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June 18th, 2008

Hopping Around: Managers

I need to step back and look and what I'm doing -- work wise.  It'd be nice to talk about Hawaii but the pictures on Facebook will suffice.  On to work!

I started using Project.  It's MS crap but the management likes that kind of bloat-ware, and the management isn't willing or able to manage my kind of work.  I have several projects -- literally speaking -- that Tasks and tickets fail to describe: 1) spam processing, 2) intrusion detection, and 3) upgrades.  They're all security related so I can't just keep pushing them off my calendar, and my work-hours are mismanaged to the point that I am always interrupted with some petty end-user problem.  In the past I've completed these kinds of projects during weekends or long nights.  No more!

Management needs to step up to the plate.  A project manager would have prevented several blips in a recent job.  I would have done it except 1) I'm not a manager, and 2) there were a) too many tasks, and b) too many people.  At least I told the customer there would need to be two stages for the job: "Stage I") domain promotion/extension and "Stage II")  trust relation.  Neither were simple because the latter involved transferring the responsibility of a broken server to its replacement and both involved a 3rd party.  In the end it was all conflated and blamed on our box.  No, our box was 1) not designed for trust relationships, and 2) integrated to the broken server.  I made quick reconfigurations for both problems given the time frames we were given, namely two days.  The issue was project management.

Perhaps my view is coming from a resistance to managing things myself.  I'll concede that fear; but I feel that fear may be based on an understanding of power limitations and workplace culture.  The former is typified by cliche coworkers who hate their boss -- the manager.  I don't want to be hated.  The later means control of the computers.  I think it good that the person deciding to ban an employee from the workplace -- the boss -- doesn't know how to disable a user account, or purge log files, or masquerade as another user, etc.  Separation of the managerial and technical provides a balance of power.  Not everyone will see this separation as good -- some call it red tape; others call it feigning innocence by ignorance -- but putting ethics aside, it is more practical for people to specialize in their jobs.  People specialize in management -- step up to the plate!  Technical things are my forte and second nature but that doesn't make it trivial.  I still need to focus on the computers instead of the worrying about whether everyone's where they need to be when they need to be. 

Until I move to a workplace where there are confident, systematic, and thorough managers, I'll have to be an ass and tell people where they need to be and when.  It's gonna suck; I hate when people dictate me around and that's how I'll come across: either weak or a dictator, and people obey neither.  I didn't learn people skills.  Someone with people skills should put the computer geeks in the places they need to be.  Where the good managers?  This kind of mismanagement will be the focus of my questions during interviews.