Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Today I'll be the crazy lady on the commuter train home.

It's bad enough I'm dealing with stalkers outside my building but this whole training users how to install a frickin' simple software is ridiculous.

We have a full staff of trainers. They get paid to train.

I'm a technical analyst. I get paid to coordinate, implement and manage the technical enhancements.

How cost efficient is it for the university to have a technical person (1 in 3 for the division, mind you) be pulled out to show a user how to point and

Fine. I voice my objections and am told suck it up. So here I am with a list of scheduled classes that the training department has scheduled for me. (Like I
had a say in the days. Forget I have a million other projects and meetings that need to be rescheduled because you didn't consult me.)

What? You didn't confirm the lecture room? Well, how about verifying internet connectivity and projection display? No? Excellent. Thanks for your help.

Then my director gives away our demo laptop and I'm resorted to using another dept's laptop.

Then they cancel training dates without informing me so I can insure the lecture room AV/IT tech guys are notified.

Then the IT guy never shows up this morning and I'm left demoing by using screenshots that I thankfully printed out.

Then, I'm told, "Oh, we changed the class on Friday to next Friday." "Oh, Did you tell me? What about booking the hall? How about IT/AV? Am I teaching this
class too?" Excellent. Thanks.

And now the training department is snickering at me and avoiding me. I'm sorry. You have 6 able body members in your team. Our tech team has 3. 3! We are
one man down and 3 brains short for the amount of projects we have.

And why doesn't anyone, and I mean anyone, read the damn memos and broadcast messages? For three months we've discussed this upgrade. For weeks, we've
mentioned requirements. Why on the eve before upgrade, do you call and ask us the questions we answered in meetings, calls, emails and broadcast messages? And
for heaven's sake, if you're in the department that is implementing the upgrade for the university, reading these memos and interoffice memos re: upgrade is

"Doesn't anybody notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

How do I know you didn't read it? Because yesterday, you told the director of our department that you'd have your training team broadcast a message re:
upgrade. Meanwhile for the last three weeks, a daily message has been broadcast to users and a certified email was sent to the administrators and IT
technicians. And worst of all, our director said, "Good idea! Thanks!" Which means, she didn't read it!

If you take credit for this lady, I will lay down some street justice like your suburbian butt has never seen.

Monday, June 28, 2004

It's time I forget how sweat clothes don't flatter me

My hubby went grocery shopping with me this weekend.

He couldn't understand how I can spend $100/week on groceries/household items/drugstore supplies.

He spent about as much on fruits. He apparently read in Men's Health that fruit is good for you. So he bought 3 of each apple possible, pears,
grapefruits, raspberries, bananas as well as an assortment of nuts.

I asked him how in the world he expected to eat all these fruits before they went bad. He just looked at me like spoiled fruit was unheard of.

I'm gathering apple muffins will be the breakfast of choice for the next week.

So I'm interested in signing up for a self defense course but can't find one that is speculative or just plain too expensive.

I've seen classes in the range of $20 to $500. And honestly, I think $20 ain't buying me a lot of reassurance on the trainer's self defense techniques.
And for $500 I want to be able to do wire work without the wire.

So I'm contemplating some type of martial arts. But when I say contemplating, I'm really saying I'm liking the idea but me barefoot and screaming is a bit
unrealistic. Not to say it's not possible. But citygirl is a girly girl. I hate to admit it. And I spent many a years in high school denying it but I'm a
frilly, pink, lace loving girl.

But I do realize the need for self awareness and awareness of one's surroundings. For gosh sake, I had to call campus security and file a suspicious
person complaint this afternoon. I was walking back from a leisurely lunch with co-workers when a man followed us to our building. Now, my boss has asked me to
leave early and my hubby wants me to walk around with my letter opener.

I guess it's long overdue for me to really look into some sort of defense class. Now, I must wipe the girly girl, icky gym sock smelling images out and
focus on protecting myself. There needs to be a class focusing on the girly girl. Then it could be a defense and beauty/fashion tip class rolled into one.

