An update, since quite a bit has been happening. Forgive me if I go on a little bit about relationships and business here, although it seems strangely appropriate to our favorite cat...Layoff Update
I was informed that my services would no longer be necessary at $COMPANY last Monday, effective Nov. 28 2001. Merry Christmas. ;-)
The rumor mill had me being cut a long time ago, and if I'm surprised by anything in this, it's that it took so long to happen. I'm also not angry; I don't believe that their drastic headcount reductions are the correct approach, but time will tell who is correct on that score.
To be honest, I've felt for quite some time that they really shouldn't have hired me in the first place. What they really needed (and unfortunately still need) is a good junior UNIX administrator. Someone who's looking for a learning experience, and someone you won't expect the world of. Someone like myself should be brought in from time to time on a consulting basis to handle specific projects that are beyond the scope of the in-house talent's abilities, along with the necessary training to make sure they can do that next time. Eventually, they have a dedicated employee who knows their environment well, the junior admin has grown beyond their title, and the consultant has made a few bucks. ;-)
As it stands, they're actually in that position now; with a little careful maneuvering on the part of myself and a few others prior to my departure, we managed to get a fellow with incredible potential handling the majority of my old duties, as an addition to his developer role. He's going to be stressing over the next little while as he comes up to speed, but he'll definitely be the better for it. Time for him to earn his stripes. ;-)Professional Relationships
He makes me feel old (and technically, he's a few months my senior, although our experiences have aged us a little differently). Speaking to the "old codgers" reading this, have you ever run into a person with so much raw energy and talent for creative thinking that it makes you realize that you've lost some of that boyish curiosity about everything somewhere along the line? I've had the distinct honor of meeting at least one person like that in every position I've held. Or, maybe it's me that seeks them out. Either way, I always have an interesting relationship with those people; I feed them with information, references, and anything else I have at my disposal to help them learn at a more rapid rate, and they feed me that enthusiasm that I have such a hard time generating on my own anymore.
I was using the term mentoring for a long while to describe these relationships, but I don't think that's quite right. These people are my peers in every sense of the word, and I regard them as good friends. They also feed me information, ideas, and that enthusiasm that I mentioned above in a similar manner to how I deliver information to them. It's a very symbiotic relationship. Perhaps a better phrase is mutual mentorship?"Going forward"...
Plans haven't changed too much, although I've needed to accelerate some of what has been going on. The new business venture I've been hatching in the back of my head is steamrolling forward while I seek interim work. (This is a big flashing neon sign for anyone in a hire/fire capacity: senior-level technology talent with a focus on networking and a miscellany of UNIX variants, heavy on integration, portability, and high-availability available on a contracting basis in the western Chicago suburbs or anywhere as a virtual set of hands.) I'm working on a few positions where what I have planned wouldn't be a conflict of interest, and that's the big catch for me right now.
To keep myself occupied and focused, I'm angling toward nailing down a couple of industry certifications that I've previously been too lazy to write the damn test for. ;-) Specifically, SCSA/SCNA, the SAIR Linux and GNU certification track, and possibly the RHCE if I can manage to cough up that much cash ($749 just for the exam) on what has become a limited budget.
Oh yeah, I'm also finally getting to all that stuff around the house that you always tell yourself you'll do, but never do. ;-) Like install the new center console in my GF's Wrangler, and loading that damnable HP NetServer with it's very disagreeable RAID controller (it's an HP-branded spin of the AMI/LSI Megaraid controller called a NetRAID 1si). I've posted an updated driver disk that lets Red Hat 7.2 boot "properly" (for a stretched definition; I'm still not convinced what I have is working correctly due to some odd behavior I'm seeing), so at least a few of the other people having this problem are able to get some work done.Unemployment Lines
It's a small world. I bumped into another UNIX admin (about the same level of experience as myself) filling out the same forms I was there to file. His story was that he'd been laid off in January from IBM (contracting him out to Lucent Technologies), and his reserves had finally run out, so he was down to asking for UI. I have to admit that I felt queasy going down there, even though I can tell myself that I've been paying into it just in case something like this happened. I wonder if there's a trend I could be reading into that.
Anyways, enough babbling for the night. Time to sleep. More later.