Older blog entries for jlf (starting at number 19)

Hrm...it's been awhile. I've been bogged down with work and class. I'm trying to figure out just exactly why I thought and Information Science masters would be fun and not too much of a time sink. Yeesh. I've been on the one class a semester plan now (with the occasional extra class or two in the summer) for about two years now. I'm insanely tired of it. Anyone out there have an Information Science or similar Library/Information Science masters ? I'd like to hear how you're using it if you have one.

In my last post, I talked about office politics and the silliness that often ensues. I got some really good responses to it. Thanks to all those who replied. I can live with the fact that people, including myself, might seek situations where the politics will come to play. What I still can't figure out is what to do about it. In my situation, I often get pimpslapped by political situations because there is some impediment to me or my staff getting something done. Instead of just sitting back and twiddling my thumbs, I try to get some sort of resolution. That's when things hit the fan, I guess, and *whammo* political quagmire. I can't imagine that I'd want to just sit back and do nothing because I view a big part of my managerial role as doing whatever needs to be done so that my employees can get their jobs done without having to deal with the garbage that happens between departments or between us and upper management.

In my current gig, there's issues with getting resources allocated properly. In order to get what we need, it's been like pulling teeth. We're having issues with the processes that should be happening at the senior management level. I can't get the people and stuff I need for my people to do their jobs as efficiently as they could/should be able to. So, into the political fray I go again. The only thing that's really happened thusfar is a lot of hot air and me getting extremely pissed off, hostile, and damn near ready to go critical mass. I'm going to take a couple of days off this next week before T-giving, so that will help bring my blood pressure down, but how about dealing with the proverbial unmovable object that is the political/managerial chain ? Anyone else been here and done that ? Got any thoughts for a novice manager ? I'd truly appreciate any advice..

If you have thoughts about either Info Science degrees or how to manage your managers,mail me. I can use any advice you have to offer.

Today's random thought that is coursing through my mind:

What is it about human nature that makes people think that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence ?

Being the rather short-fused, easily incited person that I am, lately I've come to realize that unless you take a cdent style leap out into the unknown or shake a venture capitalist out of a tree and start your own company, that politics are politics and bureaucracy is everywhere. I know in some places it's better or worse than others...but it's still there. If you pay attention to it, it's always going to bother you. Maybe not today, but someday it will.

I left my last job because I hated the politics and felt trapped. I came to my new job, refreshed and ready to work. The problem is that I also brought me with me. For awhile, I worked well, keeping hunkered down and getting shit done. It felt good. I was working hard, learning a lot, and soaking in the smarts of the people around me. At some point, perhaps because of my friendship with Chris, I started paying more attention to the politics and problems. It's like smoking (I'm an ex-smoker): you know it's bad, but once you acquire a taste for it, it's awfully hard to quit. I got mired into it, caught up in the power plays and trying to work hard to push the agenda for us. Then, I became the manager and it got even worse. Now I see even more of the politics and machinations. It makes me feel a little ill at times. I heavily considered for awhile that I needed a change of venue. I think that may have just been my fear of a company without my pal Chris being here. I'm not entirely sure.

I'm trying to reign it in a little bit for my own sanity. I've determined that until I figure out how to be happy with just the work I do, that I'll take this baggage to any new job and start the cycle anew. Besides, I've only been the manager for about 8 months. Surely I can make it past a year, right ? Perhaps longer.

I wonder, though, what can one do to boost the morale of a group when it is low and upper management seems either unable or unwilling to do much of anything ?

Any thoughts about that ?

Oh good...another version of DHCPReg is complete and up on Systhug.

Busy week. Not much time to write. More later...

13 Sep 2000 (updated 14 Sep 2000 at 01:33 UTC) »

Well, it's Wednesday again. Time for my Digital Libraries class. I'll say one thing for this class, I'm getting a lot of coding done. Heh. I'm only 4 or 5 classes away from my Master's. I've lost interest in it, unfortunately...but I'm so close that I just want it to be done.

Anyway, I got another release of DHCPReg rolled out tonight. I think I might actually get another done either tonight or tomorrow. No new functionality in it yet. I'm going back and modularizing things. At some point, I'll probably split DHCPReg into the utils suite and the modules suite so people can use the modules without the other things if they so desire. I wonder if that's something I should do.

