I was called in to an emergency meeting yesterday morning. I was up to my eyebrows in alligators, but my boss was insistent. I had to be there. So I went. When we sat down, the tone was somber and slightly meandering. The guy who called the meeting just didn’t want to get to the point. Finally it hit me: Layoffs. That’s what this has to be about. So… Who’s gone? I’m not the highest-paid guy in my group, I’m probably the most versatile, and I’m not the most recent hire, so I’m probably safe. I was right about layoffs, or, more accurately, one layoff, followed by a restructuring. And the layoff wasn’t me.
I think we’re a better fit in our new structure (under our old organization we were married to a group that really didn’t like my group, or at least they didn’t like me, and now we’re married to a group that does, for the most part, like my group), and my boss’ new boss is so busy we shouldn’t have to worry about him messing with much. But I don’t like change, and my Scottish clan’s motto, “Fide et Fortitudine” loosely translates into “loyalty and guts” today. The loyalty side of me has some problems with what happened yesterday, but looking at it strictly from a business standpoint, I sure can’t argue with it.
Meanwhile, I needed about three minutes’ worth of quality time with that indignant hard drive to get the data I so desperately wanted. I got it. Next struggle: Getting Windows NT to work properly with eighth-rate hardware. This PC has a generic RealTek 8139-based card (so we’re talking a generic clone of a Linksys or D-Link card here… A clone of a clone), Trident Blade 3D video, ESS 1868 sound, and an AOpen 56K modem (at least it wasn’t a Winmodem). The AOpen modem is, by a longshot, the best component in the machine outside of the Gigabyte motherboard and Pentium II-450 CPU. I’ll say one thing for brand-name hardware. Drivers are easy to come by and they generally install correctly the first time, every time. It took me an hour to track down Blade 3D drivers that work, then it took me a good 30-45 minutes to get those working. The Realtek drivers at least worked the first time. I never did get the ESS drivers working. The AOpen modem driver went off without a hitch, mostly because it’s actually a controller-based modem. I stand by my assertion that you can buy $10 components and spend $100 worth of time trying to get each of them working right, or you can buy $50-$75 components from a reputable maker and make them work the first time. Seeing as the more expensive components will probably work well together too and give better performance, it’s a no-brainer for me. Gimme Creative or Guillemot video and sound cards and pair that up with a 3Com or Intel NIC and I’ll be a happy camper.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about my bookstore adventures. I want to go read for a while.
OK, I’m back for a second. I can’t resist. Not quite four years ago, I had a conversation with another Journalism major/history minor (one who, unlike me, actually finished his history minor, if I recall correctly). Over dinner with my then-significant other, he told me all about his theory of generations, as she looked on, entranced. The nasty breakup that soon followed that conversation overshadowed it, and I didn’t think of it again until last night, when I spotted the book Generations, by William Strauss and Neil Howe, on the shelf of a used bookstore. Curious, I looked at it, and sure enough, this was where that guy got his ideas. It was marked six bucks. I bought it, started reading, and gained some insight on myself. Why do I go ga-ga over the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and get chills whenever I read about his personal life because it all feels so familiar? He and I are from parallel generational cycles. His generation thought like mine does, so we grew up in similar peer environments. Why do I understand people 10 years older than me so much better than people 10 years younger than me? I was born 7 years before the end of my generational cycle.