Tag: work

Reference call

When I got into work this morning, I had a voice message from someone asking for a reference for a person who used to work for me back when I was managing staff instead of managing projects. The eerie this is that except for the name that they gave me, I have almost no memory of the person whatsoever. (My memory for these kind of things can be best described as abyssmal.)

I went back to my email archive and did a search on the name and got a partial explanation. The person in question worked for me from July 2001 until June 2002. That’s four years ago. In any event, reading through my email refreshed my memory and I am happy to give the person a good recommendation. But I must admit that I was shaken by the fact that the name drew no immediate memory on my part.

An unknown raise

My raise goes into effect today, as do all raises for folks in my group. That means our new raises show up on our paychecks two weeks from Friday. However, slow as things are bureaucratically, I have no idea what the raise is. I have not yet met with my boss and no meeting has been scheduled. There’s still time, I suppose, but who knows, I may have to wait to get my paycheck to find out how I did.

A tough problem solved!?

I had a plan going into work this morning: that before the morning was over, I would solve the problem of calculating email availability stats that has been plaguing me for the last severals months. After using some test data to test my data aggregation script, and then running it against real data, it looks like at last, it’s working correctly. The numbers my script is getting are very close to what is currently being collected manually.

Never mind the fact that I think there are numerous statistical problems with the model being used to calculate the availability of the email at my company. I am not a statistician enough to demonstrate that they may not be as accurate as they could be. But at least I’ve got this problem out of my hair and I can move onto other things.

Coming up for air

I have been immersed in ASP.NET code since 7 AM with ne’re a breath taken, but I am coming up for air now, and my office has materialized around me.

It’s strange, but when I get into what my friend Jim called “progammer mode”, the physical world dissolves around me. I don’t see my office, I don’t hear my phone ring, I barely even hear the music I am listening to. I’ve been programming for a very long time but I’m not what I’d call a natural, and so I suppose it takes all of my concentration and focus to do it well. On the flip side, time zooms by and before I know it, it’s almost time to head home for the weekend.

People around the office were attempting to arrange a happy hour after work, but it never seemed to materialize. It’s probably better because Dad is coming into town this weekend and of the weather holds, he’ll be at the house around 10 PM, and that gives me some time to get some errands done before he arrives.

Keeping up with the times

I was placing an order for some office supplies through work today. We’ve recently switched supply companies and I had to get a new account with which to place the order. As part of the process, you are prompted to put in a password, and then, as many places do today, you are prompted to select a “security question” in case you forget your password. This is something like, “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “What was the name of the first school you attended?”

One of the questions was the following: What was the name of your first spouse?

What with the divorce rate as high as it is, I suppose it was only a matter of time before this question showed up on the list. I wonder how many people actually pick this one?

The Project Resource Tool

I rarely talk about work, and specifically what I do there, but I have recently been working on a small, but interesting project that I think is worthy of description. It’s a project resource tool.

You see, we have numerous project managers for the endless list of projects that have to be managed. Naturally, there is a limited supply of people to work on those projects and often there is conflicts over who get whom to work on what.

For a while, the way that this has been managed is through email and Excel spreadsheets. Here’s how it works:

Read all about it

Sick day

I wasn’t feeling well last night and so I took a sick day today. I slept in late (until 10 AM, which is very late for me these days) and I felt a little better when I woke up. I have mixed feelings about sick days. On the one hand, I think it’s important that you don’t get your coworkers sick by bringing whatever you have into work. I also understand that getting some rest is often the best medicine one can take.

On the otherhand, I get bored out of my mind in twelve seconds if I am sitting around doing nothing (unless I am sitting on a beach in some tropical climate, or on Vermont lake in the summer). So naturally, I couldn’t just sit around at home and do nothing. Today, I ran errands. I needed new boxers and went to Old Navy and got five of them. I needed to get some softballs for the softball team. I went to Modell’s and got 16 of them. I needed to get some cat litter for Zeke and went to Petco and got 2 boxes.

