Saturday, November 28, 2009

Finally...Four days off that feels like four days off.

Too many times I get a three or four day weekend only to think I need a couple of more days at the end of it. Most three or four day weekends tend to get filled up in such a way that we feel less rested at the end of them, than we would have felt after a normal two day weekend. Why is that? (I ponder often.)

I think I can only chalk it up to age. As I've grown older, I've learned to appreciate the importance of the long weekend, and I've tried so often to squeeze as much into it (or out of it, depending on your glass half full position), that I can. Consequently, most of the time, I feel increased stress trying to get it all in.

This past four day weekend, I've spent some it with family, some it with my significant other, and some of it by myself pursuing my own interests. In actuality, I'm on day three of the four day, with still one more day to enjoy off. And with one more day to go, I'm feeling quite relaxed and rested. That's a nice feeling for a change.

So tomorrow, I'm going to continue to enjoy my freedom from work by looking over my work email before Monday, checking over the progress I'm making on new project plans and project status reports. I'll probably log into work to answer any inquiries that may have come in from our Asian and European offices over the Thanksgiving weekend as well.

Boy am I glad for four day weekends.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Holidays Cometh...

So next week is Thanksgiving. Turkey, Pumpkin Pie, Food Coma. What's a diabetic to do? Hunker down and state loudly, "Pass the potatoes please."

Work continues to be challenging. Shortly after my last post, the hammer came down in the guise of "reorganization". That Director who asked me to consider and take a new challenge within the organization found himself reorganized right out of a job. The IT department lost a total of 5 people during this round of reorganization. I walk around believing I'm leading either a charmed life, or Karma is smiling favorably on me. The position I left was cut, and there's no replacement for that job. So... If I hadn't taken this new job, I would have made a visit to the unemployment lines.

The new job continues to be a learning experience. One of my peers was kind enough to enlighten me to a well known lesson to all but me. He explained the difference between "Manager Time" and "Maker Time". The "Makers" are the developers that I am managing now. He explained how important it is to schedule meetings for my employees either early in the day, or late in the day, but to do my best not to schedule in the middle of the day. Apparently, programmers "ramp up", and become productive after the ramp up time. Disturbing their day with mid-day meetings really throws the proverbial monkey wrench into their productivity. (Lesson learned, and Thank You Ted M.)

Off to play Pinochle. (My new favorite past time)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

What a difference a month can make...

So, I was approached by my Director, and told that there was a new and challenging opportunity for me in a new department within the IT division. My name had been tossed about as a good fit for the position, and I was encouraged to consider making the move. When your Director tells you something like this, in today's economy, its usually a pretty smart and no-brainer thing to just accept the challenge, and move on to the new position. (Which I've done.)

I've gone from managing a team of 4 highly skilled IT engineers, thoroughly trained in desktop architecture and design, electronic software distribution, and desktop configuration management, to leading 10 software developers in various projects that deal with automated Project Planning, and Datasheet Automation. (If you're interested in the minutia, contact me directly, and I'll fill you in.) Suffice it to say, that on some level I'm feeling like a fish out of water. And on another level, I am SO LOOKING FORWARD TO THE CHALLENGE.

I think I was becoming a bit stagnant in my last position. The team was pretty much on autopilot, and while we were facing some interesting changes and challenges due to significant change initiatives within the IT Organization, we still felt pretty comfortable. I am no longer feeling fully comfortable. As a matter of fact, I would venture to say that I am being pushed way outside of my comfort zone. I'm looking forward to that as well. Its always good to be able to excel when you are facing new and interesting challenges.

Stay tuned... There's plenty more to come.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We're heads down, and there's no relief in sight.

So here we are in the middle of August, and I just realized that my team and I have been heads down, working our collective tails off, pretty much non-stop since 12/5/2008. At that time, my team got hit with a "crisis" that required us to scramble and get some work arounds in place for our software distribution technology. To the teams credit, we got it done, and the workaround is in place an functioning marvelously.

