January 20, 2005

I Hate My Job

This evening I was visiting Tim, who's down from Vermont to see relatives. But it turned into a night of angst for me, thanks to my job.

All afternoon today (as well as on Tuesday), I spent out at the Jarret CellMaster trying to isolate a transmission problem on one side. I'm not going to get into what a CellMaster does, except that it has two sides (for redundancy) and that one of these sides transmits sometimes then just drops out completely. Today I was trying to isolate the problem to one component, which I did (I suspect a bad transmit power adjustment screw).

I did not have enough time to complete my work today, so I set the site back to its original configuration, confirmed the good side was working fine, then locked up and left.

(during the ride home I experienced several computer lockups, actual blue screens - but this has no bearing on my story, other than I was on the phone the whole way home talking to my local support people.)

Drove home, showered, then started my drive north to see Tim.

I stopped in a Wawa, when I came out I noted that my managed had tried to 2-way me, but had not called nor left a message. I figured he just wanted to see if I felt like chatting, which I didn't (it now being 2 hours after work, all you hourly employees know what I'm saying). A minute later one of my coworkers (who happened to be on call) 2-wayed me, then started asking questions about Jarret. The first thing I learned was that the site was now failing everything on both sides; the second thing was that my boss was furious.

I was already on my way to see Tim, so cancelling and turning back was out of the question. Besides, I'm not on call this week, plus I verified good operation before I left. Needless to say, I sweated it out the entire evening while my coworker drove out to the site and started his troubleshooting.

Knowing my boss was furious, I took the time to call our NOC and ask about any alarms. They saw the door alarm (when I opened the site), several manual side switches (which I did as part of my troubleshooting), then the door alarm cleared (when I was done & closed the door). The site was operating fine before I left, which I personally verified before closing the door and which the alarm log backs up. The first outage alarm was received 45 minutes later, by then I was almost home.

Turns out the site was switching sides on its own. This is a very unusual outage, one we've only seen a couple of times before at different sites, it's proven almost impossible to reproduce (meaning that since you can't force it to happen & observe it, you can't really troubleshoot it). Bottom line, it's nothing I did, since if the site can't keep a side it will switch every 2 minutes or so, and it was doing nothing of the sort the entire time I was there. So that worry is off my back.

Now I have to worry about if or how bad my manager is going to flip out tomorrow. I'm sure I'll get the 20 questions treatment, certainly he's going to throw accusations my way (either that I caused the problem, that I should have gone out, or both).

The thing that really sucks is that for several months now I've been on his good side, he knows he can rely on me and that I perform good and timely work. But one little thing like this, even if it isn't my fault at all, and suddenly it's like I'm the red headed stepchild who can't do anything right.

If anyone knows of an open job making decent money, please please let me know so I can get out of this hell-hole!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you want to do? I think you and I have kicked this one around numerous times. Do you want to stay in the Cell game or are you looking for something else?

It's also a matter of where you want to be. North, South, East or West.


8:44 AM  
Blogger Rothar said...

First off, an update: I went in Friday morning and my boss was so happy he was practically singing! This is despite the fact that the site still had the original problem on one side that I'd been troubleshooting the previous afternoon, 4 sites were now 1 sides, and one site had just developed an interference problem that was affecting both sides. I even mentioned to him that I'd been worried the entire night & nervous about coming in this morning, but he just clapped me on the shoulder and laughed it off.

Jenn - you're absolutely right, I've needed to reassess my own happiness for some time now. Thanks for the reminder!

The reason I made this BLOG entry (also a similar entry in my journal) is twofold: 1) to help get it out of my system so I could actually get some sleep Thursday night; 2) to remind me not to become complacent again and move on to another job ASAP.

I'm already planning to see what else is out there that I can do. I've got a separate resume for Tech Writing, if I see anything else posted out there I'll make a resume for that too.

3:08 PM  
Blogger mithglin said...

Suuuny Flooorida!! Eye candy, University of Florida! Jacksonville branch of your company!!! 70 degree weather last Dec. Universal Studios and Disney!! Temptation temptation!!! Send your resume today!! Low cost of living! Own your own home for less than your rent. Car insurance for less than $500 yr. NO CAR INSPECTIONS!!! All right, you have to deal with a few hurricanes and rednecks, but it's worth it!

6:49 AM  
Blogger Rothar said...

Update: Today my boss finally flipped out, as he always has when anyone has ongoing computer or vehicle issues that keep them out of the field.

My IT guy fixed my PC Monday morning, turns out a bad memory card was causing all the lock ups. I worked the rest of that morning and the entire afternoon with another used laptop that contained my original hard drive.

Monday night I set myself up for DSL, everything worked like a charm.

This morning I got up and started my PC, then took a shower. Given that it's a Pentium III running Windows 2000, it does take just a little bit to boot (longer than my XP box, anyway). I came out of the shower, hit CTRL-ALT-DELETE...and no loging screen!

I let the PC sit for a while, since I was up early and not even on the clock yet. But after 10 minutes or so of nothing, I restarted - same thing.

So at 7am I headed in to the office. There I plugged into the network, lo and behold Windows booted normally!

It took a few hours to troubleshoot, but my IT guy eventually found that my laptop is looking for a network connection. So if I tried to boot up without one (this morning I hadn't connected the cable yet, normally I boot this way only out in the field), it took FOREVER.

About 10:30 my boss finally lost it. He'd reassigned me to one of the bucket trucks for the day, since we had a lot of outages and one of the guys was out. He ranted, I don't remember his exact words but he insisted that I hit every outage on my list, even if it meant working overtime. I shot back with "That's pretty shitty, forcing me to work overtime because of a computer problem."

We both walked away from each other, I took a few minutes to cool off. Now not only was I angry, but mostly I was...I don't know, afraid? My stomach was in a knot, it has been ever since my computer problems started on Thursday.

Then I figured I'd try to readdress this, now that I'd calmed down a little. I saw his office door was pushed 3/4 of the way shut, so I figured he was in there on the phone. He was. As I approached the door, I heard him say "Ray's had computer problems for weeks now and he's not even consulting the right people to get it fixed."

Needless to say, this agitated me even more. I have to admit, I paniced...I went and talked to our site manager, basically just filled him in that I'm having a computer problem but my manager's angry & acting like it's my fault.

Shortly after (say, 11am), my IT guy finished and had me operational for the day. I stopped by my manager's on the way out and told him that I want to fix the network just as much as he does, but if my PC's crippled there's not much I can do. His concern was that I'd called a fellow tech at another project last week, but I explained very carefully that it was for a dial up issue and not related to the problems I'm having now.

Anyway, before I left my IT guy hooked me up with a new login, this time logging on to my local machine instead of the corporate domain. Tonight I spent a little bit testing my boot up and shut down, both on and off network - no problem whatsoever. Then I spent a few hours (most of the evening, actually) configuring my PC for my maximum job performance. So now I'm good to go - I finally feel like I have a computer that's going to start, run programs, and turn off when I tell it to.

Now maybe this sense of panic will finally go away.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Pal, if you are that stressed, you really need to get out while you still have a stomache lining. ;)

At least I could come to terms with my MM. I don't think I could work in those conditions and considering how my life had been two years ago...that's saying a lot.

Definitely start looking.


9:04 AM  
Blogger Rothar said...

Latest Update: I have started looking in earnest, broadening my field from simply "Electronics Tech" to whatever pays the bills. My goal is to offload as much stress as possible, as quickly as possible.

That is the short term goal. I've got a long range plan that I'm still working out...but this comes first!

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rothar my friend, I will send you something. It might help allieviate some of the stress and give you some insights on how to help manage your manager.


12:25 PM  

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