To say work has been frustrating as of late is an understatement. I'm to the point of pulling my hair out of my head over it.
For the last month and a half, I've been writing courseware for the company's new Cloud Computing product. Cloud isn't my specialty, so I realized early on that I needed to bury myself in the industry so as to understand my target audience.
I looked up Cloud blogs and subscribed to them in Google Reader. I've found key players in the industry and followed them on Twitter. For the most part, this strategy seems to have worked. Today I can read a blog post, or a short eBook and see the flaws in their arguments, or the overlooked complexity. I've actually had people follow my work-oriented twitter account because of my shift in focus to cloud.
I've also gone out of my way to convert myself to Cloud-oriented applications. My IM client, Twitter client, feed reader, email, and others, are web-based. I've even started having crazy ideas about putting more applications in the browser.
Despite all my efforts, I'm still facing several critical blocks to writing my class. The biggest of which is...
I. Don't. Have. Access. To. The. Product.
It's as if I've been told, "Here, write this class on this program." And like a dope, I say, "Sure!". "Oh," they reply, "I hope you don't mind, but all you'll have to work with are these outdated, Powerpoint presentations with screenshots you wouldn't let in without an hour of extensive Photoshopping each. Thanks".
To make the situation worse, there's next to no one to talk to about this product. They're all either too busy, or never return emails. I've complained. I've escalated. My boss has escalated.
No. One. Listens.
I've never had a class be this frustrating. Usually I will figure out how to install the software after a modicum of trepidation. Then I play around with it for a few days before I figure things out enough to write the class. The problem with the Cloud product is that there is not one product to install -- but seven:
- A web portal (which itself is running on top of another product)
- A process orchestration product (four installation processes minimum!)
- A server automation product (two installations minimum)
- A network automation product
- A database manager (the easiest of the bunch)
- A configuration database product (which needs the DBMS, and the same runtime the portal runs on)
- An enterprise hypervisor (which I can't get a license or machine to run)
Looking at the above list, you can begin to get an idea of my frustration. Did I mention that this cloud thingy is also a 1.0 product?
I was so angry and frustrated last week that I decided to take a break from all of it and read manuals for five days straight. The break was much appreciated, and I learned quite a bit about each of the components involved. Yesterday, however, I decided to go back to working on the courseware.
I'm actually writing two classes at the same time. One for future Cloud admins and another for Execs. There's a lot of overlap, thankfully, but trying to step into two different mindsets at the same time with this already frustrating project leads to much head-breakery.
In the meantime, the situation at the office has also deteriorated. They're laying off more people. I stopped going in myself, preferring to work from home. This too isn't without its problems. The noise and distractions are far too easy to come by. If I was working on a more straightforward project, none of this would bother me. The work itself would give me the necessary rhythm and motivation. This project, on the other hand, everything is a draining, losing fight.