3 Walls, Plenty of Stories

Illustration by Vidya Vasudevan,
  • **NOTE!! I’ve changed the name again, this time to Cubicle-Cultures because, believe it or not, Americans aren’t the only people that sit in cubes all day. Go figure.
  • **ANOTHER NOTE: One thing I forget to mention is that all the experiences I write about are things I’ve witnessed or been a part of strictly from within my cubicle…thus the title of this journal. It’s important to point that out because those of us that work in cubes might not get the time to leave them and experience the outside world…other than the break room (coffee) or bathroom (where coffee eventually ends up). If we could install toilets, a microwave, and a fridge in our cubes where I work, I’d literally have a home away from home that I’d defend to the death or until we get moved to another location of which I have zero control over.
  • ***LAST NOTE: My opinions are strictly my own. Whether you agree or not is up to you but feel free to leave a comment and let’s get some dialogue going. I’m not here to be malicious towards anyone or anything…ever. These are my thoughts as they happen. If I’m pissed in the moment, that’s how I’ll write it and it’s the same with other emotions and situations. Oh…and if bad language is offensive to you then you might not enjoy this. Yes, there’s cursing interspersed but that’s what’s going through my mind at that moment. Keeping it real folks.

Journal for the week of 3/20/17

0752 — In.

0831 — So. I had to come in Sunday night at midnight to update an amount on a single screen and have the business test it. All went well, except for the fact that I forgot to send an email letting folks know it was done. That turned into a fire drill of calls. The person running the implementation window called 2 of my managers who, in turn, tried to contact me. I slept through my phone ringing (my ringtone is “La Grange” by ZZ Top, so you’d think that would wake my fat ass up…I fucking love that song) all morning only to awake to a couple of voicemails, texts and so on. So, at 1000, I rushed into the office and sent the email along with apologies to everyone and their cousin. I even called the person that ran the window and apologized to her. The guilt for Sunday was damn near overwhelming but so far today no issues came up.

From the cubicle: Dress codes are for a reason. They’re also gender biased in favor of women. Sexist…yes. Complaining…a little. But, there are folks that really take it passed the limit. Every day it’s a “seen or be seen” fashion show of how women can get away with wearing what they want. It’s also something that can’t go unnoticed…just sayin’. If my wife is reading this, it’s only an observation and I’m sorry for any inferences you may be thinking. I could write an entire chapter on dress codes in my next book but I enjoy being married.

1254 — Started listening to tunes for an audition coming up this weekend. Not much else going on outside of helping to fill out a spreadsheet with rather useless information regarding apps our team handles and how to access them and who grants the access. Mindless at best.

1630 — Out.

0830 — In…a bit late but I needed the sleep.

0911 — Yesterday was one of the worst start/stop days in history. Couldn’t get more than 5 minutes on one thing when someone else needed something. I hardly got anything done. The frustration spilled into practicing last night. Spent 3 hours of my life playing like shit.

0933 — Normal amount of BS meetings today.

1012 — We’re getting sign off tomorrow on the (previous amount) PREV AMT field issue I mentioned in earlier entries. Our internal customer has been nothing short of great! There’s always a thin line of trust between IT and business units and my hope is that we’ve made an ally over there.

From the cubicle: I’ve been texting back and forth with my oldest daughter. She’s had a new car for 2 months and already slammed it into a guardrail. Because of a fucking spider…A SPIDER!! She claims that a spider fell in front of her face causing her to hit the guardrail. I’m questioning that story but it’s her car, not mine. She’s fine, no injuries, etc. The car has a nasty dent in it along with the usual scratches. I just can’t see a spider causing anyone to lose control of their capacities. I’m a worrier and just want her to get her shit together.

1548 — Finally got my student loan payments straightened out. Excess payments were going to the wrong address…duh. Was also working with a customer to create a Service Catalog request. These are quick turnaround requests, usually 5–10 business days. Little to no coding required. This one was for verbiage updates on certain statements. I got 3 guys that can take care of them pretty easily. Just need this day to be over so I can get back to drumming. Not a bad day just tedious shit. I wish we had interns!!!

0803 — In.

From the cubicle: I sit near a window (first time in 26 years of IT work) and can see trees damn near being blown over. It may not seem like much but just having a window to look out is a big deal when you’re in a cube farm. Even the sun’s glare on my screen in the beginning of the day is a beautiful sight. I’ve heard that, in some places, seniority plays a part in determining who gets a “window seat”. Here…not the case. It’s hit or miss depending on where free cubes are. Some folks have multiple plants in their cube enjoying the sunlight more than I can. A buddy of mine is in that privileged class and has those fucking vines growing (and extending) out of his cube stretching across the top and into other cubes. That has to be annoying as hell. Who thought of bringing vines (basically kudzu) into work? I’d like to find that person and slap the shit out of them. Cube farms can be set up pretty much any way management wants them. I’ve always heard that the floor plans are designed to utilize space in the best way possible but putting people in the middle of floors, with no possible way to see the world, is torture.

1113 — Had to leave right after I got in because I forgot I had a doctor appointment. All went well. I have sleep apnea and had to take the chip from my c-pap in and speak with my doctor. She told me what I already knew, I’m getting sleep just not quality sleep. That apparently warranted a $30 copay. I had blocked 4 hours of sick leave but the doc saw me early giving me time to go get my car washed. A rare win-win.

0800 — In.