Of course, no sooner did we get that done, and we were hit with another short fuse, tight deadline project. And its stayed like that all the way up to now. And the real challenging part is that there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.

From my point of view, this is a blessing and a curse. We all thank our higher powers for having steady, rewarding jobs, and we're grateful that we're not in the unemployment line. But at the same time, we long for the somewhat less hectic days that was our lives little as 12 months ago.

And the world just keeps on changing.....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The geeks failed...

So the "Woz" failed to garner the necessary votes to keep him alive on DWTS. Not too surprising when you realize how absolutely terrible the guy was at dancing. Don't get me wrong, I have great admiration for him just for getting out there and trying. But really, come on now? If you saw his performance you knew that it was only a matter of time.

I certainly hope the producers think hard before picking someone so totally unsuited for the task in the future. I think the real draw to this program is watching people who are not professional dancers blossom into something really special. Picking someone like Steve Wozniak, or Penn Jelette is just asking for trouble.

That's my $0.02

Monday, March 30, 2009

The geeks shall inherit the earth...

I'm watching "Dancing With The Stars" where Steve Wozniak is making monkeys out of the producers of that show. Or, shall I say, the tech community is making monkeys out of the producers.

I'm sure that when they enticed Steve to participate in the show, they figured he'd be fun to watch for a couple of weeks, he'd get voted off, and then they'd get down to business with the "real" contenders. What they didn't count on were the geeks of the world.

This is only an opinion, but I'm willing to bet that there are plenty of smart geeks out there who are able to produce well over the 10 to 20 votes that the normal household can get on a normal week of voting for their favorite dancer.

Steve Woz received the lowest score given by the judges in the history of the show. A total of 10 points. But yet, during the results show, he didn't even wind up in the bottom two. Was he third from the bottom? OR... much higher?

I wonder what would happen if the geeks find a way to keep him in week after week? What would that say about the validity of the judging? What would it do to the overall ratings?

I wonder how long the techies of the world can keep him in.... stay tuned, it's going to get interesting.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Funny things...

I've been thinking about funny. What's funny? Why is it that what I think is funny, isn't so damn funny to my better half? Why is it that what she finds funny, I find sophmoric? Is there a funny gene? A piece of DNA that predetermines where we fall on the funny meter of life?

These are heady questions. They require contemplation. They make my head hurt.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sinus infections are NO fun...

It started last week. I began to feel some pressure building above my right eyebrow. That evening after I had gone to sleep, I was woken up by a really horrendous amount of pain radiating from the right side of my mouth, and under my teeth. MY TEETH HURT! Kept me up for well over an hour. That pressure hasn't completely resided since.

I went to the acute care clinic here at work, and I was given an antibiotic, and here I am on day 4 of a 5 day regiment, and the pain still exists. I've got a doctor's appointment with my regular doctor this afternoon. Hopefully he can tell me why this just won't go away.

I wouldn't wish this on a dog.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

UP DOWN, The Stock Market Game

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

File this under, "You've got to be kidding me..."

Did a Sam's Club run last week. Picked up 40 lbs. of dog food, and couple of cases of Diet Pepsi for my better-half, as well as the obligatory new DVD, and some other assorted items.

When I got to the check-out, I removed all the "small" items from my cart, and left the dog food and Diet Pepsi in the cart. (As I've done a hundred times before.) As I was getting ready to push the cart around for the cashier to scan the heavy items, she stopped me and told me that "All items MUST be removed from the cart, and scanned at the register."

You're kidding, right? Nope...

So, I have to lift the 40 lbs again, and so did the cashier (a slight, young teenage girl) as she put it back into my cart, along with the cases of Diet Pepsi.

Apparently, this is because of a new manager at the Hodgkin IL. Sam's Club. He/She requires that all items are placed on the belt, and taken out of the cart. It's the ONLY Sam's Club that I've been to that requires that.

I have a choice between Sam's and Costco. Sam's Club is beginning to make my choice for me.