flexagon: (racing-turtle)
Re-entry to work has, thus far, been pretty brutal. Who are all these people (oh, they're my team) and why are they looking at me like I'm going to do something for them? (Fuck, I'm their manager.)

In a spasm of self-defense, the one thing I did on my first day back was to move three of my people under another one of my people. In one stroke this made him a manager, and gave me three indirect reports.

I'm a boss's boss!
flexagon: (putt putt putt)
Today, my primary purpose at work was to be a lightning rod for other people's anger. I remember being in a meeting once where my manager told me that was part of his job sometimes -- to let people get it all out, in his direction, while staying calm himself -- and apparently I have his job now.

After a while the angrily snapping person realized (and typed) that she shouldn't be snippy at me, given that I'd already intervened in a helping/effective way. I sighed and said it was safer to aim at me than at someone outside the team, even so. Which is true; enough had already made it to the other team in question that the other team's manager had asked me (quite rightfully) to give some communication style feedback.

They are so marvelous yet so prone to spatting, my direct reports; they really are like cats. Shhhhhhh kitties, there now, it's all okay, it's okay, it's okay. No need for claws.

A victory

Oct. 15th, 2016 12:06 pm
flexagon: (1upcake)
Working at Zillian is like living in one of those action movies where there's no villain; the slopes of Everest, or a runaway train, or the harsh landscape of Mars, is enough to provide drama. So here is my primal scream of "still alive" victory: that best engineer who was denied promotion, who I sweated out a comprehensive appeal for with the help of many others, was approved by the appeals committee on Thursday and, unless lightning strikes in the form of an executive overturn within the next few days, will be promoted to my level.

This is huge for my team and, unequivocally, could never have happened without me. For once I really did something. I found out yesterday morning, and spent the entire day in delirious celebration. My engineer gets his due, and, well, nobody will be concerned now about their chances of growing to staff level under me. This can't hurt my standing in the eyes of the new bossboss, either.

Between this, doing some actual email catch-up last week, and having a confirmed new hire starting in January to shore up my down-by-one logging config team, it feels like a streak of difficulties at work is at last turning around.

I raise my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world!

P.S. Why I'm just fine posting this on LJ )
flexagon: (racing-turtle)
I flew out to California on Monday morning, and back on Saturday. The point of the trip was to scheme and get brain-dumps regarding a new project my team is taking on -- and it was also my first trip to the Mothership in a while, due to various other things taking up my mental travel budget in the last two quarters.

They rhythm of the days is completely different in California. They have... they have... meetings in the morning, and I mean like all the time. I realize this is a normal business day, that I've become very used to the east-coast ramifications of being 3 hours shifted off of normal.

Here's how it goes in the East, roughly:
* Morning is for working, working out, sleeping in, being productive or lazy. Only once or twice is there a meeting, particularly local Hiring Committee. There's a smallish pile of email to bash through, and one does.
* At noon the Mothership wakes up (9AM there), and there is a block of meeting-heavy time until perhaps 5 or 6. Emails are also flying. Maybe a few code reviews, but not too many.
* In early evening one eats dinner or takes a circus class, and/or just commutes home or works out at the gym.
* One logs back on from the couch and oh, THERE is the pile of code reviews for the day, kicked out by Mothershippers in their afternoon / my early evening. Also, more emails, ditto. One does the reviews, because the authors may themselves log in later in their evening and one doesn't want to delay them; then one does email until sleepy.

See how pulsed that is? Not perfect, but it's definitely possible to take the day in reasonably focused phases. California, no, it's confusingly all mashed up, and meetings happen ALL DAY so I have no idea when workouts are supposed to happen. I only worked out twice -- should have scheduled more aggressively. I avoided evening engagements and fun things (just had lunch with three friends), and just slept early and heavily. A smooth business trip, kept my brain working; I'd say overall it was productive but lonely, and I'm amazingly glad to be home again.
flexagon: (Default)
Very strange indeed. Do I really own this much clothing? What are these small "cat" things that make noise and expect me to do things, but are so very soft to the touch? Can I really spend all this time in the bathroom, and do more than the most cursory soaping of everything? Do I still have more chores to do around the house? (Yes.)

I realized yesterday that my fifth anniversary at Zillian passed unnoticed during the acroyoga festival last week. Five years -- amazing! It was a weirdly auspicious day at work, too. I had coffee with a guy who wants to transfer to my team, and he's perfect -- a senior software engineer (my level) with some leadership experience and also technical experience in the exact things we're looking for. When he transfers over, I won't have any more open headcount, and will be able to focus on something other than staffing, WOO HOO. I also interviewed a whip-smart young woman in the morning, a better interview than I've had in a couple of years. I strongly expect she'll be a coworker soon, and probably kicking my ass in a few years. Seeing these other people definitely helps motivate me to get my own ass back into gear at work. I've been a fuzzy-brained person with her head in acro-land for rather a while now, and I'm feeling more ready to focus on technical things.

Not that I'm planning to do any less acro. It strikes me that I always hated the saying "stay hungry, stay foolish" when it applies to businesses and careers, but it applies rather better to acrobatics, where "hungry" is a perfect word and "foolish" is going to happen anyway.

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