0842 — Joined a conference call for a tax implementation in one of our test environments. Fairly routine but so much validation has to be done that it could get messy fast. Two of my guys run the whole thing and I couldn’t ask for anyone better. Our business units check all the balancing reports on their end and let us know when we can move to the next set of steps in the plan. Normally there’s little to no issues but if there’s a large discrepancy then, obviously, it has to be resolved. The implementation is scheduled from 0730–1230 and is usually done well before the scheduled stop time. In the interim, I’ll be looking to multi- task while on the call…much like I’m doing now by writing this.

From the cubicle: Why, near the end of the week, do people say, “It’s almost Friday”? Well….no shit. Every damn Thursday several people will hold conversations that will include that statement. I’m thinking it got old about 8000 years ago yet the phrase lives on. I’ve not trained myself to keep from rolling my eyes every time someone says that to me and I’m not gonna. Next time someone is talking to me and says it I swear I’ll make a smartass statement inferring to either “no shit” or “what gave it away, maybe because it’s Thursday?”. Yes…I’m a world class asshole and have the medals to prove it. It’s also on my job description under “other duties as assigned” to be an asshole.

1032 — Trying to find out who a particular person assigned to a TSO ID (a user profile for getting on to the mainframe) is. There’s a document about 2.5 years old that has a massive list (16 pages) of who has ID’s to get on the system but who knows how accurate it is, however, I did find who I was looking for. I’m on the list twice, for two different profiles I’ve had over the last few years, so I think the list is legit.

From the cubicle: So, my sister-in-law referred a friend to me for voice over (VO) work. The friend, who goes by Suede, was AWESOME! What a joy to speak with her. She’s made her living playing music full time and I’m envious. Her voice is beautiful and she’s done VO work in the past but it’s been many years. It was great to share my knowledge, contact, and other stuff. I certainly encouraged her to chase that dream and I’ve no doubt she’ll be great. Her musical pedigree is vast enough that her name alone will give her an advantage over others. Seriously, it was great to talk with someone so nice for a change.

1440 — Listening to tunes I need to work on. 12 songs that have given me fits when I practice…lots of stops that I’ve not caught on to yet. It’ll be another 4 hour practice tonight…I’m looking forward to it. Same shit different day here but I’m starting to catch on to the ATM process. Had a good call with the senior developer and other trainee this morning. A shitload of programs to modify but they’re all a bit tedious which is good, it’ll help me pay closer attention to the formatting. We’ll be making the mods on Monday and I’m actually looking forward to it bona fide nerd that I am.

From the cubicle: There’s smokers here. I can smell them from a mile away and it’s making me sick. I quit last year and can’t stand the smell anymore. If they would just wash their hands and/or brush teeth and use mouthwash it would be greatly appreciated. Damn it stinks!!!

1553 — When comes to projects that affect data that runs through my systems I would expect to have a seat at the table from beginning to end. Not the case per an email I just got from our Service Manager. He and a project manager just hit us with a project that will probably affect our end of month (EOM) runs. The data from those runs is used immediately by our member information team and marketing. They expect it to be available within 2–3 days of the start of EOM. The project has already been kicked off and we were never told it was coming. The project deployment date is 4/5/17. Why TF am I hearing of this now and not sooner? Total bullshit. I can’t wait to see who gets blamed if EOM blows up…it sure as hell won’t be anyone on the project. This is so typical…finding out after the fact when shit is going to PROD and then the fucking scramble afterwards in the warranty period (usually a 2 week period where bugs are worked out). It’ll come back on my team for the expectation to fix whatever fuckups happen because they didn’t include us in the planning phase. Some of this is typical because due diligence wasn’t done thoroughly enough. The rest of it will end up with blame and finger pointing.

0730 — In.

From the cubicle: Got in a small debate with a senior level subject matter expert (SME)…who will CRUSH me every time. She’s a true expert on the systems she works on and a joy to work with. The knowledge residing in her head could be training guides for the next 20 years or more. The last thing I will ever do is question her knowledge on practically anything be it work related or not. She’s probably the smartest person I’ve ever met in the entire IT industry. I’ve met other folks like this at other companies and, when they retire, the entire place falls apart. Not their fault. They provide documentation and occasional training but no one really has the time to sit with a SME for weeks, if not months, to absorb their knowledge. I have a team full of SMEs and their documentation is quite good but none of us really have the time to cross-train. Management insists on it but they can insist all they want, without scheduled in-class training it ain’t going to happen.

From the cubicle: The atmosphere is dead today. Being a Friday I can understand but I think it’s the weather, raining and depressing at the moment. Fridays here are not a real hotbed of activity till the end of the day when a perceived emergency will always arise. It’ll happen between 1500 and 1630 and everyone goes into panic mode. Upper management seems to get over-involved and starts applying pressure till things are done. I hope I didn’t just jinx the day.

1350 — My entire email application has just died. This shit happens more often these days than in the past. Frustrating as hell because when it opens back up I’ll lose all the emails and chats I had open.

1426 — Tried to add some on-call listings to a database that I’m have edit capabilities for. Couldn’t do it. I had to call our service desk (some places call it a “help desk” but apparently we have to be different) to see what’s up. They saw that I’m still in the list with edit rights but I still can’t create one. They’ll get back with me but the bosses are pissed that I’ve not done it yet.

1637 — Quiet afternoon. No major mishaps.

From the cubicle: The death of the Trumpcare bill is now the hot topic. I’m not hearing too many, if any people, that are disappointed. Myself included. Oh well.

1700 — Out.

I hope you enjoyed this little read. If so, please click the heart below and feel free to share it with all your friends who, in turn, will probably use it as a means to cure insomnia.