Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

10/30/2002

On the Road Again…

Filed under: Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:03 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

You know, I didn’t think I could really enjoy going into work again. After a year of being at home, I thought I’d hate going into an office and putting in a full day’s work. But, I really sort of enjoy it.

My wife told me that I seemed happier when I got home from work these days than I ever did at ThatDamnBoatPlace. And, I guess it’s true. It’s a good work envrionment. I enjoy my supervisors, both directly above me and one step removed. I get along well with my coworkers. There’s not much pressure yet. I’m doing my regular maintenance-type stuff and they seem to think it’s great. And, I’m not a manager, which is more of a relief than I realized it could be.
I don’t think I ever really noticed how much I hated having to worry about what my employees were doing and if they were performing well enough. Not to mention all the paperwork and hassle that goes with being an IT supervisor type of person. It’s not bad when I have a good team, but if they’re too inexperienced or have too many personal problems, it gets to be a real hassle. For instance, I had an employee tell me all about their horrible childhood and want to talk to me about it all the time. Basically, she wanted to use me as a therapist because her therapist couldn’t help her. Now, I’m pretty good at helpng people with their problems and all, but c’mon, I’m supposed to be maintaining servers, not employees!

Anyway, I don’t have that here. Things are rolling along, and I should be too. More tomorrow or the next day. But, today, I’m off to work!

10/24/2002

Week One

Filed under: Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:08 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

So far, so good. I’m almost at the end of the week and I like it just fine. My new boss is pretty cool and is so new as a supervisor that he hardly seems like a boss at all. He’s into anime, just like I am, too. So, it’s been pretty good so far.
And, today, both the guys I work with, my supervisor and the other guy at my level, made a point of telling me how well I was working out. My supervisor said that I’d done as much work this week as the last guy had done in six months. Of course, he was exaggerating, but still, it was nice to hear.

One interesting thing, though. It seems one person in my new company and general department worked with someone I worked with at ThatDamnBoatPlace. I won’t mention that person’s name, because I didn’t really like her very well when I was there. And, I think her complaints about me not doing her job for her are one of the reasons they used to let me go. So, it’ll be interesting to see how these two people, from old and new companies, effect my future, if at all. I bet that it won’t really come up at all again, but one never knows. After all, I never expected to run into a friend of someone I used to work with at ThatDamnBoatPlace.

In any case, it’s been a long week and I’m tired, so I’m going to bed now.
See you around the ‘net.

10/21/2002

The Man From Momentum

Filed under: Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:57 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Well, I survived my first day of the new job.
I got to work about 45 minutes too early because I misjudged how long it would take to get there. I’ve heard such horror stories about Beltway-8 that I was sure it would take an hour. But, it took, at most, 40 minutes. Ah, well, at least the boss has a good impression of me! I got squared away in short order and started getting used to being in an office again. It was a little strange after almost a year.
Their Novell network is in fairly good condition, though there is some work to be done. For starters, the last guy didn’t get all the patches done on all the servers. And, apparently he wasn’t too keen on listening to his boss, because he installed several versions of NDS (Netware Directory Services) on the network, in spite of being told not to do so. That will be an issue eventually. So, that’s my first job. And, because he upgraded two of them to a whole other version, not just a subversion, I have to install patches before I can even get them up to date. It’s not hard work, but it is tedious.
Also, I have a server to build ASAP. So I’ll have to get specs tomorrow and get that banged out. It shouldn’t be too hard, because I’ve done tons of servers, and I can do that while I do patches. I like to multitask!
And, there’s some other things, too, but I’m still too new to really get which one’s matter. I’ll get that figured out by the end of the week.

The one thing I didn’t like was that I felt a little under dressed. Mind, I was wearing the nice polo shirt that Momentum Information gave me as part of their “welcome aboard” package and Dockers. Now, to me, that’s business casual, but most of these guys were in button-down, long-sleeve shirts. No one said anything about me being underdressed though, so I’ll have to see what’s going on this week. Maybe it was just that they wanted to make a good impression. Who knows? But, my feeling is I’llneed to go get some more button-down collar shirts. Which is okay by me. Now I just have to find some that are “cool”!

More later in the week, as the “new” wears off!

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10/16/2002

The New Era Begins

Filed under: Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:32 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Well, I signed my papers and took my drug test today. My contract is for six months, but that doesn’t mean much considering that either of us could terminate the contract at any time for any reason. Also, since it’s contract-to-hire, they could convert me to permanent at any time, too.
In any case, my start date ended up being Monday, so updates about the new job will start next week. Of course, before then, I’m sure there will be at least one update about the pre-new-job jitters. After having been out of work for almost a full year, I’m both eager to start and terrifed that I won’t do well. I’m sure my Dad would tell me that if I’m scared I won’t do well, that means I’m thinking enough about it to get things done right.
At least these folks seem to be in fairly good shape on their Novell network from what I’ve seen so far. For starters, they have their timesync setup right. That’s more than a lot of people I’ve worked for can say. Certainly, it wasn’t right at ThatDamnBoatCompany, as I’ve come to think of my former employers. I wonder how they’re doing now?

Well, I’ll have to send e-mail to my family and friends now, letting them know the joyous news. Oh, by the way, the company that I’ll be working at is Loomis, Fargo & Co. and the people that placed me their are Momentum Information Technology. They’re good folks. Ask for Gary and tell him Jim sent you!

