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Kicking ***

By local support ·
The other day big boss asked my boss for a personal favor; to rebuild his home equipment. My boss made some unrealistic promises, some of them technically impossible or impractical. Then he dumped the whole thing into my lap.

Big boss dropped two old computers on the table of my boss. The specifications of the project were vague ? something is not good. Anyway we had a general idea of what we were supposed to do. The dead-line was set to 4 pm the same day.

I work slowly and methodically, considering technical aspects and options. I want to prepare and gather needed information, before I jump. Tight dead-lines give me the jitters. Some of the hardware and software components were unfamiliar to me, and I had to test them before I continued.

At 4 pm big boss showed up. We only had a partial solution for him, so he extended the deadline until 4 pm the next day. Some issues involved the hardware. My boss? suggestions would take some time to implement, and they might not work. Then a new OS with service pack and drivers were needed. Security patches, virus protection and other upgrades were needed too.

I like big boss, and I would sure like to help him. For me he is an end user, he has vague ideas of what makes a computer work and the effort it takes to make it work.

I realized I could not possibly make the deadline. I don?t work well under stress, so I fell ill, and now I am out of office for some time. Probably this project awaits me when I get back, or my boss has finished it off.

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The value of good communications

by JamesRL In reply to Kicking ***

Funny I just finished rebuilding a work collegues home computer. And I have rebuilt my boss' boss' boss' home computer.

Its good that you like to help. But being a pleaser isn't good if it stresses you out and makes you sick.

Never agree to unrealistic deadlines - and always take pains to set the right expectations. If you boss says he needs it tomorrow, you need to let him know that there is a lot of work and a short period of time, and always the possibility of hitting a roadblock due to things you haven't yet discovered.

And as a matter of course, I always expect the unexpected. If I know it takes roughtly an hour to reformat the drive and install the OS, I will ask for two hours, knowing there will be interruptions, phone calls, and that I need a little extra time in case I run into somthing funky. Better to be done early than to be sweating it. In project management we call it the contingency factor - on most projects its 10-15%, or more depending on the risks.

And be proactive. If your deadline is 4 PM, and its 2 PM and it looks like you won't make the deadline - call then and let them know. Better to let them know in advance than to have them show up on your door and make you sweat.

Ask clarifying questions if you don't know what they want.

Personally, while I like to keep a work life balance, I also sometimes bring work home or stay late to get things done. I've stayed till midnight and come in at 6 AM to try and get a server up before the users were affected. This to me is less stressful than dealing with angry users the next day.

I hope you do something in your life other than work and sleep in order to combat stress.


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Definitely need good communication

by Tink! In reply to Kicking ***

James is right.
You need to make sure the communication is open and clear. Most employers actually appreciate it when their employees have effective communication. It gives them a better understanding of what it is you do, as well as how they can help you to be able to do it.
It also increases your value in their eyes because they see that you really want to do the job right.

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by jdclyde In reply to Kicking ***

As stated by the others, letting the end user know what to expect up front is much better than disapointing them because they were expecting something else.

A "readers digest" verson up front was in order BY EMAIL to your boss to CYA.

When talking to top boss, he should also be made aware of what was involved and why it takes as long as it takes to do something correctly.

I NEVER rush a job. I will not go out before I will send it out incorrectly. I will not compromise my work ethic just because someone else is in a hurry. You shouldn't either.

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I try not to rush, me too

by local support In reply to Expectations

I agree with jdclyde. if it's worth doing, it is worth doing well

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Is this a legitimate work project?

by M_a_r_k In reply to Kicking ***

Or are you taking time from your real work schedule and worrying yourself into the psych ward for big guy's special project? If so, what's with his pushy deadlines? Sounds like this rebuild is quite an overhaul. Nowadays it's cheaper and you get a better computer if you buy a brand new one. Give him an advertisement from Walmart. Problem solved.

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it's a personal favor

by local support In reply to Is this a legitimate work ...

I have other things to do, but I can manage this project too. But i do not work well under stress.

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Standard treatment

by mjd420nova In reply to Kicking ***

I have a set group of programs I load for
a particular platform. For video if part
of an upgrade try to stick with NVIDIA
and Creative for the audio types, and that
the rest, virus and backup programs are best
left to the individualusers, as some might
get it for free from their ISP.

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You got dumped on

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Kicking ***

A point to remmeber always, when deciding how long a job will take. If you're doing it, you decide. I never accept anyone else's estimation of how long something will take me. Anything anyone else comes up with they are telling me how long I've got, a very different number.

I'm assuming you are a bit new, take some advice from an old hand, if you appear to have welcome written on your forehead, people will will walk on you. I prefer my 'Beware the Dog' sign.

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bottom of the ladder

by local support In reply to You got dumped on

Hi Tony

I have 'Very Welcome' stamped on my forehead, and I'm not a tough guy. That's one reason my end users seem to like me, even the ones that are not quite used to computing.

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by Tony Hopkinson In reply to bottom of the ladder

No points for that, unless management like you, then you get more opportunities to have the urine taken out of you.

Not saying you have to shout 'wanker' down the phone and jab people with screwdrivers, but the odd.
You want me to what ?

Nothing to do with tuff, but with value. If you are good , flexible, hard working etc, they'll see the value of not annoying the heck out of you. However you've got to let them know when they are imposing, they shouldn't mind and they'll keep imposing until you go postal, if you don't tell them.

If they do mind then **ck'em, go work for someone who shows you some respect.

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