So yes, I've neglected my blog for some time now...
OK. I haven't just neglected the blog. I've neglected friends, family, pets, and even myself for a few months. The one thing I haven't neglected is my job. And since I normally feel that I do a pretty decent job of balancing things out, I'm feeling awfully guilty right about now. But please keep reading, because I do have a pretty good reason for all of this. Really.
Last fall, two of the five members of the IT team of which I'm part announced that they had accepted new jobs and would be leaving us. The first to announce this was our manager. Ouch. And with the far-too-common shrinking budget of our department, it was decided that position would be eliminated. Double ouch. Next up to make the announcement was our systems administrator. Thankfully, that position wasn't cut, and we began a search for her replacement. To make a long story short, the search did not go well, and after the end of November our team was down to three people, with the database specialist and me (the support specialist) covering the sysadmin duties on top of our own for the duration of the search.
Thankfully, December is a short month for universities, because our search yielded only one person we were interested in hiring, and he turned down the job because he didn't want to relocate his family (my anger on that is a different story). So I started my holiday break with great uncertainty and a close eye on our systems, which had to remain running while I was technically "off." By the time we officially returned to work in January and I could see there weren't many viable candidates applying for the job, I wondered just what we'd do. And after one more fruitless interview, I think our team and the department's managing director became rather despondent about our chances of finding someone we'd want to hire. The job had been posted for over two months and new applications just weren't coming in.
I hadn't applied for the sysadmin position because I didn't really feel that I was qualified for it. By the beginning of January, I was starting to think that having worked closely with the previous two people in that position and essentially doing the job for over a month made me better qualified than most of the people who did apply for it. I talked with our database specialist, and he agreed that we'd probably have better luck finding a qualified support specialist than we had in finding a sysadmin, and between the two of us we could maintain our systems and even begin to move forward on new projects again. Lo and behold, it turns out the managing director was thinking the very same thing. And so, one day after the president of our university announced that there would be no pay raises this year, I was given a promotion and, consequently, a pay raise. And it was even a good pay raise, to boot! Now we just had to find a new support person...
So, I was getting paid for my new job, which is great, but still needed to perform both my new job and my old job until MY replacement could be hired. Meaning I would continue to run myself ragged until a new person starts, but I'd be better paid. Thankfully, we were all correct in our predictions about finding a support person, because that search took less than a month. And on March 2nd, I'll be back to having just one job. I know that it will take a bit for our new person to get acquainted with the way we do things, but I'm at least seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
The upshot of all this is that I've had virtually no free time. During the regular work day, I mostly do my old job and monitor systems as I can, and in the evenings I take care of the new job -- sometimes from home and sometimes back at the office. So, not only has there been no time to blog, but my number of tweets has dropped considerably, I rarely get a chance to look at Facebook, and actually spending time with real people has been nearly impossible. I managed to re-connect with some old friends around the holidays, but haven't had the opportunity to properly write to them as I wanted. I finally decided today that I would declare Google Reader bankruptcy and mark all of my feeds read in order to start anew. Heck, I haven't even had time to participate in the "25 Things" meme!
Now, let me say that I am not looking for sympathy. I can't begin to say how fortunate I feel just to have a secure job right now, let alone to have been promoted. When I found this little bit of time to write a post, I wanted to use it to explain why I've been so absent in my usual communications with people, and to say to all of you that I'm sorry I've been out of touch. I hope that in the next few weeks, I'll be back to my usual social networking junkie self, and I might even be able to get together with friends on a week night! In the meantime, please don't feel that I'm slighting you or, even worse, forgot about you. I'm not, I haven't, and I really hope to do better very soon.