Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Go-live marathon

So last weekend was the big go-live for my project. Thankfully it was pretty big success. Kind of. Although we managed the upgrade, with no major defects and all 10 countries live it was a bit of a struggle and I ended up working 27 hours straight!

It was quite weird actually - we started at 3pm on Saturday and were expecting to work until about 2am (the joys of a global system - it's all about minimising the downtime for the "important" countries). Unfortunately, things didn't go quite according to plan so we didn't really finish until 5/6ish. I was supposed to be back in on Sunday at 8 for the start of testing, so I figured, I'll just work straight through.

At first, I was pretty knackered, but by the late morning I was surprisingly awake. The afternoon I seemed to keep going without any ill effects, but by 5 I was flagging. I thought about trying to see it through to the last checkpoint call (7:45), but decided home was the right decision!

I started a film at 8 to try and not destroy my body clock and wake up at 4am, but I fell asleep anyway, woke at 11pm, back to sleep, then up at 8am to spend another 8hrs online. Fun eh?

Got some great comments though, so I'm hoping that it won't have done the old career prospects any harm! I'll try and post some thoughts on the go-live in general later this week.

Monday, 4 May 2009

What do I actually contribute?

Just had lunch with some friends in Greenwich (The Yacht - not one of the best places for food if you're interested). Two of them work for the same company as me. Sam is currently thinking about becoming a volunteer constable for the London Police. He says he is bored of the same middle-class people all day long and wants to see a bit more of London.

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend from uni, she's looking for jobs at the moment, specifically one for a charity. I'm sure she won't mind me quoting her: "I want to know I'm making a difference for people who don't have a voice for themselves".

At the same time, I'm currently in the process of applying for a scheme at work to allow me to take a year out and go to work for VSO. Ideally I want to get the chance to go back to Africa, but I'm pretty open to going anywhere.

So what's the thinking behind all of this? I genuinely believe that more and more people my age (late 20's) are thinking about what their job actually means. What do we contribute? Am I proud of what I do?

For me, it's a bit of a strange situation. I've lived in Ghana, I've done volunteer work before. I tried (unsuccessfully) to get into charity IT work when I came back and settled for a company that felt a bit more personable that some of the uber-consultancies.Obviously I have previous in this area so it's not unsurprising that I would ask these sort of questions, but I do find it interesting that others my age are asking the same questions.

If I was a charity, I would be falling over myself to make the most of this - instead of taking on stale, ageing workers who just want to get out of the rat-race, why not employ young, hungry graduates with a few years experience and lots of ideas. You get enthusiasm, energy and dedication, all for significantly less money than their more experienced counter-parts!

Either way, it's something that I think is becoming more important for graduates. Saving Bland Incorporated such and such a year on their IT infrastructure just isn't as fulfilling as knowing that the company you work for makes a real difference to people's lives and I for one look forward to being proud of the company I work for.