pbray: (Default)
US Employee outsources his job to China.

It's kind of awesome. Alas the scheme would never work for me, since my day job involves constant telecons.
pbray: (Darth Tater)
Not only do I have to work this weekend, I also have to write up my 2009 accomplishments for my annual performance review. It's part of a bogus corporate game--management emphasizes how important the writeup is in determining your rating, so if you don't get the evaluation you wanted, they can put the blame back on you for not doing a good enough job describing why you were vital to MegaCorp.

In reality, of course, the ratings are already decided, and there's little chance that anything I write will change the results either way. But there's so much stress given to this process that many of my coworkers literally spend days working on their results.

My approach is somewhat simpler. My first draft was easy. "Patricia Bray demonstrated her commitment to delivering global solutions by saving the Earth from alien invasion through deployment of her extended team of invisible robot warriors. This action ensured MegaCorp's survival and was key to MegaCorp achieving its 2009 corporate goals."

I'm thinking with a little polish, I'll be good to go.
pbray: (Darth Tater)
Not only do I have to work this weekend, I also have to write up my 2009 accomplishments for my annual performance review. It's part of a bogus corporate game--management emphasizes how important the writeup is in determining your rating, so if you don't get the evaluation you wanted, they can put the blame back on you for not doing a good enough job describing why you were vital to MegaCorp.

In reality, of course, the ratings are already decided, and there's little chance that anything I write will change the results either way. But there's so much stress given to this process that many of my coworkers literally spend days working on their results.

My approach is somewhat simpler. My first draft was easy. "Patricia Bray demonstrated her commitment to delivering global solutions by saving the Earth from alien invasion through deployment of her extended team of invisible robot warriors. This action ensured MegaCorp's survival and was key to MegaCorp achieving its 2009 corporate goals."

I'm thinking with a little polish, I'll be good to go.
pbray: (Default)
Anyone who's tried to balance a day job with writing knows how hard it can be. Sometimes the impact is easy to see--working a 14 hour day makes it difficult to find the energy to write at night.

Sometimes the impact is more subtle. When I first graduated from college and started working as a programmer, I stopped writing. But as I moved up the ladder to the point where I was managing programmers rather than getting to do the fun stuff myself, I once again discovered within me the desire to write.

It took me a while to make the connection. To realize that I was a creative person, and if I couldn't satisfy my creative urges in one venue, I'd turn to another.

Fast forward to last Friday. In my new assignment at MegaCorp, I've been asked to come up with the most efficient method for processing currency adjustments. After a couple of attempts, I created a script that produces the right answers, but it takes too long to run.

By coincidence, after the early morning writing session on Friday, I'd been stuck on a plot point. Normally this would mean that throughout the day my subconscious would be working on the plot point. But instead it had been preempted by the programming challenge. When I had the "Ah ha!" moment and reached for my pen, it was not to jot down ideas for the next scene, but rather a new idea for setting limits to the data blocks being calculated.

Even after I'd gone home, and immersed myself in the story once again, it was hard to get my brain back into writing mode. The creative idea generator wanted to solve the programming problem, and I had to tell myself that it was the weekend and I would not under any circumstances allow myself to power up my laptop to work on the day job.

Fortunately the opportunities for creative coding are few and far between, otherwise this balance would be even tougher than it is. But perhaps this explains why Einstein did his best work when he was employed as a patent clerk :-)
pbray: (Default)
Other areas include a games room, a library in the style of an English country house and an aquarium where over-worked Googlers can lie in a bath full of red foam and stare at fish.

From an article about Google's new European headquarters here on BBC News.
pbray: (Chill)
Well, actually, we're expecting another day of near-record heat outside. But indoors it's so cold that I'm wearing a sweater and preparing to don a fleece jacket. Yesterday my fingers were so cramped with cold it was hard to type.

Yes, this is the stereotype of the American office building. There isn't a thermostat anywhere to be found, instead we're stuck with the building settings which is supposedly more efficient than allowing individual thermostats.

I've already closed off the A/C vents in my office, to minimal effect.

