Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in a page

Unlike most years, this year was spectacularly different because yaya has joined the family. On the self development front, this year was very stressful for me, never had so much stress continuously day after day, mainly because the Hubby didn't want a kid, so I have to do everything that is interfering with his life. I am opposite from the norm, stress makes me weaker, not stronger. So I remove sources of stress, rather than face it because I am very destructive.

I was very grateful to have supportive bosses and colleagues who covered my duties during my maternity leave, and also allowed me to take 2 days of leave weekly for 2 months as I slowly adjust back to working life. They also had to put up with my milking schedules at work and days where I had to take leave when yaya was sick.

Some of you know that I get incessant nags from the hubby whenever I don't reach home by 7 pm and the bus 145 which I take from orpit to Harbourfront mrt was always crowded and infrequent. I still had to fetch yaya to and fro the childcare daily. As stress is always caused by not knowing what to do, I was frequently stressed by my homebound travel route. Car option is beyond reach.

The Hubby also nags at me to change my boss, easier said than done, because of my workload. I was held back at work a few times but gradually got more frequent, and to add on the self depreciating factor that my boss said I wasn't doing much work, and when I confronted her statement, she said I had no milestones delivered, it became the last straw that erupted the volcano building up inside me.

I changed my job despite many ppl advising me against citing the need to often take leave to take care of yaya and also stress from new work environments. But I remove stress factors, I don't work well with stress, so changing my job meant I had to be very selective with the job scope, location, boss, pay, ... I feel very fortunate to bump into a job with similar job scope, hence gentle learning curve, near mrt, so from my door step to my desk takes 40 min, pay higher so Hubby accepted my job more, workload slightly lesser, boss wise, so far so good lol.

Another change I decided to make was to change childcare next year when yaya turns 18 months from cherie hearts to Mindchamps. After a visit to the school, I was sold because all the kids were so alert, and they have gym, music, baking classes included in the programme. It's $1.4k/month after gov subsidy, but I still decided to go ahead with it because yaya had been falling sick very often recently. We will start her in the new school in June. When I ask ppl about Mindchamps, they tell me it's good but very atas, only for rich ppl, but I believe, 1 cent 1 good, money can always earn back, but yaya's health cannot.

I am very demanding when I want to, so I asked the childcare teacher what can be done to prevent yaya from falling sick so often, she told me that all other children are ok. Immediately I failed her, but I gave my demands, to wash her hands every hour, wash the toys before giving to her, for at least 2 weeks to give her time to rebuild her immunity.

So money is still important, this year has been a year with high spending. Medical bills for yaya is easily around 5k. Saving on the childcare would just translate to more medical bills and more downtime at work which also translates to $$. Of course there is still the stress option to hire a maid but I am sure it will cause me stress because hubby, my parents and in-laws will definitely tell me to tell the maid to do this and that and complain to me when things are not done to their satisfaction.

In terms of objectives for next year, I will continue to work hard at keeping all of us free from sickness.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

desktop support woos

As you know, emails normally reach me after they have travelled a million miles around the world. Today we decided to make a call to the helpdesk call centre to enquire the status of a ticket about slow loading of m$ word documents on external servers and our intranet. When I read the email history, just like how you will flip the passport to look at all the visa stamps from all the various customs your passport had passed through, it seemed quite obvious that it was a desktop setting issue, which was why I didn't bother about it. The problem is, things that are obvious to me are never obvious to others for some odd reason. I decided to look at it because noobs were asking whether our server is slow -.-"

The answer the call center gave was somewhere along the line that the problem has been identified to be caused by a slow server in the network, which is curently undergoing migration. We asked him what he meant, he said there is a legacy server in the network which is causing the slowness. I still couldn't understand what he meant, but from what I know, the only migration works are the DNS and AD servers. The guy taking our call is also not dumb, he told us honestly, that he doesn't know what it means too. lol Thank goodness, there is a sane person in the call center. He said he will check and call back. I don't know how the story continued because I didn't follow it.

The next story was about a website's site access statistics report being inaccurate. As it was a straightforward thing, I didn't even look at it, I just let the vendors ding dong among themselves. So after 1 month, I took a look. After looking at the stats, I realised what the problem was. The stats included those pages which will result in access denied pages, and access denied page wasn't part of the stats. You can just imagine the user questioning why certain users who are not supposed to have access to those pages/sites are showing up in the stats report, and the vendors replying to check the permission of those users, and after the permissions are checked, these ppl don't have access but the stats shows they have access, so the user said it's a security breach and wants me to investigate. How intelligent. Product design wise, hatepoint doesn't differentiate access denied or access allowed, which sounds dumb, but that's what the vendor said, so I just left it as that for now.

So yah, the queue to see doctor me is about 1 month's long. If they perservere long enough, ie generate >20 emails in my mail box, I will look at them because those vendors have been paid to resolve those problems, and by right, I shouldn't even have to solve problems for them.

Friday, December 23, 2011

zhng-ing a toyota-like trishaw

Last week I was asking my boss a question which led to a casual remark that my users were trying to zhng their toyota to make it look like a merc. I could relate to that analogy fully, but today my supervisor told me that I need to spend more time at my desk so that bosses can see me doing work, and I think the sequel to that analogy is that I am given a trishaw but I am supposed to make it run like a toyota.

I explained my position that the vendor helpdesk girl is having problems working with our main contractor. She sms-es me "I hate xxx", and I need to attend to her because xxx from the main contractor has pissed her off. So she is like the chauffeur hired to drive a toyota, but she is given a trishaw to peddle everyday, so she is already frustrated with her job. Imagine you like to drive, that's why you took up the job, but everyday you are forced to cycle. She feels that everyday she is doing unproductive work. She has to peddle very fast because the user boss has 4 assistants chasing her for 101 things everyday. When they escalate issues to me, I need to help peddle because of the "1 man takes 10 days, 2 men takes 5 days" logic. There is no other way to speed up when all you have is a trishaw. When issues gets escalated to my supervisor, my supervisor can't help us peddle, so it usually just ends up as a pacifier - just suck thumb. Not to belittle my supervisor's efforts, if he really had a way, I think things wouldn't be the way they are now because I am sure all these aged cheese issues had been escalated to him before.

It's ironic because usually when issues are escalated to me from my higher ups, I immediately need to start peddling. There is no other way. It's the only way to understand the underlying problems. When I try to get a field report from her, I waste more time listening to her sidetrack and complain than being able to gather sufficient information to diagnose the problem. It's her character though, that she wants to let people know that she has spent a lot of time trying to resolve the problem, and she hadn't been sitting on it.

As for me. I am the car mechanic hired to maintain a trishaw. Everyday I am faced with questions which when similfied to the lowest terms equals, why is my toyota so slow? why can't I have leather seats? why does the rain enter my car when there is a rain cover? but seriously, there isn't even an engine, and no petrol is needed even, that's why it's cheap right? So to improve the situation, I will need to change the wheels, fit in a small engine, and have to find some way to buy petrol to sustain the engine, but the trishaw has no rest, so you can just imagine how hard it is trying to change the wheels and try to fit in a small engine when your trishaw is lagging miles behind and constantly being whipped by 4 assistants. lol...

To make matters worse, the owner feels that they shouldn't be the ones paying for this mini engine even. To them, they have already spent the money to buy their toyota. To me, it's a trishaw with an toyota facade only, but it's too late to cry foul because the goods has been accepted and paid for. It's just unfortunate that now I am the one supposed to help them zhng their toyota-like trishaw to look like a merc.

I thought it sounded like a scene out of a chingay parade?

P.S.: zhng is a Singlish term used to mean "modify" or "add glitter".