Rodney M Bliss

Quit Being Such A Big Baby!

I admit it. I’m going through withdrawls.

I’m not supposed to be working today. Correction, I’m NOT working today. But, I can’t help myself.

The system I support is very complex. It involves thousands of workstations, hundreds of circuits, dozens of servers, and stretches across six states and 3 times zones. And I designed it. I don’t mean that I created the network routes, or the firewall rules, or the GSPs (I’m not even entirely sure what a GSP is, but I think it protects our workstations.) But, I oversaw the creation of it. And it works really, REALLY well. In a typical month, my systems are down less than 0.5% of the time. I know that because 0.5% is where we start having to pay outage penalties and I hate paying penalties.

I built it from the time we had 50 workstations in a single location. I’ve watched it grow up. It’s my baby.

I have 7 kids at home. As my signature says, I have 13 kids total. I raised most of them from the time they were babies. I watched them grown up. At some point I was happy to see them leave home. Some are married. Some are in college. Some have kids of their own. They are all good people and well-adjusted adults. When the time was right, I was happy to let them go.

I’m not ready to let go of my systems.

We suffered a death in the family last week. My dear, sweet mother-in-law was 88 years old. She’d live a long and full life. She left behind 13 living children, 73 grandchildren, 76 great-grandchildren and missed seeing the birth of her first great-great-grandchild by a few months. We will miss her, but know she’s been reunited with her husband whom she missed terribly for the last 20 years of her life.

My company understands that employees have lives and they try to accomodate that. One way is to grant employees a bereavement leave when a close family member dies. It’s a very thoughtful benefit and one that I’m grateful I have available. The funeral is this weekend in Washington. We are taking a van full of kids from Utah to Olympia and back.

I have designated backups to watch my systems when I’m unavailable.

I hate babysitters. Not when they watch my kids, but when they watch my systems. It’s nothing against the people who are doing the work. But, unlike my adult children, where I’m willing to stand aside and give them the freedom to make their own mistakes, I’m not that hands-off with my systems. I know them better than anyone. I know the processes, I know the people, I know the programs. It is completely unreasonable for me to expect a backup to come in and function as efficiently as I do. That’s unreasonable. I get that. That’s what I want.

I know when I return to work on Tuesday there will be a whole pile of work for me to do. Some of it will be stuff that was postponed until I got back. Some will be new work that just is part of doing business. And some will be stuff that got done while I was gone that I’ll need to revisit. Stuff, I would have done differently, that someone else did their way instead.

I know it’s unreasonable to have an issue with that. I know it’s unreasonable to feel possesive of an account that hundreds of people help service. I know I’m being childish.

But, I want what I want and I want it right now!

Yes, I need to quit being a big baby about it.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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