Sorry for the pause in updates. My job has been consuming, unsatisfying, and stressful over the last few days. Recall that I was sent here to, what shall we call it …, “train” 4 engineers on a piece of software I know only partially. I’m not the expert. But there is no expert. No one still left at my company has ever worked on this code long enough to become one. I’m not, in my opinion, even the best person for the job. But I was the most knowledgeable one who was available in a mutually agreeable time frame. Of this, I was clearly upfront to all involved before I came and still I was chosen. So, here I am.
I gave probably 15 or more hours of lectures last week, complete with slides. I personally thought they were pretty damn good. At least, they were more comprehensive and cohesive than the “training” I was originally given. This week, we were to sit down and walk through code in the debugger. But we have hit the point where their questions exceed my knowledge and I haven’t figured out how to get them to transition out of thinking of me as their teacher and into me as a useful resource for them to use as they start trying to answer their questions themselves.
I came here unconsciously thinking, “Hey, won’t they be pleased to get so much attention and background! Even if it isn’t expert, it’s a helluva a lot more than I got.” But noooooooo. Our sessions have turned into them asking me the same questions over and over again and me saying, over and over again, “I don’t know but here’s how to find out,” and them wearing grimaces in response. It seems like a small thing, but after 8 1/2 days of it now and you could slice the frustration in the room with a knife. I’m clearly not popular here.
Not only does the lack of warmth and comradery feel shitty, but it kicks in my performance anxiety. I haven’t felt this anxious since I was in Comp Sci grad school in 1993. Back then, I got so depressed and hypersensitive that I couldn’t concentrate. Fortunately, I’ve aged a little and have a thicker skin and more stable sense of myself. So, although I’m uncomfortable right now, I won’t be scarred by it. My teammates back at home gave me a pep talk last night, and reminded me how valuable I am, and promised me that, no matter what these people end up thinking of me, I’m not going to get scapegoated if their disappointment becomes a political matter.
Blech. Thank God its almost Friday.