Posts Tagged ‘Job’

First Impressions of new job

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Today is my fourth day at the new job.


In some ways I feel I have taken a step back perhaps. It feels very much like many of the companies I worked for before DHL. Medium-to-small IT departments, medium-to-small user base. A lot of overlap between the roles of helpdesk (that they called the “frontoffice” here), and systems administration.
They department consists of 8 permament staff, including me, and 3 temporary guys. The department head of IT, 3 application administrators, 2 part-time people in the servicedesk, and 2 systems administrators (including me), including myself.  The team supports about 120 users, most of them at this location. The temporary guys are here to help with the extra workload they are currently suffering, and help out with both servicedesk and sysadmin stuff.



The role-devision between the servicedesk and the sysadmin team is not clear at all, meaning that a lot of stuff is being loaded on to me and my collegue. We also share the function as second-line desktop support, meaning we support the users directly  with their enviroment. This last part is not something I am particularly happy about, I had hoped to have left that kind of stuff behind me.
However, I do know that the best kind of IT support I could possibly give users is my own hands-on approach. I am confident in my ability to approach and talk to users, and I can usually figure out their story just by listening. I speak clearly, I act professionally, I am good at this. However, I dont like interacting with users. But you know, and this is what I am telling myself right now. 120 users is not a big group. Its a group of intelligent people, patent lawyers many of them. Its a far cry from the average warehouse employee at DHL. Right now its pretty hectic, and a lot of relatively simple second lien work is being piled into my collegue, the only other sysadmin. He is very gratefull I am here, and I have already taken on some responsibilities to ease his burden.
I expect therefore that once there is a bit of order in the chaos, and I get the chance to work with the more interesting stuff, I wont mind that second-line stuff as much.

The environment they are running is interesting.
– 120 clients, many thin clients.
– 4 VMWare ESX servers running about 30 Application and Database servers
– About 20 other production servers with 7 Citrix Metaframe 4.5 servers that provide users with a standard desktop
– RES Powerfuse as a scripting layer on top of Citrix
– RES Wisdom as a client management tool for installations, etc.
– Microsoft Softgrid for application streaming to the Citrix servers (keeping them clean) and to some clients.
– HP Blades
– The usual infrastructure stuff like a Windows domain, WSUS, HPSIM, Windows Deployment Server, etc.

Of the above Enterprise technologies, the only one I am really familiar with is RES powerfuse and the infrastructure side. All the other specific third-party stuff I am either completely unfamiliar with, or familiar with older versions.

The enviroment is brand new, having been designed and set up for them by a consulting company, and there are many many loose ends that still need tying up, mostly from a procedural standpoint.
This is specifically why I was hired. Its obvious to me I need to take a lead role in laying out and implementing some standards, as they have more or less none at the moment.

To this end, I have already discussed using Microsoft Sharepoint as a department collaboration tool, starting with nothing more complicated that change logging. So I will soon be setting up a server for this, I rolled out a new virtual server this afternoon.




In the meantime though, my job is first and foremost to take some presure of the other sysadmin. I have been given a list of long-time, but asyet unsolved common problems users are facing, most of them related to the Citrix desktop. I will be analysing this list tomorrow and seeing if there are any quick wins amungst them.

Its hard not to feel overwhelmed by the barrage of work that these guys are getting piled on top of them. my collegue has to spend most of his time on a number of important projects that are currently being rolled out, this while all this other stuff is still lying around. I have to remind myself to work at my own pace, and not get caught up in the near-panic around me.

A more simple quick win today, was that I took it apon myself to clear out the server/network rooms, that where clogged with boxes and other junk. Me and the facilities manager spent the afternoon clearing about a dozen boxes of junk, and I managed to sqeeze what was left into the storage closet.

This may sound like a silly job, but it was really nagging on my collegues mind. It was just one of dozens of other things he cannot get round to sorting out. After he showed me what could go and what to keep, I just told him to relax and that I would take care of it. He looked incredibly relieved. I think he has really missed the ability to be able to offload some responsibility onto someone else.

This kind of thing also makes a good impression on the manager of course. I am not explicitly setting out to impress, but hey, it cant hurt can it?

Here are some more pics I made this afternoon. They are a little crappy but I will promise to make many high quality pics as usual, eventually. My Cano G9 is a little harder to hide than my G1 phone of course 😉






I have create a new set on Flickr, called “Current Work”, where you will be able to find all these pictures and many more to come

Timewasting Courseware

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Update: Post edited after reflecting on some much deservered critisim on my tact

So it seems now that every monday evening I am stuck in training.
I was doing 70–299 self-paced training and getting closer to that exam point,
but apparently my employer thinks its more usefull to know Exchange.

