A Day in the Life

“But what do you actually do?” I hear this a lot, usually from family or friends who aren’t in the high-tech industry. It’s hard enough to explain what Storage Resource Management Software does, but explaining what I actually do relative to that is even tougher.

I thought I’d take a nice busy Monday and try and find time throughout the day to scribble in notes about what I’m actually doing with that time, and post it here for people to see.

Now, Monday is an odd day, as I get in a bit later than usual and have a hard deadline to leave at 4. It’s the one day I carpool (with my wife, no less). If this breaks your view of EMC as a place where slavedrivers push you to work from dawn to dusk, I apologize.

8:00 – 9:00. Settle in, catch up on weekend emails, write responses where necessary, get updates on state of some work being done by someone on my team over breakfast. Biggest email to follow up on was from a manager in India, who had some thoughts on some upcoming cross-site training.

9:00 – 10:00. Talk shop with developers: development environment issues, current state of a just-discovered bug, and best way to handle a problem which may exist in multiple versions but isn’t being tracked in all of them yet. Submit my blog entry about EMC World, written over the weekend. Log into employee management intranet site, check on and update Q2 MBO goals for team members and self. Catch up on weekend posts on EMC|ONE, including a handful of posts on what tools different development groups are using for static code analysis, something I am personally interested in, and a pointer to Len’s blog post about twitter, which I save to read later as I am interested in how to use twitter at EMC World.

10:00 – 11:00. Hold two team member one-on-ones (I try to spread these throughout the week). Get updates on critical issues and discuss status of Q2 MBO goals. Get input from senior team member about the training scenario I mentioned earlier, and find my manager to discuss the same as well as a few other team issues. Discuss the historical reasons behind some implementation decisions that are recently being questioned. Send email to manager at India site with some proposed solutions to our training dilemma.

11:00 – 12:00. More MBO goal updates (Friday I made some changes to developers goals which need their approval, so as they approve the changes I have to sign off in the system). Examine query of open product defects, mark notes on a few issues I need to follow up on later in the day. Get sidetracked into discussion with my manager and a developer on my team about a handful of issues. Read Len’s twitter post. Read Go Big Always post on internal blogging. Decide I’ll post a comment later in the day. Eat lunch.

12:00 – 1:00. Review template for EMC World handouts. Deadline for content is Thursday (cutting it close, no?), so put off finalizing annotated handout screenshots until Tuesday (leaving a day for comments and revisions). Quick chat with project management about a request from an internal customer of one of our APIs as it relates to JDK version issues. Discuss some of the technical high points of the last known status, decide that we need to re-involve the manager of that team before we can move further. Review agenda for Tuesday’s program tracking meeting, adding status on all issues relating to my team. Post a comment to Go Big Always (which ended up being less substantial than I had thought). Hallway chat with co-worker about blogging. Get sidetracked for a few minutes helping diagnose a tricky bug. Don’t actually solve anything but confirm co-worker is not crazy and bug is actually manifesting as he believes.

1:00 – 3:00. Dry-run of next week’s EMC World hands-on session. Get clarification on handout template. Discuss slides, handouts, scenarios, and travel plans. Practice presentations. Run into a performance issues demoing two versions of ControlCenter on same laptop. Hoping to nail this down before Thursday’s dry run. Well, not so much hoping, as requiring.

3:00 – 4:00. Discuss cross-site training scenario with senior developers, get more input and feedback. Discuss Q2 goals with a team member who was asked to dedicate part of his MBO objectives towards a cross-functional team he’s on. We rearrange his goals so they line up better with his actual work load. Discussed severity of that “co-worker isn’t crazy” bug with developer on another team, no closer to finding what caused it but have a better understanding of the strange circumstances that prevented it from being discovered before. Get status update on a problem with a specific version of AIX and a library produced by a different team.

4:00 – …. I leave at 4. I understand that’s a short day, but this is how my Monday goes. I will take my mother on a couple errands and then carpool home with my wife. Throughout the afternoon I might be on the blackberry staying current on what’s going on, but I stop reading that by “night,” and draw that nice fuzzy line I talked about before between work and home.

And that’s my work day. There’s lots of other stuff that fits “in the cracks”, but the big things are pretty much covered.

Not every day is like this. Some are longer. Some have fewer meetings. Some have more. The timing is such that I spent a chunk of time on “overhead” for our quarterly MBO system, but that’s usually concentrated around just a few days each quarter.

I didn’t finish everything I wanted to. So I carry some tasks over to tomorrow. And that’s life.

(10 – 11 PM, finalize this post, submit it for publishing on Tuesday morning….)