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#5234 – there's no crying in systems development

it was a good thing today that i stopped off at dunkin’ donuts for breakfast (two donuts and a cup of coffee), since that fills me up until later in the day — because i start work at 8 AM, even though i don’t have a set lunch time, i usually try to go around noon since it’s halfway through the day. those donuts filled me up so i was planning to go to lunch from 1-2 PM. but today i had…

– conference call from 11 AM – noon

– unexpected delay from noon – 1 PM

– briefing from 1:00 – 2:00 PM

– meeting from 2:00 – 3:45 PM

– lunch from 3:55 – 4:55 PM

– leave at 5 PM

we have to take an hour for lunch, and even if the meeting went until 4 PM i wouldn’t be able to just leave an hour early instead, so i’m glad that meeting got out before then. it sucked for one of the guys on my team whose schedule is 7:30 – 4:30 since he didn’t get a chance to break for his lunch since we were on the same calls and meetings.

but what was that unexpected delay from noon until 1 PM? that’s usually when the briefing is (and even then that usually takes 30 minutes at most, it’s me just filling in the manager who’s our lead for this project, telling him about what we discussed during the conference call. well, the conference call itself was a bit of a snoozer (though not as bad as yesterday’s), but it was still just listening in and taking notes and not much else. but the last 15-20 minutes of that call? WOW. this one guy who’s high up but not that high up blew up about the way our department has been handling this project since it’s been talked about for the past 2 years and at the end of the year this system is going to be shut down so it all needs to be done before then, but each week it seems there’s barely any progress.

we had to keep explaining that the federal team operates VERY differently from the rest of the company and that we can’t move as fast as regular retail or b2b departments can, and some of our higher-ups who heard this guy bellyaching even jumped on the call and said “LOOK. if we don’t dot our ‘i’s and cross our ‘t’s, then we have the potential to not only lose tons of customers (yes, it’s only a few accounts being processed, but there’s hundreds of thousands of lines on these accounts we’re processing as part of this project IN ADDITION TO the tons of customers we have that purchase from government contracts), but our entire OFFICE could be out of jobs because we’d have NO GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WHATSOEVER, and many of us could be looking at POSSIBLE JAIL TIME. so: IT’S IN OUR BEST INTEREST TO MAKE SURE WE DO THINGS PROPERLY, REMAIN WITHIN IN COMPLIANCE AND PROCEED WITH APPROVAL FROM LEGAL.”

the consultant on my team who’s been orchestrating this project took it personally and was in tears in his cubicle afterwards and left to go sit in his car — the manager who’s our lead for this project went out during that unexpected delay time and searched the parking lot i guess and found him and calmed him down, but it was pretty rough. but if that higher-up wants to play hardball, we’re playing hardball — there’s another call scheduled tomorrow so he and a bunch of higher-ups can talk things over, and rumor is our department VP is going to be on the call to blow this guy up for blowing up. man, i wish i could be on that call too!

in other news, i joined the nike+ human race 10k run (yes, it’s the day before the marine corps marathon’s 10k run which i signed up and paid for, so who knows if i’ll actually do the human race too). well, backstory:

after i do my runs, i sync my ipod to my computer and it uploads my run data to the nikerunning.com website, and i have another service post it on my twitter feed like so. well, i started getting messages from one guy saying “hey, great run, join my team for the human race!” and i didn’t think too much about it until i got a message from someone else so i investigated.

nike has a group of “ambassadors” for the human race and they each have a team (and a twitter account and a facebook fan page), and each ambassador can give out free stuff to their team members like t-shirts and itunes gift cards and shoes and an iphone. after getting these twitter messages from these two ambassadors, i joined amandah‘s team “up to speed” because…

a) i liked her style since when i mentioned the run she said i didn’t even have to run 10k for the human race, i could just as well walk it if i wanted to

b) when i told her i wasn’t sure if i’d join she said that if i do join she hoped that i’d pick a team that would suit me

and c) she was cuter than the first guy who messaged me, bahaha.

(i happened to mention about this time on twitter that i felt like a free agent getting offers to join different teams, and after i had already joined amandah’s team, the first guy who messaged me offered a no-trade clause and a lock in for the human race runs in 2010 and 2011, bahaha.)

bruno_boy thinks i’m swooning over her, but she’s my gym crush running inspiration. i’m glad i joined a team because it’s a lot more fun to have someone providing encouragement (either personally or as part of the team), and it’s good to keep me motivated for the marine corps marathon’s 10k run in late october also.

and not only today did i run my fastest mile i’ve run so far (8’38”), but i also won a t-shirt! there was a contest on my team for folks to send in pictures of themselves with their pets (out running together, if possible), and her dogs picked the winners:

if i run 2+ miles on friday (scheduled to be a day off from running, but it’s only 2 miles), then when i do my scheduled run on saturday i’ll break 100 miles for the year so far. excellent!