Dont mind Exchange at all, but the guys instructing us, though knowledgable, are not the most skilled at bringing across that knowledge, or reading the kind of audience they have, and how their information is being recieved on the other end.

Also, as usual, the Microsoft MOC (Official Corriculum) courseware sucks completely, I’ll take a self-paced training book from MSPress over these MOC’s anyday!


# re: Timewasting Courseware

left by een Collega at 12/21/2005 11:16 PM Remove Comment 63831 Gravatar

Hoi Robert,

het feit dat je een klassikale cursus Exchange kan volgen tijdens een cursus traject waar je jezelf vrijwillig voor heb op gegeven, is geen belemering om daar buiten gewoon je 70-299 te halen.

daar naast is het misschien netjes om eerst je trainers aan te spreken over het niveau van de training. en om zulke uitspraken niet achter iemand zijn rug om te doen.

# re: Timewasting Courseware

left by Robert at 12/21/2005 11:16 PM Remove Comment 63832 Gravatar

Ik vind het niet erg om bekritiseerd te worden op mijn post, maar zet dan ten mindste neer wie je bent.

Wat betreft 70-299, het was bij mijn Personeels manager bekend dat ik daarmee bezig was, om dan alsnog exchange daarvoor in de plaats voorgeschoteld te krijgen is vervelend, het laat zien dat mijn persoonlijke voorkeur en situatie genegeerd wordt. Ik ben niet te enige die met een andere module bezig was trouwens.

Natuurlijk kan ik 70-299 erbij doen… kom laat ik heel MCSE ook s’avonds erbij doen, we hebben immers geen sociaal leven, toch?

Ik heb me trouwens niet vrijwillig opgegeven, dat heeft mijn PM voor me gedaan… niet dat ik dat in dit geval erg vind, overigens.

En wat betreft de kwaliteit van het presentatie; ze hoeven van mij niet zelf te horen dat ik het slecht vond, het was embarrasing genoeg dat zij, net zoals wij, onverwacht Exchange op hun bord kregen, en ik heb dan wel begrip voor het gebrek aan voorbereiding.

Maar dat haalt niet weg dat er grote gaten zitten in hun kennis van deze specifieke stof, er werdt gewoon rechstreeks voorgelezen van de MOC slides. Daarnaast heb ik, zoals ik in mijn post op iets mindere subtiele (maar wel grappige wijze) zei, grote twijfels over hun presentatie en uitleg techniek.

Ik ken ze allebij een klein beetje, en het zijn goede gasten.. maar uitleggen kunnen ze niet. En dat smaakt wrang als je net voor een redelijk groot bedrag heb getekend, dan verwacht je een zeker niveau van kwaliteit.

# re: Timewasting Courseware

left by Robert at 12/21/2005 11:22 PM Remove Comment 63833 Gravatar

Ik heb nog even nagedacht over je reactie, en ik zie dat ik wellicht kwetsent overkom met deze post. Ik heb dan ook mijn verwoording iets aangepast, alsmede een foto verwijderd.

Maar mijn mening blijft, ondanks deze realisatie over mijn tact (of gebrek daaraan), onveranderd.

# re: Timewasting Courseware

left by een andere collega at 12/23/2005 6:48 AM Remove Comment 63984 Gravatar

…Misschien moet je eerst eens een cursus Nederlands schrijven gaan volgen binnen ATP….

# re: Timewasting Courseware

left by nog een andere collega at 12/23/2005 7:31 AM Remove Comment 63987 Gravatar

70-299 is een prima certficaat, alleen geeft 70-284 je een veel vaker gevraagde kennis. Daarnaast lijkt het me echt geen probleem om 70-299 ernaast te doen.
Er zijn genoeg collega’s die zonder klagen nog veel meer vrije tijd besteden aan het verbeteren van hun kennis, omdat zij tenminste begrijpen waar ze het voor doen. Hopelijk valt dat kwartje bij jou ooit ook nog eens.
Ik en met mij vele anderen steken meer vrije tijd in hun werk dan dat van jou uberhaupt gevraagd wordt, om mensen zoals jou de mogelijkheid te geven kennis op te doen. En dan is het erg jammer dat daar zo negatief over gedacht wordt.

# re: Timewasting Courseware

left by Robert at 12/23/2005 12:04 PM Remove Comment 63995 Gravatar

Heren.. waarom nog steeds deze annonimiteit?

“een andere collega”,

Voeg eens wat nuttigs toe aan deze discussie.

