Tuesday, October 6, 2009

OT - It's Got to be 5-O'Clock Somewhere

Breathe...... breathe...... breathe.....

(long stretch)
(big yawn)

Feel better?

No, but I might make it up to human after a night's sleep. Night >= 5 hours.

For the past year I've had a major client doing a major online job for a major community organization. (Sorry to be vague, but I don't want this story getting back to the subject, or my name floating around.)

Problem is, the guy is a nut. Perpetual motion. Puts me in charge of one aspect or another (even the entire project) then changes his mind after I bust my ass to accomplish something in record time. Crappy job but great exposure for my freelance company.

He went through assistants like paper napkins at a barbeque. Of course, they were all little blondes half his age, then they'd quit at 90 MPH because they were so creeped out.

So his online project has all kinds of bells and whistles in his personal world. Fine, I think, I've done this. Who is the audience, what do you want to present, what do you want it to do, then make a list, decide what is critical for launch, what can be set aside as an upgrade and go from there.

Oh no. Too easy. Too sensible. Too much of a risk for it to work right the first time. Dumbass decides that he's going to put info up on a whim. Or more accurately, have me do it. Then, after cajoling me into staying up until 3 AM to meet an arbitrary deadline, he changes his mind 18 hours later and edits it according to his new tastes.

Multiply by 15 times, you'll get an idea of my workflow.

I get asked why I freak out at him over setting deadlines. Gee, no reason. Just being a bitch on general principle I guess.

Let's not forget the time he called me on NEW YEARS EVE. AT HOME. To launch a critical "opinion poll" on a non-important issue. ASAP, of course. Well I got it running. He was happy. January 2 it's down. Seems a couple of the entities involved wanted to wait a while so they could all display it at once. I swear, I wanted to buy him a hooker so he would leave me alone for a week or so.

What kills me is this guy can make a server sing. He can almost hold a conversation in assembler language. He can make a database whistle Dixie and do the Watusi, all while wiping your ass. That kind of natural gift for server administration is rare, I've only seen it in one other person. I can't do it. He has his uses, when you can keep him focused on a project. Other than that it's only amusing if you're not in the crosshairs. Or the same state.

IT committee chair appointed. Then removed. Then reappointed. Then reremoved. Then forgotten about. Then reappointed in an ass-busting panic. We started taking turns buying rounds of beer at committee meetings. Birthday in Vegas (the one I posted about here). That cleared my head. Then I found out I was pregnant. Damn, no more beer. I have to do this straight. The committee chair was the same age as my dad, has a daughter my age with a family so we got along great. Any port in a storm.

I finally gave up. I get professional acknowledgement for putting up with this yutz and some other business out of it. So I just let the thing slide.

Maternity leave over the summer. Not really a vacation, I'm fielding client calls. Giving birth after the anesthesia wore off was still less painful than working with Dumbass.

Back to work. What's this? Changes are afoot. There's a new board of directors and the chairman is the new sherriff in town. "Hey, Dumbass, where exactly is that $60K? And you have a top-of-the-line manager for the online stuff, why isn't it running?" Dumbass is no longer in charge.

So I thought.

Restarting the project. Salvage what you need, pitch what you don't. You're in charge run it.

Ummmmmmmmmmm............ still need my server guy, Dumbass.

I start a blog of changes and updates and plans. Dumbass does an upgrade while I'm editing content. Flush, down the drain. Blog it - "Hey people, look out, we had a wipeout so don't overwrite each other. We'll straighten out permissions later."

Phonecall from Dumbass: "Hey, let's keep things positive it's obvious that was my fault." No, Dumbass, it's business. That's a potential conflict for everybody and it doesn't matter whether it was you and me who found it, or Sonny and Cher. It's legit. And I'm POSITIVE of that.

Clearly someone pulled him aside and explained reality because he is the quintissential gentleman now. I call the shots, I set the priorities, he explains his end and I make a decision. Yeehah!

What's that, Board of Directors? You want this launched soon? No problem. Dumbass has been working for months and I can crack that whip. Monday is go time. And your three most critical needs are A, B, and C. Got that, Dumbass? Great.

Zero hour. The project is beautiful. Everything where it should be. But where's Dumbass? ON "sales calls". Ten minutes to the bomb drops and he FINALLY tells me he's finishing up the databases on his end. And repointing URLs. Everything works except the aforementioned A, B, and C.

Day 1 after launch. Still not working. So he twiddles with it. Then he twiddles some more. Then breaks it. Oops. Can't make his test sandbox run in production. Transfer info in database A to corresponding fields in Database B. This was supposed to be so easy even I could do it. So I am scrambling to get the stuff in the database into something temporary so we don't look like the Three Stooges. Too late.

So now that brings us up to one hour ago. The Board of Directors understands exactly what's going on so it will make my schpiel this evening a little shorter. We're lining up other IT guys and seeing how we can neutralize Dumbass. Neutralize: think Warehouse 13.

When this gets done I'm on to someting easier. Like swimming with a millstone.
And THAT is why I am freaking out at work here and why alcohol is looking really really good.

Thanks for letting me vent, kids. Please offer a prayer to whatever deity you may acknowledge that the rest of this week is less exciting.



  1. Poor YBA. While I understood about HALF of what you were talking about, I can completely empathize. I have had clients like that..and bosses like that. I guess no matter what business you are in there are always those "focus on one thing" types that make life miserable for everyone around them. you say...they have their uses. The problem is the rest of us end up cleaning up their messes and dealing with the fallout.

  2. oh, YBA! I get it. I do. About half of the technical stuff, but all of the people stuff. Lined up for that ride a few times myself. Glad you have a Board that gets it, and hope they and you can get it all sorted out soon. Hang in there!