Dropped packets

I trained my replacement this week. It’s a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned in this job, as I didn’t get much help or formal training. The guy who trained me when I started was concerned I was his replacement. He ended up leaving anyway.


Automate your common processes

Having the starter/leaver process done by someone else’s script freed up a lot of time and mental energy for me. I think in the new job, once they are patched up and working better, I will start to automate as much as I can.

IT gets boring

Not boring in terms of filling out spreadsheets. At some point you stop learning new things in your job and get restless. I’d been here 9 months and got bored. Because we had most user processes documented, they were confident enough to do it themselves. Administrative tasks we tried to automate. Some days we got less than 5 tickets. I feel to some extent I worked myself out of a job.

At this stage in my career i.e. the very start of it, I have to be proactive about moving on. This place will have a lot of challenges, but hopefully I won’t be as constrained. At the same time,  it’s easy to look for quick fixes that become kludgy permanent solutions, so I was grateful to have the oversight of our contracting team’s lead.

Be in the management loop 

IT occupies a strange place in the hierarchy of a company. It’s a fundamental part of both the business infrastructure and how it serves customers. Though the IT manager/partner did not keep me up to speed, it did give me insight on how crucial having people’s confidence was. How the need for changes should come from users. How essential it was for users to buy into any changes IT made.

My goal in the new job is save money by making the infrastructure more reliable. They had a major outage the week of my first interview because they’d been cheaping out. Speaking to the MD about what outage that cost them per minute impressed them and got me the job, I think. Going forward, I’ll be glad to use my business degree and finance experience. I love data and I love metrics. So understanding that element of their business, and getting them to commit to upgrades would be a big career win for me. If they don’t commit to it:

Make it someone else’s problem

You could work 60 hour weeks and kill yourself with stress, ending up a bald, 300lb bitter wreck trying to manage everything. We frequently get blamed for management failures, and ultimately put our time and our relationships on the line to fix those failures. But no one’s ever going to care about IT. At the end of the day, you’re replaceable. I think how to avoid getting burned out is making it someone else’s problem: hire external contractors with SLAs.

We had two junior people leave in the last three months, and they weren’t replaced. So they tried to put pressure on me to work unpaid overtime and cover another city like 70 miles away.  But I was glad I refused, and made sure I got it in writing the terms of the potential paid overtime. Being firm made them back off, and it made leaving on good terms much easier, as I wasn’t pissed off.


Actually going to miss that place – they gave me a bottle of wine and a nice send off yesterday -I think if I was an employee and not a contractor I would have stayed.




Trigger pull

I think there’s amazing mope potential in fine motor skill sports. Just last night I shot some very nice groups after I got sighted in.


In the bottom left, that’s two shots in the same hole! Getting better.

After a break of 20 mins, I went for another 10 shots. I couldn’t get settled on the sling, didn’t follow through enough – I just went to crap on the targets. I was barely in the black for half of them. My group went from a quarter inch to more than an inch. At 25 yards, that’s pretty big. Plus I was worried about needing to catch a bus back home. So cycling, even if the exertion throws off my sight picture a bit, would let me relax more and probably let me shoot another card of 10.

The trigger on the rifle was single stage, and last week I shot with a two stage trigger. So I feel my trigger pull is too sharp already – that’s why the group is pulling down and right – and not being quite sure where the hammer will fall on the trigger pull put me off second time. I was snatching the trigger more as I lost my concentration. I might shoot fives instead of tens and see if it’s better. Holding the trigger for a few seconds after the shot should help my follow through.
I suppose the only solution is to shoot more, and be as relaxed as I was the first weeks. As the guys in their 60s and 70s say, when you start thinking about it, it gets harder and harder to shoot.

My friends keep joking that I’ve joined up with an Irish nationalist militia, as I’ve signed people up to an Irish language class, and they wonder if the shooting comes as a package deal. Or they ask when I’m learning about pipebombs.
Todays mopewod:
enjoy something new then overthink it until you fuck it up

and everyone thinks you’re a terrorist