“nog een andere collega”,

Begrijp me niet verkeerd, ik ben zeker niet -anti- ‘kennis opdoen’, als je door mijn blog history heenbladerd dan zie je dat wellicht. Nog beter, ik hecht zelfs zeer veel waarde aan -echte- kennis.. wie mij wel eens heeft gesproken weet hoe ik denk over de cultuur an ‘papieren MCSE-ers’… iets waarvan onze organisatie nogal eens last heeft, naar mijn mening.

En ik waardeer jullie -moeite- echt wel, maar zoals ik al zei, maandag avond was enigsinds terleurstellend, en ik, en anderen, gingen naar huis met het idee dat we er niet veel aan hadden gehad, en met enige twijfels over waar we nu aan waren begonnen…zie ook de opmerkingen op het internet forum.

Begrijp dat ik daar boos over was, en toen deze post heb gemaakt.

Het is nu enkele dagen later, en, hoewel mijn mening over Maandag niet is veranderd, heb ik -wel- besloten om in Januari volledig openminded het jaar in te gaan. Ik begrijp net zo goed dat een -eerste- impressie niet altijd de juiste is!

Was ik te bot met mijn mening in mijn post? Waarschijnlijk wel. Ik heb em dan ook aangepast,en dat kun je als een soortemet exuses ziet, maar ik ga niet mijn eigen mening uit de weg, zeker niet op mijn eigen blog.

Overigens ben ik het volledig met je eens dat 70-284 waardevolle en veelgevraagde kennis is, ik ben er zeker niet vies van.

Als laatste wil je jullie menig vragen over de indeling van het MOC materiaal. Zoals je zag ben ik er niet gecharmeerd van, bijvoorbeeld: Hoofstuk 2 gaat gelijk diep in op Clustering van Exchange, terwijl de basis concepten nog nauwlijks aan de order zijn geweest. MOC matriaal komt altijd gehaast op me over, en daardoor vind ik het van mindere waarde… wat vinden jullie?

# re: Timewasting Courseware

left by dloko at 12/29/2005 5:16 PM Remove Comment 64393 Gravatar

Even een objectieve mening;

beetje triest, die anonimiteit. Het komt bij mij over dat er dus 3 collega’s stiekem een collega lopen af te hameren… en dan wordt er gepost dat je niet achter iemands rug om moet praten.


# re: Timewasting Courseware

left by Drexciya at 6/22/2006 4:43 PM Remove Comment 82741 Gravatar

Tsja, leuk dat je voor een training opgegeven wordt, maar 2 dingen zijn verkeerd:
1) Exchange 2003 moet je niet volgen zonder eerst het Active Directory examen (70-294) te hebben gedaan, ook het Network Infrastructure examen (70-291) is verplichte voorkennis (lees: AD+DNS). Iemand zomaar er even tussen proppen zegt genoeg over het ontbreken van een intake of een goede voorbereiding. Strafpunten voor je werkgever wat mij betreft.
2) Avondtrajecten zijn in mijn ogen per definitie maatwerk. Als trainer ga je dan beslist niet uit de MOC voorlezen (nu val ik mijn collega’s af ;-))) ). Voor een recent traject heb ik dat heel anders aangepakt. VMWare omgeving als uitgangspunt, grote lijnen theorie alleen (voorzover mogelijk) aan het begin van de avond en voor de rest zoveel mogelijk doen. Je hebt hier wel “stevige” PC’s voor nodig; voor het ISA 2004 gedeelte heb ik een omgeving met 5 VM’s (2x Exchange, 2 clients en een in te richten ISA Server) gebruikt. Nu hadden zowel mijn cursisten als ondergetekende af en toe last van een inzinking, maar over het algemeen verliep de training naar volle tevredenheid.

Natuurlijk kan de docent het afschuiven op voorbereiding of wat dan ook, maar dat is te makkelijk. Sowieso weet je als trainer dat MOC’s alleen een basis/uitgangspunt zijn voor een reguliere klassikale training.

Ik ga zelf altijd verder dan de MOC, afhankelijk van de mogelijkheden en de wensen van de cursisten. Ik mag dan wel MCT zijn, maar ik ben geen MOC Certified Trainer. De meest recente revisie van de Exchange training (2400C) is wel sterk verbeterd trouwens.

Wat betreft je “collega’s” die je afzeiken; treurig dat je met dat soort mensen werkt, die snappen niets van de inspanning die met training volgen (of geven) gemoeid gaat.

Its been a while…

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005

Prepare for a post flood.

