Archive for the ‘Week 3’ Category

Week Three – Day Five

Well, last night an old friend dropped by with some champagne. After the day I had I was glad to see them, but I felt tired all day today.

I think part of that was due to the emotional day I had yesterday. Apart from the terrible e-mail, there were a couple of loud “discussions” in the office between the administrator and one of the programmers – I wanted to crawl under my desk and disappear. All in all I had no expectation that today would be any better. I had already decided that if it didn’t get better I would ask to meet with the administrator and try to work out what was going to happen going forward. But the day went fairly well, after all.

First of all, the other intern was not in today. I don’t know where he is or if he is coming back. Also, a few others were not there, or if they were, they did not stay long. It was a quiet, peaceful day, and I felt we got a lot done.

Al and I checked and de-bugged all the ActionScript 3 code for the Flash application he was working on, so now it works in both Firefox and IE. We did talk back and forth, but in low voices and it did not seem to bother anyone. In fact, by the afternoon, we were at a point that if I found an error, I would swivel my chair around and look over at his desk – when he noticed me all I had to do was say one word describing where to look for the error. We were running VNC and so he could take over my computer and fix it in front of my eyes – I took note of what he did and the next time I found the same error I could try to fix it myself. I got better and better at it, and that felt really good. Now the whole thing is done at last!

Also, the styling for the custom CMS is done – Al saved me on that one. I must remember what he did, because it was simple, elegant, and works both in Firefox and IE with no hacks.! So that means two sites finished and done, as far as I know, and that may take some of the pressure off around here.

Towards the end of the day the administrator came over to my desk talk to me about yesterday’s e-mail. Basically she apologized in a roundabout way, indicating that she didn’t really mean me, but felt she had to put my name in since I had in fact not been there on the day mentioned in the e-mail. She said they had no problem with me. I told her I had been terribly upset by the e-mail and that if she ever had a problem with me I would like her to address it directly to me instead of sending it out to the whole office. I think we both felt better after the conversation, but I am still somewhat unsettled.

I did decide to stay on, though. After all, I wanted to come here badly enough to take on the commute, and even finding out that the other guy was coming here as well, while it gave me pause, I still wanted this badly enough  that I didn’t let it stop me. So I’m not going to let it stop me now, but I’m less certain than I was before, and far more wary. Too bad, really, but that’s life, I guess.

Week Three – Day Four

First thing this morning I got an e-mail from one of the management people here. It was sent to everyone in the office that I have contact with. I can hardly begin to describe how upset and shaken I am by it.

In it they state that they are finding that we interns are wasting company time by diverting the real workers with our questions. I am specifically named, along with the one other guy who I have been so worried about. I do not know whether my performance has really been so bad or if I am just being lumped in with him, but seeing my name spelled out like that really embarrassed me and hurt like hell.

There were a few redeeming things about the e-mail, once I got beyond the public dressing-down. It re-iterated the fact that we have been assigned tasks that are not important and have no deadlines, so I guess some of the pressure to perform is off. Also, it finally defined once and for all what the structure is here, and who we report to and are answerable to.

This part comes as a relief to me, since the last thing I want to do is cause problems here, and knowing for certain who to report to and what the rules are will make it easier.

However, the e-mail went on to say we should keep our questions to a short period in the morning for assignment, and another at the end of the day for review, and the interns were explicitly forbidden from speaking to anyone at any other time for any reason at all. Even if we were sick and had to leave, we were to send an e-mail. We had an e-mail last week outlining some of this, and I was specifically told by someone who works here to ignore it, because we couldn’t work effectively without communication during the day.

Also, it does raise a question for me about how much I can expect to get out of the rest of this experience, if I can’t communicate with anyone except for 1/2 hour a day. I think there may have been a misunderstanding on both sides of what this internship constituted. I thought everyone involved knew that this was to be a reciprocal arrangement – in return for 8 weeks of my doing whatever I could to help the forward progress of the work here, I would in return get the opportunity to learn as I worked. I think they may have thought they were getting 8 weeks of free work from someone who just had to put in the time in order to graduate, and did not understand that I expected in return to continue learning while I was here.