I know. Stop being embarrassed and do it.

I promise that before the week's through I will research and return with my plan of action to take a personal defense class.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Support MEAT - Mammals Eating Animals Today

Ok, so I've been swamped at work and haven't been able to write for a while
but I thought I'd pop in and share a funny site.

Apparently, a bunch of students at a local high school were a bit peeved by
the rhetoric they heard day to day from vegetarians and decided to create their
own club:

MEAT - Mammals Eating Animals Today

Honestly, I'd support them. They are selling t-shirts as a fund raising drive
for Heifer International, which provides farm animals to third-world
communities. I'm waiting for a baby doll tee. That cow is adorable. MMMM Cow.

Check them out.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Since I'm on a kaiser, pet peeve #2 for PMs

So I'm a few hours away from my first cooking class.

I'm nervous yet excited. I always picture myself doing something horribly wrong. In this case, I'm imagining I set a fellow classmate's hair on fire or
chopping a digit off.

So I'm wondering what if anything I should get for my stepdad for Father's Day. Usually, my brother and I don't purchase anything. Instead it's been
dinners. I honestly, wouldn't mind getting him something if I knew of something he might like. I think a nice dinner is fine.

After pulling an all-nighter, I got the upgrade documentation and executeable files up for the clients. I'm still suffering the after effects of sleep
deprivation and I think I have a tooth ache. What a way to enter my first cooking class.

But for the time constraints I was given, I think I handled it pretty well. As discussed before, I'm not going to get a pat on the back so I will give
myself one now. ::pat pat pat:: I should make a like hand cut out on a popsicle stick and pat myself throughout the day. :-D

They have scheduled me for two weeks of demos for the users. Honestly, in this day and age,if you don't know how to click on a link on a website and
follow the instructions, you're either 90 and/or living under a rock. But I oblige because I know the help desk is going to get calls.

Just like writing the install instructions shriveled my intellectual parts, so I fear these demos will be. How many times do I need to go through typing a
url and clicking "Click here to upgrade."

I literally had to pull screen shots of every screen they will encounter, just to avoid the frantic emergency call that they saw a screen that wasn't on
the guide. The install guide for a simple gui based product is 16 pages long. 16 freakin' pages long! And no one. And I mean no one from the account support team
has reviewed it. Now, call me crazy but, if your the person dealing with the customers directly, wouldn't it be a good idea to skim the bloody book?

The training department has reviewed it and even downloaded the software.

The install technicians have reviewed it and even downloaded the software.

I suppose it's too much to ask.

Besides, they can always contact me or someone from the technical team, right?

While I'm ranting, I will continue with my second pet peeve of being an IT project manager: Account Managers.

Off the top of my head the top offenders in the AM world are:

1. Account Managers that promise the world.

2. Account Managers that routinely break protocol.

3. Account Managers that nag

Reasons why I'm bugged by the above type AMs:

1. By breaking protocol, 8 times out 10, skip a key point/information that is necessary for us backend techies to accomplish your client's request. This in
turn leads me to play the rousing game of tag email where I hold the project in order for you/or me(usually when you're too abashed to tell the client you have
no clue what you're talking about) to obtain this piece of info.

Which btw, remind me, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EMAIL ME A THANK YOU. I hate one line emails. "ok." "thank you" Let's infer your thanking me for putting up with
your idiocy.

If a process for requests has been established use it. Use the request management tool. Don't call the request in (exceptions made for the head huncho
of course) or worse IM me the request.

2. Account Managers have not had any experience with the programming or technical portion of the request. Therefore, more often then not, they give
unrealistic time goals without consulting us 'geeks' in the isolated chamber room. [More on that another day]

As a courtesy, speak to us before giving out a timeline.

3. Nagging gets you nothing but a title, a negative one at that. I understand your client is anxious. I understand you're the ones getting the calls from
them. But a) you should have never promised them a rose garden and b) there is a thing called managing your client.

