Wednesday, March 11, 2009

California Livin'

It is the beginning of March, which signifies in this area a wave of blooming flowers and gradually increasing temperatures. It is a beautiful time of year, truly, when everything is green and vibrant -- unlike the summer, when the hills are brown and devoid of life.

Chris from the UK asked for me to send a picture of some blooming flowers, so here is a rather pretty one outside of my building at work:

Considering my home town in Canada is about 23F right now, I consider myself quite fortunate.

Chris also mentioned that Network Operations is a good industry to be in, as there is no work unless something breaks, or you need to do upgrades. In my Ops job with my previous company, this was partially true, at least for the first couple of years I was there. Now, however, it is an entirely different story.

The network that I support in my current job is so massive, and with so many pieces of equipment and varying technologies, that our team is fully engaged -- all day, every day -- in issues, problems, and proactive network management. Our hours per week vary, but they are almost never 40. And the days we are on-call, well, we can forget about a peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. It just doesn't happen. I actually broke the holster on my pager the other night, stumbling down the steps at 1:00am to find the source of an issue. Collateral damage, you could call it.

I love the challenge, the adrenaline, the moments of crazy until you finally isolate the source of the problem. I don't love the long hours or the midnight pages, but it comes with the territory.

One of my teammates once asked me, "How do you stay so calm during incidents, when the world is falling down, and everyone else is flipping out ?" The answer is simple: I'm trained for it. My EMT studies, and years of service as a volunteer dealing with medical and other emergencies, have taught me to remain calm in the face of chaos. I live for the moments of panic, and for the opportunity to offer comfort. And while a broken router module or switch chassis cannot be calmed in the same way as a human patient, I am all for finding the action that gives a satisfactory resolution.

It's a tough industry, and a tough job -- both of them. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

The blooming flowers at the beginning of March aren't all bad, either.


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