Ethan Banks On productivity.

Long Hours (Sort of) + Comments


Including my commute time, I’ve worked 2 13-hour days in a row. Go ahead, feel bad for me. It’s okay. I crave your pity…actually, 13 hours isn’t all that bad. We’ve all done worse, right? It’s just that working that kind of day leaves me wiped out when I get home. After a killer day on the job, ya wanna hack IOS for a couple or three hours and read geekspeak to explain what you didn’t understand while hacking? Umm…no. I could power into rack time by sheer force of will, but there wouldn’t be enough concentration to get much out of it. So the last 2 nights have been a CCIE-prep throw-away, sorry to say.

“So why the long days, you poor guy?” you say, oh-so-concerned about me. I’m glad you asked! I’ve been working with a team of others, trying to determine why one of our customers is having an application performance problem with one of our Internet-facing services. I can’t say who the customer is, but it’s someone you’ve heard of if you live in the US. They advertise on American TV all the time. And their IT manager was VERY unhappy on the conference call today. Yikes! And I feel her pain, seriously. No doubt someone within her company is pushing her to get the problem fixed. I understand, and there’s a bunch of us putting in a bunch of time to help them out.

I can’t help but take it personally when our customers have issues. I want them to think we’re the best thing in the world, to be our customer forever, and tell everyone they know to do business with us because we’re so awesome. So when one of our big customers has an issue, it takes over my conscious being. I obsess. I can’t stop thinking about the problem, analyzing it, theorizing about changes that may have caused it, reviewing the problem over and over in my mind, contemplating ways we can test to rule out certain potential causes, possible workarounds to get the customer back in their happy place, etc. So overtime is not a problem in these situations. I don’t get paid OT, but I don’t mind working it when there’s a customer-impacting problem to be fixed.

But unfortunately, that sucks up enough of my mental energy that I don’t want to work on equipment anymore when I get home. Tomorrow is another day.

On the CCIE front, I have added some of the material to my training prep for CCIE. (Look at the huge banner off to the left for the link.) I’m going to use their advanced technologies “class on demand” to beef up my knowledge of multicast, IPv6 and BGP. These are areas where I got a lot stronger than I was to pass the written, but where I am discovering I need more review as I prep for the lab. I also am going to give the electronic version of their lab workbook a look over, and see how it compares to the DOiT v2 that I’m already committed to. Since I can see both, I’m in a decent position to comment on the pros and cons of each, for whatever that might be worth to you.

I’m not going to use the labs in addition to NMC labs – that would be distracting, and I don’t think I have enough routers anyway. But I’ll try to get a feel for how Internetwork Expert’s online/electronic lab format compares to NMC, on the chance it helps someone make a decision about what products they’ll spend their hard-earned money on. Mostly, I want to use Internetwork Expert for the class-on-demand to get me smarter, quicker in my weak areas. That should pay off in my lab prep, so that I’m getting more out of each practice lab as I do them.

By Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks On productivity.

You probably know Ethan Banks because he writes & podcasts about IT. For example, he co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

This site is Ethan on productivity--not tech so much.

Find out more on his about page.