Areas of Unrest
20 April 2001 - The Work That Ate My Brain
QOTD: "Defense-industry humor paints the picture of the future: Merged Northrup and Grumman change their name to Norman, then buy another big contractor to become Norman Rockwell." - Ronald G. Shafer
Reading: Steven Connor, Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism
Listening to: nothing
There are various big changes coming up on the program I work on. One of our contractors was just bought out by one of their subcontractors, which sounds like it will create all sorts of interesting complications for the people who handle the money things. It has no real impact on me, though. We also learned that our program director is leaving the Air Force. By June we'll have our fourth colonel in not even five years. Again, that doesn't directly impact me, but it does affect the work environment.
On a more positive note, the compressed work schedule is going ahead. I'm not sure of the exact details yet, but the most likely situation is that I'll have every other Friday off starting some time in June. That's in exchange for working nine hour days on Monday through Thursday, so the overall work time evens out over two weeks. It's optional, but I can't imagine why I wouldn't want to do it.
The past few days have just been so work-intense that I'm eager for any time off. I reviewed pages and pages of requirements, which is just completely mind-numbing. There were several things I saw which illustrated one of my favorite theories about documentation. Namely, it is impossible to tell the difference between people who don't know what they're talking about and people who just can't write. One of my major sources of irritation is engineers who don't understand the value of communications skills. I get even more irritated when my inability to follow the convoluted statements in these documents leads me to put in an eleven hour day. (To be fair, the last hour was writing my weekly report - and a haiku to go along with it. If I get bored with haiku, I've threatened to try limericks.)
Today was nearly as bad between a design review in Azusa and an afternoon spent largely trying to sort out travel for the next two weeks. Next week is actually fairly easy. I'm going to Baltimore to go to a conference. Since the conference starts later in the day Tuesday than I'd thought when I made the plans, I was trying to set something up with some colleagues who are relatively nearby. Unfortunately, the time zone difference led that into tryouts for the Olympic telephone tag team, and nothing is resolved yet. The week after was even more complicated because I was afraid I'd have to try to fly from San Jose to Denver. That shouldn't be so complicated, but it's truly a "you can't get there from here" situation. The last non-stop flight leaves San Jose at 4:47 p.m., which is way too early when you have an all-day meeting. And the connecting flights that leave late enough don't get you into Denver until 2:30 a.m.. (One of them claims to get you in at 11 p.m., but it requires making a 55 minute connection in Phoenix. Since it's on America West. the odds of making the connection are slim. I've never been on a flight on them which was less than three hours late.) There are other options that involve driving to San Francisco or Oakland, neither of which is horribly convenient.
In the end, the Sunnyvale meeting is a day earlier, so I can make it a day trip. It's a long day, but I can sleep in my own bed and fly to Denver the next day.
Speaking of sleep, my bed beckons.
Copyright 2001 Miriam H. Nadel
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