Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Second day's agony

The main theme of my second day at the new job was being tired.
Getting up was hard, I kept almost falling asleep at the train despite Bill Bryson's best efforts (in the form of an audio book; far from a perfect morning entertainment system, as it seems like an audio book requires quite a lot of attention compared to just plain music).
And then the walk up to work was less than trivial - my legs were stiff.
Semi tiredness has continued to shadow me all day long, especially the more I learn about my new professional environment. I'll start by saying it again: Lotus Notes just sucks; today I noticed that no matter how much I play with its setup, I still cannot seem to get warnings about upcoming events. But the much worse element is the way Notes is used and abused as a database which it is simply not, accompanied by the way Excel spreadsheets (and worse - Excel spreadsheets with macros) are used regularly for operational purposes - and wait for it - including for reporting.
My entire career at Volanpex was based around a client that was wise enough to realize they need to leave their Notes databases and their Excel spreadsheets behind and move to a relational database. And now I'm in the deep end of it yet again...
I cannot escape the inevitable comparison between my new environment and 3Com. The environments are just so similar, and the people seem to come of the same background and the same make. And both used Lotus Notes. And in both cases I was/am sunk way over my head with loads and loads of systems and people and needs and methodologies and whatever that I predict it would take me a good few months to be able to raise my head above the water. I hope they won't lose faith in me, but I have to say I could never escape the feeling that I might have never been able to fully grasp what 3Com's environment wanted me to grasp; I was saved by the bell at the time when they fired me together with everyone else after I worked there for just 3 months. The only difference between now and then, as far as I am concerned, is that I am more mature now and more aware of what is going on with me. I'll summarize this point by saying that I find it annoying that this challenge to master the new environment is a rather not so constructive a challenge, because I find it hard to justify the effort required of me when the cause seems to be a lackluster combination of macros and Notes.
I just hope I'm jumping to conclusions way too early, but I cannot avoid thinking that maybe Volanpex' total lack of methodology, which allowed me to do what I wanted to do (which was to introduce some method to the chaos), was actually the best thing for me - it allowed me to both work on interesting projects and get to play with being systematic about it. It would be a sad parody if it turns out that I miss the "good old days" after complaining about them for so long.

Anyway, after work we met up and went to Borders in Melbourne Central, where I finished my gift vouchers on 6 more sci-fi titles (for the price of 4): The Stars My Destination, The Hobbit, War of the Worlds (my first ever sci-fi read), Caves of Steel (by Asimov), Naked Sun (Asimov's second of the series, and my first ever Asimov read - I remember reading it during 5th grade's summer holidays, and I remember my parents taking a photo of me reading it on the living room's sofa), and Robert Heinlin's notorious Starship Troopers (where the film is a great testimony to fascism in modern day Western society but the book is still ten times better).

We got back home late and I'm dead tired. No wonder about the reasons, as it takes me so long to get there and back again.
Which raises the inevitable question: Where art thou, Canyonero? The answer is parked next to the train station, of course.


uri said...

Was the "there and back again" in the last paragraph intentional?

Moshe Reuveni said...

But of course