Now I've been a account manager. I know the special needs of clients. I know that you always want them to feel they are your priority regardless if they are
a small or big organization. But I can honestly say, I never promised them something without full info on the process it would involve. I'm sure some felt
I was a bit too hard fisted but my groups always got their projects done before or on the deadline. All followup reports were high marked. And to this day those
clients call me for advise or simple chit chat.

According to my darling hubby, I'm not alone in the AM hater's club. In his world, it's PMs he hates, which is actually funny since I am a PM. But in all
fairness, I have met some good AMs. But like everything in IS/IT/IR (whatever they call it now) they get sucked into that vortex. It's a strong force, that
vortex. I hope my sanity and intellectual bits survive for as long as they can.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Pet peeve of PMs, Gi-normous babies and Feeding NYC

So my pet peeve of being a project manager is that when you do your job well, you get little fanfare. When you screw up a job, it's like your name is
plastered everywhere.

I was riding into work this morning, when I realized that every project I've given blood, sweat and tears on has been acknowledged but a week later, it's

It's not until a year later when another project that ties into my previous project's outcomes is when people recall the amount of work I did to make it
tranparent to the clients and departments.

Now, I know, you aren't supposed to toot your horn and you shouldn't work for recognition. But gosh darnit, when I see people who sit on their tushes and do a
half ass job or even worse, get some lackey to do it and then take the credit, gets a letter of commendation from the dean, I get a bit peeved.

I try to tell myself, everyone gets what they deserve. Do your job for your satisfaction. But I can't help but wonder, what am I doing wrong to not get that
pat on the back? Or am I harping on it too much? It's not like I don't get pats on the back. I do. And come on. Do I expect a pat every time I mention my

Part of it comes from working for someone that did what I just described above. I worked my fingers to the bone for her, and never a congratulations or
good job. Then I'd find out that she said she did the research. So I've been protective of my work.

Ah, I'm over it now. I can reach my back. I'll pat it when my ego needs it. :-)

Oh, my other cousin had a baby boy two days ago. In stark contrast to my cousin's baby girl who weighed in at 5 lbs 9 ounces. We have 8 lb, 21 inch long,
full head of hair (plus goatee, says my cousin) baby boy. He stayed inside for almost 2 weeks before she had the c-section. Guess he was comfy. And in a week,
the same cousin that had the boy is going to her eldest daughter's high school graduation. What a month for her!

Mom and my stepdad are coming over for dinner for Father's day. It's also his birthday. I'm not going crazy. Although, I'm contemplating trying to back a
splenda cake. We'll see. I've kind of stopped planning well in advance.

I have started cooking lunches for both me and my hubby. I started a few weeks ago when I was home. That was a chore. Now, I like the idea. I figure, on
average, we both spend $7/day on outside breakfasts and lunches. By cooking a yummy meal at home and making a few extra portions, I've got a great lunch while
saving my dollars for a weekend treat.

Only problem I find is, I love beef and left over beef isn't my favorite. So I find myself cooking meat for dinner but a separate dish for lunch. Lunches are
usually chicken, ground beef, pork or fish. Even pork isn't all that reheated.

I'm happy to report that I've only made one sandwich for my hubby in two weeks and I include a tiny snack or breakfast daily.

I even went a notch higher on the OCD scale by baking banana nut muffins for his co-workers one morning.

I swear sometimes, I'm out to feed the world, well at least the upper westside of manhattan.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Just a little whine with my late lunch

So I was told I am scheduled to go to Boston for a conference.

The conference I wanted to go to in Chicago is being attended by my boss.

It's not that I don't like Boston. It's that my new baby second cousin was just born and I was hoping to visit. [Yes, a tad selfish, I know.] Hopefully, I
can visit my good friend and her daughter (my first foray into being a lamaze coach, thank you very much. [::pantrygirl pats self on back::]).

Well, I don't mind the conferences. I learn a few things and practice those networking skills, that I hate. [I'm a geek. I like to sit behind my computer
and let my work speak for me. I suppose this is my weakness.]

