zetasyanthis: (Default)
Another update... I'm still not handling this very well, though I'm learning.

I ended up getting home at about 8:45 yesterday. I kind of saw time passing at work, but was working on something that I felt was important enough to justify staying a bit late. We had had another outage due to a major infrastructure failure on Thursday, with a secondary infrastructure failure ongoing, and I tried to stay and get the replacement / backup system into test over the weekend. Why?  Well, I don't enjoy having to answer questions from the CIO of the company that owns our company, my boss's boss's boss's boss's boss, etc... It's not my fault the bloody thing isn't here and running yet, but I do seem to be one of only four people at the entire company that are capable of handling this for some reason... </rant>

Anyways...

This week has been really really stressful. It's not been a lot of hours, but a hell of a lot of noise, emergencies, and meetings, all of which don't really go well with an introverted personality. I came back home yesterday so overloaded that I had to just sit in my room in the dark for two hours before I could handle any kind of stimulus at all. Moving, talking to Dakota was too much. Hell, snuggling with my kitty was actually too much input to handle. I was shaken and emotionally wiped.

There is, however, good news on the horizon.

1. I've not gotten any evening calls this week. Actual work hours have trended back towards a normal 40/week for the most part.
2. I made a very important realization yesterday. Occasionally, I just kinda have these realizations pop into my head, and this one was about my motivations and why I seem to care more than a lot of other people.

So let's talk about #2. I think it's because of love. I don't know if I have an excess of it, or if others just can't always touch it in the same way, but it's part of everything I do. I'm a healer, whether it be people, animals, or even electronics. I see things that are broken and I can't help but try to make things better. I've gotten burned by it a few times, because I refuse to stop caring in spite of, well, anything. Despite that though, I think I'm working on burning myself out right now, so I'm going to start managing what energy I have a lot more pro-actively. I know we have emergencies at work, but dealing with them is killing me at home, and that is going to stop. It's going to stop *now*. There are too many other things that matter way more. Work is just so I can have a roof. I need to start treating it that way.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
So the conversation about overload with my boss went reasonably well.  Preliminary sanity measures are in place, and we'll be re-evaluating as things progress.  A few interesting developments also came up today, as apparently my boss straight up asked the other guy on 1.0 if he'd work the graveyard shift for the next month.  (He laughed and said no.)  I wasn't asked, but we'll see what happens in the next little while.  Interestingly, that question was popped was after our meeting on rotation schedules and such.

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Current steps being taken:

1. For now, the two of us on 1.0 are split on rotating 24 hour cycles of support.  I think that'll be alright for the moment since we (in theory) just crushed a major problem today/tomorrow that should take a ton of load off of us.

2. Extra hours accrued are going to be recorded as unofficial comp time, from which we can take vacations later.

3. I'm definitely in on the yearly bonus/raises that apply in March, despite starting a few days after the cutoff date of Jan 1st.

4. Any overloads / if we can't manage this, things will be re-evaluated.

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Planned additional requests going forward:

1. Meals due to extended work hours are typically comp'd.  Planning to ask this to be made more or less official policy for the two of us going forward.

2. If there ends up being a hell of a lot of overtime / evening work, I plan to straight up ask for a pay bump.  I didn't sign up to be on call and don't really want to be.  If they really want me pulling long shifts, they're going to have to feel the pain from it too.  (I'm expecting to be called in at 3:30 this morning due to something I know is running until then, so I have a strong feeling this may come up.)

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My only disappointment so far is that my boss (who knows a little about 1.0, but not a lot), didn't put himself on the rotating support shift roster we put together today.  He puts in a lot of hours as is, so I guess I can't complain too much, but I'd have done it if I were him.  IMHO, that's how you lead during a crisis.
zetasyanthis: (Default)
I ranted a bit about this on twitter today, but I think I'll feel better if I just get this crap out of my brain and onto a page(?).

