Vacation Time

Today is my last day on the job before starting a 2 week long vacation to Australia, visiting Sydney, Port Douglas, and Uluru.† Iíve been asked several times if I got a GSM phone to be able to take calls there in case something went horribly wrong at the office, and as a follow up, if Sprint has service out there (when they hear Iím not taking a GSM phone).

I make it a point in my work to make sure someone else can effectively back me up on all aspects of my work.† There are some people Iíve worked with who seem to think that if they are indispensable, then the company canít fire them.† However, it also means, to me, that they canít be promoted, canít go on vacation, and canít even have an evening at home with family.† So, when I design things, or fix something that broke, or make changes to make something work better, I make sure to include as many team members as I can, so that I can do things like take my wife out, and not be tied to my phone, worried that it may ring, even when Iím not officially on-call.

To that end, I spent a lot of time over the past few weeks giving a lot of history to the newer members of our team, so that they understand the decision making process that led us to the system state weíre at now.† Why do we have to reboot Terminal Servers every weekend?† Because of a memory leak in Windows 2000 that our application and settings trigger fast enough to require it.† Not just ďwhich servers do we have to have up 24/7?, but why those servers, and not others, even if theyíre in the same priority group.†† This has been tremendously helpful to them in their day-to-day work, evidenced by the lower volume of questions theyíre asking to other members of the team.

So, after all this work, how are things set?† Does everyone in the team have the exact same skillset at the same level as me?† No, because weíre different people.† Will it maybe take them a few minutes more to solve <insert particular problem here>?† Maybe, because I may be the most knowledgeable person on that application, but that doesnít mean that they canít fix it quickly.† So I spent half of the day today re-iterating those facts to people who are worried that the company will fail if Iím not here (it surely wonít – Iím not that important).

Now, then, off to vacation – Iíll write a blurb about it in 2 weeks, then a few days later about how busy I am catching up!

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September 2007
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