I was all set for a late night in the office today. The first of several big changes affecting the system I'm responsible for was due to be implemented this evening. I'm not in the least bit technical, so I wouldn't be doing anything especially practical by staying in the office, but on occasions like this, I think it's important to offer a bit of moral support to the guys actually doing the work. You know, make cups of tea, order the pizzas and stuff like that [*].
The change window opened at 6pm, and I was all ready for the long haul into the night.
....I'd set Sky+ for the Apprentice and everything.
A little before 6pm, we discovered a small problem where someone had neglected to give us all the information that we needed. We could go ahead, but we'd be doing so with our fingers crossed, as we wouldn't know for sure what would happen. There then followed a period of discussion, negotiation and general wrangling as we worked out what to do. As the responsible person on the scene, it was my job to represent both my key business users (who need the system to be working) and the development team, both in India and onshore (who would have to pick up the pieces). It quickly became apparent to me that if we went ahead with the work, we would be taking a risk with the system - quite how big a risk, we couldn't quantify, but a risk nonetheless. That was enough for me. Naturally, no one really wanted to make the call, so it fell to me, then, to go find the other interested parties and convince them that we should shelve the change.
To cut a long and boring story short, we eventually cancelled the change and stood the team down at about 19:30... so quite a long day at the office for everyone anyway, and a really long one for the team in India, for whom it was already quite late into the night.
The change has, of course, been rescheduled for tomorrow night.
Same time tomorrow night then. Brilliant! I'm looking forward to it already.
Still, at least I get to watch those clowns trying to impress siralun.
Work is proper bobbins, it really is.
* I've been thinking about this a lot recently. I have always had myself down as a logical and analytical person, and in general all of the psychometric tests I have done have tended to agree with me. It's not that I don't like or care about people, because I do, it's just that my instinct is to analyse first and worry about other stuff (like people's feelings) later. In a way, I've been oddly proud of that tendency and I fancy that I choose not to worry too much about my 'softer' (and somehow, by implication, less valuable) skills. Perhaps I've been a little too eager to put myself into a box and have been happy to let other people do it too; I stereotype myself. In the last few months, I've noticed that my perception of myself has started to change, and I'm starting to take a lot more notice of my softer skills, my EQ as well as my IQ, if you like. In fact, I've realised that, for all my bluster about myself, I'm actually quite a collaborative worker and that I place great importance in how other people in my teams feel about things and to think about the human impact of decisions. Not only have I noticed that these things are important to me, but I've noticed that often I'm the only person in a room to think about them and express concern about them. In fact, I think the only thing that really annoys me at work, or at least annoys me the most, is the way that people are often a secondary concern. I stood as an employee rep, for heaven's sake!
I think this realisation first came to mind when I did an HBDI Brain Dominance test for work a few months ago. You'll have heard of left brain / right brain thinking, right? Well this test divides the brain into four: on the left-hand side we have analytical thinking and sequential thinking, and on the right-hand side we have interpersonal thinking and inspirational thinking. As a team, before we were given our actual results, we were asked to score where we though we would chart, and where we thought other people in our team would score. I put myself way out to the left, and so did everyone else. What the results actually showed were that I was the most 'balanced' person in the team, and that I scored far higher in the bottom right-hand interpersonal corner than anyone else in the room. This surprised me and everyone else, but the more I have thought about it since, the more I think it's true.
I think I'm finally starting to climb out of the box I've insisted on putting myself in all these years. I'm still analytical and logical, of course, but now I'll crush your argument with the logical power of my mind and then give you a cuddle and make you a cup of tea. Or something. [**]
[**] I think this footnote is now longer and more interesting than the main post itself. Oh Well. [***]
[***] It interests me, anyway. [****]
[****] Although I am quite easily pleased, to be fair.
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