before we talk, what is your job function

I understand the concept of delivering a message to the audience. I also understand of not wanting to create enemies by saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. For example, if I say that a new business process or software package improves your life by making a daily task take 40% less time. If you are a DBA, your response is — great. I hate typing in these commands or explaining my scripts to the latest new guy in the office. If the DBA’s manager is in the room, it translates into —- great, his time just got free so I can assign this project that has been on hold. If an executive is in the room, it translates to — great, I can deny that new hire request or cut staff by one person. If all three are in the room, no one says anything because they see it from the other persons perspective and it gets translated into fear across the board because the DBA will loose his job, the manager will loose headcount, and the executive is now held accountable for reducing expenses to pay for this software. Net result is that nothing gets done and everything stays the same.

I go to lunch with a group of administrators that I worked with years ago. It is amazing how slowly things change. Projects that I worked on two years ago are still being rolled out. The manager that I locked horns with has run two more people out of the group. A replacement has not been hired to fill my position. And most surprisingly, my accounts still work on most of the machines that I managed. I haven’t tried going to superuser because for some reason that crosses a line for me. For some reason, me logging into the university web server is not a violation of morals and principals. I can update a web page that has my name on it (and my personal content) but running sudo crosses the line for me. Dosen’t it seem that I should not have a web page at this institution? I was a student at one university and graduated last December. It is now October and I still have account access on most machines. I was an employee at a different university two years ago and I still have an LDAP entry as well as home directory access on most IT machines. Is it me or is this typical? If I were the IT manager, LDAP and Kerberos would be the first thing that I implement and restrict access to only those that should have access. When you leave the group or organization, your account is disabled.

One thing that I am getting really good at of late is doing a demo of a subset of our products. I really like having a corporate demo site managed by corporate. When I was at Sun, we started to have a set of software demos so that we could show the portal and ldap servers in action. At Oracle, the product suite is much larger. The rack of demo machines consists of a few hundred machines that are all refreshed daily from a golden image. I like the ability to schedule a demo and go to a customer site so that we can drive the software from my laptop. I’ve done two of them in the past few weeks and have been to a couple of training classes that used the demo suite to explain the products. I guess I am a visual learner and do much better seeing the product and not bullets on a presentation.

I guess I should have asked first before I started rambling; who am I talking to? I sure hope I didn’t offend you with my ramblings. If you are a former co-worker and don’t like being made fun of; get over it. Bring it up at lunch next week. If you are reading this to find out about Oracle software, this probably isn’t the place to learn. I’ll throw out tidbits here and there but this is more of a high level moral discussion and relevancy discussion. If this is my manager, forget that you read any of this. If anyone else, why are you reading this blog? What are you hoping to get out of my ramblings?

pat

184 thoughts on “before we talk, what is your job function”

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