Then I came home and made myself a turkey, bologna, salami and cheese sandwich. Since then, I’ve been reading work-related email. I often have this feeling that the really interesting stuff at work happens when I am not there. I don’t have that feeling as much as I used to, but every now and then I get curious. And I am well on my way to finishing up Third Time Around by George Burns. I’ll probably finish it up tonight and Eric will be glad to know that tomorrow I will finally get started on 3 Nights In August, something like 6 months after he first recommended it.

And so that’s what a typical sick day is like for me. I suppose it would be more exciting if I were doing something like going to Magic Mountain, or sneaking off to a Yankee game, but then I’d just be making a lot more people potentially sick.

The funny thing is: I feel much better. I’ll know how I feel for sure once I see how the Yankees fair against Texas tonight.

Voicemail bloopers

I change my outgoing voicemail message every morning to reflect the current date. It usually goes something like:

This is Jamie Rubin. It’s Thursday, May 11. I’ll be in the building all day today. Please leave me a message.

This morning, when the system beeped to record my outgoing message, I coughed and, of course, had to start over. The next several minutes were hilarious because every time I started to record, I started laughing because I thought it was funny that I coughed. Soon it snowballed and I was laughing because I was laughing. Finally I gave up. So today, the last sentence of my outgoing message is barely understandable because I am laughing so hard as I say it.

Interestingly, the four or five voicemails I have gotten today almost all start off with the person leaving the message laughing at what they heard, and telling me how funny it is. Well, it is, but I didn’t do it on purpose.

An amazing invention!

I’ve come up with an idea for an invention that will revolutionize business and allow me to retire rich and famous, and I’m posting it here to claim priority to it. My invention is this:

TiVO for Business Meetings

Can you imagine being able to pause live meetings? Or better yet, skip through them, or even attend them at your own convenience? This is just what everyone who attends meetings constantly (as it sometimes seems I do) needs!

In fact, I need it so badly, that I am willing to give up priorty on the invention to anyone who invents it, so long as I get a free copy to use at work.

All right, inventors, you have your orders. Now let’s see if you can deliver!


About a year ago, I got on the mailing list for COMPUTERWORLD, which is an IT trade magazine. Because I am an IT professional (I guess software developer counts as IT) I get the subscription for free. It is an awful magazine, I’m afraid and the few times I’ve tried to read it, I’ve found it dreadfully boring. It seems to me it’s a bunch of people trying to show the IT world just how important IT is.

In any event, it’s become routine for me to toss the magazine into the recycle bin without even looking at it. Even the guy who brings my mail to my office at work knows to do this. It is also, I’ve found, difficult to escape from their grasp, once they have you.

However, this morning, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I received this email message:

Dear Jamie Rubin:

This is your final renewal notice.

Your FREE subscription will expire May 29, 2006. Please act now and renew to continue your subscription without interruption.

I can only hope that if I take no action, they will do as they threaten and “interrupt” my subscription. But I have this sneaking suspicion that, like the NEW YORK TIMES (who continued to send me papers for nearly a year after I canceled my subscription), I will not be that lucky.

4 Margaritas

I just got back from El Cholo, a Mexican restaurant in Santa Monica having spent the last 4 hours or so there with friends from work. During that time, I consumed four Cadalac Margaritas, which is a record for me. I had a great deal of difficulty leaving the restuarant, in particular, walking in a straight line. Pam, however, made sure that I got back to my hotel safely.

In the previous paragraph, there must have been 20 typos because, as it turns out, I can’t type as well after consuming four Margaritas as I can without the four Margaritas, but then again, I might not have had as much fun. So, thanks go out to Danny, Eric, Pam and Rita for a great time tonight. For everone else, don’t worry, I am drinking lots of water at this point (and spilling only small portions of it) and I should be up at 6 AM and ready to go tomorrow as usual.

Any spelling or grammatical errors contained above are due soley to the fact that I have consumed four Margaritas and in no way should be interpretted any other way.