Wednesday, April 18, 2012

24 Hours - Exhaustion - Crashing

Back in the early days of my career when I was programming DEC VAX computers using the programming language of the gods - Cobol (I am showing my age and my sense of humor by that statement) I would often find myself pulling all nighters.  When you have a system that is supporting the day-to-day operations of a company there aren't any excuses for down time.  So if there was a code problem with a program you had written, you had to worked until it was fixed.  The worst for me was when I was the system architect for a package software that my employer, Accenture sold to the Defense Industry.  The name of that software is still ingrained in my head, MAC-PAC/D.  It stood for something like Manufacturing and production requirements scheduling for the defense industry.  Basically I think some executive came up with the name MAC-PAC/D and then found words to line up the initials.

At that time I was the lead architect for all the system management functions of the software.  When we had to get a new software release out the door, it was always me and 3 of my teammates who had to see everything through.  Over time we developed our own little process of how we would handle things because we would frequently have to be in the office for 48 - 72 hours straight during final system testing.  The process we had made sure that we could all manage to get a little bit of sleep during our 3 days of hell.  We also tried to make it the work fun to allow us to better deal with the stress and utter chaos of the effort.  We brought all kinds of stuff into the office to help us keep our sanity.  And of course we cracked all kinds of very inappropriate jokes.  I am quite sure that me, Steve Norvid and Tom Doering made life utter hell for our one female office mate Lynne Yankowski.  In today's politically correct world I am quite sure we would be fired for some of the stuff that came out of our mouths at 3AM when we were totally and complete slack happy from lack of sleep.  But to her credit Lynne always had great smack downs that put us "men" in our places.  As much as it sucked to do those all-nighters we ended up having a lot of fun.

Oh how the times have changed!  Now when I am called upon by my employer to work for 24 hours straight it is normally done from my house with my bed calling me to come and sleep but I can't!  I mention all of this because I got an e-mail at 8:40PM last night (Monday) from my boss who is in India this week.  She needed me to drive the development of a major presentation that she is presenting to her boss who is an executive that is only a couple levels down from the CEO of my company.  The problem was, she was reaching out to me at 8:40PM Monday evening which was 8:10AM India time Tuesday.  She needed a draft ready for Wednesday morning India time.  Which meant, I got to work for pretty much 24 hours straight to make sure that the presentation came together.  Though it seems like a major pain in the butt it was actually an OK activity because it kept me in the thick of things with my boss.  It was a great opportunity to prove to her my unique talents when it comes to developing communication material for the top leadership of the company.  It was a good feeling to be in the middle of it all.  Pulling an all nighter is a lot different than it was back in the days that I worked for Accenture.  Pulling an all nighter when you work from you own house seems weird as I never normally stay up all night at home.  Even if I can't sleep I usually still go to bed at some point.  Of course Zack heard me still up and about at 3:00AM and decided he needed to check out the situation.  And truth be told it wasn't a true all nighter as I did manage to get about 2 hours of sleep - so it wasn't absolutely horrendous.

But now my energy is starting to drain for the evening.  I turned my final version of the slide deck over to my boss about 1 hour ago and so far I haven't heard any feedback - that must mean my work is perfect  - hardly!!  I believe she is giving the presentation sometime in the afternoon India time.  India's time zone is almost 12 hours different from ours.  I say almost because India uses a time zone that is 30 minutes different than the surround time zones.  Whereas it is 9:30PM here in the Mountain Time Zone of the US.  In India it is 9:00AM.  Normally time zones are different by whole hour increments.  India is among a handful of countries that have time zones that are different by some increment other than a whole hour.  The other interesting thing is despite it's overall size, India only has one time zone.  I don't know if it is large enough to support multiple time zones or not, but every place in India is on the one time zone.

It is time for me to shut down my work computer and head to bed.  I need to round up the puppies and get them headed upstairs.  They would sleep downstairs all night but I like for them to be upstairs in the bedroom as opposed to being able to wander around all night and try and get into something.

Getting to plunk down on my bed will be a shear act of hedonistic sleeping pleasure.  My mind is starting to get to the point that I am starting to lose track of reality.   When I get this tired my brain really  starts to shut down on me and I can't think straight.

Despite my near complete exhaustion, I am feeling this melancholy urge to give Brenda a call.  It has been several weeks since we have spoken and I truly wonder how she and her kids are doing. I won't do that obviously as it is way too late.  I miss having daily interaction with her.  I don't think she really understands what she means to me.  Oh well - when I stumble into bed I will at least fall asleep with nice and warm thoughts of her.  She has always been so kind to me.  She is person who has such a kind, warm and loving personality.  It feels good just being around her.  Oh well - my bed is screaming my name!

Utter exhaustion!

Good night and sleep well!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you take the new position?