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2006

Domino Designer screenshot, showing an interesting form nameSo far, I have to say, 2006 has sucked. Today (yes, a Saturday) I was completing my timesheet. We have to fill them in every two weeks, upon pain of death, and we have to account for every fifteen minute period of the time we’re at work. This is just plain nuts, and a source of not inconsiderable grief twice a month*. Anyway, there I was filling in my timesheet, and I realised that I had worked almost one hundred hours over a period which consisted of just nine working days.

* - It would also appear that I am not alone in feeling like this: in an amazing moment of synchronicity, check out Friday’s Dilbert!!

Now, I wouldn’t mind, but that seems to be the trend lately, and it’s not like I haven’t paid my dues. I’ve worked at the same place for over ten years, just three of which were in a client-facing role as an auditor. As a fee-earner, I worked stupid hours (e.g. three all-nighters in a row, with a two-day hangover in the form of severe stomach pain due to an excessive caffeine intake), but you kind of accept that to work your way up the ladder. In our place, partners call the shots, so when they say “jump”, you ask “how high?”

When I moved into applications development in 1998, supporting “the business”, I accepted the dead-end career and the drop in pay in favour of better, more interesting work, together with control over my destiny with regards the kind of assignments I took on, and how much of my time I spent working on them (my first child had just come into the world back then). Of course, I did my fair share of grunt-work, but I also got some plum assignments, the memories of which I cherish.

So when these conditions — principally “control” — irrevocably change, you have to ask yourself why you continue to put yourself through the pain of long days, thankless work and out-of-hours rants on the mobile phone from people you barely know. Surely.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a jobs-worth, nor do I mind work intruding on my personal time if there’s something in it for me. Yep, you read that right, I am a mercenary bugger. Heh, OK, I don’t really mean money (although that always helps). More that if a technical problem interests me, or I’m learning something new, then I’m in there like a shot, and I enjoy it. However, if it’s just a question of being overloaded, or people taking the piss, or bureaucracy gone mad, then I am very quickly turned-off. It’s now got to the point that I’m ignoring some of my email at work; I get stuff from people in my organisation on a daily basis asking for help or ideas re development. This can be exceptionally flattering, and oftentimes the issue is sufficiently intriguing to pique my interest, but I just can’t afford to take the time nowadays. In any case, I suspect that these communications are more a result of my longevity — if you stick around long enough, your name will become “known” whether you want it to or not — rather than technical skills.

Anyway, enough is enough. Whilst apparently in this day and age we should just be thankful we have a job, I can’t help but feel there must be more to all this. Time to give it all some serious thought I suppose. I’ve touched on this stuff before in the ole’ weblog I know, but assessing your career, figuring out how you’re going to keep going for another thirty-odd years, is a daunting thing to face up to.

On the plus side, once I’ve got past the forthcoming week (shudder), I get to be in Orlando with some of you folks. Yay!

Comments

  1. Not something I'm going to talk about in a public forum, but if you fancy a change…don't come to our place. Just the same :(Jaffa#
  2. Make sure you use your time in Orlando well.
    There is nothing like a set of recharged batteries.
    If you're having trouble doing so, then come fnd me for a well deserved drink!
    --MacMac Guidera#
  3. I guess theres something about timesheets that really gets peoples back up. It is essential company information - but there has to be better ways!

    I also think with Developer types who are creative by nature the concept of timesheets is even worse as we dont like to feel controlled and watched.

    "Ok so that piece of development I said 1 day took a week - but remember the one last month I said a week but took a day? No you dont?"

    Some of the places I do work I see some of the controls in place for Employees and I shudder and remind myself never to get a proper job - like ever. But then I remember the stress of will I have work next month and wonder which is the less of two evils!Steve Castledine#
  4. Thought about this when a record came on the iPod on the way home.

    'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now' - The Smith.

    "I was looking for a job, and then I found a job
    And heaven knows I’m miserable now"

    "Oh, why do I give valuable time
    To people who don’t care if I live or die ?"

    http://www.lyricsfreak.com/s/smiths,-the/126900.htmlBen Rose#
  5. Chortle! Nice one Ben ;-) Ben Poole#
  6. I have been having the same thoughts but reached them in a different evironment. Govt work. It's time to take a step back and change things. I will be changing things by moving to a different deptartment.Eric Tomenga#

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I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.

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