I have been rather quiet on my blog the last month or so, which reflects my life in general. My employer cant get me on any job longer than a few weeks at best, I spend most of my time at the office studying my 70–299.. but its slow going cause of many distractions.. both at work and otherwise.

However, the past week or so has seen some activity on various fronts, so I will devote some posts to that.

I do this in seperate posts, as I dislike multi-topic posts cause its hard to point to them for reference.

Where do I go from here

Monday, January 31st, 2005

Today was the last day at the media company I was with. I was only there for 3 months, but I was kinda of saddened to leave, even though it had partly been my choice to go.

Its a real shame they where so far away from where I live. Well, far away is a real relative term in the Netherlands, where actual geographical distance seems tiny, until you factor in time spent in traffic jams, or trying to get connecting trains.. and the latter is still my case as I still don’t have a drivers licence.

If they had been any closer, I would have made the case to stay. But 4 hours of travel a day where really beginning to wear me out, not to mention my spare time basicly vanished, and I do so value my spare time.

One of the things I will especially remember about that place is the support I got from the boss, the guy in charge, ..  I hesitate to call him a manager, as he was far to technical for that term to come to (my) mind. In my world all managers are tech-illiterate and bad-news. This guys was neither. I felt somewhat intimidated by him at first, but you must bear in mind I am easily intimidated. But later on, and especially after we had kind of decided to go our separate ways, in as, I was going to be replaced, he really impressed me with his genuine support, and his heart-felt wish that I got into a kind of job that I could really thrive in.  The rest of those guys where also very pleasant to work with, some of course more than others, but on the whole a group of people that knew how to get things done. I seemed to get on best with a part of the team that where their own little mini department, with their own specialities, and not directly involved in what the rest of my own team did. But these guys where the real geeks of the department, and I suppose geeks bonding just seems to happen naturally 😉

What caused me to eventually leave was of course not just the travelling distance, though this played a large part. But I found myself doing exactly the kind of work I have been doing most off for the last 3 years; second line help desk. This more or less excluded me in scope, from getting to the real meat of the IT that they where managing. Sure I got to play a little with servers, and especially in the last two weeks, I tried to dig into some serious Windows server issues.. well “dig” is a very strong word to use.. “sniff at”, is more apt, as my main job responsibilities kept “getting in the way”.

The insanity of my situation strikes me when I say that sentence out loud: “main job responcibilities kept getting in the way”.

There are two ways to approach the situation: 1. I have my priorities all fucked up and should shut up and just do whatever work they throw at me .. or 2. , which is my prefered choice, I should try to do the work I love doing and am very good at doing, no matter what anyone else says or thinks.   Basicly I have been consistantly put into the position of choice 1, and my employer, the IT services company I work for, doesnt seem to get the hint that when you stick a guy on a job he is totally bored with, and 4 times the customer sends him back with the message “this guys is too skilled and enthousaistic for this kinda boring-ass work” , that.. the guy is probably too skilled and enthousaistic for this kinda boring-ass work.

The aforementioned head of the IT department I am leaving, actually wrote an email to my employer which states in no uncertainy way “this guy is not a second line helpdesk support guy, and basicly positioned me as more of a consultant that anything else, though with the side note that I needed to work on my communications skills, and he is quite right.

So tomorrow, I have a talk with my HR manager.. again.. about this same issue, which we have in fact discussed before. No doubt she will accuse me of sabotaging my position at the customer, and I will call the company crazy for not making better use of my skills, knowledge and natural enthousiasm.

Now I am really, really scared of conflict.. with anyone. I am not one of these people that can just say ‘screw em’, how people percieve me us far, far too important for me, and often leads me to be trampled underfoot by people who can say ‘screw em’, or in that case’ screw him’. I believe it is for this reason, and this reason alone that I am still crosely underpaid and basicly exploited at every turn, cause I am basicly too chicked to stand up to them, scared shitless of any kind of consequence, or the prospect of ‘not being liked’.  Its a fucking stupid mind set, especially in the hard-ass business world of IT and IT services companies.

One thing I try to keep reminding me is that the worst they can do is fire me, and they would need a pretty good reason to do so here in the Netherlands. If they do, the basicly release me from the 4000 euro’s I owe them, and it would open up the prospect for me of finding work that at least payed better, even though it would probably be.. you guessed it.. helpdesk work.  As long as I dont have my MCSE, I dont stand that much of a chance of getting a good position anywhere.. and with good I mean interesting… I dont really care about the pay, besides, anywhere else, I would get more money that I get now (about 1200 euro net)!

Since I am basicly going to be roaming around between home and the office, where at least the proxy will let blogjet though, I will be posting more often again, so expect a post from me tomorrow or so.

