Monday, February 20, 2006

Backup & Restore

The title to this entry, sums up my life in the work place at the moment. I make a backup of a database, I restore a backup of a database, my colleagues work on it, carry out testing and then the circle starts again. Suppose it is to be expected as part of the landscape as I slowly take over more 2nd line responsibilities. Although I find myself stuck between a rock and hard place. While I am keen to spend less time answering the phone, dealing with simple 'first time fix' issues, there is a fear of the complex and critical problems which have system wide ramifications. The honeymoon is over, from here on in it will be a long hard struggle to the top of the mountain and I may not like some of the experiences along the way. Gone are the days of closing calls for fun and getting crazy statistics. Although I must admit I have an able (and sometimes willing) teacher who will do his best to bestow all his worldly knowledge onto his apprentice. Yet I find my confidence lacking, when my cursor is hovering over an execute icon, while connected live to a client server. Is it just me, but could this one click turn me from hero to villain in the time it takes for the DTS package to run!

Our Exchange server was upgraded last weekend, so we arrived in the office on Monday morning to discover e-mail still down due to numerous teething problems. For the next few hours, something strange happened. It was as if the clocks were running slow. E-mail has become the life blood of any modern business. Life grinds to a halt, with your outbox full of messages to be sent and you can only partly action support messages that have come in over the course of the weekend. Just imagine if I worked in academia and had to deal with a constant influx of pointless messages from students that missed a lecture. What we need is a strategy for dealing with e-mail, a company policy if you will. Some say that if an e-mail is important, the sender will either call you if you don't reply or send the original e-mail again, with some words such as, 'Has this been actioned?'. Personally I think my e-mail etiquette is quite good, I have only a few subfolders and tend to action as much as I can and delete all the joke, spam and unnecessary FYI e-mails. One of my constant irritations is someone who uses the subject heading for their whole message, believing that the recipients (usually the whole company) will not go as far as to read the full message by opening the e-mail. Although I think I could improve my use of e-mail in the workplace. As in life generally I tend to hoard messages and although use an archive pst. I have been warned by IT for not keeping the size of my mailbox down. Although archiving mail does come with several problems, particularly when you want to get to a specific e-mail from a specific date. I have three CD-Roms full with PST files from my last two work places and tend to keep copies of all my e-mails, just for my records. Why? I don't really know. Maybe years in the future, I can come back and laugh at that silly joke e-mail that went around the office in April 2003. Perhaps someone knows the best strategy for dealing with e-mail, it will be greatly appreciated. I will however, not expect the answer of deleting everything once it been actioned. There must be a a better option than that simple methodical approach.

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