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January 20, 2005

Procrastination, and a tale of woe

It's getting late. Very late. Okay, so not really that late for someone who normally goes to bed sometime after midnight, but late enough in light of how much work I have yet to do tonight. By some fateful morning hour (preferably no later than 9:00), I must submit a draft of the training manual that I've only been trying to write for the last month to the editors and prettifiers. (Is that a word? I guess it is now.) If they can rush through it, that will only just leave time to have it printed in time to hand out in next Monday afternoon's class, the first one on this topic.

It's as if I'm an undergrad again, staying up all night (or even two nights in a row) to finish a paper I put off for days, weeks, months, because there was always something more pressing or more entertaining to do. Why do I find myself in this horrific position? I swear it's not my fault this time.

Well, it's a little bit my fault, but circumstances really have conspired against me. First, I'm documenting and preparing to train functions that are only tangentially related to my job. I don't have a thorough understanding of many of the tasks I'm charged with teaching in the sessions I have to do next week, which means that writing painfully detailed step-by-step procedures and explanations is a real uphill struggle. Second, the limited building hours of my place of employment over the semester break put a serious cramp in my work style. I have sometimes been able to borrow a laptop, but not all the time.

Third, the new system I'm trying to document is not really 100% functional yet. Those who are charged with making it work right in time for our switchover at the end of the month have been giving their all to make it happen. But it's pretty hard to explain features and functions when all you can do is guess how they'll work once they're actually configured and behaving properly.

The crushing blow for my ability to complete this particular project in a timely fashion, though, has been the completely unforseen (by me, anyway) interruptions to my network connection at work by the Gopher Giganet upgrade project. Last Friday, my area was "upgraded." As of Friday afternoon, the technician had departed for the weekend along with all of his cohorts, and I and many of my co-workers in the library trenches were left with completely non-functional network connections. No email, no Internet, no library system. No way to work on my project. And no hope of repair until Tuesday morning, because of the holiday weekend.

So I did what I could over the weekend at home, but without system access, progress was difficult. Yesterday morning, back at work, panic was setting in, but all seemed to be well with the network, and I buckled down and wrote.

By yesterday afternoon, it was clear that whatever network problems had developed as a result of the "upgrade" had not been completely resolved. My connection was erratic, which slowed me down a lot. At the end of the day, I checked out a laptop and took it home (where access to the Net continues unimpeded). Worked late into the night last night, and planned to finish my training materials at work today. Arrived at work this morning only to discover that my erratic network connection was now a non-functional network connection. Waited around all morning and part of the afternoon for the problem to be fixed (all the while accomplishing nothing), and finally gave up and took the laptop home again around 3:00 this afternoon.

I have been working intermittently since then, but I'm so far behind now that it's going to be a long night. So I'm stuck, staying up until this is finished. I'm so not paid well enough for this!

Posted by at January 20, 2005 12:01 AM