8
BranDev
201d

The year was 2006. During the first half of my career, I use to work in the NOC. This was before I made my transition to software engineer. I worked on the third shift for a bank services company. The company was on a down turn. Just years earlier they just went public, and secured a deal with a huge well known bank. Eventually they entered a really bad contract with the bank and was put into a deal they couldn't deliver on. The partnership collapse and their stock plummeted. The CEO was dismissed, and a new CEO came in who wanted to "clean things up".

Anyway I entered the company about a year after this whole thing went down. The NOC was a good stepping stone for my career. They let me work as many hours as I liked. And I took advantage of it, clocking in 80 hours a week on average. They gave me the nick name "Iron Man".

Things started to turn around for the company when we were able to secure a support contract with a huge bank in the Alabama area. As the NOC we were told to handle the migration and facilitate the onboarding.

The onboarding was a mess with terrible instructions that didn't work. A bunch of software packages that crashed. And the network engineers were tips off, as they tunnel between our network and the banks was too narrow, creating an unstable connection between us and them. Oh, and there were all sorts of database corruption issues.

There was also another bank that was using an old version of our software. The sells team had been trying to get them off our old software for over a year. They refuse to move. This bank was the last one using this version, and our organization wanted to completely cut support.

One of the issue we would have is that they had an overnight batch job that had an ETA to be done by 7 AM. The job would often get stuck because this version of the software didn't know how to fail when it was caught in an undesired state. So the job hung, and since the job didn't have logging, no one could tell if it failed unless the logs stopped moving for an hour. It was a heavily manually process that was annoying to deal with. So we would kill the JVM to "speed" the job up. One day I killed the JVM but the job was still late. They told me that they appreciated the effort, but that my job was only to report the problem and not fix it.

This got me caught up in a major scandal. Basically they wanted the job to always have issues everyday. Since this was critical for them, all we needed to do was keep reporting it, and then eventually this would cause the client to have to upgrade to our new software. It was our sales team trying to play dirty. It immediately made me a menace in the company.

For the next 6 months I was constantly harassed and bullied by management. My work was nitpicked. They asked me to come into work nearly everyday, and there was a point I worked 7 days with no off days. They were trying to run me so dry that I would quit. But I never did.

On my last day at the company, I was on a critical call with a customer, and my supervisor was also on the line. My supervisor made a request that made no sense, and was impossible. I told her it wasn't possible. She then scalded me on the call in front of customers. She said "I'm your supervisor, you're just a NOC technician, you do what I say and don't talk back". It was embarrassing to be reprimanded on a call with customers. I never quite recovered from that. I could fill myself steaming with anger. It was one of the first times in my adult life that I felt I really wanted to be violent towards someone. It was such a negative feeling I quit that day at the end of my shift with no job lined up.

I walked away from the job feeling very uncertain about my future, but VERY relieved. I paid the price, basically unable to find a job until a year and a half later. And even was forced to move back in with my mother. After I left, the company still gave my a severance. Probably because of the supervisor's unprofessional conduct in front of customers, and the company probably needed to save face. The 2008 crash kept me out of work until 2009. It did give me time to work on myself, and I swore to never let a job stress me out to that degree. That job was also my last NOC job and the last job where did shift work. My next few jobs was Application Support and I eventually moved into development full time, which is what I always wanted to do.

Anyway sorry if it's a bit long, but that's my burnout story.

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