out this Dean is also screaming at the Reportmart team because she can't see information she thought she should be seeing. We can adjust her security access, but we just need to know what kind of access she needs. She needs to determine that. Unfortunately, she's too busy being pissed off to do that.

And this is the most likely place that Wynn is hearing the negative feedback about the project. Most of the users who aren't too busy freaking out are understanding that they need to work with the change rather than just freaking out about it.

As it turns out, the auto-responder that I thought was working now still isnt' working, so technically, no, no one had acknowledged her request, but that didn't mean it wasn't being worked on, and it certainly didn't suddenly make her request more urgent than the 50 other people in the queue. We are a small team, about to get smaller, and we can't get back to everyone instantaneously, and if they expect that kind of service, then yes they will be sorely disappointed.

As for my interview, mostly it went fine. They asked all the same lame standard interview questions. "Tell us about a time that you failed. What would you do differently?" "Tell us about a time when you had to work outside of your team to get information" Yadda yadda yadda. It was just about what I expect. Thankfully they did not ask why I wanted the position. After leaving work the night before at a quarter to ten, I really couldn't come up with a positive answer to that question. What didn't go quite as planned at the interview was my arrival. At 10:45, I finally got hold of one of my users who had two helpsu tickets outstanding. We'd been trying to connect for two days to get these resolved. One of them came together just fine. The other dragged. By 11:15, I was starting to worry. I took down all the details to be able to resolve the issue after I got back. When I got off the phone, it was 11:22, and my interview was at least a ten minute bike ride across campus. I ran downstairs, jumped on my bike, and peddled like a maniac. At 11:30, I pulled up and locked my bike, gasping for breath. Up the stairs, and then turned the corner trying to find the right room. Carol and Jia were standing there, and Carol spends a lot of time in Godzilla, so gasping I asked, "Room 109?" She pointed down the hall and I soon (perhaps too soon) found the door. Knocking gently, the door promptly opened to reveal my interviewers, Sue (whom I had never met before) and Jennifer. At that moment, I realized I was still gasping for breath. I tried to spit out, "Support call, ran long." With raised eyebrows, they asked, "Would you like some water?" Uh, yeah, definitely. What a great first impression. Oy.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

I'm feeling really depressed about my job today. I was notified this afternoon that I have an interview scheduled tomorrow morning to see if I get to keep doing what I'm doing. In the meantime I'm answering a shitload of help tickets by myself (again, I'm the last member of my team to leave. Everyone else left either before 5 or shortly thereafter). And the users are becoming abusive. I just got an email back from someone telling me that he was furious and didn't know how we could be so stupid as to not check these things. He's angry because in our conversion, we didn't overwrite his student address information with his employee address information. If he would just update it on StanfordYou, it would get fixed in PeopleSoft 15 minutes later. But, he'd rather be furious, so now I'm asking him for his address info so that I can update it for him when what I really want to do is say "Fuck off you lazy whiney son of a bitch. Get over it!" Of course, this may also be my grumbly tummy speaking. It's 7:30. I'm hungry. I'm missing my dance class. And I've got to go home and figure out what the hell I can wear to a job interview tomorrow. I don't want to do this. I also found out that the person they hired as the manager for the position I'm looking at is someone who used to have my same job that I have now, only for the Axess team. She has no management experience. I don't want to work for a novice again.

Yes, I'm whining.

It also doesn't help that Wynn told me yesterday that the Campus Readiness Team for Persona is being perceived by those outside the project as a failure. I've been busting my ass for four months straight, and the campus perceives us as a failure. Great. What a difference a week makes. From the highest career high I've ever felt to the depths of despair in one week flat. What goes up must come down I s'pose.

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Wow. Just when I thought I had my career path figured out for the next year, my former manager, the really cool dude who I've been looking forward to having a chance to work for and learn from again in the near future is no longer going to be the manager of the project I was planning to jump to. Damn.


Now what?

We have a winner!!!

The winner for the most humorous request for help with the new system is:

"My vacation time is listed incorrectly. Kronos lists it as 28:19
which is 28 hours 19 minutes. However, my last prism report
has it as 28.3334 which when converted to minutes should
be 28:20 at least."

Yes folks, that's correct. This person is quibbling over one minute of vacation time. And that's why I'm at work at 8:40 on a Wednesday night. Weeeeee!

Just when I thought work couldn't get any worse.... just when I actually started crying... just when I got back from having to walk away from it all for a couple of hours... just when I thought I couldn't be more under-appreciated, my project manager walks in with an envelope, says she knows how hard I'm working, says she really appreciates it, and says this bonus represents my valuable contributions up to this point. God I love my job. I really do. It's being really tough right now, and I'm working an absolutely stupid quantity of hours, and I'm not getting all the support I need, but at least somone is noticing that I'm working my ass off to get it all to work. I've never had that before. Stanford keeps surprising me. I'm really glad I work here.

Now if I could just get the acid in my stomach to calm down, I'd be really good.Today is the first payroll after the users touched the system, and it looks like it's going to be as bad (or even worse) that I had feared.