My personal mail is getting backed up. Apologies, jrf, I'll get caught up tonight.

Back to class...

...later...

Well, got an almost functioning get-lease-list.pl. My ipsorter isn't working right, though. Bugger. Maybe later on.

6 Sep 2000 (updated 7 Sep 2000 at 05:00 UTC) »

Got a new version of DHCPReg up.

Time to go to class.

Later...

Yikes. That was a brief diary. Basically, the latest release of dhcpreg has been a good learning experience. I've broken out two functions that were in 3 of the 4 utils and made them each into perl modules. Why does passing by reference confuse me so ? It did in C, too. Once I got it, I'm okay...but I was really confused until cdent stopped my cranial-rectal inversion. So, it's better. get-lease-list.pl is included, but it's not complete. I hope to finish that soon. I also found another function that I can modularize.

Almost went ballastic tonight. Got talked down slowly. It's been a pisser of a day. I feel like shit. Damn garbage company left my recycling on the curb again (they're 2 for 4 so far...). Class was a waste of my time (learning what the internet is and what protocols and networks are...next week get to set up Apache). And this is a graduate level class...jeez. I guess I should complain too much. At least there's technology in this class and it's not another damn library/organization class. The bank sent my new checks and they were completely wrong. Now I have to find time to go deal with that. Okay. I'm whining now. Sigh. I need to take some time off.

dhd, well said. I certainly hope you find what it is that you want. Like my pal squiggy you have also echoed many things that have been traveling through my mind. Are people bothered by these diary entries of a personal, reflective nature ? I find them interesting, insightful, and quite often thought-provoking.

I keep telling Stan we need to get a band going to let off steam. Maybe I should actually do something instead of just saying that we should do that ? :)

Whee...I was in a mood tonight, so I coded. I've pulled the check_addr function out of all the DHCPReg utils and made it a module. I've also got the latest util get-lease-list.pl about halfway done. I didn't like how I started it originally and gutted it...basically started over. I'm feeling pretty good about the whole thing now.

I pretty much want to yank all of the functions that appear in most of the scripts to go into modules. Slowly but surely, that is happening. I plan to do another release later this week, hopefully.

In non-code news...I'm resigned to the fact that I don't think it matters where I work, until I'm happy with who I am, I'm just not going to ever be content. I don't know what it'll take to get there. Changing jobs only cures it for awhile. Granted, the anger is not quite as present as my last job, but I attribute some of that to me managing it a bit better.

I'm also sad that so many of my friends are feeling lost or upset.

I want real !@$() walls at work. Oh, and a desk that was actually designed for computing use.

All in all, though, not a bad night.

I've hit a new breakthrough in thinking.

After spending a good portion of today pissed off at various people, I've realized what I want. I want to get shit done at work with as little bullshit as possible. I joked about that with a colleague the other day, but it's true. Grumbling from time to time is fine and human nature. Tilting at windmills, though, is just stupid. By working the system against itself, over time, I'll get what I want. There are, though, some people/issues that are the proverbial immovable objects. Instead of trying to chip away at that as others have tried, I think I'm going to try to be content with working around them. I'm tired of fighting. I'm tired of politics. I know what needs to get done and I know what I believe and I think that being persistent, yet not unyielding, will get me where I want to go. Maybe that's obvious to others...but I think it's finally sunk in for me.

I have an obligation to work for my staff and also try to get their needs met, but at the same time, fighting the same old fight in the same old way is not going to get anything at all.

Wrestled with Mon some today. I think I got everything squared away nicely. squiggy gave me an idea for dhcpreg. Not precisely what I was looking for, but useful, nonetheless. I think it will probably make its way into the package, properly credited, of course.

I recertified jrf yesterday because conversations and exchanges with him made me realize that he should be higher. It also occured to me that he was doing punch cards on mainframes when I was in junior high. Or somewhere thereabouts, anyway...

Something else occured to me. I had a talk with one of the guys fairly recently where I told him that a few years ago, I was sitting across from my manager getting the same sort of talk about not being rash. Now I'm that guy. Yeesh. I hope to god that I'm never as much of arrogant prick as that manager was. It's just funny, though. I was roughly the same age as this guy when I got that talk. I guess it's part of growing up and learning how to temper anger, arrogance, rage, and other similar emotions that tend to cloud reason. I'm still weirded out, though.

ahosey had a good idea today about the cert system. I was saying that I don't think I should be a journeyer and that I wish there was a way to force a step back. He suggested that maybe not allowing someone's cert higher than what they had certed themselves. Then he said that the source is in CVS...have at it. Heh. Maybe I should. There are other things I should be working on, though.

