Monday, December 08, 2008

Doing a Melba

Well, my older Australian readers will understand the title. For the rest of you, Dame Nellie Melba [^], the Australian Opera singer, did a lot of farewell tours. We also sometimes twist the meaning to cover someone who returns some time afterward.

Which is what I did the other day at the place where I used to work. Actually it was my second return; the first was the day after Thankgiving. You have to understand that at the place where I used to work they don't take such things as public holidays into account when committing to deliveries. I suppose they could hide behind the excuse that Thanksgiving isn't actually a committed holiday; it's proclaimed each year by The President. Of course, failure to proclaim it would be political suicide and it's now become so associated with late November that I reckon a great many Americans would be surprised to learn it was originally held in September!

Anyway, the point is that everyone here expects the last weekend of November to be Thanksgiving. You'd imagine then that planning would make allowance for it. But not at The Place Where I Used To Work (hereinafter TPWIUTW). Indeed, they scheduled an oven delivery at Thanksgiving in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 as well as this one.

Thus to a phone call from an apologetic Randy on the friday. Again, most places except retail allocate the day after Thanksgiving as a public holiday and he was pretty sure I was not at work that day. But he'd run into a problem with the Software I Used To Work On (SIUTWO - you get the idea) and hoped I'd help out. Well, I've worked with Randy for a few years and I *know* he wouldn't call if he hadn't reached the end of his knowledge in that particular area, so I was happy to help out. What little advice I could give over the phone didn't help so I drove down to Tempe. Not as magnanimous a gesture as it seems; Morgan was being more difficult than usual that afternoon. Besides, I miss the old bastard and it was good to catch up with a friendly face.

The problem was simple enough; a cable inside the PC was reversed and red faced indeed was Randy. But no matter, I enjoyed the afternoon. Great chance to catch up on the gossip.

They got that one as a freebie.

The other day they emailed me asking for some advice about multi-threaded access to the device driver. Again, I was happy enough to give some basic advice; it takes all of five minutes if it's a familiar subject to give some pointers. Alas, the pointers weren't quite enough and they agreed to my hourly rate for me to go in and look at the code. Thus to my going in again.

How depressing it was to sit at my old desk again, even if I was on four times the old hourly rate! If ever I needed confirmation I'd made the right decision to change jobs that was it.

As for whether I've fixed their multi-threading problem? Time will tell; when I left late Friday afternoon the software was in the third hour of testing without a failure and we left it to run over the weekend. I'm almost afraid to check email Monday. But only almost!

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