When I thought about the downsides of being forced to move out of the old building into this one, I'll admit I never gave a thought to the A/C. Putting up with the paint & construction setting off my allergies, yes. Sad to give up a window office for a windowless box, yes. But I didn't expect to freeze.

There's some hope that when this floor is fully populated with people and their computers that this will generate enough heat to offset some of the A/C. Otherwise, I'm getting a space heater. I'll apologize to the planet for the environmental absurdity of it, but I can't work if my fingers are numb.
pbray: (Default)
It was a very busy weekend. I became proficient at dosing the cat with her antibiotics, a life skill I hope I don't have to use again soon. Fortunately [livejournal.com profile] jennifer_dunne returned home last night, so the cat now has her proper human instead of a spare who merely stops by three times a day.

In writing news, I polished up the article on character naming for the STAR chapter newsletter. While doing the research for the article I purchased yet another book of names, proving that you can never have too many. Which reminds me of the conversation that I had with my brother, while he and his wife were thinking of names for their baby.

Patricia: "Which one of us is expecting a child?"
Andrew: "I am."
Patricia: "And which one of us owns seven books of baby names?"
Andrew: "I guess that would be you. Hey, you think we ought to buy one of those books?"


Yesterday I went to lunch at the Cybercafe, bringing along [livejournal.com profile] mizkit's Coyote Dreams, which I couldn't wait to finish. The music system must have been set to shuffle on someone's MP3 player, treating us to everything from heavy metal to power ballads. I wasn't paying much attention when Frank Sinatra came on singing My Way, but as the chorus came up, the patrons spontaneously began singing along.

The rotation also included the theme from Hill Street Blues, which inspired me to go home and purchse my first downloaded song from iTunes. Just hearing the opening bars of that theme I can instantly picture the rain, and the bleak cityscape. It's a great song for evoking despair, which is probably going to be one of my playlists when I get more organized.

Now it's back to the grind--I've finally been allowed to leave the old job, and will be taking a new assignment in the company starting tomorrow. Less finance, more technical. Looking forward to a new set of challenges. Of course, there will be the inevitable transition period where I'm doing two jobs at once, but hey, that's the breaks.
pbray: (Zombie)
Received a meeting notice for the annual EO seminar--this year's topic is "Generational Diversity-Why Your Age Matters to NameWithheld."

My first thought was "Because we only want the youngest and tastiest brains to feed to our zombie army." Which, I'm pretty sure, is not actually the point they'll be making in the seminar.

But you never know....
pbray: (Roar)
Today's highlight was a conversation with a coworker. In the following CC stands for Clueless Coworker and PB stands for Long Suffering IT Professional.

CC: "I need you to find out how much these charges were so I can finish programming my spreadsheet."

PB: "I can get the number, but what are you going to do with it?"

CC: "I'm going to plug it into my spreadsheet that calculates the exemptions."

PB: "But you don't need that spreadsheet. I automated the process so the exemptions are already loaded into the expense database. Remember? We talked about this yesterday? I gave you the instructions on how you can use the canned reports to retrieve what you need right from the database?"

CC: "But I still need that number. So I can calculate the estimated adjustments for my reports."

PB (takes deep breath and then begins pounding head against desk): "But... but... but the corporate adjustments have already been loaded. Why do you want to manually calculate an estimated adjustment when you can see the actual numbers?"

CC: "I might need the data. (pause). And anyway, I can't figure out why my spreadsheet is giving me a number that's way too low."

PB: "The official adjustments were $$, which is right in line with our expectations."

CC: "My spreadsheet is giving me a different number."

(Silence as PB decides not to care, and doesn't respond).

CC: "Oh, wait, I figured out what's wrong with my formulas. (beat). So I don't need my spreadsheet after all?"

PB: "No. Use the canned reports."

CC: "Oh. Um, okay."


It took over 20 minutes to convince CC that a) he didn't need his manual report, and b) I wasn't going to help him debug his personal spreadsheet when there were already canned reports with the official answers in them. Keep in mind that CC was the one pushing for the automated process to begin with....

If you stare closely at my forehead, I think it spells out sxdcfvgbhnjmk,l. Backwards.

August 2017

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