Ahh...the first day of class...and I've been working on code. I'm about four classes from being done with my Masters and I just want to be done. At one class a semester, this has taken awhile...and it's frustrating.

Anyway, I did get some minor fixes into dhcpreg. Nothing huge...but I did get one of Jason's ideas about formatting output in there. I also got the Makefile tidied up a little and added a new target to update the webstuff easily.

I still need to write some Pod. I still need to get off my duff and finish get-lease-list.pl. It's about halfway done now.

Today was a pretty good day...especially in comparison to yesterday. I actually got things accomplished today rather than just running on the hamster wheel, back at the same place at the end of the day. That's a good thing. I think morale is actually good. I sure hope it is.

Later on...

So, as I read other diary entries, I get warm fuzzies and also a sense of wistfulness. The warm fuzzies are because it's good to see so many just outrageously smart people. The wistfulness is because I wish I were not only a better programmer, but had more time to pursue become a better programmer. Looking at what some of you guys are doing makes me look at my little dhcp stuff and go...how miniscule. I guess we all have to start somewhere. It'd be nice to have the analytical skill of cdent or ahosey or the countless others on here whose projects I've looked at. Whew. Better stop before it sounds like I'm wallowing more than I really am.

The cat has decided to attack the keyboard. That is usually a sign to stop.

Hrm. I'm still blue. Fooey.

I poked a little more at get-lease-list.pl this afternoon. No stellar progress. I've been having motivational problems. In fact, most of my staff is having motivational problems. I wonder if I'm being the bad example or there's more at play ? Actually, not everyone is having trouble getting things done...but the office environment is almost like there's a constant blend of nitrous in the air making some of us be loopy and lazy. I hope that's gone next week because I really need to get some sort of feeling that I've accomplished something. I feel like I should be the example since I'm the boss, but at the same time, my allergies and sinus issues have made me feel subpar and I'm a little burnt out right now. I should probably take a few days off sometime soon to regenerate.

I broke down and reregistered aoct.org. AOCT stands for Apathy On Company Time. I registered it when I worked for IU still. I haven't actually done anything with it in over a year. Last week I decided to actually resurrect it again. I still haven't done much, but it's renewed for two years and I took the time to redo the dns, mx's, and aliases for it. I think it might provide some therapy for me.

Chris leaving really bums me out. I alternate between some anger, some sadness, and some relief. He is someone I am very close to and one of the reasons I started working here was to work with him and learn from him. I guess when it's time to go, though, it's time to go. It's probably all for the best...but I still don't have to like it.

We went to lunch at a place near the campus today. I had to get a book for a class I'm taking. (Only 5 more classes to go and I have my Master's degree...whee...) Campus is crawling with nubile young women. It's terribly interesting to watch, but in the end I just feel old. But it's a fun distraction between lunch and going back to work...

I don't feel to be in a coding mood, so I think I shall play some Dune2. They either need to port this to Linux or I need to get more ram for my Linux box so I can run it under vmware.

I've been toying with the idea of getting OpenBSD and installing it at home. I'm intrigued by an OS that is audited and designed for security. I've been meaning to do some rearranging here, anyway.

[What do you think ?]

Hrm. I seem to have gone blue. I'm not really comfortable with that. I consider myself to be good with hardware, a competent sysadmin, a queasy manager, and a novice programmer. Soemhow, through the weird convolutions of the trust matrix, I've gone to Journeyer. I wish there were a way to knock myself back down a step. I feel I am definitely an apprentice, no more, no less. Oh well.

I felt like complete ass today. I took enough sinus stuff that I felt sort of fuzzy all day. It just really wore off in the last hour or two.

I have this feeling that I'm searching for something. The problem is that I don't know what it is or where I'm going to find it. I want a sense of satisfaction that being a manager just doesn't seem to give me. I've been blowing off a lot of the bureaucratic nonsense I should be doing in favour of just doing something that has measurable output. I just feel disconnected from the human race.

And to top it off, not a lick of code has been added to get-lease-list.pl. Sigh.

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