It just that I've gotten sedentary. I'm just whining. The 90 degree weather with high humidity is making me crabby. My hairs all flat and I now have wings
that are reminiscent of the feathered look we all wanted in the late 70's early 80's.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

This isn't a daycare center. The reason you get a paycheck.

As a project manager, the hardest part for me is the "passing of the buck".

Many a times, I encounter passing of the buck from supervisors, managers and directors. It seems it's human nature to pass off something that you dislike
doing and/or have no clue how to do. Although understandable, I feel as an adult who freely accepts the responsibility, you should suck it up and do it or tell
me right off the bat, you don't want to do it/you do not have the expertise/knowledge to do it.

I hate being strung around to find out that you didn't do a thing. Don't tell me that you consulted with someone on it and they didn't get back to you. That
is no excuse.

What's worse is when you don't come to me and tell me the situation. When I have to ask you how a task is going to find out it hasn't been addressed, you
look bad. I don't care if you're above me in the totem pole. If you agree to be part of my project team, I expect the same from you as of all the other members.

Oh, and finally, if you agree to be part of my project team, do not expect hand holding. If you need assistance, let me know and I'll try to assist. But do
not expect me to pull your sub-team in and assign tasks (or worse pull 6 people outside of your sub-team to work on your task). I will work with you to
coordinate your team's tasks but do not expect me to do your job.

Thank you.

It's 7am! Go back to bed.

I went to work early so I can leave early. Good grief people, there are too many of you out there at 7am.

I saw more cars on my block, more people on the streets and I couldn't get my morning cup of Joe because the lines at the three coffee shops were out the

[No wonder Starbucks opens cattycorner to each other.] It's no wonder everyone is grumpy in the morning. I could only imagine how the trains were.

There is something to be said for working later hours. I miss this morning mayhem.

Monday, June 07, 2004

In the age where everyone can contact you, sometimes you need to hide away.

It has been a while since I wrote.

I placed a self imposed sabbatical last week. No PCs. No hours vegged out on the couch. I even left my cell phone at home, occasionally. I spent the week
focusing on my home life and my personal life. [Ok. My mother in law was supposed to come but she cancelled. Instead of going into to work, I decided I
should take the time I was scheduled off and decompress.] I took the week off and started making my husband lunches to bring to work. We tried it before but
he kept forgetting them. Since we restarted this, he has forgotten lunch once (and I honestly think it's because I packed him fish).

I learned that by focusing on my home life and what I call the "wifey duties circa 1950's", I had less of a desire to cook. Seriously. By the third day of
cooking lunches, I was so uninspired, I started making sandwiches. I spent less time in the kitchen last week than most weeks when I'm working a full time job.

And all those things I wanted to do at home, put up the pictures, clean out my boxes of trinkets I had yet to unpack, etc, were all placed in the back

Not to say I didn't do anything. For the first time in a long time, I did things for myself and at my own pace.

I walked in the park. I took the dogs for a leisurely stroll. I went to the bookstore and lounged with a book and a latte. I went to the movies and saw a
movie I wanted to see. Even my husband started taking me out on mini-dates again. [With our schedules, mini-dates have become non-existent. By the time
we're both free, we're too pooped and too pre-occupied with getting some household chore done.] We went for a walk down on Broadway and went to the
movies. We went window shopping. We went out to dinner.

We even socialized. We went to dinner in the West Village with his cousin and cousin-in-law. And we went to an amazing ball game with my brother. [Go

I haven't felt the both of us so relaxed in a long time. Honestly, we've been so pre-occupied with the sale of our home and the purchase of our new home that
I can't recall the last time we were this relaxed.

I really thought this week would be about the "50's wifey" thing and it turned out to be so much better. I will tell you, giving up the pc was hard. My
husband says the pc is like my husband and my husband is like my side dish. If I'm not working on it, I'm researching something, playing something or listening
to something. But by day four, I think my shakes were gone.

Oh! My cousin had a baby girl! 2 weeks early. My other cousin is 6 days late. Looks like June is going to be a big month for my family.