site stats WhizGidget Wonders...
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Downtime at work...

…is there such a thing, you may ask? Of course there is!

Downtime at work could be as benign as having lunch at your desk while reading the newspaper, or going to the bathroom to escape from your desk for a few minutes. It could also be as broad as a full network outage, and no one can work, so they find other creative ways to distract themselves.

But the really frustrating type of downtime is that which is insidious and intermittent. And that type of downtime is that which I am about to speak of. Yes, it’s Neticus Blocketa Randomosi (thanks to a lady with happy thoughts for part of this name).

Yesterday morning I came into my office, booted up my souped-up box, and got nowhere fast. The blog notifier I run had no connection. Virgin Radio Player stayed silent. Trillian couldn’t connect. I couldn’t even see the company homepage – half of it was broken images and it was still trying to load about 20 minutes later.

I was pretty sure I was cut off from the outside world. Figuring it for a glitch, I rebooted. Same exact result. Now, here’s the frustrating part: I *could* get email in and out of the company. I could also play around with some of my metrics, but only if I sat through some agonizingly slow connections. It’s like playing peek-a-boo with the data. Sometimes I get to see it… if I wait patiently enough. 6 am rolled around and I was un-nerved by the fact that it was still dark and dead silent in my office. I submitted an emergency ticket to the desktop folks to help me out of this jam – 90 minutes later, it was still unaddressed.

Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that production was having random issues too. A co-worker said not to hold my breath on my request, because of the hour that I submitted it. Whoever would be at work at 5:30 in the morning, after all? Oh, I don’t know – half of customer service, the entire production line, and a key analyst, but hey, I’m only management and not important in the scope of things, right? Right.

I know… I know, I’m whining. And without production, I wouldn’t have a job. Problem is, production wasn’t even getting resolved either. *THAT* is what is really ticking me off. If they were at least being looked at, then I wouldn’t have an issue. Or if the desktop group would send me a little email that says ‘we’re working on production and will get to you next’, or even an update to my online ticket - yes, I was actually able to access the intranet to be able to submit one – I just wonder if they were able to access them from their end.

I should probably call them, but I get this strange feeling that I’d get voicemail.

Anyway, I got tired of the silence, and went out to my car and grabbed a couple of CD’s. Literally. I had TWO in the car. Thank goodness for small favors, else I’d really be crawling up the walls from the sound of the air blowing into the office. Honestly, I’m a person who likes when it’s quiet once in a while, but I’ve found that I can’t work without music. It’s just that little distraction that keeps me going. That does not mean that I like hearing a co-worker singing off-key (or on-key) all day – it’s just that I need music, with instruments, and melodies and diversity, throughout my day.

So, I sat there two hours after getting into the office, and am musing on what I’d been able to accomplish without access to the outside world:

I’ve finished one metrics file – when I should have had three done by now.
I’ve searched my email to find that ones I wrote over the weekend are not in my sent folder (or anywhere else to be found).
I’ve run out to my car twice – once to grab the two CD’s and the second time to search in the hopes that another one has popped up out of nowhere.
I’ve submitted a help desk ticket and have checked on its progress 6 times – no updates yet.
I pulled out the stitching project that I’ve got on my desk and put 4 stitches into it – then I realized that I actually was more frustrated about the network inconsistency, and put the project back down.
I’ve written this blog entry and updated it twice.
I’ve contemplated running to Starbucks and getting my weekly Friday hot chocolate a few days early.
I’ve started another metrics file – it should only take 10 minutes to update, and I’ve just crossed 25 minutes on it. I did all these other non-work things while I was waiting for the file contents to flash up on my screen.

Here’s what I considered doing for the following hour or two:
Cleaning my desk, with 409, from top to bottom – not that it needs it.
Reorganizing my filing cabinet – which I only did two months ago when I moved into my new office.
Doing my yearly cleanout of the office – which I usually do the last two weeks in December.
Writing more blog entries about anything that pops into my mind.
I could restructure the metrics files that I work in too… Again.

Maybe I *should* go back to stitching while I wait for everything to come up again, but this niggling little feeling I have says to get as much work done as possible because I have the feeling that the network is going to give up soon and crash, go boom any minute now.

Things I’ve learned during this strange downtime:
Always, but always, keep more than two CDs in your car… especially when they’re CDs that you’ve listened to end over end in the last couple of weeks.
Always have some backup data somewhere that you need to analyze on your hard drive. That way you can still work and not worry about the network (this is critical for workaholics) – thankfully, I have some such data but the model I need to drop it into is sitting on the peek-a-boo network.
Never ever believe the Desktop Support guy who calls you to make an appointment to look at why you're missing email - he's going to tick you off by asking if it's important at all, and then close your ticket so no one comes by to see you.
Always make sure that you email yourself your blog draft for the next day, just in case the only way you can post it is via email...

... but it would be a good idea to remember what your blog’s email address is so that you can email it to yourself, when email is all that you can get.