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Interesting Week of IT work

By acidosmosis
May 7, 2004
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  1. You know, most people who work in IT don't really work "hard" I would say. Most IT jobs are pretty laid back, and the ones that aren't don't really require you to work THAT hard.

    In the past week I've been working every day doing various IT tasks. I am worn slap out.

    For example, Thursday I got up at 6:30am. When I wake up I realize I have a hell of a case of indigestion. Got ready and was at the office at 8:00am. I work for my cousin who owns an IT business doing mostly networking (and other things such as PC repair). I was in the office till about 8:30 waiting on a guy to come in who was going to help with laying some CAT5 cables under a floor, and installing a few data ports in two walls.

    The customer we were doing this job for is a highly respected architect. The home we were working on cost $2 million. At 8:30, we split up and I went to the architects office which is about 15 miles from his home and worked on two computers. I discovered one problem we knew about, where a computer, when hooked up to the router would cause lots of heavy traffic, causing the router to crash randomly, every few minutes or so. Norton Antivirus would not even install (because the virus was preventing it from doing so apparently) so I had to figure out a way to manually remove the virus. After doing that I install NAV and did a scan. Then I did a test and hooked the PC back up to the router and everything was fine again.

    Then I get a call from my cousin who needs me to run to the office and pickup a CD and wants me to run it to the architects house. This is about another 15 mile drive to our office. Then about 25 to the architects house.

    I get there, hand over the CD and while I'm there I attempt a repair on a Windows 2000 Server installation for the main server for two sites operations. That does not fix the problem (server was rebooting at startup) so we have to completely reinstall W2K Server. Once that is done the network card was not automatically installed and we had to search for drivers, burn a cd, install those. Then resetup VPN, terminal services, accounts, etc.

    Another PC there was having issues and I investigated and found that there were about 150 dns entries after running Hijackthis and ran SpyBot which also showed another 100 or so entries.

    Then I leave back to the customers office and drive another 15 miles. I get there and for about 5-6 hours we are setting up, and testing several things such as VPN connections.

    We were setting up a webcam/mic on the customers front office PC and his home office PC so that he could communicate back and forth with his secretary in the office without tying up a phone, and so that he could speak face to face with his secretary. We spent hours getting this working the way that they wanted.

    A few hours before this is over the architect tells his secretary over the webcam to hand me a credit card and to go purchase PC speakers for that office... I'm holding this credit card and I know without a doubt there is most likely over $100,000 on this credit card and I almost piss myself. So then I run to Office Depot about 10 miles away and get the speakers and drive back another 10 miles and spend about 2 hours more in that office.

    Not counting almost having heatstroke because it must have been 95 degrees outside, I haven't been this tired in 3 years. I didn't get home till 11pm.




    Today, I get to the office at 9am and get a call from my cousin to drive to the Public Works in the next city. This is about 20 miles. I get there and transfer data (excel documents) from an old PC over to a new Dell, install a ZIP drive, floppy drive, Microsoft Office.

    I spent about an hour trying to get the guy there to tell me what program it was that he used to do his work. He had no idea what it was called, what the program looked like, and couldnt even tell me where his files were located so that I would be able to figure that out on my own. I make a call to a lady at the Town Hall to ask her for that information and finally found out that they use Microsoft Excel. Oh and btw, the guy was looking around for an install disk after I told him about 20 times what an install disk was (he couldnt grasp the concept of having to install a program) and he trys to hand me a ZIP disk which says "backup 1 of 2" and tells me he "thinks" that is the install disk.

    Knowing Dell and their lovely cases, I spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to OPEN the Dell case so that I could even start working.

    Not to mention it was about 85 degrees in this guys office (which was in a garage outside where Public Works work on school buses and other vehicles).

    After install the new drives, the hard drive would no longer detect so I spent 45 minutes trying to get the jumper settings to work correctly. Literally switching jumpers back n forth for 45 minutes.

    The guy was no help at all. I spent probably 30 minutes just trying to answer the guys questions and make sure he knew how to operate his brand new Dell and get to his documents. Then I encounter trouble with him on the new layout of Microsoft Office 2003 (compared to what he was using -- Office 97) and he can't even grasp the concept of minimizing a window or opening his Excel files.



    That is only a percentage of each day. This guy who cant grasp a single concept of computers was a major headache. It was hot as hell all week and dayum I feel like I just went through a week of working in a factory for 12 hours a day.


    The scary part: I actually had fun :eek:


    Edit: Oh yea... I also ate some bad food at Jack in the Box the other night so I've been having major stomach pains the last few days and yes... been running to the toilet quite often.
     
  2. Per Hansson

    Per Hansson TS Server Guru Posts: 1,929   +186

    Haha, this is exactly what I've been doing working as a learner at schools and goverment here in Sweden for one year now acidosmosis ;-)

    The only thing not fun about it is that I wont get a job there when my education ends this month :(
     
  3. smtkr

    smtkr TS Rookie Posts: 131

    My father can't figure out how to operate a computer. Every time he sees me on the net, if I minimize a window, he freaks out and asks why I closed it. I can't get him to look at the taskbar, ever.
     
  4. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    None of you want to know about my work right now.

    I'm 6 months into operate programmer for a multinational and I'm in 2 teams at the same time, both expecting full time results.

    But I've been keeping my eyes open and I think I've found out how to get what I want.
     
  5. xtrmn8r

    xtrmn8r TS Rookie Posts: 53

    switch job to somewhere you get paid one salary for doing one job? instead of one salary for two jobs? :D

    i find running around fixing computers is all well and good until you find one that you cant fix. its ok when you know what the problems are and the fixes work, but its the mystery problems you cant fix that make it suck.
     
