Sunday, 20 March 2011

Work, Therapy and Shopping!

This week has been terrible in the office…  I have been exhausted with the pain in my jaw (though thankfully it's now gone completely), and have simply been too busy doing unplanned work – no matter how much time I block in my agenda someone always comes and asks if I can unblock it, and there is normally a good reason for it; it’s just a shame that it doesn't help the things that are always on the back burner.  As a result I fall further and further behind with the tasks that are not less important - just less urgent...

Friday was the worst day or the week for me.  There was a problem with a project: poor inter-departmental communication and misuse of tools that have made it almost impossible to keep track of.  The person involved sent a mail saying that this was an example of why we need to change things and so I tried to arrange a meeting to discuss it.  No going, ‘I don’t want to be involved.’  My boss however made an appointment anyway and we had a discussion – I already have the solution outline that fits in the direction that the development team wants to take anyway.  This got a warm response from most involved in the meeting and I am going to fill out the outline with to something I can go over with the developers and project teams next week.  I'm doing this from home on Monday to ensure that I can actually do the work - and not spend my time on the unplanned things - it's the only way to ensure that it will actually get done.

Then in the afternoon I had to help the other development team change on of our import applications.  I was not impressed that this needed doing – the people involved shout very loudly, and constantly that they are senior developers and demand to be treated as such.  If you are going to make these statements loudly then I think it’s a good idea to follow it up with actions and when debugging a very simple application it shouldn’t take the two of them working for a week, plus a half day of my time.  Since becoming team lead I have not coded that much, and whilst I still read code fine, I am not a fully geeked up techie anymore – and yet I had the layout of the code in my head inside an hour, and I was actually deciphering the details as I was explaining it to the coders.  And still it was not coming across and I had to keep going over how the application was built, and why I thought that lines written along the lines of 'Product.CompanyName = xmlDoc.FindNode("CompanyName");' fills the product company name from the XML document field 'CompanyName'.  I am not the best teacher in the world (I just don't have the patience to be honest) but I just can't help thinking that the code was fairly self explanatory - we do have some seriously complex code and this just isn't it.

When I eventually got back to my teams room ‘Air on a G String’ was playing, I had the guy who controls the music rewind it to the start and turn it up and just sat in the corner, eyes closed practicing a breathing exercise to get rid of the stress - the people involved don't just say 'I don't get it' they argue that you can't be right, over and over again.  I could have had a better end to the week...

Earlier in the week was not so bad. On Thursday I had another therapy session – it was a very relaxing session this time, discussing the shopping trip last week; how it made both me and Mrs Stace feel.  I think that one of the biggest changes after the trip was actually evident just before the session.  I went to my friends flat to get changed and there were absolutely no nerves when leaving, or when walking in Amsterdam, or when coming home.  For the first time I was completely comfortable for the whole time – to the point that it was not until afterwards that I realised that it was not a problem.  :)

Of course one disappointment from last week was that we didn’t manage to get everything that we wanted (well, actually, all we managed to find was a summer coat for me!  And then it went cold again so I couldn’t even wear it on Thursday!).  Mrs Stace managed to correct that slightly yesterday when we went shoe shopping – she got herself a lovely pair of low heeled shoes for spring.  I’m thinking of getting the same shoes in grey. We actually went in for shoes for me, I had seen some lovely ones in a catalogue that came through the post, but in real life I am not so sure.  I have to go back as Stacy and actually try them on and see how they look I think - maybe they are completely different on than they look sitting on a shelf...

Today we are going to go in for an online shopping trip – I have seen a couple of really nice outfits on that I am thinking of getting for spring, and Mrs Stace is going to try and see if she can find something as well :)


  1. Stace,
    A very familiar scenario for me, albeit in a different techie environment. Senior managers are the worst group to deal with. They are less willing to listen, and sometimes resent the solutions you provide. Interestingly women face this problem in the workplace too, and the “lets try this approach” is often their workaround. I’ve used this more and more, especially with more dogmatic and insecure team “leaders”. It is very stressful, especially when you have to master a brief in what is supposed to be someone else’s area of expertise. Most will appreciate your help eventually (after all you help them meet deadlines/targets); but I’ve had one or two, who completely resented the fact that their ideas were unworkable, or clumsy- and they take it out on the person who rescues them.
    Enjoy the retail therapy- you deserve it.

  2. Hi Claire,

    Thankfully my boss is an ex COBOL coder so he understands most issues, even if he doesn't follow the tech anymore.

    My issue is more with some of the coders - I actually snapped at both of them over the course of last week, and someone from my team was also getting wound up by them. I am going to have a discussion with my boss on Tuesday I think.

    I'll have to try the "Let's try this approach" and see if it lowers my stress / anger levels... I can hope!

    Now the MotoGP has finished here comes the retail therapy!


  3. Reading your post makes me glad I'm retired. I don't miss the battle of egos at all, or trying to get people to do a job properly, only to see them do it half assed, just so they could say they did it their way.

    Melissa XX

  4. To be honest Melissa I just can't wait until we get a replacement team lead for the other team and I can concentrate on my own team again...

    I like my team, I've worked to try and get a real team feel in the room and I think that it's worked well, and it's fun (most of the time) to work with them.