Almost there...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


In general, the busiest time for me at work is a week before and the week after a major rollout. Usually there's training to do, and last minute updates to write, and so on.

So last year, one project manager asked when we were planning to take vacation. I confidently replied via email that I'd be gone during Prague Dance Week. The rollout was promptly scheduled for the Monday of Prague Dance Week.

Now, for the record, that really pissed me off. If you're going to ask, then please schedule around my vacation OR apologize for spoiling my plans. Frankly, either is fine, but at least one of those is required. I'm still waiting for that apology.

Then we found some issues and our aggressive schedule got pushed back, but the by then, plane tickets were multiple thousands of dollars and so I didn't get a vacation last year.

So this year, I planned my vacation in January and invited others to join me and said, "I don't care what happens this time; I'm going on vacation." So, I put my dates on the calendar in January.

In February I started working on a new project. The campus rollout date was set for May 17th - the Monday of my vacation week. At this point, I said something really inappropriate in a meeting and then laid my head on the table. The project manager was aware of my vacation dates. That just didn't matter.

So this time, I did not cancel my plans. I steadfastly believed that dates would move and this wouldn't be a problem. Or that I could engineer this one so that it didn't matter desperately that I wasn't available. As it turned out, we're planning a much more limited rollout than originally planned due to some bugs in the web interface. This means I don't have to be around for live and in person training. This is great. I get my vacation AND the project rolls out on schedule. I started the communications ball rolling. Last week I sent email to a few thousand people on campus. Articles were published in Speaking of Computers and the Stanford Report. I'm planning to record a message for everyone being affected for delivery on Monday. Everything is proceeding on schedule.

Until today when a big show-stopper bug came up. It may very well derail the project. The rollout may not happen on the date they determined. Also, the whole thing may also get derailed by the swine flu pandemic, because we can't do large scale infrastructure changes when folks won't be available to do the required set up or may be managing a mass emergency.

A girl could get a complex about scheduling her vacations. Better yet, an organization might take heed of a certain employee's schedule and not plan big roll-outs for when she tries to take a well-earned break. Just saying.

No matter how it all plays out, I'm spending May 15-18th hanging out at my grandparent's cabin in the woods where there isn't a phone or an internet connection. They can do just fine without me.


  • That's really just a long weekend and not a big vacation. They should be able to cope without you for 2 workdays. It will be in the middle of pledge drive for me, but I am going to KublaCon on Memorial Day weekend as the drive ends that Friday.

    By Blogger Chrisfs, at 4:10 PM  

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