Chocolate Socialist (braisedbywolves) wrote,
Chocolate Socialist

So, yes, work.

I think I've said something about it, but probably in someone else's comments. In short: Weird and cool and mad, though not always at the same time.

We make something that's used to buy and sell shares. The real back-end back-end is AS-400s, which are really old computers from the dawn of time. I'm starting training at the deep end, so it's been a lot of typing on a 25x80 text window, green on black, nine-letter (3x3) commands called things like CPYMEMRCD where there's a context sensitive help on one of the 24 function keys (F1-F12 and shift-F1 to shift-F12) so that you can see all of the different ways you can use these command and all of the things it does, like some kind of alternate history where the march of technology progressed but the GUI was never invented. By all accounts it's a job for life, though there are already as many AS-400 programmers as there are jobs, it's like being Head Gardener. Next week it's RPG programming. All of this is being provided through the medium of enormous ring-bound manuals and accompanying 30 tape cassettes, played on the official Company Walkman.

But that's only training, my first actual piece of work was more related to the stuff on my CV, though that's stretching it a bit. One of our clients runs the website that lets shareholders buy and sell shares in (A Company You've Heard Of). They're reworking the site and adding a few new languages to support, so they sent us mockups of how two of the pages should work, and a style guide which is basically "everything should look like the changes we made to those pages". Obviously they'll start screaming once they see what these changes applied to the other eight pages looks like, but that's what you get when you don't specify stuff right (I can imagine men_oil_boys having a seizure at this point). But yeah, a bit off of what I'm used to.

The actual work you're doing day-to-day is determined by the complicated jobs program, where every potential job/fix that comes in gets estimated, then assigned, then billed (at the billing rate of whoever will actually be working on it) before anyone starts on it. At the end of the day you fill in how you've allocated time between job codes (including eg training, meetings etc) and the budgets for those jobs get modified appropriately. We're warned never to go over budget on a job (IE work longer than it was thought it would take) without filling in a form saying what's been done, and what's to be done, and why it's gone over, and how much longer it'll take. And you must must make sure the client signs off on this before you do another tap, because if they don't then it comes out of YOUR wage - the company's paying you to produce 35 x your hourly rate of billable work per week, and it's gotta be billable by someone. The power (and obv. responsibility) as to what things you actually working on from day to day are up to you, and depending on who's actually yelling at you and for what you're free to shift around your 35 hours to EG add a few hours onto a heavy day and ease off after a bottleneck is past.

The people are really sound, my first week in work coincided with the monthly social event (IE spend the 3 quid they take anyway), and we went down to a Morrocan/African restaurant called Souk Medina and sat around at two tables, it was nice to meet people like that and as I said, mostly sound (there was only one guy, at the other table, who when the Hookahs came out afterwards was giving it "Haw haw I hope it's not hashish in there haw haw"). I'm stuck down in a tiny three-person office where if there's a meeting in the next room we have to move the sofa so we can get out of the other door, then down the stairs into the garagey bit and back up another flight and... yeah. Soon, we will join our brethren in the promised land (IE the boardroom when they put some dividers up).

I had my induction on Thursday, where the nice lady from HR read out bits of my contract that I hadn't read closely enough. It was all more or less fine, though I'd missed the bit about how during my 3-month probabtionary period both my time off and my sickdays are unpaid. I was slightly uneasy about how when I mentioned any part that I'd specifically noticed in the contract, she said "yes, that's standard" rather than "yes, that's because...", but that's the British for you I suppose. The next five weeks have training 8-9 Tuesdays and Thursdays, which will suck but will also mean leaving at 4 both days.

In summary, it'll be interesting working here for the next year, and certainly useful as regards exploring bits of being me that are and aren't work.
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