The End of an Era in My Life

I sit now in next to Gate 26 in the Sky Harbor airport. It is the end of a long couple of weeks.

It is also the end of an era for me.

For fourteeen years I have worked for the same company, in the same IT department.

I and the people I have worked with have built and maintained the Madison data center for this past decade and a half. Things have changed so, so much in that time. By now of course, people around the globe, across the US, Europe, and Asia, depend on those applications and servers to get their jobs done.

Now the end has come. Over the past two weeks we have planned and toiled towards delivering the entirety of the Madison data center to a new home. We did it with a scant day and half of downtime, as those servers, coccooned in expanding foam packaging, flew across the country in a chartered jet.

We kicked ass… just as we kicked ass in everything. As with all the tasks given to us, we treated it as just another job to do.

But it wasn’t, really, just another job to do. It was a job with a goal to make the Madison office obsolete. Now, in June, we can shut the doors and turn off the lights, and the services that we built will still keep humming along.

The only people that will care that Madison is dark is those of us who lived there. I have given my entire professional life to that place, and now that is done.

Last week, I officially rejected relocation to the Arizona office. There are many good reasons for this, professionally and personally.

The end result, though, is the servers and applications that I have built and cared for for so long will soon be someone else’s responsibility. It is both a relief and a sadness.

Since the announcement about the Madison close, I’ve been so busy trying to make this thing happen that I’ve not had time to take proper stock of what it means to me. Of course I’m sad. I’m angry at the people and reasons this decision was made. I’m relieved I’m not going to get a 3am call that a server is down. I’m frightened about looking for a job in this economy. I’m excited at the prospects of finding something new.

At any rate, it is the end of a long journey. I will miss the people I have worked with. I have a lot of respect for a lot of people I have known through the years, and although it really stinks we’re in this situation, I think most of us will be okay. I certainly hope so.

So, if you know of a good IT position in the Madison area, please let me know. My resume is up at MadisonComputerGeek.com. It may sound arrogant, but I’m really good. I don’t know it all, but I know a lot about a really wide range of technologies (one of the advantages of being the Head Nerd for so long). I’d be lucky to find a place where I get to do half of the things I’ve gotten to do with Heurikon/Artesyn/Emerson over the years.

Good-bye Emerson, and good-bye Phoenix. Take good care of my babies.

Tempe Visit

My employer is closing the Madison office. I was offered relocation to the Tempe, AZ, head office. A couple of weekends ago, Susanna, Augie, and I trekked down to check out the place.

We went and saw the Chihuly exhibit at the Phoenix Botanical Garden; very cool: 

Chihuly 

Augie is getting more human every day. He thinks lots and lots of things are extremely funny.

He is also now eating some real food! Oatmeal turns out to not be his new favorite thing. Apples, however, he seems to love.

 

 

Here’s the full gallery link

 

 

Dear BD

Carmen Guzio
BD Consumer Services
1 Becton Drive
Franklin Lakes, NJ 07417

Carmen:

I am a computer geek by trade. I spend most of my working life in front of a computer, typing and mousing away. About eight or so years ago, I started developing serious wrist pain, despite my best efforts to use an ergonomic setup on my computer(s).

I went to the doctor. While it wasn’t Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, he did tell me I had to quit my job. Failing that, he recommended physical therapy and to immobilize my wrists while geeking. The physical therapist gave me a daily stretching and exercise routine for my forearms, but I could not find a wrist brace which would be effective and comfortable. Most, including the one given to me by my doctor, included a metal splint underneath the wrist. This splint got in the way and kept my fingers farther away from the keyboard and mouse, which caused my posture to be even worse.

Hallelujah! I finally found a solution in the Bauer and Black Carpal Tunnel Wrist Brace (significantly, size large). I bought a pair each for work and home, and was happy for years, replacing them as needed.

A while back, when I tried to reorder, they were unavailable anywhere. Some investigation showed that they had been renamed the Ace Wrist Immobilizer. It was the same product, and I was happy.

However, a few weeks ago I tried to replenish my stock of them, and found that the large sizes have been discontinued! I ordered the regular size and even tried to modify it slightly by cutting open the thumb holes wider. However, they simply don’t fit. Wearing them doesn’t support my wrist as well, and cuts off the blood supply to my hand.

I’ve spoken to a number of folks in the BD consumer services department, but the answer has been the same… the product is no longer being made!

I’ve been unable to find old stock of the old product anywhere, either.

It is hard for me to overstate how important these wrist braces are for my health and livelihood. I will certainly experiment and see if I can find alternatives, but as before, most have the metal splint which simply gets in the way. If not for the availability of this product for the last eight years of my life, I might very well be permanently disabled and be unable to continue my career in the computer field.

So this is at least one request from a loyal customer that this product be continued. I don’t understand why it would be available in a regular size, but no longer large. Are there not enough of us with large hands that are affected by repeated strain?

I’ll be posting this letter openly at http://johnstewart.com/blog/2007/05/17/dear-bd/ in case there are others so afflicted who might run across this in their search for this product. I’m hopeful that we can convince BD to again release this product.

Sincerely,

John Stewart
Computer Geek