Tuesday, April 7, 2009

April Update

Wow, where did the month of March go? It was just here a moment ago. Maybe I left it in my other jeans pocket and it got run through the washer. Oh, great, now I've got it all over my clothes. I'll never get that stain out!

Two birthdays down since my last posting. One for me, one for The Missus. I don't mind getting older - it sure as hell beats the alternative! I just wish it didn't hurt so much. The aches and pains of age are starting to pile on now. I had a follow-up with my doctor about a sharp pain in my side that's been bothering me for quite a while. After much poking and prodding - "Doc, it hurts right here," "Right there?" *POKE* "Ouch! Yes, dammit! There!" - we finally have a diagnosis. Somehow, I have managed to poke myself in the ribs... with my own floating rib! How the flying hell I managed to do that is anyone's guess!

Oh well. Another month gone, and anther class gone too. This last one was a real bear. (Run, Taco! The polar bears are going to college now!!) They have finally put a disclaimer on the Global IT Management course description that you will spend 30-plus hours per week on homework and research assignments. NOW they tell me! I worked my ass off in this class. Thirty hours is a low estimate, I figure with the weekends and late nights I spent close to 40 hours a week. Thankfully, I got an A to show for all my effort.

I've also gotten something else in the mail that left me totally floored. I have been invited to join an academic honor society at the Graduate School. Only the top 10% are invited. Wow. Just... wow. I never had the chance to do anything like this in my undergrad years. Then again, I never really applied myself like I should have back in those days. The induction ceremony is in May, so I've booked a flight, room and rental car, and I'll be heading down to the school for a couple of days of ego massaging.

I could use the break from work, too. Let's see, where were we in the continuing saga of transitioning to management...

Oh yeah. Delivering bad news. I've never been an expert at this. It reminds me of the episode of Scrubs where they have one doctor that is so good at delivering the "you're going to die" news that the patient and family are left cheering. I can't do that. It's not the avoidance of confrontation or lack of courage, it's the knowledge that I'm doing something that will impact someone's life and career. I want to ensure I have my facts straight before making a decision from which there's no turning back.

I spend a lot of time on the job sticking up for my team against other groups who don't appreciate all that we do, so having to break a boot off in their asses is difficult, even if they do deserve it. I remind myself that it's not personal, and I also try to say that after I have to jerk a knot in someone's head. I'm not sure if they believe me, though. The real problem is if you keep on having to get all over someone who's not doing their job, they're certainly going to convince themselves that everyone's out to get them.

The team has been through a lot this past year: upper management upheavals, a new boss to learn to deal with, pay cuts, layoffs, and the work keeps piling up. It's no surprise they're worn out from all this. Coming in from the outside, it's been a real challenge for me to learn all the nuances of how things work at the company, who's a straight shooter, who's a bullshitter, who's the real superstar, who's the slacker, and who isn't getting the attention they need or deserve. It would be a lie to say that I've got a handle on it, because the moment I think I got things under control, something will happen to bust it all loose again.

You never truly understand these challenges until you cross over to the other side of the desk. That was the biggest surprise of all to me. I've got a lot left to learn...

Meanwhile, I only have three courses left. This one I'm halfway through now is Intro to IT Security. After that, I'm kinda putting the cart before the horse in taking the capstone course (Advanced Information Systems Management) next, then IT Project Management. The capstone is supposed to be the last one but I don't want to wait an extra semester to take it when it's offered next after this coming semester. If all goes well, I'll be done by the end of August. Graduation is in December, exactly 20 years after I graduated with my Bachelors. Expect the party to end all parties.

What a long, strange trip it's been. Hey, wasn't that a song...?

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