10/15/2002

Corporate Canibalism

Filed under: Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is in the early afternoon or 2:11 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Well, I just got back from getting my hair cut and my wife told me that the MySQL server on which The Diary of a Network Geek, The BLOG Version depends is back up. So, finally, I’ll be able to make an entry that I should have made Friday.

I got the job.

I got the call very late on Friday from my headhunter telling me that they’d made the decision in my favor. It was welcome news and made my weekend a whole lot more fun. Well, fun except for when I had to shave my beard.
I don’t like not having a beard, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I don’t look like I’m 12, but I do look a lot different. My wife must be getting used to it to because she’s stopped crying. Actually, as I took the beard down to nought in stages, she commented that she thought I looked “cute” with a goatee. And, I have to admit, I didn’t look bad that way. I’ve always secretly wondered what I’d look like with a goatee, but practicality won out over curiosity. A full beard is a lot less work.
In any case, it’s gone now and my pink, shining face is exposed to the world. I made my wife take pictures at each stage of the reduction, so eventually, I’ll get that done into an animated GIF or a Flash “thingee”, or something. I had to do something to make if fun or I would have started crying myself!
Sunday, we went to a store in Rice Village called “The British Isles” which carries products from, you guessed it, the British Isles. I picked up some great after-shave by a company called Geo F. Trumper. I figured, if I have to shave every day, by God, I’m going to get my favorite after-shave to pamper myself!! And, my wife is a bit of a Scot-o-phile (is that a word?), so she can get her fix there, too. She also used to be involved with a Canadian who corrupted her with the evils of English candy, including Smartees, which, to me, are really just big M&M’s. But, it makes her happy.

So, now, I’m just waiting for the headhunter to get the details wrapped up on the contract end of things. After they do, I’ll schedule a time to head into their office to get things signed and take the drug test. Then, I’ll start the new job on Thursday, barring any tragic accidents. So, you can bet there will be updates by the end of the week. It’s going to be strange going into an office and working after a year of looking for a job.

Oh, and the title of this entry? Headhunter, think headhunters. More about them in another entry.

10/8/2002

The Chase Is On…

Filed under: Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:51 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

I got the call last night that I’m geing asked back for a second interview at the Place of No Beards. I suppose, considering the economy and the job market, I should be really, really happy to shave my beard. But, I’m not. I’m okay with it, because it’s their rules and all, but I’m not actually happy about it.
So, last night, I went and found my old Braun electric razor. If I’m going to have to keep my face clean, I might as well try to minimize the pain. I figure my face is going to be pale and tender. I’ll be indulging in some tender-loving care for my skin for a little bit, too. Thank God my wife is an escaped make-up artist. She knows all the tricks. To be honest, I expect to bleed a lot the first time I shave. Probably the first week, too.
In any case, I don’t have the job yet, so I haven’t shaved yet. When they give me a start date, I’ll take it off. And, I had been thinking I could take it down to a goatee during the contract, but they need me to take the whole beard off before I start. So, off it will go. Of course, I think I’ll take it down to a goatee along the way, just to see what I look like. And, if I can convince my wife to help me, I’ll make an animated GIF of the beard going, going, gone. That would make it at least a little fun!

I talked to my Mom and Dad last night. Dad, who has a full beard, was telling me how grateful I should be to have a job at all. I reminded him that I didn’t have it yet, but I got his point. He said that he’d been to the barber shop and got an earful from my old barber about how tough things are. Apparently, things are tough enough that regular customers are a lot less regular. Guys, like me, are going longer between haircuts, because they just can’t afford it. That’s when you know times are tough. When regular guys can’t afford to get haircuts. Suddenly, that theoretical $13,000 drop in pay doesn’t seem like so much. After all, I’ll be able to pay the bills. We won’t be able to live extravagantly, but we won’t have to worry about buying steak that costs too much. But, I have to admit, it was nice getting that positive reinforcement from my Dad. I’m glad he thinks of me as a man doing what he has to do for his family. Thanks, Dad.

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10/2/2002

Still afloat, barely…

Filed under: Geek Work — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 1:26 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Well, it seems the “sure thing” contract I thought I had lined up is far from it. I’ve been chasing after a contract upgrading a local school district for almost four months now. A little over a week ago, I was told that schools “in the area” were getting their money. Apparently, the person I was talking to thought that New Mexico and Houston, Texas are in the same area, because the government money was flowing there, not here. Behold, the joys of nation-wide recruiting firms!

So, in the meantime, I had told a different recruiting firm that I wouldn’t shave my beautiful beard off for a contract-to-perm position that paid roughly $13K less than my last job. Guess what I did yesterday morning? Yeah, that’s right, I called back telling them I’d changed my mind and if the nice, beard-shaving people with money were still interested, I’d talk to them. Frankly, I think it’s too late, which is a shame because the position might have beefed up my Windows 2000 experience. Not to mention my Exchange exposure. And, I would have still been using Novell, too. Sure, they’re phasing that out in favor of Windows, but there’s a lot more work in the Microsoft arena these days anyway. Shoot, there might even have been the possibility of getting my MCSE! But, despite swallowing what little pride I had left and just about begging for an interview, I don’t think that one’s going to work out.

Hey, buddy, can you spare a dime? Or a job? I’d settle for a job.


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