Monday morning finally arrived. I slightly congratulated myself that I managed to get through the entire weekend without wasting a single further thought on Angie. With no let-up in the weather, the early shift seemed to be of little comfort with the snow beating down as hard as it could. I was, however, brandishing a new set of gloves and a can of ice dissolving fluid.
Surprisingly, the day went off without a hitch. The snowy weather had landed most of the team off with "colds" and, notably, Angie hadn't made it in. Myself and MAFG managed to pile through a bunch of tickets when Balding Head of IT came in. He asked me if I could attend a meeting later which I obliged. Fairly sure this was "the meeting", I began to mentally prepare my defense.
I was again pleasantly surprised that this meeting was not one in which my ass would be summarily served, but rather a meeting of several heads brandishing a new project. It seemed that there was to be a conference in the not too distant future and the marketing, sales and product reps had worked hard to secure a vendor for a new medical CRM product to replace the aging creaky FileMaker based system. They also wanted to work in a complete laptop refresher programme, replacing any laptop over 2 years old. BHIT made particular mention of a desktop rollout I performed last year - it was actually my initial 3 months contract, but as I'd proven myself worthy, was taken on full time. My job was to be responsible for managing the physical delivery of the new hardware/software as appropriate.
I set to work on the task with glee, querying Active Directory for a list of machines, users and specs. One thing I always made sure of was to carry on my predecessor's good work in maintaining a super-clean active directory: a place for everything and everything in it's place. Every audit we had, although occasionally revealing some discrepancies, everything was up to date and reports were reliable.
After collating my results, I determined that 170 odd laptops would require replacement and approximately 250 builds would need to go on across three different hardware types - two already in use in the field and could continue and one for the new laptop specs. As soon as I could get the final signed off software from the vendor, I could go about getting images prepared, QA'd and rope in some of my friendlier reps to pilot the new builds before the big day.
My analysis done and sent to BHIT, I wrapped up for the day. All thoughts of that coffee swilling stick insect were thoroughly out of mind.
My smile was demolished Tuesday morning. Angie had made it in and was busy setting about the task of undoing anything that looked like progress. The instant I appeared, she demanded my attention in the dungeon. Sure enough, this was it. She now required a full explanation as to my actions the previous Friday.
I say explanation, after my defense of our security access to the IT Cupboard had been withdrawn was thrown straight back at me for failing to understand proper protocol, she just ripped into yet another Starbucks latte-fueled tirade about leaving a VIP high and dry for an hour while I blithered about. She then also ripped me a new one, asking what I was doing taking apart a PC in the middle of the office? It seemed that some of the Fat Finance wenches had ratted me out as well and claimed I'd caused such a loud commotion, they were prevented from working!
I wonder if it's the same finance hag that is in her coffee group? This dressing down seemed to last forever, and it did... this was a good 20 minuter!
Dressing down fully received, I decided to retaliate once more. I mailed our BHIT and CC'd the rest of support, questioning why we were no longer permitted access to the IT Cupboard for equipment, where we should go if Angie is not around to give her approval to retrieve gear from the cupboard and, most importantly, where are we supposed to work on machines or hardware? These were things which worked perfectly fine a few weeks ago were now suddenly were not fine.
The reply from BHIT was as usual fairly impotent and full of noncommittal statements. His response that he was unaware the IT Cupboard was being used as a build area for hardware came as a shock to us all particularly as he was the one who got the Ghost Server off the 3rd line team in the first place. He concluded by requesting that we should seek clarification of suitable build areas from our manager, Angie. I could see we were going to get nowhere on this path.
The water deepened. I held my breath, cited 15 odd tickets in my queue which would require extensive dismantling and imaging time, none of which could occur at my desk and none of which could even happen as the build server with all our images had been thrown in a riser room, which of course none of us could now access anymore. Added to that, with the conference project looming, exactly where were we meant to image these machines? And how would I be able to access our build server for the task at hand - my nightly WhatsAlive script reporting it as the only machine missing in action?
As a demonstration of the extent of his ineptitude, instead of formulating a reply, he simply replied to all and inserted Angie's email at the top with the words "Angie, can you please direct Jon6 appropriately? Thanks."
You can guess the next conversation. "What conference is this and what makes you think you have anything to do with it?" Angie demanded.
As BHIT had truly dumped me in it, I had to relay all about my task for the conference. She would find out anyway, the train was in motion. Of course, this was now something new she could micromanage to the nth degree, but not without a scolding first. She first demanded to know why she was never informed.
I responded, "BHIT had been present in the meeting, too. Given my handling of the XP Rollout and Desktop Replacement project last year, this is why BHIT and several heads asked for me by name! That said, as it's a major project, I find it difficult to believe that you were not in the loop with this one already?" (whoa... saucer of milk, meeting room 7... could it be score 1 to Jon6?)
In reality, I already knew that Angie was already plotting. If I was a betting man, I'd have said the plan was already made in her mind; she was too sharp to not have planned all the fine details already. All she needed was the time to put it into effect. What the plan was, I have no idea, only the future will tell. But I did know at that moment that this process won't go well. It will either be mired in micro-managementism... or I just won't do it at all.
So, I managed to get my digs in that one time, but I now have a fight on my hands. On the one hand, I've made enough of an impression by some heads to have been asked for by name to drive this forward. On the other hand, I had the bitch manager from hell, bent on thrusting her dagger of incompetence into the beating heart of anything resembling efficiency.
And there was still no response about where hardware/builds should be taking place.
One thing I was sure of... if we're going to play this game, let the games begin!