punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

What I Do All Day

This is a normal work day for me. My job is (roughly) a programmer and analyst that also does programming strategies, hardware repair and upgrades, and long-term predictions and trends. My team does network performance metrics for various vendors, usually testing phone numbers, but we also test broadband, satellite, and LANs. My company is well known, but I don't talk about it on my site because of proprietary information and security issues.

7:00 - Get to work, start up my computers, get coffee, wake up, read e-mail. There will be notes from our night programmer, like "I set up machines 235 and 254 to dial the new Central Time Zone numbers, and I fixed 198, it had a bad modem in it." Often, a lot of people working on a project with me don't read their e-mail during the day, but once in the morning, and once before they leave, so if I left before 17:00, I am answering mail from them as well. Oh, and delete spam. This company has more spam for a corporate office than I have ever seen. Hackers get our company phone list all the time, apparently.
8:00 - Check on one of 250 systems to make sure they all reported in last night's data. During this time, I smack around a few systems that went down and stayed down. I built software that monitors and reboots machines that get hung or go down, but sometimes the machine is beyond hope, or someone turned it off, the power plug got removed, and so on. Sometimes I fix these machines, which are built in racks that tend to overheat. This is also the time my boss' boss calls me with some wacky new idea he had (I bet he sits bolt upright in bed with these ideas at 3am). Since I am the only person awake this early besides him, we have a lot of chats, and while his ideas are good, sadly most of them don't get implemented because of the lack of manpower on our team.
9:00 - Start my report on what happened in the last 24 hours with our systems. What went down, what data looks "funny," and some speculation on what the data will look like tomorrow. I also update the progress on all my projects I am working on.
10:00 - If the report didn't have a lot of extra problems (like a systemwide failure or something), I send out my report and start work on one of my various many projects including software research, programming, telecom trends, and so on.
11:30 - Lunch. Usually interrupted. I take lunch this early because the local cafeteria opens at this time, and when it opens, it's usually pretty empty. By noon, it's crowded, and I have to stand in line for everything. This goes on until 1:30 or so, and by then, all the good stuff is gone. I take lunch back to my office, and sometimes get interrupted by someone who has some status on a project I am working on (it's worse if I sit in the cafeteria, which doesn't have nearly enough seating for everyone here anyway). My lunch gets cold a lot. If it's not interrupted, I take an hour to cool off my brain and eat in peace. I browse the web a little.
12:30 - If lunch was not interrupted, I do some more project work.
15:00 - Go home. Well, I am supposed to go home, but often I work until 17:00 or later. Usually this is because of a meeting, and then work I have to do right after the meeting. Sometimes I have to stay late to talk to the night people. Sometimes I am just "in the zone" of some programming, and to interrupt it would take more time to "recapture the moment" rather than keep going. Sometimes, and emergency project comes up, or I have to monitor something during our "live hours" which are 15:00 - 01:00 the next morning.

Now, a lot of this schedule can get interrupted or totally thrown out of whack if I have to attend some meeting (which run, on average, about 2 hours each), get an emergency project ("Canada's system is down, man!"), have to do someone else's job because they are out (sick, vacation, emergency, flaky, whatever), go on field trips (usually to other testing labs), or just get hijacked by another team ("This is Grig, he will show you something ... show them, Grig!" [cue circus calliope music]). I am a pretty valuable commodity to my company, as they keep telling me, so I often am used in demonstrations and tours.

I can't say I work *solid* through all this, although I usually do. Sometimes I browse the web, update my journal, and so on because a lot of my work is "run a process and wait," kind of stuff. Often it's "run, wait, fix, run again, wait, fix again, run again, wait..." and so on. Then there are the "time-stealers," the people who drop by my office and yak and yak and yak about golf, fishing, their divorce, latest illness, and so on. I can ignore an IM, but it's hard to ignore a person in your office. Sometimes, someone from a project comes by, then another, and soon my office has 3-4 people spilling out of it (it's a small office), usually having two separate conversations. I never get work done that way.

All in all, I pull about a 42-52 hour week on average, usually in an 8-10-10-10-8 cycle. I try and leave early on Friday, but that doesn't work a lot of the time. Sometimes if I stay an extra hour, it will save me two hours later. Or four. But then when I get home, I am all tired and junk. Part of me knows this is bad, but then there's that "you better be glad you even HAVE a job in today's economy!" Most of my tech friends are either unemployed, or doing the same stuff I am, hour-wise.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000026.html
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