Sunday, May 31, 2009

Move It, Buster

Last Friday was moving day in my office. This was supposed to be our last day in our current building — we were moving to a new place somewhere in the next municipality, for the simple reason of "more space, less rent". I didn't record everything that happened to me on this day, of course, because I'm a busy man... so the following narrative is an approximation.

9:30am I arrive at the office to find boxes all over the place; some people apparently came in early just so that they would have enough time to pack. I switch on my lifeline to one of my technical teams (conveniently located about one-fourths of the way around the world) and start getting the usual routine stuff out of the way.

10:00am I'm just finished musing on how I don't seem to have much work at the moment, when our accounts manager drops by. She tells me that our primary client just asked for an emergency change. I look over the requirements and tell her that there's no way we can get everything done by the end of the day. She tells me why we have to. I grudgingly agree.

11:00am I recover from my panic attack to find that I entered some requests for the technical team in the midst of the lucidity. I step over a few boxes to brief my other technical team (the ones who hang around here in Manila) of our sudden requirements, and together we bring things down to the bare-bones action steps.

11:30am My offsite technical team comes online. I tell my management counterpart about what we're expected to provide by today, and he laughs. I then tell him that no, it's not a joke, and I'm met with incredulous silence. After a while, we start negotiating what needs to be done.

12:00nn With development underway, I begin rooting through my stuff to see if I need to pack anything. Having been in the company for less than a month, all I have is a roll of tissue paper and a couple of paper clips. I leave the paper clips at the foot of my makeshift shrine to Bubu, god of swivel chairs and mislabeled timecards.

12:30pm I head to lunch. Seeing that it's the last day we're going to spend in our building, I want to pick out a good restaurant in the lower floors, someplace whose refined tastes I can keep with me, even after we're gone. Because of the crowds, I pick out the place that serves budget Mongolian rice, which gives me gas for the rest of the day.

1:30pm Our accounts manager asks if our technical team can deliver the requirements by today. I do a quick check of the project status and tell her that we've got about a 60% chance at the moment. Fittingly enough, I find that the technical team is asking if their other deliverables can be moved; I do a quick check of the deadlines and offer to move those due dates to mid-next week. There are cheers all around.

2:00pm The whole office shuttles downstairs for a pep talk from the company CEO. As I'm still in discussion with my technical team contact at this time, I spend the whole meeting with my laptop open. Inwardly, I wonder if I'm going to be seen as a dedicated employee, or as a loathsome ingrate.

3:00pm With the pep talk over, I return to our upstairs office to find that the ID card reader has been torn out of the wall, and everyone can now enter and exit as they please. Plus, the phones are offline — although the wireless Internet connection remains online by some miraculous quirk.

3:30pm The local technical team wraps up their work — mostly because they need to pull out of their room already. The other team looks like they're in QA phase, which prompts me to tell our account manager that we're 80% sure that we can make the client's delivery requirement. There are more cheers all around.

4:00pm I find out that the movers haven't packed up the water dispenser yet. I fill up my little plastic mug and thank Bubu, the god of status meetings and wireframe wastebaskets, for his small blessings.

4:30pm The technical team reports that their QA is finished. If Cousin Larry and Cousin Balky were here, they'd be doing the Dance of Joy at this moment.

5:00pm I approve the work and ask them to publish all changes to a live version. Our account manager is thrilled. I cover my chair when an ignorant janitor tries to swipe it out from under me.

5:30pm I confirm that all of our client's changes are completed and working fine.

6:00pm The client tells us that they've made a mistake and ask us to undo everything that we've done today.

6:30pm I come down from my second panic attack, stare at the remains of an office that's half-packed up for the move, and wonder if I'll be prosecuted for homicide if the victim really, really deserves it. Technical team does not take the news well, but they push forward regardless. I remind myself to write a nice thank-you note for them sometime.

7:00pm Just when the work has begun, the Internet connection finally blinks out. I spend the next two hours looking for an alternative connection that doesn't involve my spending money for overpriced coffee.

9:30pm The last requirement is packed up, and everything's been reverted back to what it was. I am amazed at the fact that we could be busy the whole day and go absolutely nowhere at all.

On the way home, I find a stray paper clip on the floor. Bubu, god of columnar notebooks and empty conference rooms, is probably amused.


kyutbabe said...

I'm confused and a little curious. You moved from a small company, to a big company, to a small company again? Or did you prefer submitting the requirements instead of receiving it?

Sean said...

Kyutbabe: Yes, I did... although my current company is more than a few sizes beyond small. I could live with both submitting or receiving requirements - and in fact, I'm doing both in my current job.

And if you must ask why I changed companies, the reason is simple: Because Bubu, god of cubicle dividers and international conference calls, commanded it. All hail Bubu.