  6. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    Sounds like an average week to me, which is why I have decided to go sell my soul and go to work for a company. I will continue to do some stuff in my spare time, but this move is hopefully a good thing. The money is not really any better or worse than what I make now, just gonna be consistant. The benifits are what really make it worth it to me(full healthcare and a really good retirement plan)


    I won't try to justify my decision, only will say that it was either this or keep relying on the occasional job that lasted a couple of weeks just to keep a steady supply of money coming in. My only other options were to move, as there are very few jobs here, even for a well rounded and experienced electronics technician.

    sometimes you have to swallow your pride and make desisions based on what is good for your future and on what is in the best interest of your family.

    PS: My wife works as an L1 at the facility, this was also a factor in me taking the position. It was also how I found out about it in the first place.
     
  7. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350

    I'm enjoying what I'm doing. I work for my cousin and he can only afford to pay me about $150 a week, and sometimes a percentage of what I do (for example when I create a website for someone).

    Working with computers, especially in this way is a pretty big headache sometimes but all in all I'm loving it. I get to work with my cousin who, before I was working with him I only saw him about once every 4 years so I'm getting to spend time with family I hardly ever saw. Plus you have to think of it like, what if I was working for someone I didn't know prior to starting the job, the job would really be a headache. This way I can get along with who I am working for and have a lot more freedom than I normally would.

    Tomorrow I am going to talk to some people at this place called The Sign Mill who create signs on vinyl, car decals, wood signs, etc., and if I decide to take this job I'll be doing the graphics work and some production work laying vinyl, etc. It all depends on what the pay will be. I hate to take this job because of the freedom that I have working for my cousin, and the experience that I will gain by working with him, but like StormBringer said sometimes you just have to make a decision based on what is best for your future. In this case if I make more money then I will be better off at least for now. I just hope in the long run taking this job (if I do) isn't a mistake.
     
  8. Masque

    Masque TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,058

    On the contrary...that's simply when it's man against machine and it just "starts" getting fun. I'll be damned if I let the machine win. :D
     
  9. Goalie

    Goalie TS Booster Posts: 616

    As Storm and Acid have heard, many times, and suprisingly not banned me from the IRC channel for, count your blessings even when you have a crappy job. It's better than none at all.

    I think the most intriguing thing about IT work is that while it's laid back, and you don't actually work a high percentage of the time (usually), the work you do can be VERY stressful- either under time pressure, people pressure, or pressure to reach out and smack the clueless SOB who's demanding you do something that's stupid to start with, technically infeasible, and not worth his money or your time. (Helpdesk work anybody??)

    Actually.. I guess I should mention that despite above rant, a helpdesk/field support type position would be an ideal foot in the door for me..
     
  10. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    IT work is great!

    A call at 9 AM on mothers day morning - the domain controller/mail server is dead - our beloved NT thought it is the right time to pass on to the eternal hard drives of OS heaven.. This leaves about 22 hours to get things running before people come to work on Monday morning. Sorry mom - I just love my servers more than you.. Maybe next year.

    You spend 20 hours straight in a cellar with a rather unstable air conditioner and about 2 dozen boxes roaring into your ears trying to recover user accounts and mail data, cursing Windows NT and the wise people above me who thought that two NT DCs are just an overkill.. After backup recovery you install 2k3 server and set up an AD domain (you had better cough up the money for license later, you cheap bastards), reinstall mail server. Leave the lost user passwords to the helpdesk person (I don't envy her).

    Get home at 7AM Monday and sleep about 2 hours only to start getting support calls from people who can't log into the new domain or the mail server..
     
  11. lowman

    lowman TS Rookie Posts: 380

    Last week was horrendous...I am the Manager of Information Services for a firm with 10 offices outside of our main corporate HQ in NYC. I have 5 guys who work for me, but none in our remote office - we do everything we can remotely. Well, while upgrading our Checkpoint Firewall, the SIC and the VPN tunnels between office got screwed up, and all the remote office went down. In addition to that, lightning hit our Houston office - not a big deal, but one of the brain children down there had unplugged one of our routers from the UPS with the surge protector, and they plugged it back into an ungrounded socket. When the lightning hit, I guess it toasted the config on the router. Between coordinating my engineer flying to different offices and getting them taken care of and takinbg care of all the NORMAL stuff that comes in on a day to day basis...we must have worked over 90 hours last week...pretty good haul for a 7 day stint...too bad I don't make overtime...

    Such is life in techology...especially once you hit the management level...the money is great, but sometimes I question my own sanity for doing it...

    JB
     
  12. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,608   +294

    Well in my job as a Senior Systems analyst I have to try and get specifications over clearly to Indonesians, Russians and get clarification of what the client needs via Italians. The all speak english but understanding is another matter. I recently worked on
    some embedded excel objects which consisted of 42 rows with VBA OLE comboboxes for each row for data entry. Each object had to have code in its change and enter events. So I had 82 copy and pastes and edits of the parameters for row references for the change and enter functions that I'd written. For months they have been happy with this and only wanted minor changes...
    But recently they've asked for 200 rows instead. I've got to do this change for about 5 different embedded excel objects so my past few days have consisted of nothing other than an exercise in seeing how fast I can copy, paste and edit. Really hate when a specification is accepted and then they want a crucial change which results in loads of dull work. Or when they contradict themselves.

    Most of this is due to no proper specification being gotten in the first place which is due to the fact that my company work in a bit of a cowboy fashion. For example a large $800,000 project that I've been working on was won with "Vapour ware". So basically we're still developing it as we go along. I'm fed up with it but there aren't that many Software jobs where I live at the moment :(
     

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