Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Out Of Office

Spending the week, or be it four days away from the office was a strange experience. Slowly but surely I got used to not answering the phone. Although my colleagues on the helpdesk would say I rarely pick up any calls these days. Why it may be fantastic to be away from head office, there is still work to do and not an extended holiday as many would have you believe. Oddly enough, there is a greater pressure while being on a client's site. You have to deliver the goods and cannot hide behind the masquerade of the telephone. "I'll speak to one of my colleagues and get back to you." No such option. The job just has to get done. Your under close scrutiny, with almost every move watched and it is important to put yourself across in the most professional manner possible. The days do get rather tedious, building laptop after laptop then in the afternoon packing them ready for dispatch. Though I should not be complaining, many others from the helpdesk would easily have swapped placing with me and the ring of the phone was a distant prospect sixty odd miles away.

Premier Travel Inn was comfortable but hardly the lap of luxury. It met my needs for three nights considering I only really spent Monday evening in the hotel. Tuesday and Wednesday were spent enjoying the bright lights of the City and West End. Having Beckton DLR station right next door was great. You suddenly realise that no where across this wonderful capital is too far and with the monorail running until midnight, there will always be time to catch the last train back. Further details of my evenings are posted on my personal blog with a selection of photographs in a FlickR set.

The most satisfying element of the week was going in on Thursday to complete the job and the thank you from the client, just before I left to head home. A job well done and the last time I would be loading laptops for this team following the upgrade to our latest software release. (Which does not have a version number but instead two letters. Although technical it is 4!) It allows for live updates, so the software can be upgraded down the wire, rather all one hundred and twenty machines having to be sent to the office to be reloaded. While this may sound great in theory, I'm not sure what the reality will be in practice. The software looks great and is vast improvement on the predecessor but the true test comes out in the field.

Back in the office, I returned to reality with a bump on Tuesday. I suppose with little to look forward to, the motivation is at an all time low. Having spent a week out of the office and then a long weekend away, the prospect of returning to 49 open calls to resolve was what American's would call a major 'downer'. However, we pull ourselves together (without the aid or tea, coffee or my colleague's strange wake up juice!) Just getting on with the job, getting the work done, coming home and forgetting about it, until the following day. The fact my role has changed with a responsibility for internal hardware means I get a varied work day, not just taking support calls but also building laptops and creating images with Norton Ghost. A fantastic program, which I only discovered four years ago, when looking to find an ideal backup tool during my placement year. Only after accidently screwing up a restore did I eventually start pushing the program to maximum potential. If I hunt, I'm sure I can even find one of the Ghost images I created knocking around somewhere. Oh the memories.

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