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Bored out of my mind

What shall I do? I'm a consultant and now I'm supporting an app we've developed. The usual: extra features, maintenance, user support. But also, the big part of it is helping the users with the data. We get data from 6 different sources and obviously it’s often screwed up. The application will flag all the anomalies and then it’s up to the users to figure it out. Well, they usually have no clue and as a result I’m sitting here for hours, staring at the numbers and truing to figure out what’s going on. I’m not a domain expert, it’s very hard, but the worst of it is that I’m so bored. I can’t help it. I spend at least a week each month doing this and my contract is till the end of the year. I’d bet they’ll extend after that.  I’m definitely looking for another job.

Anyway, that’s another day for me comparing xml files, excel files, copying, removing and modifying data. I’m bored. Any advice? How do you deal with the most boring part of your job. I’m trying to tell myself that for some people it’s all they do, but it doesn’t help.  There are still 4 month left. Help! I feel so tired too.

Donna
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

maybe you can write a comprehensive guide so that users can figure out the anomolies on their own?  they'll save money and you'll save patience.

Kenny
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I'm bored as well, so I created a stupid post:

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=179265&ixReplies=16

By the way, I learned that you're not supposed to make fun of Eric Sink's name.  I'll have to take a mulligan on that one; I'm out of sorts today.

Forecastle
Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Yeah, is there any way that when you flag the data you can stick one (or multiple) comments along with it to give a "best guess" of what the problem is?

KC
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

KC, are you bored or lost?

Forecastle
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Nasty.

The best thing that you can do (if you're going to stay there at all) is to concentrate on automating as much of the analysis work as possible. Any time you find yourself doing the same kind of comparison or summarisation twice, write a routine to do it for you. Then write more routines to act on the summarised data, and so on. Many programmers don't end up doing nearly enough of this kind of thing when it comes to their own job, curiously enough.

I've been in this position and managed to largely replace my drudgery with a VB app that other people could run and use the output from. It would take the raw inputs and summarise them on multiple levels and in multiple formats. This then freed me up to do a far more interesting and rewarding job later.

Best of luck, anyway, it's a nasty situation to be stuck with.

PS: Incidentally, if faced with doing this again, I might look at using Python instead of VB since it comes with XML and COM support, it's cross-platform, it's less syntactically challenged than Perl, and it's easy to write in and to link other languages with.

Arkestra
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Thanks, guys,

I've already automated a lot of rules and validations. You are right, I need to go more. We are using .Net here, so it’s not too bad. I’ve also the only developer on this project (left from the team of 4) so it  sucks not to be able to discuss ideas or simple brainstorm the problems. Business just expects it to work. I guess I shall stop complaining by now. Thanks again!

Donna
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

How 'bout meeting me for a coffee, Donna?

Strictly non-work related.

Dan Dare
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Dan,

Cofee?

Dinner would be more appropriate :)

Patrik
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Perhaps you could suggest that you should be training a permanent employee to handle your functions so there would be backup and information transfer etc.  The first thing you train them to do is the part you hate.

John
Thursday, August 26, 2004

i stumbeld onto this web site cause i googled im so bored please help me out and i just wanted to say hi to everybody because i a nice person and i really bored

a bored kid
Friday, August 27, 2004

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