Day #18 – The Long Day

Had a very long day at work today (see my previous post for a hint). But it didn’t stop with troubleshooting an in-car computer and having to take dashboards apart and copying and copying and copying files to and from various drives and servers.

It ended with my monthly server updates, where I go through and run Windows update on all the servers under my care, make sure that the updates install correctly and don’t break anything, and rebooting them and verifying that all essential services are working properly. Even when it’s easy it takes forever, and I can’t really start until the regular staff goes home.

Today it wasn’t easy. Had several updates break, had more than one server that just didn’t feel like booting up again afterward, and had one server that was still downloading updates 2 hours after my normal quitting time.

I wrestled most everything back into working order and left that one last server downloading updates. I’ll check on it Monday and reboot it after hours next week. But I’m also going to be worrying about all the updates that failed to install, and what problems those failed updates may cause me down the line, and I’ll also be beating myself up for not being able to pull off this seemingly simple task smoothly.

In my 6 months (hey! I’ve been on the new job for 6 months as of next Friday!), I think the server updates have worked as hoped for exactly once. If I told you your odds of surviving were 1 in 6, you’d probably think those are terrible odds. Sometimes a Windows network feels like it’s held together with duct tape and baling wire. That’s not just me, right? Other Windows sysadmins feel that, too?

I’ll be honest here (since nobody is reading this)—from the moment I woke up, I had tightness and pain in my chest and abdomen that, I was convinced, was an impending heart attack. Nevermind that I have no history of heart failure on either side of my family. Nevermind that I walk and exercise regularly. I was just sure it was a heart attack, and I felt the anxiety grow as I pondered that thought.

It was a vicious circle, though. My worry was causing my anxiety to spike, which made me worry more, which upped my stress and anxiety. I was anxious about work, and the things I’ve had to leave undone to put out fires, and the shortcuts I’ve had to take to get the fires put out, and wondering what everyone else thought about me and my job. It was horrible, and it took a lot of self-talk to walk myself back from that. I’m not 100% convinced I’ve got it entirely under control, but at least now I have the weekend to try to put it behind me.

Tomorrow I’m going to Edgefield to see one of my all-time favorite bands, Cake, playing with Ben Folds, a performer I like but have never seen live. I’m going to sit on the grass surrounded by people I love and who love me, and sing along, and enjoy a cold delicious adult beverage. That’s my one and only plan for this coming weekend.

(Oh I plan to keep writing 500 words per day, of course. Sunday will be my twentieth in a row!)

G’night. I love you all.