Thursday, December 27, 2007

Riding the knife's edge

It's been a while since I've really vented here. Since last summer, I've tried to stay away from pure ranting. So, my apologies, in advance, to the Power of Positive Thinking Princess (if she happens to check in).

For the last couple of months, I have been trying to lead a huge project at work which involves replacing an organically homegrown, undocumented, critical application server with a commercially supported appliance. Lots of things that 'just work' on the homegrown system are proving to be problematic on the new system. It wouldn't be so bad if I was leading an actual team who were accountable for the success of this transition. As it stands, my 'team members' seem to view any effort that they put forth on this project as (more or less) helping me out. They come to meetings when they feel like it. They address their assigned tasks when it's convenient. Our upper management (two levels up from me) began calling these meetings in July when I was making no progress on 'my project'.

The eight other people who were 'invited' to these meetings seem to feel that the meetings are there for me to report MY progress. Sometimes, someone will volunteer to help me with a task. Sometimes, they'll actually deliver on their offer. Tasks that obviously can only be accomplished by someone, other than me, are never delivered in a timely fashion. And, our management (who attend these meetings) never call these folks on the carpet for their lack of contribution.

There are a ton of issues getting our applications to work through the new appliance. I do not understand how most of them were configured to work through the old, homegrown, server. The folks who administer that server never documented what they did to get the stuff working. And, now, they don't seem real anxious to assist in getting the stuff to work through the new appliance.

When, and if, this project ever goes live, these folks will no longer have to support a MAJOR application server that impacts everyone in our VERY large organization. You'd think that they'd be more than forthcoming in order to get rid of this albatross!

Speaking of albatrosses, once we cut over to the new appliance, I'll be the sole support for the new appliance. Someone else on my team went to the same training that I did. HOWEVER, the woman has only been out of college for a little over a year and is relatively incapable of troubleshooting the appliance if an application doesn't work through it. So, while the homegrown server is antiquated, there's a team of about 3 or 4 guys who, more-or-less, can troubleshoot an issue if push came to shove, since most of them are experienced server administrators.

So, folks, in a nutshell: I'm EXTREMELY stressed right now.

That said, I had registered for a class that starts in a few days. Tonight was the last night that I had to pay for the class before my registration would have been canceled. As much as I really wanted to take the class, I feel like I've been riding the knife's edge the last few months. As 'my project' gets closer and closer to going into production, I could not envision taking on the additional stress of a rigorous class right now. So, instead of paying for the class, I logged onto the registration system and canceled my registration for the upcoming term. I'm bummed, but I don't feel like I had any other choice. (And, crap, I already bought the really expensive text book!)

Afterwards, I decided to surf a few of the local hospitals' job sites. The Fates must have felt my pain! The first site I hit had a job ad for an Information Security Engineer position just 25 minutes from my house. So, of course, I applied.

Wish my luck! (Man, wouldn't that turn my frown WAY upside down?!?!?!)


Summer said...

I think I might look for a new job too. Yours sounds very stressful but you did the right thing in canceling the class. This isn't the time for addtional stress. Good luck with the job prospect.

Dr. Momentum said...

Wow, I'm sorry to hear about this. It stinks when you have to back out of plans like this because of circumstances. I know the feeling. :(

Right now, I'm also swamped and have very little maneuvering room. It makes one very uncomfortable.

Hope things open up for you soon. And good luck on the opportunity.

Kitten Herder said...

Thanks to both of you for your warm thoughts. Venting helped a little. Hearing some compassion helped even more.

While I have learned a lot at my current job, the crappy commute (60 minutes during rush hour) and the organizational dysfunction really are pushing me to move on.

Hopefully, last night's stumble on that job posting was the Fates way of seeing to it that I can (or just plain taunting me). I'll post if I hear anything.

briwei said...

The fates ARE taunters. But as long as you don't taunt them back or expect anything, you may be all right. Just to be on the safe side, I'm sending good vibes your way. :)

Kitten Herder said...

Dude, I will so take those vibes!