Archive for January, 2007

Tire Chains

January 16, 2007

Okay, I admit it, I’ve never used my tire chains. I bought a set back in 1993 when I bought my truck and have transferred them from cab to bed as I’ve needed the space ever since, but I never bothered to figure out how to use them. Never mind that as a Sys Admin I’ve pretty much been expected to get to work no matter the weather at every job I’ve had. I’ve walked or taken the bus if the 50lbs of sand strapped to my tailgate didn’t provide enough traction and figured that I could always call a cab if I was desperate. (Until I drove it once and found out how squirrelly it was in the ice, there were a couple years where I figured I could always take my now-ex-husband’s Subaru wagon.) Two years ago I decided that since I was chain adverse, I really should get studs, which are nice.

So today, we have several inches of snow (for Portland, this is a traffic stopper, in part because we don’t get snow often enough to make it cost effective to have enough plows to even clear the main roads.) Even though I work from home, I had to go out this morning. My truck was fine, although I certainly had to drive carefully. But it was clear to me that if it got any worse, I just wasn’t going to have sufficient traction. So, this afternoon as dusk was approaching I decided to bite the bullet and got out my chains and the instruction sheet and actually put them on my truck. The hardest part was actually separating the instruction sheet that has been sitting in a slightly leaky plastic bag in a very leaky plastic case in my truck for the last 13 years. I even went and drove around my neighborhood to test them out. (Nice.) So, even though I don’t need to go anywhere til Friday (and actually that meeting will be cancelled if the weather isn’t nice), I’m ready to go…

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The hardest part of being a consultant.

January 15, 2007

I used to think my least favorite part of being an independent consultant was having to sell myself (sales really isn’t my forte.) I’m beginning to rethink that though. I think the hardest part of being a consultant is when people hire you to give them the “right” technical solution, but the best solution is really business dependant. As a technical consultant, I usually don’t know enough about their business to know what to recommend, so then I end up having to coach someone through making a business decision or plan they weren’t aware that they needed to make.

This isn’t specific to any one client I have or have had – it seems to happen to me a lot. I suspect this might actually be because I’m too good at business. I know one of my long term clients always calls me when they need technical AND business advice combined. Maybe I just need to market myself more that way, but I just enjoy the technical part more.