maxcelcat: (Dalek)
Wow, it's only Thursday. Gah.

I had two weeks off over Christmas. I say break, because it wasn't a holiday - we stayed at home and turned the house upside down getting it ready for The Baby.

It's been an epic purge. I even went through an old box of floppy disks that I've been lugging from house to house for the better part of 20 years. About 40% didn't work at all, but I spent a good 11 hours on a 41 degree day going through them. I have two USB floppy drives, in case you were wondering how I managed to read them. Said drives were also acquired years ago, for just this task, but had probably been used a total of five times over five years before I started the epic disk reading.

I got a total of 120Mg of data off them... Ah well.

The house is almost completely ready to go, I even went through my wardrobe and purged it of excess clothes.

And tomorrow is Friday, I'll have survived my first whole week back at work. I suppose I shouldn't complain, in the next couple of months I'm going to be changing stinky nappies at all hours of the day and night!
maxcelcat: (Dalek)
Time I wrote about my new job, having been there... well, it'll be five weeks tomorrow. I'd better keep it polite - I believe the address of this blog was emailed around just before I arrived.

I can summaries it thus:
Beware nerds with guns!

Yes, they gave me a Nerf Gun on my first day. The smaller one - the big thing with the huge magazine I got on ebay! So occasionally during the day a rain of Nerf darts will go whizzing past, at which point one has to fire back! This did however lead to an amusing discussion about Nerf Etiquette - don't shot when people are on the phone, don't shoot clients when they come to visit :-)

Oh, you want to hear about the work? How odd! :-)

I've actually been enjoying it, I'm doing way more programming than I routinely did at Tabcorp. I thought I was a bit over programming, but it turns out I was over the protracted and obfuscated development processes that are probably typical of large companies. In some ways the new place is more professional and organised than the old place. I was saying this to my new co-workers (in fact, one of the managing directors) and he said "well, if we don't do stuff properly, we don't eat!"

Backing up a bit, I should explain where I work now! Redgum, a little software development company. And I mean little, there are at most ten people working there. They have oodles of work on, since I've been there I've worked on at least five projects. I'm also learning new stuff (XAML, Silverlight, WPF, VB.NET for those interested) which makes a pleasant change.

Anyway, it's getting late, better get me some sleep so I can rush there again in the morning :-)
maxcelcat: (Space Man)
So, almost the last thing I did at my now former job was to lodge a ticket in the company bug tracking system. This is normally used to track issues with software systems. But mine went like this:

Paul is Highly Defective and Should be Replaced

The resource known as Paul has developed a large range of eccentric behaviour. He has taken to hoarding, spinning frenetically on his chair, yelling expletives randomly and drawing peculiar pictures on the white boards.

In order to prevent the contagion from spreading, he should be hermetically sealed in a large
zip-lock bag and delivered to the nearest loony bin, along with a steady supply of Chai (soy, no sugar).

Local traders he has supported through the purchase of soup and drinks should be supported through this crisis with donations of gold coins in return for coffee.

His desk should then be sterilised by burning it in the car-park. The entire staff should dress in Druidical robes and form a circle around the burning desk, chanting "Leeeeeeeego, Leeeeeeego".

Severity: 4

Category: FAULT

Has Work-around?: Yes


By the time I was done saying goodbye to everyone, it had made it's way around significant parts of the office. I'll be curious to see how many people end up reading it :-)
maxcelcat: (The Good The Bad and The Ugly)
OK, I have small list of things I'd like to get done while I'm "between jobs" and "exploring other opportinities".

First, fix my bike some more. I might need a new front wheel. And my brakes still need some work - thinking I need to completely dismantle the front one and put it back together with a new cable etc. Oh, while I'm at it, I need to make some fixes to Deb's bike (which uses obscure French-style parts!) and reassemble another bike I have in parts in the back garden as a spare.

Next, I want to get another tattoo. I'm certain of the design, might thing about the exact style. Also need to pick a good tattooist - the guy who did my last tat moved to the UK, and the guy who did Deb's tat is between studios!

There are also a number of PC's at my place in need of attention, or indeed construction! That'll keep me busy - although I am liking doing analog things more lately. See fixing bikes above :-)

What else? I'm more or less forced to examine my superannuation. I've found a far better fund than the one I'm in, so that'll be pretty easy.

