06-03-05: blast-off

I started working for this bank on November 15th, 2004. My company (ISI) had sold my client (the bank) something they had no real experience supplying: a soup-to-nuts outsourced IT solution. ISI promised to take over their help desk, their deskside support, their LAN/WAN support, server monitoring and all intrusion detection. They hired me to "make it happen" because I was the only person who could pull it off since I had done something similar for them a few years ago before I quit to work for Accenture.   My boss Mark told me today that before ISI even hired me back, they played me like a trump card to the bank, and ultimately my reputation and credentials are what sold them into forking over almost a million clams a year for these services. It may sound grandiose, but it's true.

For the last 7 months, I have been preparing for my ultimate deadline of June 1, 2005: the day the team I hand-built took over all responsibility for the bank's entire IT infrastructure. LAN/WAN, deskside support, helpdesk services, instrusion detection: it's all my brainchild. I met with everyone who works here and figured out what needed fixing, I wrote recommendation documents and presented my ideas in wood-paneled boardrooms. I hired all the people, I wrote all the policies, I Visio-ed out the network infrastructure, I trained the offsite teams, I programmed VRUs, I created budgets, I negotiated with vendors. I took this off-the-shelf piece of junk software ISI picked to manage their help desk tickets and I customized it so it does what we told the bank it was going to do. I worked insane hours and survived only on protein bars and ginger tea. I tried to change the mindset of people who were too short-sighted and self-important to know how ignorant they were. I pleasantly shoved my experience and best practices down everyone's miserable uncooperative throat, and somehow wasn't hated for it. In the process, I made myself sick. I got my heart broken. I cried a lot when I got home at the end of each day. I threw tantrums in front of Jeremy. I took Xanax.

On the night of May 31st, I sneaked into the bank building with balloons and streamers and decorated the cubes of my help desk team so they'd be surprised when they came in. I called Verizon at 6:59am on June 1st and gave them the go-ahead to route the calls from the bank's old service provider to our local phone number, and my team took our first call here at 7:03am. Our first-call-resolution rate is over 90%. My team is awesome. Management is thrilled. The end users are delighted. For the first time in history, the bank's server team actually has respect for their help desk. (What? Server guys respecting help desk guys?!)   I've been nominated for a "You Rock" award from the bank, and this afternoon my help desk team told me they are so happy to be working for a manager who not only knows what she's talking about, but also really cares about the people who report to her.

I am typing this from my cube while on a conference call: it is 8:17pm on a Friday night. Jeremy has been patiently waiting to take me to dinner, while I am designing my first batch of reports for presentation Monday morning. The data look awesome, and this is tangible proof that this has all not been for naught.

I am lighter than I have been in months.   I no longer have anything (or anyone, for that matter) to fight against.

Now I coast.