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Search - "open office woes"
I stare through the blueish black backgrounds and blurry colorful syntax into a somewhat familiar office within a mirrored world. That damned reflective glass layer covering these meaningless pixels is certainly not on my side.
The rushing sound of transactions flowing through cables is silenced today. Some blood cloth in the invoicing system is zeroing out everything after the currency mark.
While sighing I spin a one-and-a-half pirouette on my desk chair — even when desperate, you shouldn't give up on style — I take three steps away from my screen and try to harmonize my thoughts.
So much noise, everywhere... Noise from within?
I have been stuck at the apogee of an inhale for a while now. Locked into some masochistic constriction, self-punishment for the blindness which stings my ego.
Just fucking take a deep breath you asshole...
I freeze in place, and fall backwards.
Patterns on the creamy drywall rapidly vibrate and synchronize on vivid rhythms of respiration and resonating basslines. Deep indigo rainbows ripple through tiny veins, in-between chalky grains, raining as fine magenta dust through the ceiling frames.
My bare feet slide over soft oscillating concrete, fine flows of unsievable sand surrounded by toes, toes surrounded by streaming variables veiled in obscure vile abstractions.
A jadegreen field of vectored compressions resiliently rumbles and bounces through the clearances and corners of the vibrant concrete office cave, whispering in tongues. I try to voice my woes in little blips and bleeps but I seem to be missing an asymmetric key to their shrouded sequenced speech.
Suddenly, a wild turbulence breaks up all signals.
Joanna floats by in her tipsy effervescent cloud of disordered black hair and alcohol perfume, one hand grasping grapes, her other waving at me.
With every finger she moves a thousand tensors propagating paradoxically flawed but perfect pieces of an intricate surreal picture, sketching whole constellations of possible paths throughout the leafs of the giant Ficus next to her desk.
She stops dead in her tracks, and asks somewhat hypocritically: "Are you high?"
I can not discern the meaning of her words, and respond stoically.
"Joanna! Check out those branches!".
"Pun intended?", she giggles.
I'm focused on her grapeless hand, her fingers stretching to reach the lush little tree.
On touch, the plant shivers, grappled in the tight net of the puppet master. She pulls her strings, applying measured weights, all nodes normalize, and Joanna speaks in an oddly soft tone:
"Isn't it beautiful, how so many models emulate nature"
Her cheek buried in foliage she babbles on about unbalanced search trees and machine learning models... but from the tips of her fingers tables and indexes flow into the plant. Users, payments, tariffs, invoices and taxes crawl over the bark, joining at thicker branches, joining at the stem....
Joining. JOINING. A JOIN.
"IF THERE'S NO FUCKING TAX MULTIPLIER IN THIS LEFT JOIN, EVERYTHING COALESCES TO ZERO" I shout at a perplexed Joanna who squeezes grape juice over her desk. I hop on the beat to my keyboard. She looks puzzled, hugs her Ficus tightly, and reaches for the whiskey bottle behind her monitor.
Attracted by my exclamation, Tom from finance swings open the door, while I push my branch.
I look at Joanna still half hiding between the leaves, and I laugh at her: "Branches! Oh, lame, I finally got it!"
Tom's heavy voice interrupts me: "Does this mean... does this mean that the invoicing bug is resolved?".
I smile at Tom with his tailored suit and waxed hair. "The money is flowing once more. All debts are being settled."
He releases his breath in relief, which he seems to have held since that morning as well.
Joanna adds: "Although I think he is forever indebted to my Ficus".
TLDR: Small family owned finance business woes as the “you-do-everything-now” network/sysadmin intern
Friday my boss, who is currently traveling in Vegas (hmmm), sends me an email asking me to punch a hole in our firewall so he can access our locally hosted Jira server that we use for time logging/task management.
Because of our lack of proper documentation I have to refer to my half completed network map and rely on some acrobatic cable tracing to discover that we use a SonicWall physical firewall. I then realize asking around that I don’t have access to the management interface because no one knows the password.
Using some lucky guesses and documentation I discover on a file share from four years ago, I piece together the username and password to log in only to discover that the enterprise support subscription is two years expired. The pretty and useful interface that I’m expecting has been deactivated and instead of a nice overview of firewall access rules the only thing I can access is an arcane table of network rules using abbreviated notation and five year old custom made objects representing our internal network.
An hour and a half later I have a solid understanding of SonicWallOS, its firewall rules, and our particular configuration and I’m able to direct external traffic from the right port to our internal server running Jira. I even configure a HIDS on the Jira server and throw up an iptables firewall quickly since the machine is now connected to the outside world.
After seeing how many access rules our firewall has, as a precaution I decide to run a quick nmap scan to see what our network looks like to an attacker.
The output doesn’t stop scrolling for a minute. Final count we have 38 ports wide open with a GOLDMINE of information from every web, DNS, and public server flooding my terminal. Our local domain controller has ports directly connected to the Internet. Several un-updated Windows Server 2008 machines with confidential business information have IIS 7.0 running connected directly to the internet (versions with confirmed remote code execution vulnerabilities). I’ve got my work cut out for me.
It looks like someone’s idea of allowing remote access to the office at some point was “port forward everything” instead of setting up a VPN. I learn the owners close personal friend did all their IT until 4 years ago, when the professional documentation stops. He retired and they’ve only invested in low cost students (like me!) to fill the gap. Some kid who port forwarded his home router for League at some point was like “let’s do that with production servers!”
At this point my boss emails me to see what I’ve done. I spit him back a link to use our Jira server. He sends me a reply “You haven’t logged any work in Jira, what have you been doing?”
We have a new lady in HR and boy is she noisy. She just can't seem to keep her mouth shut for even 2 seconds. She has opionions for everything, even dev related conversations.3
I've seen some posts on remote work. I believe all companies should permanently implement remote work if they cannot arrange a proper office.
I have been working for a company where programmers and project managers work in the same room, and sometimes I was trying to understand some problem in code when managers were screaming next to me at other developers or on the phone, because they couldn't hear themselves.
This happend so often that I would literally go home burned out.
Also there were people coming in the room to talk to the managers or just passing next to my screen every couple of minutes which was extremely distracting.
I bought a pair of over ear noise cancelling headphones and on top of that used ear plugs, but eventually I developed a very strange stress condition over the course of a year. Also listening to music while trying to focus for 8 hours a day while at work is very tiresome.
Also couldn't quit because it was my first job.1
In a quiet, closed space unhindered by distractions.
For me (and I'd imagine, many others here), constant conversations in the background, people walking by, etc absolutely kill my focus and keep me from getting work done. Working from home helps a bit, but my neighbors provide plenty of their own distractions.
Honestly, I'll take a broom closet with a laptop, headphones and an Ethernet jack over any other open office design.