Also gives me the chance to hang out with my toddler niece - she's in the country for the next month or so - what excellent timing!

I might also make some semi-major purchases, although not before I've secured another job. Things like a real laptop, possibly a cargo bike. And maybe a bigger NAS. My intention is to save at least half the money I've been given. Which should also allow me to go to Europe next year as (vaguely) planned :-)

Retrenched

May. 18th, 2011 05:23 pm
maxcelcat: (Einstürzende Neubauten)
I'm typing this entry in an internet cafe in the city. Actually it's more of a bar. And in fact I'm sitting at the bar at a tiny netbook-style machine! Not unlike my machine at home, but it's talking some getting used to this tiny keyboard - so apologies in advance for the higher than usual number of typos! Also looks like this thing lacks a spell checker... Eep!

Monday of this week, I was invited to a mysterious meeting with my boss on Tuesday afternoon. It was described as a one-on-one with him at his desk. In the year or so he's been my boss, we have never had such a meeting. Then his bosses boss called an all hands meeting for the same afternoon, with no details. The last time such a meeting was called on short notice, a number of people where shown the door!

So I went along on Tuesday to this meeting. My boss took me upstairs and said "actually my boss wants to see you". He ushered me into the nicest meeting room in the place, where his boss was sitting with someone from HR.

Uh oh, I thought, something is up!

They got straight to it. The company is restructuring, and my position had been made redundant. Not me, but my position! They handed me a document about how much my payout would be - it wasn't a huge figure, but it was still more money than I'd seen in one place ever! So I readily agreed - having said that there wasn't much of a choice in the matter.

The HR lady (Lara, who I've actually worked with in the past on various committees), said "You can take the rest of the day off if you like. We can give you a cab charge too to get home". I wasn't the first person who they'd talked to that day, and clearly some of them had been upset! I was slightly surprised, but I wasn't upset. I'd been thinking of moving on anyway, but thought I'd wait around to see what happened with the demerger. And this is what happened!

Oh, some background. I work for a company called TABCorp. About five or six years ago, what was a Victorian company mergered with their NSW counterparts. Mrged? They might have bought them out. So TABCorp had an exclusive license for Wagering (betting on horse racing and greyhound racing) in Victoria and NSW, a Keno license in both states, some gaming machines - although that business is about to cease to be - and four casinos in NSW and Queensland.

Anyway, earlier this year they decided to hive off the casinos business into a different company. Which makes fairly good business sense, and would as they say "release shareholder value". There'd already been some movements in management following this, and on Tuesday they went through most of the bussiness and let a lot of folks go - whole areas are a bit quiet today!

So technically my last day is Friday, although I'll probably not end up going in if I manage to get all the crap off my desk into my car tomorrow.

Like I said, I'm not too upset. I have an exam for my MBA in mid June, and I'm going to spend most of the week after that at the animation festival. So I'm going to do nothing but study for the next five weeks. Well, that and talk to recruiters, work on my resume etc. TABCorp have been nice enough to sign us all up to an organisation which specialises in "transitions" so I'm going to take full advatange of that. Seeing someone at 8.30AM on Friday! And indeed I've already had a recruiter on the phone. Landing on my feet is looking likely - last time I was looking for a job, I found one in ten days!

Now to decide what I want to do.... Hmmm....

P.S. I know why I was chosen out of my (small) team. I've been there for just over three years, unlike some of the rusted-on folks who'd been there for seven or ten years! So I was relatively cheap to move on. Also my job has been relatively quiet lately - one of the projects I was working on was in fact cancelled. So I don't feel victimised or the like.

Things on my list to do: possibly buy a suit. Also time I invested in a shirt I can actually do up around my huge neck ;-)

So on with my (work) life!
maxcelcat: (Agent Smith)
Hey all, I've had a slightly insane couple of weeks.

I took the few days after the queens birthday off, and headed down to see my niece (and by extension my sister!) down in Jan Jac. She is a very cute baby, seems to be growing teeth and being very very interested in solid food.

Deb and I took off from Jan Jac, and headed down to the Otways - which is further than it looks on the map. Almost two hours of driving on the Great Ocean Road. We stopped off in Lorne and did a couple of short walks, and I reminisced about the Falls Festival I went to there in 1997.