Forbidden to download podcasts

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2004

I am angry beyond words.

Every day, before I leave for home, I download the latest podcasts of the day on the XP machine they have in our department. Because all ou pc’s are all on NT4, the USB stick for my laptop only works on the XP machine.

I log into it remotely to download podcasts, then I go over with my USB stick to copy them. (I am not allowed to connect my laptop to the network, dispite informing my boss that I run fully updated, with non-admin rights, and an up-to-date virusscanner).

Well tonight he asked what I was doing, and I told him I was downloading some MP3’s to listen on my way home (2 hour train trip).

Well of course he freaked. I dont think he freaked cause of bandwidth usage considderations (every workstation has 100mbit strait on internet, company is also a tier-2 ISP). I think he freaked cause I mentioned the forbidden and highly evil “M” word..  MP3.

Now I have knows this guy for exacty two weeks, but I have gotten a bit a feel for how he responds to things. He is basicly a great great sceptic and nay-sayer. He is a good administrator, no doubt, but he seems to make a hobby of overreacting and throwing his wait around.  Its a bit hard to discribe his bahavior or attitude, but it pisses me off in a serious way.

The other day I was running a call with a colleague and we walked past a department that does translation work for our national channels. One of the machines was displaying a page from Wikipedia, so I took it apon myself to show him the concept of the ‘wiki’.  He immediatly ‘got it’ and was quite enthuised with the concept.

We got back to our office and about 5 minutes later, purely by chance, someone seems to be explaining the concept of Wiki to my boss over the phone. “What do you call it? Weeky? Never ever heard of it! … oh right.. ”

I looked to my colleague and we kinda exchanged smiles and I followed the conversation with great interest. But as the conversations went on, I could tell that my boss had already made his mind up. “Well thats nice and all, but who is going to manage it, and what do you think this kinda stuff costs? Who will use it anyway? ..  What.. oh its free?  Well it sounds like its more trouble than its worth.. ”  and so forth.

Tonight was another example of this attitude. I could never explain the concept of podcasting to him, as he has already dismissed the entire concept of downloading MP3’s on the companies bandwidth as a bad idea. I cant entirly blame him, but if it was anyone else, I would have attempted to explain about the idea…   in simpe terms of course “Look, its like these daily radio shows about technology and other tech issues, and I check in the evening for any news ones to listen to, kinda like you would check the news before you went home.. only, I take the news with me.. ”  ..  But he wouln’t have given me the time to explain, even if I had asked..   So I didn’t contest his desicion and basicly said oke.. and went back to my desk.

Its almost an hour later and I am still pissed off about it.  At times like these I need to talk it out of my system, so I went online to talk to kevin, who I noticed was online back at the office. But my phone appeard to be dead which was wierd.. but thankfully I have this laptop with me, so I opened op blogjet and here we are..    its at times like this when I am profoundly gratefull for having both a laptop, and knowing the joys of blogging, meaning that I know people like kevin will read this and probably sympathise.

Its at times like these when I am also reminded how stuck I am at the moment in my life.

I make almost no money (I am talking seriously below national average) and have a study-debt with my current employer, making it rather hard to switch over to another company, less I get saddled with a big bill, that I could never pay. I have almost no willpower, so I am still not an MCSE, making it that much harder to switch over to a better payed job, assuming that a company would take over my debt.

I am totally undervaluded by both my actual employer, aswell as the customer I am currently with. On paper I am an assistant administrator, but I am constantly doing second line support work. This while I constantly hear from others that I am capable of so much more..  not because I have a lot of practicle experiance.. cause I dont, but because of my insight. Personally I think I am ahead of the curve because I am aware of a lot more than most other people in IT that I meet. I keep myself up to date on so many things.. but often dont have a very deep knowledge of anything.. .I am very all-round, but not a specialist.   And perhaps that is the entire problem.. people cant understand the value of being aware of things.. of being on top of what is going on out there.. . its a concept that very few people in IT seem to understand, at least going from my experience of the 20 or so companies I have been with. They seem to value specialists though, simply on the basis of the word. Specialist. ..  It does have a nice ring to it.

It frustrates me no end, that I cant seem to gather the interest to really get to the bottom a particular technology. Like i said, I have no willpower to actually study, to learn beyond the scope of knowledge I need to satisfy my ‘current interest of the week’. This is a very very depressing state to be in, and I dont know how to motivate myself enough to get out of it.

I have this feeling that I will look back at these years on my life and considder them to be either my darkerst years, or simply the early years in a generally depressing life.