My manager suggested Monday that I start taking the Python programs I'm writing for the MIT Introduction to Computer Programming class, and convert them to the Ruby language. I don't need to know Python. I just need to understand the concepts of computer programming. I also need to know Ruby, in part so I can complete upcoming courses in my training. At the time I didn't think I was ready for a challenge like that. Somewhere between Monday and yesterday I changed my mind, at least enough to be willing to give it a try.
This seems to be a theme, by the way. Someone suggests I try something. I immediately say "I'm not ready for that." Then, soon thereafter, I'm trying to figure out how to go about whatever they suggested. If I can curb that initial outburst of uncertainty, I think I'd look more like a go-getter and less like the nervous wreck I feel inside. Just a thought....
Yesterday I decided to try converting some of the homework. I didn't get very far, instead watching a 4 hour video and catching up on assessments and tests I hadn't know were required on some of the classes I've already completed. I also found I was missing a component of SQL Server Management Studio which was listed as a class. That meant I needed it. I spent some time researching how to get it and why I didn't have it, but was unable to install the missing program before leaving for the day.
This morning I woke up thinking I would not only convert the programs to Ruby, but also to Visual Basic. I need to learn the .NET environment, and that requires either Visual Basic or C#. Before I even left for work I'd been up and down on my emotional roller coaster several times, excited about the idea of converting the programs, but concerned over learning 3 languages at once. I imagined what some of the people at work would say, and it wasn't supportive in my head. Of course, by the time I got to work I was feeling overwhelmed and behind schedule again. That seems to be the norm lately, at least part of every day.
I started the work day by visiting another team's stand up meeting, which is part of my new hire requirements. I have to visit all the teams' stand up meetings, eventually. As I was leaving that meeting I heard one of the new hires talking about an intro to C# video training he was taking. A light bulb went off. I talked to one of the trainers on my team, the one who taught the .NET class. He convinced me C# would be better than Visual Basic to learn, for multiple reasons. I now had a plan. I would convert the programs to both Ruby and C#, learning all 3 languages as I went.
First I wanted to get that program I was missing installed onto my machine. Turns out I'd installed the Express edition of SQL Server Management Studio. Express not only doesn't come with SQL Server Profiler, it also prohibits installation of Profiler for some reason. I tried several fixes suggested by various people on the internet, before realizing I really needed to uninstall everything having to do with Management Studio. I was hesitant to do this because I had connections to several databases, plus Powerbuilder, I didn't want to lose. I tried every other suggestion I could find first, but finally admitted defeat and uninstalled Management Studio. Only then could I reinstall the program complete with Profiler. This took the better part of the day, what with uninstalls and reinstalls.
I didn't twiddle my thumbs while my machine was chugging away. I watched some of the intro to C# video. I had a few meetings. We found out the other new hire on my team was let go, so there was a lot of talk about that.
Yes, they fired Jesus. That freaked me out a bit too. I'm not sure who the hell I am anymore, with all this uncertainty and insecurity. Several people had to reassure me, both subtly and outright, that I have nothing to worry about. Of course I'm still concerned I can't learn what I need fast enough, but I'm confident if I continue to work REALLY hard they won't fire me too. Jesus was fired for spending too much time on Magic the Gathering forums, watching cartoons, and doing math equations instead of work. I know he was warned. We meet with our managers every two weeks, one-on-one, specifically to go over concerns on both sides. He was given opportunity to change, but from what I gather he opted not to. This makes no sense to me, but I guess at this point it doesn't matter. He was an irritation to me, and even more so to other members of the team. Now he's gone and I have one less distraction. I'm not doing a happy dance, but part of me is breathing a sigh of relief.
I rode the "they fire people who can't cut it!" wave of anxiety all the way home though. Superman was very supportive, as he has been through this whole roller coaster ride. I sat down after dinner and banged out Ruby and C# interpretations to the first homework assignment. I expected the programs to take much longer than they did, which was a happy surprise. I'm sure as the problems become more challenging, the conversions will too. For now though, I have something to hand in and show for my efforts. Progress is being made, which is important in keeping my job.