Eventually we ended up in a cabin out in the Otways. It was a nice bungalow thing, all alone in the woods - we didn't see another sole while were were there. Which sounds a lot like the plot of a bad film full of axe murderers! :-)

It was a bit damn cold while we were there, blowing a veritable gale the first night we were there. We consoled ourselves with a dip in the two person spa... Hmmmm.... middle class...

We went home the very long way, via the Cape Otway light house (very pretty, very freaking wind swept) and the twelve apostles. Or eight apostles, or however many are left by now. There were a few hundred cold, cold looking tourists there. Here's a tip for international visitors: It's winter now, and that is the part of Victoria that gets the most rain!

We decided to drive back to Jan Jac via the inland route, which worked well enough but damn was also a lot of driving. Stupidly big country this. I think it eventually took us two and a half hours to get back to my sisters place.

Anyway, whilst I was driving a long windy road through the Otways, my boss called. Which I'd kind of expected, except not that late in the week. He was trying to finish some work I hadn't quite finished when I went on leave. Which normally wouldn't be a problem, except other parts of the business demanded that it absolutely utterly had to be done before Monday. I said I'd see if I could pop in on Saturday afternoon and have a crack at it. Then... my boss's boss called me up and asked if I really could possibly go into the office on the weekend. Stupidly, I said yes. Then I turned off my phone!

So at 7AM I got out of bed in Jan Jac, and drove into the city - actually Deb the girlfriend drove. She deposited me outside my office at 10AM, and I worked like a slave for a about six hours. My boss and one of my co workers were there, as well the project manager and my bosses boss! It wasn't that important folks... Also meant there was me doing the actual work, while being managed by three people!

Then... that Saturday was the first day of the Animation festival (more on this later). So I went straight from my office to ACMI for two sessions of animation. In the end I didn't get home from my trip till after 9PM.

Amusing side note: We'd sent Marvin the bitey cat over to stay with some friends around the corner. So we were planning to go get him that night. But as we approached our place, there he was! He'd brought himself home! Looking at Google maps, all he really had to do was walk down a laneway (probably well within his territory already, he gets around) and jump over one fence to get to places he would recognise. So he saved us some time!

And on the Sunday, I got up again at 7AM and went into my office. I drove in, which took almost no time at all. Worked until about 4PM, then went into the city for three sessions of the animation festival. Needless to say, by Monday morning, I was a bit fucked.

Anyway, I got a couple of days off in lieu last week, which was nice. Fiddled with my bike, did some sleepy. Nice.

Took stacks of pictures while I was away, will post them soon.
maxcelcat: (Flaky Tree Friend)
I was overcome with some existential angst yesterday, whilst sitting at my desk at work. I looked up and suddenly thought "My goodness, I'm sitting in a cubicle, in front of a computer, in passable work clothes. When did this happen???"

It sure feels like a long way from art school...

Demo

Sep. 25th, 2008 10:13 pm
maxcelcat: (Satan)
So, today I demoed the software I've been working on for... well, the better part of five months... to the guy from the business who is kinda the client, kinda the sponsor.

It went... Ok.

I don't know how many of you work in software, but I had what is probably a familiar experience. I've been working on this project kinda from the bottom up, building some basic bits of it. I've also only really worked on certain parts of - even though I'm really the only developer on it. Anyway, today, I wanted to show off some of my work to this guy. And made the disturbing discovery that what he thinks the product is is not what I think it is, and more that I don't really know how to use it.

That's often the way software works - I know how to develop for it, how to customise it and how to install it, but I don't actually know how to use it... And that the "sponsors" of the project are far more interested in using it in ways I hadn't predicted.

It hasn't help that the guy who had a lot to do with getting this going and has more of an idea than me of how the whole thing fits together has been sick for the better part of the last month. He's is not a well guy. It also doesn't help that we had three different consultants, from the same company, come in and work on chunks of it. They've all approached it a bit differently, and I've wasted a pile of time just trying to reverse engineer what they were actually trying to achieve. Plus there are actually parts of it no one is really sure about, mostly things done by the consultants which none of us really understands.

