a view into the sordid life i lead

Friday, March 14, 2008

70 hrs and counting

my average work week since jan 1st has been 70 hrs per week. the last time i clocked that kind of hourage was back in the late 90's when i was young and stupid. my body does not appear to be able to deal with this kind of abuse any more.

i've long held that productivity decreases past the 35hr per week mark. i believe i have managed to conclusively verify this in my case, and in the case of people around me. at the very least efficiency drops dramatically after the 35hr mark. i think people can still get things done, but it's at a diminishing rate of return.

i have a chance right now to reflect on what i've accomplished (and not) over the last 2-3 months and here's the short list:

a) accomplishments:
* installed and running openfiler - need to get it ha'ed and clustered for full reliability
* running trac, and have customized it to some degree. need to hack it some more.
* running openHRM, which is just barely acceptable, and needs lots of hacking to make it a usable hr system.
* running subversion, and have the in-house developers using it regularly.
* running rsync to do regular mirrored backups, but this is still a far cry from ha!

b) failures:
* versioning-integrated filesystem. i had high hopes that i could have this implemented, but the lack of a high-capacity data storage system has hindered this extensively. i'm hopefully going to have collabnet help me with this.
* automated ftp synchronization. this is at most a 2-day programming task. that's if i had 2 days of non-distracted development time. which i've not.
* building a better rdf/html comparison tool
* automating the processing of image files to different sizes and resolutions. this is really a *very* simple job given the power of imagemagick

one of the things that i should have (but have not) added to the "accomplishments" side is instilling vision. i realized today that this specific function can never be underestimated. all workers, whether they be programmers, drones, whatever, need to have a vision of something greater that they are striving for. they cannot continue to do the mindless repetitive tasks that we ask of them day-to-day without the golden light at the end of the dismal dank tunnel. in many cases the tunnel ends up being the end itself - and people get dejected and decide that they just can't take it any more and quit.

this is basically the reason i've quit the last 3 jobs i've had. i did not get the sense that the person above me had the vision of doing something great that i could strive for.

i have been working on instilling a vision of what's capable in the current field i'm working in (e-publishing to be sufficiently vague) into some of the employees. i have 2 successes in spite of having spewed my spit at over a dozen. i think this is a high response rate :)

i know that this is of value because one of the guys, saravanan, came to me today and talked to me about the vision he has for automating certain processes which we spend inordinate amounts of time doing right now. and he kept grinning about what he referred to as my "dreams" of what we could accomplish. i'm quite confident that these dreams are well within achievable reality within the next 9 months. then i gave him an inkling into the real "dream", which i currently still consider fantasy, that i was aiming for. that got him very very excited, and i think it lit a spark in him to go create something amazing.

this leads me to my next post ...


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