Good always overpowered the evils of all man's sins...

Well, the logic is sound even if reality isn't. So since my last posting I've actually began to do real work. And with all that new found knowledge I'd gained from the never ending training, I began a new journey of putting it to use. Hopefully for good and not evil. Thats the intention anyway.

Now the work begins

I've started working cases and working with other engineers, being more part of the overall team and less of a "he's one of the new guys". People know my name now too. Yet while I'm more familiar to the people, I feel like I'm totally unfamiliar on the material. It's so vast and all encompassing. Every case is a different environment and the software is used and utilized in completely different ways. I truly feel the weight of the task at hand. One moment you hit the nail on the head, the next moment you're lost at sea with only Moby Dick to keep you company...and he's trying to eat you.

I never have to worry about getting phone calls at night. I don't have to worry about being on call.

Begin and begin

I came in from a systems engineering & linux admin background, yet now I feel as if I've completely forgotten how to list files. Maybe I'm being too harsh on myself, maybe I'm just really dumb, maybe I'm just pushing myself to hard and expecting too much from myself. I feel like the knowledge I get just bounces off of me and is forgotten into the wind. And thats what scares me the most. That I'll learn something and then forget it. So I need to start taking notes of my own and not just those I put into each case. I'd put them in a notebook, but being a software company pens and paper aren't as common as you'd think.
I'm not complaining at all. I feel so challenged and invigorated by it. Everything is new and different. Every engineer engages every other engineer almost weekly if not daily. In fact, I've worked with a few engineers out in San Francisco and also have a level 2 engineer in Costa Rica on my Team 3. So having back up is practically guaranteed. I don't feel ashamed asking for help. I feel sheepish when another engineer points out something so simple I would of fallen over it if I were walking. I seem to have a lot of the D'oh moments. They say its all part of the process. I just expect more from myself.

What I mean is

For example, I have this one case for about 3 weeks. I can't find anything wrong, but I feel I'm missing something. But looking at the data, I can't see where a problem could be. Yet the end user keeps saying there is a problem. Its frustrating for him and for me. But the more I dig and search, the dumber I feel. Yet, going through all of this tells me that when I finally solve the riddle I'll be more knowledgeable about it all. So its a doubled edged sword. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. But even talking with some other engineers, they smile and nod saying they completely understand. Ugh...
But then there are cases where the end user doesn't know anything. So I do my best to not over commit to anything and do as much hand holding as I need to. Other cases just shouldn't be cases that get up to my level. Like sometimes they'll ask a question about where documentation is. It's all good, but sometimes you're buried up to your neck and the next time you're in the clouds.

Pile it on

This past week I was "promoted", so to speak. And when I say promotion I mean I got thrown into the den of lions. I am officially put on what is called the P1 shift. My time frame is from 2pm - 4pm every day. If anyone calls in with a priority 1 case, I'm one of 10 engineers MUST be available immediately. I don't know what I'm doing, but I have a good support team behind me. And while I'm nervous about it, I think I'll either sink or swim with it all. But again, you're forced to learn even as you fail. This is but one of my fresh new experiences I've received this past week. It wasn't the only fun surprise I'd receive. By 'fun' I mean 'why me?'.

No matter where you're going, you're always there.

One of the engineers on my Team 3 is going on vacation next week. Good for him. But the process is that if you leave for any amount of time, you have to pass off your case load to other engineers so they don't fall behind. So if you have 23 cases (default max amount), now you're going to get more. While this may be a pain, everyone picks up because we know what comes around goes around. When I go on vacation or out to train, someone will pick up my cases.

It was a dark stormy night when

So there I was, when Jack comes up and explains about his time off and asks me to step in for his DSE spot. Now, a DSE is what we call a "Designation Support Engineer". It doesn't mean you're always assigned any case for a specific client, it means that you're aware of whats going on with that client and take weekly calls, etc. Basically you're familiar with them and their environment. So who is the client? Discover
So Jack tells me this, and of course I'm going to say yes that I want to help out. But inside I'm telling myself "You are so screwed. And you're doing it to yourself". But I feel that I have to get wet if I want to learn how to swim. So in I go. But maybe I shouldn't be diving in the shallow end of the pool. I'll find out soon enough. Fun surprise number 2! Look at me Ma, no hands!

But wait, there's more!

And then Friday night, I began chatting with an engineer thats going to San Francisco for a week of training. Since he's gone, he too has to hand off his cases. Of course, I agree to help out as much as I can. So now I'm thinking that I left work on Friday with about 7 cases in my queue, but I'll get back on Monday and have about 30. Wheeee.... Fun surprise number 3.
Yet through it all, I still feel relieved. I never have to worry about getting phone calls at night. I don't have to worry about being on call. I get paid well for what I do. I have really intelligent people sitting all around me. And there's a ton of tools available for me to do my job. So it's challenging as anything, but its rewarding in the fact that you get to feel accomplishment every time you close out a case.

What's this site about again?

So this past week I've had three new beginnings. While I feel its a heavy load, I still smile because this is what I want to do right now. It's hard, it's new, it's extremely difficult, it's got to be rewarding. Maybe not today, but in the future I'll look back and see the steps I've used to get where I'll be. Everything takes practice. Only Hollywood talks about naturals. Reality proves them wrong, time and time again.