If my entries here have lacked a certain enthusiasm this week, I think it is because I'm not liking certain aspects of my job at Company O. right now. It's draining away a lot of my enthusiasm right now. I think that lack of enthusiasm is bleeding into what I write here.
To understand why I don't like my job, first indulge me in a brief digression about some aspects of Company O.'s business right now. Company O. is getting into the "hosting" business; instead of someone buying our products and putting it on machines at their location, we put our products on machines here at Company O. that people can access across the Internet (or something like it.) To do this, Company O. has to deploy large numbers of machines at our computer centers interally for our customers to use. To make the hosting business profitable, Company O. must find ways to take advantage of scale and use fewer people to manage these computers than the customers would themselves. For example, if Company O. can find a way manage a computer with one person rather that the five that Customer X. would use, Company O. can offer to host systems for Customer X. at a price equivalent to what a customer would have to pay three people. In that way, Company O. makes money (the cost of two people in profit), Customer X. saves money (the cost of two people it doesn't have to pay for), and everyone is happy... except for me.
The problem for me is that Company O. is experiencing some growing pains in this business. This inevitably causes problems that must be solved ASAP for hosting customers. The group that I work for in Company O. has experience developing automated management tools that surround Company O.'s products. So we are naturally asked by the people who actually manage all those hosted systems on the best ways to fix things. That is all "so far, so good".
The problems come in getting information and actually using the solutions that I and other people come up with. Since these are machines used by customers for their daily business, we don't get terrific access to them in order to understand what's really going on. We have to work through other people to get that kind of information. Plus, the people who are managing those computer are REALLY busy. So busy that they don't often tell us when things they do to manage the machines change. Finally, they work for someone else and feel free to disregard our advice on how to do things. Getting anything done in this sort of environment can be frustrating because we rely on others to be our eyes and ears to understand problems, anything we build may not work when we test it because the environment where it will be used changes quickly, and getting people to follow our advice can be a decidedly political process.
The only upside for this week is that I've made progress in getting my honeymoon with Fiancee S. booked. We're going to Hawaii: two nights on Lanai, four nights on Maui. When I booked flights for the trip a couple days ago, I called the resort on Lanai to make sure that the arrival time wouldn't interfere with our ability to check in. The woman I spoke to on the phone sounded so relaxed and so mellow that I find myself wishing I was already there, and that we were spending more than two nights on that island.
Well, if nothing else, at least the Hawaii trip is something to look forward to.
on 2004-05-06 at 12:50 p.m.
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