Friday, March 10, 2006

What a week

Well, yeah. As well as having a reasonably intense email conversation with Gary over whether we should be optimistic or pessimistic about the "end of oil" (not long now), work has been a peculiar beast.

So: Monday
Talking to one of the developers, who informed me that he foresaw the project being a massive failure, more than one head rolling, and a lot of work fixing it all up. At the moment it's March; the main programming of the project is meant to end in august (although the schedule is already slipping behind), and then there's going to be testing, user acceptance, and then deployment in January 2007. Two months in to the programming and already one man of the 6 man squad is feeling less than hopeful. Not good. (I say six, but it actually works out around 4, due to other commitments.)

Tuesday, heads down, coding most of the day. Ask technical leader about a bit of the spec I'm not sure about; I was told that we'd need to record a URL or something. Turns out, the spec is actually for three diagrams (front, left side and right side), with the ability to click on certain parts and record details for that area. Not only this, but the areas are different in different scenarios, and different records needed different images. Great. So I play with some GDI+ stuff, and get a very simple (box based) example working by the end of the day.

Wednesday, turns out I don't actually need to do the whole "image map" stuff. That's actually on (yet another) document, and I only need to decide whether to show the button to display the image.
I do, however, need to call a business rule, which will, depending on various parameters, decide something else that I need to pass back to the container. (This really did call for MVC, but all of the code for this, apart from my little bit, is in one massive form, which is almost incomprehensible, takes 15 seconds to load in VS.Net 2005, and is very temperamental).
So, I take a look at getting the business rules set up, and the wrapper (a facade) for the business rules engine working on my machine.
No go, the business rules engines requires the schema to be in a certain directory on a D: drive, and the only D: drive my machine has is a DVD-ROM drive. Nice. Of course, the business rules engine (BRE) wouldn't tell me this directly, only throw format error exception.
So, in the end, I have to work remotely on the team's dev server. And it all works fine.

During the day, got a call from an agency I'd been in touch with before I took this job, and spoke to the nice lady there. Said I wasn't happy, and she said she might be able to arrange an interview for Friday morning.

Thursday morning, come in, rename my DVD drive to E:, push in my USB drive, and suddenly I have a writable D: drive (HURRAY!). Put schema on there, and it all works like a dream.
Decide to try and make the facade for the BRE use the BRE on a remote machine. No go. The API expects the component to be run on the same machine. This would require every user in the company to have an instance of the (expensive) BRE installed on the machine. However, the API does have a 'Test' function that allows you to execute rules on a remote server, so I use that. Doesn't seem to work. Pull hair, bash head, and eventually discover that the curious error I'm getting means that Service Packed and non-SPed versions of the BRE API are not compatible. Sort this out, and it works like a dream.
However, point this whole thing out to project lead, and I get landed the job of re-writing the whole BRE facade as a server component and a client component. ARGH. Surely this sort of thing should have been investigated before.
Struggle with using some Infragistics controls, which I really can't see the benefit of, but get some work done none-the-less.

Agency lady said the Friday interview wasn't going to happen, but I sent my CV to 'Agency B', who said they'd forward it on for me.

Today, well, that's been fun.
Coding aside, which hasn't been too challenging apart from a repeatable "Out Of Memory" error on a machine that clearly had at least 2GB of RAM available, phoned nice agency lady, who said she'd been chasing up some leads, but none of them sounded that great.
Email Agency B, but no progress had been made there. They phoned me later to say that their client wants to have a chat with me (well, I think they used the term 'interview', but that word is scary).
Spoke to my manager about not really being happy about the job, and that I felt I'd been a bit mislead about what the job was. He tried to deny it, totally misunderstood what I said I didn't like (he thought I wanted to do business analysis!?!), but it felt better to be honest with him rather than keep on avoiding the issue. He also seemed to say that he didn't want to use the skills and knowledge of the team, and that he didn't trust one of his 'senior' programmers to do some of the bigger parts of the project. Great.
This lead to having a, rather long, chat with the agency bloke (let's call him pete) who sorted out this job. I explained my feelings about this being a code monkey job, and feeling that was a step backwards. I also said about some of my reservations with the project (although didn't mention the peculiar management style). Pete, understandable, wanted me to say what I was going to do about the situation. Didn't mention job interview at this stage, as it's not certain, and the job is in a different arena from what I'm used to. Said I'd get back to him on Monday.

So, really, the new job isn't working out. There's so many things - mainly little things that probably seem petty, but they all add up. I don't want to be in the situation where I was 2 years ago where I was basically just surfing the internet all day and work, bored off of my brain box, and feeling really annoyed when anyone asked me to do any work. Conversely, I don't want to be in a situation, like at my previous job, where I didn't get support from higher up the food chain.

I'm a bit stuck to know what to do. In a way, I'm a bit narked. I didn't take the other job I'd been offered because I thought it might be what this job has turned out to be. However, at least with the other job, I would have had exposure to a forward looking team, rather than a whole company who reward long service rather than performance, and have a very much 'one size fits all' approach to working terms + conditions. If the company can't realise that the programmers have no need to be treated the same way as call center staff, then I don't really feel that encouraged that they'll meet my needs.

I realise this is a long, rambling post, but I needed to get some of this off my chest. I'll probably try and revise it tomorrow, but I should at least be able to get some sleep now.

No comments: