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Friday, November 23, 2012

SDCC 2009 – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the ComicCon – A Tragic Comedy - Part 3 of 8

Part III – Crisis mode
Recap –Egypt lied
I told the Egypt team how frustrated and angry I was. I told them that they will run that debugger and give me results in the morning. I told them they could expect to work on this until it was fixed. That meant, all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
They were not happy. I told them that was only fair. I wasn’t happy either.
I called Management and updated them. I told them we would start from scratch on Friday morning. And if needed, we would contact the Specialist again. Management wasn’t happy either.
Friday, I got a lot of resistance to using the debugger. They had theories and ideas. I split the team. One team would chase the dreams and the other team would do the real work with the debugger. This was a concession to have them shut up about the other solutions. They had already wasted a few days down that false trail.
By end of day Friday I was certain it was a data exception and could be fixed. The trick was doing it so other data issues didn’t crop up. The little tiny place in my mind that held the fear of missing SDCC (along with germy zombie rats) shrank a little.
I told them we would start on Saturday morning.  I heard a lot of moaning and groaning.  Again,I wasn’t happy either.
SDCC was a few days away. I hadn’t had time to review the schedule or start packing.  There were things I needed to do to be prepared: pull books I wanted to get signed, search the web for actors that might be attending, etc.
Saturday we worked 12 hours to get the data fix in place and not have other problems crop up. We were close. 
Sunday, we spent another 4 hours and perfected the fix. We even understood what the root cause was. We could even prevent the issue from happening again.   I was able to take a deep breath and relax and enjoy the moment before I tried calling the Customer to have her test our fix.
I couldn’t reach her.  I did call my Management and gave them an update.  The problem was fixed. We just need to have it tested and move it to Production.
Sunday was my birthday.  This was a nice present. The fear of missing ComicCon was eradicated from my mind. I was so exhausted I just vegged the rest of the day.
Monday, I finally reached the Customer and she tested and approved the change. We then moved the fix to Production (the real world).  She tested again and it still worked.
Now the post mortem.  It was time to review the things that went right and wrong. The solution I gave while on the road was the correct path.  I was right and they were wrong.  They lied to me.  So much to digest.  I talked through the events with a coworker. When I got back to my desk I had a message to see Management.
Somehow I knew it wasn’t about Egypt or the production problem. In fact, I knew Monday would be my last day working for this company.
I saw Management.  I was right.  I was laid off.  I think I interrupted Management’s canned speech and gave an update on the production issue. Management gave me an update on my severance package.
I was told to pack my things and say my goodbyes.
I started packing. Someone stopped by. I told them I was laid off.
I’m not sure how it works at other places but where I worked, people avoided a laid off person like the plague. I admit I do it too. You feel awkward and guilty. You also fear if you are seen hanging around you might get laid off too.
I took a load to my car; the first of many. I had been there 10 years. So I had 10 years worth of crap to box up and carry to the car.  When I got back, several people were waiting for me.  They seemed to really care.  The word of my demise spread as I packed some more.  Within 30 minutes I had a dozen people hanging out at my cube chatting and joking and wishing me well.
Totally confused, I wasn’t sure if they were wishing me well or they were happy to be rid of me.  As I left with another, a load no one offered to help with by the way, I returned to new faces around my cube.
Between the packing of junk and well-wishers, it took all day to box up the last of my stuff and turn in my badge.
Management walked me out to the car. I asked about my laptop bag.  The laptop bag was assigned to me years ago for a laptop that had long been returned and recycled. The bag had no value to anyone but me.  It traveled with me to Shanghai and Hong Kong and London.
It was my man purse or ‘bug out ready pack’ as I had everything I needed for a short notice trip. I used it when I went to conventions to carry supplies and it kept me organized.  It had lots of little pockets to squirrel away pens, gum, aspirin, band aids, power bars, etc. I even carried spare socks, underwear and t-shirt if I got caught overnight at an airport. 
So I asked if I could keep this well-travelled and well-worn bag that had no value and had been deprecated to zero years ago. That was my mistake. It is often easier to ask forgiveness than permission. I should have just kept my mouth shut because the answer was ‘no’.
I spent 5 minutes pulling out the items I had hidden in this bag.
So I’m now unemployed and bagless.
I spent a stress filled week and weekend working on a production issue.
I was lied to by my team in Egypt.
My birthday was nothing more than the feeling of relief that a problem was fixed.
Tomorrow I fly to SDCC.

To be continued...


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