The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Life at The Corporation

I've certainly peered deeper into the Abyss of XXX XXX's implementation of SS7 and come to a deeper understanding of the Lovecraftian nature of it.

A comment about my “goal” on my self-evaluation for The Corporation.

I'm finding myself in an odd position at The Corporation.

And it's not a bad thing at all.

I was hired to do performance measurements and testing of “Project: Wolowizard” and my first manager was R, who started (and still runs) the Ft. Lauderdale Office of The Corporation (the main office being in Seattle). My role fell into the “Quality Assurance” department and in 2011, I was transferred to the QA department, and my manager became E, who worked at Corporate Headquarters in Seattle (while I still work in the Ft. Lauderdale Office).

I ended up being the only QA employee in the Ft. Lauderdale Office. But more crucially, I'm the only QA employee doing QA on call processing (the part that happens between cell phones) in the entire company. So my weekly meeting (read: phone call) with the QA team would go something like:

So, random QA person, what have you been working on this week?
Random QA Person #1
[Long rambling technobabble about setting up unit tests for a smart phone application.]
Very good. Now, other random QA person, what have you been working on this week?
Random QA Person #2
[Even longer rambling technobabble about helping Random QA Person #1 set up unit tests, with a long digression about Ruby programming.]
Very good, very good. What about you, yet another random QA person?
Random QA Person #3
[Exposition about the difficulties in testing Random Java Technology for yet another smart phone application.]
Random QA Person #1
[Interjects into what Random QA Person #3 was saying about a possible fix for the difficulties in testing Random Java Technology.]
Random QA Person #3
Okay, I think I'll try that.
Wonderful. What about you, some other random QA person?
Random QA Person #4
[SEAN strains to hear Random QA Person #4 over the phone, but Random QA Person #4 mumbles so softly, SEAN cannot make out what Random QA Person #4 is saying, so SEAN spaces out for a few minutes.]
…Sean? Are you there?
[Realizes it's his turn to speak.] Oh yeah … um … this week I've [technobabble about running the latest “Project: Wolowizard” regression test and some of the difficulties in testing the Protocol Stack From Hell™.]
Okay … well then … see you all next week.

Nothing against E—E is a very nice person, but no one else on the QA team deals with call processing. Nor do they program in C, C++ or Lua. Java, Javascript and Ruby, yes. But the rest of the QA team in the Corporation deal with applications for cell phones and smart phones; I'm the only one that deals with call processing.

And because of that, it was felt by The Powers That Be™ that I would be better served under a manager in the Ft. Lauderdale Office (this was a few months ago). So now I'm working under J. J's a great guy, but he too, knows nothing about call processing (he's actually managing other, non-call processing cell phone related projects). Except for a meeting every week or two (or like today, for a performance review) I've just been plugging away at testing and staring into the Abyss of The Protocol Stack From Hell™.

It could be worse. I could have daily meetings like my fellow office mates.

(But it's not like I'm the only one there who understands call processing. There are three others, all at the Ft. Lauderdale Office. R, who is a VP in The Corporation and runs the Ft. Lauderdale Office; M, the lead developer who is now enmeshed in writing a smart phone client for “Project: Wolowizard,” and S, who does for Ops (call processing stuff) what I do for QA (call processing stuff) and is probably in a similar situation as me.)

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