(This project is something we're building on top of something called Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management. My faith in Microsoft, which was never high, has been eroded further by this product. It is, to use some technical jargon, a piece of shit. Seriously, a pain in the butt which I will detail more in another post...)
maxcelcat: (Lamington)
Lets see, how did the rest of my week back in the Work Force go? Tuesday I actually go my work email going, sent a couple of messages. Met some more people. Got out of the lift and was totally disorientated as to where my desk was.

And got to read some specifications! I mean, they already had a project plan, and it had my name in it. I was weirdly happy to see this, I was weirdly pleased that, for starters, they have a project plan and secondly that I featured in it!

Amusingly, the first project I'm working on is called WORMS. I kid you not! Can't remember what it stands for, although the "RM" part means "relationship management"...

Wednesday and Thursday, some four or five of us got sent on a course - talk about investing in their people - learning about something called MD CRM. Which, of course, stands for Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management. Don't say this three times fast! :-)

...which I can now pretend to be an expert in... In actual fact, it was quite interesting, and I'm looking forward to playing with it.

The course was in the city, it was nice-ish to be back in town. The guy running it was a small mountain of muscle called Ivan. Damn, I wouldn't have arm wrestled him for money!

Thursday evening, after the course finished, I went for a wander. A strange sensation came over me. I had no interest in buying things. I needed, need, for nothing! I was wandering around thinking "here I am, what can I buy or borrow to complete my life or my flat". And nothing came to mind. Nice. I do keep trying to think of fun things to get Deb, but what do you buy a coeliac vegetarian greenie cyclist with a taste for silly hats? Another silly hat, I guess!

Met up with some of my now ex co-workers at the Rooftop bar (on top of Cookie) for a drink on Thursday. It was kinda funny, of the seven people there, four no longer worked for 'em. Good. And I strongly suggested to the to the others they think about bailing - the more I think about that place, the more I hate it.

Rooftop is nice bar, if up a lot of stairs. They serve a limited range of Japanese food, and SMS you when it's ready! Great view, and I got to sit in a deck chair.
maxcelcat: (Tram In Snow)
Egad, sorry, LJ, I owe you many updates.

OK, lets see. If you'll cast your minds back to the Monday of this week. The 21st. I started my new job, at a little company you might have heard of called Tabcorp!

I was less nervous than one might expect. I mean, I've been around the traps, this is in fact about the fourth or fifth time I've had a "first day". And at least this time I didn't send out an email to the whole company saying I'd like to be known as "stud muffin". (That, unfortunately, is a true story!)

In my new hard-working guise, I decided I'm going to get to work early every day - well, early-ish, about the best I can usually manage is getting on to the 7.48AM train to the city from Merri. After that, one has to take one of a series of trams down Swanston Street. Then I remembered why in the past I've tended to get the trains later into peak hour - the Epping train at 7.48 is always packed like a sardine can! The trams, not a lot better... Ah well. I will tolerate this unpleasantness. It's also, I can report, a fair hike from Northcote to Bowen Cresent (which is south of the Shrine, sort of around the corner from the St. Kilda road police complex. The train in takes about 20 minutes (to Melbourne Central) and the tram down the road takes about another 20... I don't think I'm going to get a) a seat or b) much time to read :-(

I actually had a good day. There was the usual drill - here's a new PC, here's a desk, here's a some office supplies. Sign all these documents etc. etc. Actually, the last part was more than usual - they need background checks of one sort or another if you're gonna work in this industry. I'm also going to need a gaming license.

It was intense being back at work. Especially since now I have a kind of determination to prove certain other companies wrong about me...
maxcelcat: (Einstürzende Neubauten)
I now have THREE job offers in... (counts) in four days! Eep. Now I gotta decide which one I like best. Or maybe I'll just win tattslotto over the weekend and it'll all be moot :-)

And still waiting to hear back for a place I spoke to last week... Then I'll be really, really confused...
maxcelcat: (Dancing Kitty)
This morning I went to a bit of an exhibition/conference thing at the exhibition centre. VALA for those following at home - a Victoria Libraries thing - thrillsville!

There was a number of our competitors there (I work for a library company) so I thought I'd go and scope out what they were up to. I thought I'd keep it quiet, see what I could learn from them...

Of course, I fell at the first hurdle - the first question everyone asks is "where are you from?" for which I didn't have a prepared answer. Well, I could have said "I'd rather not say" but noooooooo, I told them straight out who I work for *slaps head*. So of course after that they're hardly going to tell me stuff!