Basically, work is trying to eat me, and my subconscious isn't helping.  There's a lot of good reasons, plenty of explanation, teamwork, and all the rest, but the gist is that I've gotten calls on my work phone while at home four days out of the previous week.  Email chains are also including me and directed to me, though I was rather blunt about the likelihood of my response to any of those when not at work.  I'm effectively being treated as though I'm on-call 24/7, having had one call as late as 11:30 PM the other night, and some other coworkers are (in my view, insanely) actually responding at that hour.

What's the situation at work that's spawning this?  Glad you asked, because there is a good explanation, kind of.

The team I'm on are a group of software engineers who provide support on an internal set of tools used by a manufacturing floor.  At the moment, some vendor fuck-ups mean that the floor is actually running three shifts, requiring 24/7 uptime on the tool infrastructure to support them.  "What's the problem with that?", I hear you say.  "Surely they must be built to handle that since the company has been in business for more than 75 years!"  HA!  Well, they're going to be soon, when the 2.0 codebase rolls out, but 1.0 is a steaming pile of shit!  And there's been a perfect storm on top of that that's conspired to completely fuck us over!

Here's the list!

1. Massive rework effort due to a vendor fuckup.  Usually we run from 8-5, sometimes having a second shift on the production floor.  Right now, we're running 24/7 and weekends to help one of our major customers out after another vendor fucked up rather solidly.
2. Main 1.0 server RAID array failure combined with lack of backups means the 1.0 infrastructure is in tatters.  The backup server isn't even running the same versions of software, but at least it's online...  >.<  (I voluntarily pulled a 30 hour shift to help ensure that two weeks ago since I knew it was a good opportunity to show I was serious, among other things.)
3. Lack of proper version control, code reviews, and well, sanity in 1.0 codebase means that all kinds of things are breaking. Any change may have unknown ramifications that breaks something completely unexpected, sometimes at the very end of a multi-hour or multi-day run!  Local, unversioned copies of files are all over the place and used in production, which I'm slowly crushing into line with sheer force of will.
4. Main 1.0 developer left three weeks ago, leaving only myself (who got dragged into this mess when he gave his notice 5 weeks ago - I was supposed to be on 2.0) and one other guy who keeps taking shortcuts and writes fairly crappy code...
5. New products being introduced constantly and having to be added to the codebase!
6. Updated firmwares supplied by customers at the last minute (5 PM, but please ship tomorrow!) with bugs causing further delays.
7. Production floor fucking up basic instructions over and over and apparently unable to debug anything without assistance.
8. Customer showing up and further eating into engineering time.

Basically, this means that the two of us who are on 1.0 are kinda hosed.  Manufacturing needs constant handholding and the customer is breathing down our neck and actually showing up at our facility demanding answers.  I had several engineers from them hovering behind me for more than six hours last week while I live debugged issues with their stuff.  In total, I've lost at least three work days to similar activity in the last two weeks.

So here's the thing.  How the hell do I deal with this?  I can feel the burnout already coming, and I didn't sign up to be on-call with this position.  (As far as I knew, I was to work 8:30-5:30 with breaks and was rather confused when I was issued a work phone in the first place.)  I'm salaried, and in theory they can kind of require me to come in, but that's not the basis I want to be on with my brand new employer.  I want to be a valued part of this team.  I know they need the help.  I know I'm the only one who really *can* help.  But I have to have my own personal time where I have a guarantee that I will not be contacted.  I need that to be healthy myself, and to have a healthy relationship with my mate Dakota.  If I'm in 'professional mode' 24/7, I'm not emotionally receptive or calm enough to connect with her, and that is unacceptable.

How do I find a balance in this middle of this crisis?  I had been answering my phone this last week, but when my boss texted me this morning I just turned the damned thing off.  For all I know, 200+ people are sitting around doing nothing and we may lose one of our biggest customers as a result of it.  What the hell do I even do?  This continuous-crisis situation could last until the end of March, and I definitely can't handle it that long.

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Zeta Syanthis

June 2017

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