I’m Sorry, So Sorry

Well, I screwed up big time at work last week. Not going to go into the details, but it was pretty bad, and a bunch of people had to stay pretty late to manually amend things because of a bug I introduced. I wasn’t too happy with myself, as I felt like it was something I should have caught, but didn’t. For a couple of days, I just felt so down. I was really off my game, and I kept thinking, “I’m really not cut out for this.”

It’s weird, I kinda feel like I went through the five stages of grieving in the process.

Denial

Well, obviously, when someone told me that something was wrong, my first thought was, “No way, there can’t be!” That lasted approximately the 20 seconds it took for him to log into the production server and bring up the logs. Then I realised that yes, something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong.

Anger

Once I realised what the issue was, I got angry, because there was a developer who was working on this, and right before we left for Europe, I remember him being tasked to fix this particular component, and check for compatibility issues. The error I caused was caused by an incorrect fix that I made to fix a compatibility issue. Rather than focus on the fact that the fix I made was wrong, I was so angry at the fact that he should have picked up the compatibility issue months ago, and fixed it back then, when there was almost no pressure. Instead, I had to fix it with a heap of people breathing down my back asking when I was done.

Something I do when I feel angry, but I know it’s inappropriate to be angry is that I tell myself, “OK, you’re angry now, but you need to get your act together for ____________. So put it away, and we can deal with it later.” Then I picture the anger being pushed away somewhere in the back of my brain to be processed at another time. That doesn’t mean I dealt with the anger and moved on instantly. I did spent at least an hour feeling angry.

Bargaining

This one was an interesting one. I guess not quite bargaining in the traditional sense, but I felt a lot like I needed to push myself to be better. To prove that I’m not the crappy junior dev who breaks things left, right and centre. That, yes, they can trust me to work on critical pieces of software. Which is interesting how quickly I went from feeling really good about getting up early and getting things done, to feeling like I’m the worst person in the world.

I was pulling 13 hour days in the office, because I wanted to show that I am dedicated. That I can take responsibility for my issues and fix them. One of the days was really stupid, and I really should have gone home hours earlier, but I felt compelled to do something, even though at this point, it was in the hands of our vendor to provide a fix. I was brute forcing every combination of configuration in the hopes that maybe I could unlock the secret combination that would fix the issue. It was all a huge waste of time, as the fix ended up being something else the vendor told us to do. I went into work the next day half a zombie. I honestly don’t know how people can work 80 hour weeks, as I was only getting close to 60, and I couldn’t hack it. By the time Friday hit, I honestly could not remember where the day went. In a bad way. There are periods of time where it’s just a blank.

I’m so glad I failed the pre-med test so badly I never decided to pursue that career.

Depression

Once again, I hit a low, and a voice in my head kept telling me, “You really don’t belong here.” Do I look like an engineer? Girl power? Memories of my pretty poor grades at university, and how much I struggled to pass my programming subjects.

I don’t know what it was that pushed me out of this stage. I just went to bed, and when I woke up, I felt at peace with the whole thing.

Acceptance

I went in to work, and I accepted that I screwed up. I was working on a fix, and there were a few people working on the manual entry to fix things. As bad as it was, and though it did have the fallout of some pretty high up people getting pissed off, nothing terrible happened. I found out that I’m being “punished” with some pretty crummy work for the next few weeks, but I can live with that.

I did still feel bad about causing the issue though, so I bought a box of cupcakes and sent an apology email to all the people who were impacted. Because that’s another difficult conversation, right? Being able to go up to someone and say, “Hi, I am the reason why you had to stay until 8pm last Friday.”I thought they’d all hate me, but some of them seem to think it’s funny. Those who don’t at least appreciated the apology. And the cupcake.

So all up, I’m out the cost of 25 cupcakes, I learnt a valuable lesson about being more careful of what I put into production (not that I’m not careful), and though I know that I can put in crazy work hours, my brain really starts to lose its effectiveness, and it’s really not worth it.

It has been a while since I last tried cooking something from our Europe trip, but I am so drained already. I took last weekend to recover from the week before, but this week feels like double what last week was.

Time to conk out. Goodnight.

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