Hat on Top, Coat Below


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March 22, 2004

My job and I are going through a rough patch. I don’t think we’re going to have to break up, but our relationship is definitely strained right now. This is still the best job I’ve ever had; it’s just giving me more headaches than it used to. I’m floundering. I’m stressed. I’m doing dumb things outside of work because by the time I leave the office I don’t have the mental energy left to notice things like I should. So far it’s been little stuff like accumulating overdue fines on library books I’m not even reading or driving with my brights on and not getting the hint from other drivers flashing theirs at me (not even in combination with that handy blue “your high beams on are on” symbol lit up on my the dash while they’re doing it), but I worry it will escalate. (And I really, really hope this is stress-related and not the first sign of a degenerative brain disease).

I’m taking my job stress on the road this week, doing training and implementing at a customer site. (Why me when we have an implementation department? Because I’m special, that’s why. Also, most of the implementation team doesn’t like to travel. Why they’re on the implementation team then, I do not know, but I’m not in charge of that.) I fumed to myself this morning when I was sitting around waiting for the customer this morning and wondering why it was so freaking important to them that I give up half my Sunday so I could be here bright and early Monday if they weren’t going to take advantage of my presence, but fortunately my day got better after that. People mostly paid attention during training; I didn’t get too many questions I couldn’t answer, and we made some progress getting things set up so our newly revised go live date of April 1st now seems somewhat more realistic.

Still, I’m dreading tomorrow. At least the part of tomorrow that has to do with the part of the system I don’t know at all well and absolutely don’t relish getting to know because it involves my number one most disliked aspect of accounting, namely, cost. I’d rather do taxes than cost accounting, and I don’t like to do taxes. I’ve never figured out what it is about standard costing that irritates me so, but it sure does chafe. Up to this point in my career, I’ve managed to avoid it most of the time and bluff through it when I couldn’t, but now it seems I’m going to have to dive in. Maybe, just maybe it won’t be as bad as I think.

Or maybe it will be worse, like the project that’s given me the biggest headaches over the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to complete a new module that’s way more complex than anything I’ve done before (at least since I made the switch to web programming from client server). I was supposed to have it done Friday. Thursday we had a developer meeting at which it was announced that we have to change the way we write procedures or else we won’t be able to handle the increased customer demand we hope to experience. I was planning to use all of the techniques that are now frowned upon. I tried to finish anyway, but didn’t come close. Oh, I got enough done so that the customer can start putting data in, but I don’t know how I’m going to get it finished before they want to actually use the whole thing, especially since the two people I turn to most often for help on this sort of thing are completely swamped converting other higher priority procedures over to the new standards. The frustrating part is I know I could finish this module if it were client server. I’m just not that skilled a web programmer. I don’t know if I’ve got it in me.
What is the point of all this whining? I don’t know that there is a point. It’s just where I’m at right now. Soon, very very soon, I need to be at a place where I’m writing a handout for tomorrow’s training. Sometimes I miss the days before I had a laptop. Back then, I could travel for work and spend entire evenings watching HBO without feeling guilty. I suppose I could choose to do the same now, except I’m not sure how long I could do that and still meet the expectations of my customers and my peers and my boss.

I wish I could just take a nice long nap. Like a week long. While I slept, magical beings would rewire my brain so I’d not only understand the things I’m struggling with now but I’d relish them. Yeah, that could happen.


I wish it were last year, when I saw two movies in one day. And didn’t have to make any handouts.

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