Watts (chipotle) wrote,

Workin' in the data mine

It's too hot and my back hurts. I feel like an old man.

The "too hot" is an area-specific complaint. Granted, sometimes it's a little too warm in my bedroom. This is the first place without central air I've lived in since 1991 or so, so I won't deny that I might be spoiled, but I'm learning to make myself comfortable.

No, the real "too hot" is at work.

The area I've been sitting in has no windows--nearly no place in the converted warehouse we're in does--but it does have a big skylight. I liked the skylight in winter and spring months, but two things have happened in the last month or two: (1) my desk became relocated directly under the skylight, and (2) it became summer.

At times I wonder if this isn't an excuse to be uncomfortable there, a physical grounding for non-physical discomfort. That comes from having no privacy with my current desk arrangement. I admit it: I usually have a non-work window up. This isn't something that's kept me from actually doing work. Increasingly, though, my work has been going like this: (1) start Access and lock it up running a query, (2) start Excel and lock it up running a query, (3) look at the non-work window until something unlocks.

This makes me feel unproductive. And I haven't proved as good as my co-worker in finding clever ways around these limitations. My original hiring mandate was automating some of the more manual reports; in practice I've been doing a lot of ad hoc reporting and very little automation. In my admittedly biased view, the "back end" for the company's reporting system simply isn't up to being gracefully automated. (If I ran the zoo, I'm not sure I'd have used the back end they do for their entire production database due primarily to limitations it has in data querying.)

It's probably my own failing that I haven't hammered on people to set things up in a more reporting-friendly way. But it's been my impression that they're working on some grand advanced reporting system with "data marts" and a web-based reporting tool; tentative pushes at the existing system tend to get pushed back.

So I'm approaching the end of another contract, with another feeling that I'm not at the performance level I'd like to be.

Part of me would love to go part-time and free up time for my own programming and writing projects. Of course, this is definitely in that "easier said than done" category. If I made less than $500 a week, I'd be a-hurtin'. I could do that if I worked 3 days a week at the current job, and actually keep spending money if I worked 4 days--but I'd need to be sure I'd be really using those 1-2 days. (And of course the typical part-time quasi-tech job of 25 hours a week at $12 an hour puts me in well under that $500 mark.)

I suppose these are all pipe dreams right now, but the spring fever of freelance/self-employment has been stronger the last couple of weeks than I've ever felt it. Hopefully if it leads somewhere it won't be off a cliff!

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