The other intern named in the e-mail actually followed me out when I went for lunch, and started to talk about it. He was angry, and started paraphrasing what had been said, interpreting it even more negatively and making it sound even worse than it already was. I told him I didn’t want to discuss it while I was so upset but he would not stop – he was so upset he was practically yelling. I finally lost my temper with him and told him I thought he was the larger part of the problem, and that I was done discussing it. We haven’t spoken since.

I am still so upset about this – I am not sure what to do. I have talked it over with my husband and he feels I should just walk out. He says if all I’m expected to do is look things up on Google to solve my problems, why bother with with a 3-hour commute every day? I could do that at home in my PJ’s. And he has a point.

But what he doesn’t get is that I will feel like such a failure if I walk out now. And I’ll never know if it was really my failure, or if I was just included because the other guy and I came from the same place.

I’m going to sleep on it and try to figure out what to do.

Week Three – Day Three

So now I have my lovely new laptop, and I have brought it in to work. I hope to be able to use it as well as the computer assigned to me, because it has more RAM and dedicated video memory, and therefore will be faster, and hopefully not freeze the way the assigned computer has been doing.

I am working today on finishing the non-profit website – it is based on a Word press template that has been heavily modified. Ed has re-written the PHP for the header, menu and footer includes, and I have been inputting ther text for all the pages , as well as the images, in HTML. Now I am doing the CSS for the site.  It is rather slow going because the positioning of text on top of images has to render correctly in all browsers – so far it it perfect in Firefox but all catawumpus in IE (well, yeah, what do you expect). I can’t seem to get it to render in both the way it should, but I’m slogging away, trying different things and looking stuff up in online tutorials.

In between times I am installing Open Office on my laptop, since the key for my purchase download of Office 2007 has died with my old laptop. I wish I could have backed it up but the thing was malfunctioning so badly I couldn’t keep it alive long enough to log in, and I couldn’t afford to buy a second hard drive and pay to have my info transferred. Besides, last time they did that for me they stuck everything into one folder and it took me literally months to sort it all out again.

So life goes on. I am still having problems with one of the other interns – he is annoying in the extreme and this reflects badly on all of us. I hope the behaviour of one of us will not affect the reviews and recommendations for all of us at the end of our term here.

Week Three – Day Two

I think I finally have everything I need re-installed and working – now to get the whole Word Press thing figured out. I know how to create themes, but not how to make the inner pages and the splash page styled differently. That’s what’s on the program for today. Could be fun, or . . .

NOT! This thing is the most recalcitrant darned site – I can get the CSS lining the text up on top of the buttons perfectly in Firefox, but then it doesn’t align in Internet Explorer, or I can have it line up in IE and not Firefox! Why, oh WHY can’t there be ONE STANDARD for all the browsers!!! I know I have been guilty of dismissing the complaints of others when I have read them on the boards and forums, but I take it all back! I’m sorry! Please, can you make it work now?

On a lighter note, I will be leaving 1/2 an hour early today so I can get in to the Big Computer Store and find out what’s going on with my laptop. I’ll keep you posted…

Week Three – Day One

OK – today was the best day of all, so far.

I came in to find and e-mail from Al, telling me he was running late getting in and outlining what he wanted me to do until he got there. This indicates to me he has a level of confidence in me, which at the same time makes me proud of my accomplishment so far, and determined to justify it by having everything done as fast and as well as possible.

Basically I was to continue on with the Flash project, working on his computer while we prepared to format mine and get it all cleaned up so it will run more smoothly. I got going on that, and got most of it done, but then ran into a snag in the original code that I was not able to correct. So, not to waste time sitting around wondering what to do, I decided to go back and double-check all the work from last week. Lucky I did – I found an error and was able to let Al know where to look to fix it.

Once Al got in to the office, he set me to backing up the user-generated files from my computer and also that of one of the other stageaires, and then I reinstalled Vista, formatting the hard drive as part of the process. I hope this means the computer will not crash as often!

As I was waiting during the long intervals when Windows was working in the background, I was able to watch and learn as AL started developing a custom CMS for a client. The high point of my day came when he was having trouble positioning some small images and I was able to suggest a CSS fix that worked for him! Go, me!

Tomorrow I will bring in my old monitor and we will set up my computer so I can work across two screens – I can hardly wait!