Saturday, April 28, 2007

Counting Down

As of today, I have eight weeks left in my working life. My last day in the office is Friday June 22. (Yes, I know I said June 30; I'm burning some vacation.) I'm beginning to feel very weird; the words "lame duck" occur to me regularly. At least one of my colleagues has said to me, "I can't give you anything new to do."

I'm trying to clean up (or at least document, so someone else can clean up) all the weird little messes I know about, that I've never had time to take on. My team has decided that the guy who will "take over" most of my critical stuff is a newbie to the group, who lives on the other coast. I'm not arguing with their decision; in the long run, or even the medium term, it's not my problem. However, one of my problems with my current job is that I never get to do anything technical; and this same guy was complaining to me recently that he never gets to do anything technical; so my prognosis for the long term of this arrangement isn't good. I have a feeling that I'll transition everything to him, and then he'll bag the whole business for a job as a sysadmin somewhere.

My boss also wants me to "teach the engineers" how to do what I do as a technical consultant. This is a very odd request, which I don't think I can satisfy in a mere 8 weeks, since a good deal of what I do is a side effect of the fact that I'm (a) an English major, so that I enjoy writing and do it well, and (b) an outgoing people-oriented type, who likes to talk to people about what they are trying to do (and then turn it into technical specs). The engineers he wants me to train are nice guys, to a man; but every one of them is also a techie to the core, which means he doesn't
like to write, doesn't write well, and doesn't know how to talk to people - or, more accurately, to listen to them and understand what they're saying. The other problem with this is that my preferred method of communicating is to write stuff down, in great detail; and all the engineers hate to read, and mostly don't read my doc because it's "too long."

But there's nothing I can do about all that. I think I'll just have to do the best I can, and then walk away from it. Someone asked me yesterday whether I care that there "won't be anybody" to clean up "all the little messes". Well, I do care; but I also understand that there will never be a time without a bunch of little messes to clean up. You have to put a stake in the ground; and I've done so.

But I still feel very strange.

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