Meanwhile, you too can work here! My friend Sean sent me his resume, I submitted it, and he just got hired, so I'm also due for a friends hiring bonus as well. Well, due in 90 days or so. But still, that totally rocks. And now Sean can experience the coolness that is working at Stanford. Hooray!

Saturday, January 12, 2002

Kevin and I went to dinner after work last night at Chevy's. I managed to triage the tickets by 7:30 and foist the completion of those tickets onto other unsuspecting coworkers. Woohoo! So off to dinner at Chevy's where it took me all of the hour of dinner to gear down out of fast forward mode. Just as we were leaving the restaurant, I turned around and noticed a friend/former friend sitting alone at a table against the wall. Last year, after a very weird email exchange, Tox made it quite clear that he thought I wasn't worth knowing and that he wanted nothing to do with me. Tox and I hadn't ever been close, but we'd always been part of the same circles, and though we didn't have that much in common, I always made an effort to invite him to things and to keep in touch. Per Kevin's recent post about Urban Tribes, it can be best said that Tox was a part of the tribe. When he and Rick talked about all of this (he and Rick had been quite close ten years ago or so), he said he just didn't feel I was a worthwhile person. Ever since then whenever I see him somewhere, which is relatively frequently, I'm always at a loss for how to interact. Do I treat him like a friend, knowing he doesn't want to have anythign to do with me? Do I treat him like other people treat their ex-es? I've never been any good at that. I'm still friends with my seventh grade boyfriend, and some of my ex-boyfriends are my best friends (like Fred). Anyway, I was already in motion, so while my brain was working on the problem, my legs just kept walking. That solved it for this round. Don't acknowledge. Don't say hi. But leave feeling just a little bit weird. Mergle. Kicking Kevin's ass at Air Hockey several times (mostly 7-4) and injuring him twice with the puck managed to put it mostly out of mind. Poor Kevin. He called to report that yes, his pinky finger is swollen this morning. SORRY KEVIN! Note to the world: when playing air hockey, never hit a puck that isn't firmly grounded on the table. It's just bad.

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

So it was a great weekend. When I have more time, I'll go into details. In the quick interim moment between HelpSU tickets, I just wanted to mention the little racoon family that seems to have moved into the neighborhood around my office. I've walked out after dark several nights in the past few weeks to find myself with two or three racoons between me and the car. We do a little dance, they hop away, and then I head on to my car. Sure, they're like rodents, getting into the trash, making messes, carrying diseases, but they're just so much more adorable than a rat. Anyway, it's just always interesting to me to see wildlife in the midst of a bustling urban environment.

Friday, January 04, 2002

Well today the HR users got access to PeopleSoft for the first time. The first payroll ran, and I got paid, so that's all good. Now the real test comes. Today I spent the day trying to sort out security issues and help folks as quickly as possible. It's been a long time since I did tech support. It's exhausting. It's a never ending race against the incoming tickets.

Luckily, I'll be headed to San Francisco in the morning to play the day away and for dinner at Teatro Zinzanni. After a good night's sleep in the city, we'll head home for Beauty and the Beast on the IMAX at The Tech with Mice, Wendy, Cy, and Athena. Should be a fun and exciting weekend.

For tonight, I'm just trying to decide between going home, or going to Friday Night Waltz. Unfortunately work ran too late and I'm definitely missing The Maltese Falcon at the Paramount Theater. Oh well. Maybe next time.

Thursday, January 03, 2002

I couldn't believe my eyes this morning when I logged into my webmail box. There were 1128 messages in my junkmail folder, all from the same dude, advertising a 5.7% rate on refinancing a mortgage. I immediately deleted my junk mail folder, and by the time I had read through the ten emails in my inbox, there were another 64 copies of the same message. Yipes! I immediately emptied the folder again, but then I thought to block the sender, and found that the block function on hotmail has improved. It now allows you to not merely block one address at a particular domain name, but to block anything coming from that domain. Having collected another 28 copies of the message in the time it took me to block the sender, I emptied my junk mail folder one more time, and then it was over. Now my junk mail folder has a nice sensible three items in it. Phew!

I think this year's New Year's Day could've just as easily been called National Laziness Acceptance Day. I didn't make it out of my pajamas until 3:30 in the afternoon, and then it was only because I knew that I wanted to do at least one thing besides watch tv all day. When I realized that I would soon be getting a phone call from my grandmother asking whether or not I had consumed the obligatory black eyed peas for prosperity in the new year, I decided to make an old fashioned southern dinner for friends. I had Rick call a few folks, and we ended up convincing Cyrus, Athena, Mice and Wendy to join us for dinner. I got dressed and headed to Safeway only to find that they were completely out of all forms of black eyed peas - dried, canned, and frozen! Luckily, the Albertson's down the street saved me. Frozen black eyed peas to the rescue! I made chicken fried steak, cornbread, grits, and black eyed peas. At dinner, everyone around the table confessed that when Rick called, they were still lounging around in their jammies too. When I came back to work yesterday, everyone around the office was commenting on how lazy they had been yesterday as well. Mario (the project functional lead) never managed to get dressed at all yesterday. So, I guess it's up ot me to declare New Year's Day as National Lazy Bum Day. Loafers of the world unite!