So I’m flying solo this week. The boss and our mid-shift guy, who was originally our morning shift guy but has since taken on a new project that will move him out of being a Tech to being something else infinitely more important, are out in California for training this week. Thus leaving yours truly to fend for himself the entire shift whereas I could usually take solace in the fact that I wouldn’t be alone for more than a couple of hours in the morning before I had others to consult the truly knotty problems with. I am, after all, still relatively new to the job. Needless to say I was a tad bit nervous about coming in this morning.
As it turns out, my unease wasn’t for naught. We have a web tool we make use of that monitors the status of all the workstations on the floor. When I came in this morning the first thing I noticed, to my horror, is that all of the workstations appeared to be down. This sometimes happens after a power outage and can result in a lot of fried motherboards and we did have some nasty weather over the weekend which resulted in power outages around the area. There wasn’t an angry crowd banging on the door to the lab with pitchforks and torches, though, so I surmised that the web monitor must be wrong and it was as most of the stations were up and running. I put in a call to the boss, who was busy getting ready for his flight, and he logged in remotely to try and do something about the web monitor. Meanwhile Mondays are always a busy morning as a number of workstations lose calibration over the weekend and sometimes need to be rebooted – a function normally done using the web monitor tool which was useless as it couldn’t see any of the workstations.
Still I managed to get enough of the usual problems sorted while flying blind that no one was sitting around waiting for a workstation to be fixed. That’s when I started in on the minor repairs which often require me to physically climb up onto a workstation to reach the component in question. I can’t go into much detail about what it was I was fixing, but suffice it to say that it’s a rather large step up to get to it. Naturally when I went to step back down onto the floor I managed to rip out the front crotch of the khaki shorts I was wearing. Fortunately my Hawaiian shirt was long enough that I wasn’t flashing everyone in the room, but obviously I was going to have to do something about it. So I notified the floor manager and I got in my car and drove the half-hour home, threw on some jeans, and drove another half-hour back to work.
Shortly after I got back to work the web monitor tool decided to start working again, kind of. It’s currently seeing about half of the workstations, which is better than not seeing all of them, but still less than I had hoped for. Of course several workstations since I got back have decided to have issues and most of them are workstations that the web monitor can’t see for whatever reason. This has resulted in moving people around to other stations that are still working. There’s been a few other issues since then that are largely annoyances, but those become magnified in the midst of an ongoing crisis.
For the moment, things appear to have stabilized and a lot of what’s wrong isn’t anything I have the access rights to fix myself. I’ve notified the folks who possibly can and I have to wait for them to do whatever voodoo they do do and then I’ll pick up fixing what I can once I can. Nothing like a lot of stress first thing on your first solo day to let you know you’re alive. At least until the brain aneurysm kicks in.