This week, IT Manager Republic will feature the daily diary of Robert Young, an MVS Systems Programmer for Capital One in Richmond, VA. He is the technical leader for the OS/390 support team.
I graduated from Oregon State University in 1979 with a B.S. in Animal Science. After moving east and working outside the field for a few months, I had an opportunity to get into IT as a COBOL programmer trainee for a state government. Back then, I knew nothing about computers. However, I was a fast learner and never looked back.
I moved on to various COBOL and 3790 application programmer positions in the early 80s. In 1982, I moved into MVS systems programming with a defense contractor. In 1988, I went to work for IBM in their Professional Services Division. I left IBM in 1993 for an MVS systems programming position in the private financial sector. Two years ago, I joined Capital One’s OS/390 support team. At the beginning of this year, I moved into the lead position.
5:00 A.M.
The alarm goes off at 5:00 A.M. I shower and dress, then head downstairs. Usually I do some reading before heading off to work, but today I skip it, grab a bagel and Coke, and head right in. It’s about a 45-minute drive to work, most of it on backcountry roads. I arrive around 6:45. Our network guy is waiting for me to bring me up-to-date on the network changes that went in this weekend. It’s been a hectic couple of months in our shop. We have some major network redesign going on, along with a new operating system going into production, two new IBM G6 processors circling the building waiting for paperwork, and a few major software installs in process, along with everything else that was delayed by Y2K.

7:45 A.M.
I start to go through my e-mail. I’m able to get through some of it when others from my group begin to arrive. They ask if I want to walk over with them to get some breakfast. I ate breakfast in the car on the way in but decide to go with them so we can talk about some of the projects going on. We’re back by 8:30, and I’m back to the e-mail. As the team leader, a lot of the requests for our services come to me. It’s particularly bad on Mondays because I’m off on Fridays (I work a four-day, ten-hour schedule).

9:00 A.M.
I meet with a coworker to discuss an upgrade to one of our vendor products and travel arrangements for a trip next week; then, it’s back to e-mail. However, I’m sidetracked from the e-mail yet again when another coworker tells me about a problem with our tape silo software. He knows what to do to fix it, but it involves halting all tape activity on one of our production systems. We put all the tape jobs to “sleep” on that system while he recycles the silo software and HSM. This is all completed with no disruption to the users.

10:05 A.M.
I meet with our network guy to discuss recycling TCP/IP on our test system to test some changes. After that, I’m finally able to get through my e-mail once and for all. Next up is another ad hoc meeting to coordinate rolling our operating system into production and the upgrade of our processors. This, of course, will involve a lot of weekend work to minimize the impact on our users. Due to the time crunch, it is decided to let the users choose which they want first: the new operating system or the new processor. I’ll present this question during tomorrow’s weekly user’s meeting—knowing full well which option they’ll choose. I research a few minor problems and get back to the users with resolutions to their problems.

12:00 P.M.
I check my e-mail inbox and see that it’s beginning to fill up again. Since I have a scheduled 1:00 meeting in another building today, I decide to eat lunch in the cafeteria to save time.

After the 1:00 meeting, I rush back to my building because I’m late for a 2:00 meeting. By 3:30, the meetings are over, and I can get back to productive work. I spend the rest of the day resolving some more problems and working on a new product install.

6:00 P.M.
I leave for home. The 45-minute drive is relaxing and gives me time to wind down. By the time I get home to my wife and kids, I’ve left my work problems where they belong—at work.

After dinner, I get a call from our network guy updating me on the network testing he just completed, which we discussed earlier today. All is well.
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