Ah well, I probably mostly missed out on some marketing spin.
maxcelcat: (Default)
One of my cow-orkers, who I refer to as Bouncing Derek, sits at his desk on a Swiss Ball. He wasn't in today, and another cow-orker, Rob, borrowed said swiss ball. Rob sits at one of the four desks in our little cubicle group.

I'd just got in and was turning on my computer, when there was an almighty pop or bang, kinda like... well, hard to describe. I thought something had fallen from the ceiling or someone a few cubicles away had dropped something heavy.

I turned around, and said "What the fuck was that?" to see Rob lying on his side on the floor... the Swiss ball had popped under him and was in at least two pieces! Everyone in the (open plan) office got up from their seats and looked over cubicle walls trying to work out what had happened. I described it as best I could between pissing myself laughing. Some people a few cubicles away gave a small round of applause, and commented on Rob's weight. We took photos of Rob holding the remains of the ball and sent them to Derek. It was an $8 swiss ball from Aldi, so no one was terribly surprised.

The funniest part was the noise the ball made when it popped. Like a balloon popping, only several octaves lower.

This is the stuff office legends are made of... Which is kinda sad...
maxcelcat: (Default)
Ok, so, the Onion is soooo 1998, but I found this painfully funny.... With an emphasis on Pain:

Tragic Event Forces Man To Spend Rest Of Life Confined To Office Chair

maxcelcat: (Default)
I just ironed Eight shirts. First off, I should be amazed that I have eight shirts, and second that they're all clean at the same time. Fark. Sometimes I think weekends aren't about a break from work, they're to prepare for work... :-(
maxcelcat: (The Good The Bad and The Ugly)
Curious about where I spend eight hours of every weekday? I know I am. Here are some pictures of my desk at w*rk. Exciting.

Desk Cleanup: see Before and After )
maxcelcat: (Cat Go Blah Blah Blah)
Greetings to all my fans. I've been extremely quiet on here of late, I confess. The major reason being I worked every day from May 11th till May the 29th, excluding a Tuesday in there somewhere. Including a two-day trip to South Australia at the beginning of this week. It's no wonder I'm so buggered!

So, this was the first weekend in a while I actually had off - I spent most of it asleep which was juuuuuuust wonderful.

I have a number of pictures I mean to post, and all sorts of other, er, stuff, cruft, to post about, but I'm not sure when I'll get the chance too. I am taking two weeks off in a couple of weeks - which I'm really going to need!

In the mean time, probably time I either ironed a shirt and went to bed. Or maybe I'll just go to bed :-)

In the mean time, I downloaded [livejournal.com profile] evildoom_bunny copies of various versions of something called Commander Keen. She's playing one of them right now - behind me I can hear 80's video game noises aplenty!
maxcelcat: (Giggles Head Explodes)
Yay. It's just ticked over twelve hours since I sat down at my desk today. I'm still here.

Does anyone out there know of a job for a burnt out software engineer? I have my resume on my phone, my USB key, heck, I might even put it up on my website...

I've managed to not eat any meals at my desk today, however, which is slightly less suck.

Other things of note: My MP3 player has just started playing the eleven minute long anthem "Trapped in the Drivethrough" by Weird Al. At least three or four of my cow-orkers are also still here, but they've been sitting around drinking for the last couple of hours. Bastards. A lovely old edition of Primo Levi's "If This Is A Man" turned up in the mail from the auction I won on Ebay earlier this week.

My Cubicle

Apr. 20th, 2007 02:04 pm
maxcelcat: (Einstrezende Neabauten)
Things I have done at my desk (in no particular order.) Hmmm, I think I've done a list like this before. What the heck, here's the new list:
  • Eaten Breakfast
  • Eaten Lunch
  • Eaten Dinner
  • Blogged
  • Flossed my teeth
  • Video chat with [livejournal.com profile] evildoom_bunny
  • Drank hundreds of Chai's
  • Listened to MP3s
  • Received things I bought on Ebay
  • Edited Wikipedia
  • Watched my cow-orker bounce up and down on his swiss ball "office chair"
  • Joined a union
Probably time I did some actual work :-)

Things I have not done at my desk:
  • Slept (although I almost have)
  • Shagged
  • Gone nuts (although again, almost...)


Thank Fuck it's Friday.

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