The Countdown Continues...

Date May 23, 2011

This is my last week at my company, and it's scary.

I've taken the good advice that my boss Damian suggested and made a checklist of things left to go over with my successor. As with all endeavors, we're limited by time more than anything else.

It's right now that my previous investments in documenting the scripts that automate various processes around the network are kicking back in my favor. It's easy enough to skim a 150+ line Oracle script if it's well documented, explains known limitations and caveats, and I've got a white-board that I can use to annotate peculiarities.

Over all, the process is more draining than I thought it would be. I'm still enjoying explaining the way the network works (as well as pointing out weaknesses that should be fixed), but at the end of the day, I'm completely wiped out. On top of this, I'm also dealing with the emotions that come with leaving a job that I've been with for what seems like ever. To put it in perspective, I started dating my wife of several years 6 months before I started working here. My world is very much changing.

On the other hand, I am a neophile. I get bored too often, and I enjoy change. I might be scared out of my mind at leaving a nice comfortable position, but it's also thrilling. I don't know what the future holds, and I can't wait to find out. That's the part that keeps me going.

I should also mention that we got the final tuning in place for the Silver Peak WAN Optimizers this past weekend. We're seeing a relatively steady 50% decrease in Oracle SQL traffic, and between 40-80% in CIFS. What remains to be seen is whether, longer term, those protocols constitute enough of the traffic to make the devices worth the investment. I definitely like the reporting and transparency, but that by itself isn't enough. Ultimately, the decision will be up to my successor and his boss...and letting go of decisions like that is something else that's hard to do.

I have heard myself constantly correcting my speech while going over the infrastructure. I'll make reference to plans, as in "and I figure by early next year, we'll be starting serious IPv6 trials", then I'll realize what I said, and change it to, "I mean, I think it would be a good idea to..." - It's surprisingly hard to change my mindset when it comes to this.

That being said, I'm making it, and I'm improving all the time. I cleaned up my desk, and it looks better than it ever has. I've got a pile of notebooks, each of which contains about 20 pages of notes regarding some part of the infrastructure, which then fades to a notebook of blank pages. I didn't realize how bad I am at that until I collated them and saw the pile. I think only two of them were completely full, and one was a Moleskine that I used for conferences, and is coming home with me.

All in all, I'm still looking forward to the change. Mentally, it could be dicey for a while, but I'm convinced that I'll pull through. If you've been through something like this before, I'm very much open to suggestions on how to bridge the gap from "Master of All I Survey" to "That guy who used to come here a lot on the weekends".

  • John McGrath

    Have you and your boss considered continued communication after your departure, in the instance of something that comes up that wasn't covered in your documentation or is a novel issue that you might have some input into the resolution?

  • http://www.openxtra.co.uk/blog/ Jack Hughes

    Best of luck to you in the future... I'm sure you'll keep us informed on here?

  • http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/hoanga Al Hoang

    Matt, good luck to you in your new journeys and thanks for all your hard work in building up the community!

  • http://shaken-not-stirred.tekq.com Brett Wynkoop

    I am the fellow that is taking over for Matt and yes we are still in communication. Just today I spoke to him about something that was undocumented. I have to say the transition into IA has been the best planned one I have made in over 30 years in the industry. Most of the time one walks into chaos where the previous admin left months before and the shop has been on autopilot or under the care of a non-qualified person for some months.

    Both Matt and IA made a good choice in getting his replacement on board before he left. It has lowered the stress levels for everyone.

    -Brett