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September 24, 2001: About time

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"It's back!" came the cry and a ragged cheer circled the room. There's ten or so of us in this little computer lab - tables, chairs, and rows of laptops and desktops all hooked up, busily running tests and writing code on this software we're creating. And all of us - not just those in our little room, but all the rest of the unlucky who have suffered lo these many days - feel the same relief. It's back. Access to the outside world is finally restored.

Last week, the Big Fish was hit with a rather nasty double-whammy - not just any old worm and virus, but two of the biggest, newest, and nastiest ones out there. So in response, they slammed closed the gates and we were locked inside, allowed access only to the internal network. No more cnn.com. No more yahoo stock quotes. No more hotmail pop3 email downloads. Just annoyingly barely updated webpages telling us what happened and promising us restored internet access 'soon'.

But at last it's back. Perhaps it was only a minor annoyance to those who work locally and get to go home and check their personal email and do their online banking on their own, personal dial-up accounts. But for the few thousand of us consultant-types stuck in hotels or charmingly provincial corporate apartments, far away from our regular happy DSL connections, this loss of internet connectivity left us gaping. It got so bad I was forced to endure primetime TV for entertainment, for pete's sake!

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After a lovely weekend home I'm back down at corporate for another week of fun-fun-fun running test scripts that are woefully out of date, trying to keep the stand-alone servers needed to test this stuff from crashing my laptop every time I blink, and swearing under my breath at the refusal of the system as a whole to play nicely like I'm begging it to. I drove to my apartment this evening with my brain on autopilot until a few well-placed flashes of lightning in the sky before me jerked me out of my self-pitying reverie. The air has smelled like rain all day and it seems there might actually be a good reason for it.

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Second interview this morning for the job. I didn't realize til after we'd talked and he handed me his business card as I stood to leave that this was the Director of Research and Development, not simply one of the other people on the team I would be joining, as my befuddled brain wanted to believe. I think I'm glad of my mistake. I'd have been infinitely more nervous if I'd known beforehand, I'm sure of it.

After this morning's interview, and the phone call that followed it, I am even more hopeful than before, but I am still desperately trying to maintain perspective.

I suppose it's only fair to admit that I'm failing miserably. But at least I'm trying!

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