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Dr John Hawkins

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Posted on 2006/02/24 05:41:28 (February 2006).

[Thursday 23rd February]
I had been relatively positive thus far on my business trip, but today, perhaps because the jetlag was wearing off, I found myself sinking into something of a malaise. One of my US based colleagues kicked off the day with a bit of a rant about his job, and I guess this had an infectious effect on me. I spent the day in a downward spiral from which I didn't seem to be able to recover. I went out in the evening with the usual group, to a very meaty restaurant, which didn't help my mood. After looking through the menu I said I was going to give dinner a miss and just go back to my hotel, but as standard politeness dictates they all felt compelled to persuade me to stay. I think as the evening wore on they probably started to wish they hadn't bothered! I just seemed to be incapable to produce any kind of positive mood, and anything they said even remotely work related provoked a string of ranting from me.

I'm really thinking this job just really isn't right for me again. Today more or less marks four months since I started. If I think back to my previous job, although I had trouble settling in, I had definitely started to like it by this point in time. Maybe I need to give it a bit longer yet, but at present no prospect of any improvement seems to be on the horizon.

Comment 1

Ah! You're such a spoilsport! *Trouble-fête* one would say in French, which is more pertinent, I believe.

Posted by Sheri at 2006/02/24 07:49:44.

Comment 2

Keep at it John! I like the idea of an independant spirit inhabiting the huge corporation that is MS. Gives me some hope!

Remember the snowmen!!

Posted by Nigel at 2006/02/24 09:26:50.

Comment 3

Well it has been only four months... Come on!! Plus you are suffering from jet lag and that affects your body and mind for sure...

A bad day happens, sleep over it and "reboot" :)

Then if it doesn't work for you... oh well we'll get to that on another post! :)

Posted by Lox at 2006/02/24 11:37:50.

Comment 4

What is the official length of time then, after which I am allowed to say I don't like it? I would have thought four months would be enough to get a decent idea...

Posted by John at 2006/02/24 16:45:29.

Comment 5

200 years

Posted by Lox at 2006/02/24 16:59:02.

Comment 6

On a second thought four months are enough I guess...

Posted by Lox at 2006/02/24 16:59:29.

Comment 7

Well I think I might be lodging a complaint with ISO over that particular standard then...

Posted by John at 2006/02/24 16:59:58.

Comment 8

May I ask you what exactely you mean by "no future prospect etc etc?" is it something that they told you or just gut feelings? Is it something to do with the project that you are working on or is it the colleagues and stuff like that?

Posted by Lox at 2006/02/24 17:03:58.

Comment 9

Yes the project is long, and I don't really see a great deal of value in the end result - it is just basically doing what a lot of other companies have already done, some of them two or three years earlier.

We are cloning sheep basically. Yes, the science of cloning sheep is immensely complicated, but the end result is just a regular sheep. No-one looks at a sheep and thinks "wow - a sheep!", do they?

Our system has one particular architecture, which we have to change quite a lot to make certain things work in Japan. That is going to be a lot of laborious work, but there won't really be any sense of achievement from that. For one thing, if it had been designed properly in the first place, we wouldn't have to do all this legwork, so it just sort of feels like a waste of effort. For another thing, people seeing the end result will have no appreciation of what we've done, because they don't know or care about internal architecture, and to them it will just do the same thing as every other companies' product. Oh and then there is the fact that we are so, so late. The stuff we are trying to make has been available in other products for two years already. So there is nothing new or exciting or unique about it.

Then there's all the stupid politics, the fact that the working environment is not that great, the money is not good enough, I am not stretching my brain, it is a waste of my talents, and so on, and so on.

To sum it up, I just have no feeling of job satisfaction, and I can't see that I will have any in the future.

Posted by John at 2006/02/24 17:24:56.

Comment 10

when i first read the title i thought that you had been busy in the kitchen again - making japenese-style mayonaise - now i just feel silly!

Posted by kev at 2006/02/24 20:04:54.

Comment 11

Kev: Am I allowed to say this? You are a Wag!! There! Said it (Hope it's not offensive!! :)))

Perhaps Malaise is Mayonnaise that's gone off?!

John: Not being qualified to comment on DV or whatever, I just have to ask if you'd feel the same way doing this work elsewhere - like the US or the UK for e.g? I guess the software industry is full of moments like these when you have to basically "keep your end up" in the marketplace by offering the same features as competitors. Like airconditioning in cars. They just about all have it now because some company decided to give it away as a bonus. Everyone had to copy. I don't suppose all those engineers and designers who burnt the midnight-oil to copy the idea for their companies vehicles got any satisfaction either...

Posted by Nigel at 2006/02/24 22:41:58.

Comment 12

This writer DOES say "wow - a sheep!". Picked the wrong analogy there, Nonny.
Back to the spinning wheel - got blue wool on today - appropriate enough for you?

Posted by The Sheep's Mum at 2006/02/25 10:08:25.

Comment 13

Johnny-boy!! I too 1 day to sleep over it, because yesterday night I was definiately not in the mood to write something "good"... :)

It seems that your project is not challenging enough, but I think that in your industry for an engineer, it's not easy to jump to high-tech new fronteer projects right from the start... MS is a big company, they'll test your guts endlessly before landing you a project about interstellar broadcasting (or whateve is cutting hedge technology in your field)... It's easier that a small company will do it because they are more flexible and crazy to invest money in something that it's not quite there yet...
I think that maybe 4 month are not enough for you to qualify for a "jump" to the next level (nicer projects). Do you know when this project will finish? After that what do they have in mind for you? Maybe after 6 months since you started you could have a chat with your boss... If you did this after 4 months would seem too "hurried" in my opinion... Usually bosses like evry logic things "eerrr MR.XXXXxx it has now been more than half an year since I started and I was wondering..." sounde a lot better than "Errr Mr.XXXxxx It has been four months since I started..."

Posted by Lox at 2006/02/25 10:59:53.

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