Not feeling so good

This week really, really sucked. Where to begin?

It actually started in a good way. I did the 50-mile ride last weekend with Elise and Terry and felt great at the end. But I was a little dehydrated and I really strained my back. By the end of Monday, I was feeling like I was sunburned on the inside and my lower back started spasming. I’ve had that happen before, and it can get really bad. The worst time, I couldn’t stand up straight for two days. It was really horrible.

But that passed, and I took it easy for a couple of days. I’ve taken my Revive for lunchtime spins through downtown San Antonio, but that’s about it.

Work was very, very hard. We’ve had a lot of layoffs this week. Nobody seems to know why, which gives everyone a sense of paranoia. It did not help that there are several very nasty worms running around the Internet which are bringing all sorts of systems to a halt. We had to replace our mail system this week, and the new system kept dropping messages and rejecting logins, which in the light of the layoffs was extremely nerve-wracking. I can’t log in for my mail – what, was my account terminated? AAAGGH!

On top of that, my regression tests failed me, and I managed to deploy at least three show-stopping bugs this week. That was horribly embarassing.

I’ve never really told you much about my job. Currently, I’m the QA person for a software project that is used to track information about my company’s clients and the systems that they lease from us. Whenever one of the other programmers has new code to put into the live system, I first test it out to make sure it’s not going to introduce new bugs in the system. This is what they call regression testing.

Our software project uses a web-based interface, so testing it consists of loading up the site in the browsers that we support, and making sure that all the pages come up correctly. Simple, no? Well, it would be, except that there are thousands of pages in the application. If I hit them all manually, it would take me days to roll out even a simple set of changes. So I use a tool that lets me record a session in my web browser and then play it back later. I can mark up the resulting test session to include checks for specific text in the web pages that the application sends back to me. This is all well and good, but I fell prey to a very simple mistake this week.

I was only checking for error messages in the major pages. We’ve got a single page that displays a condensed view of an account, for example. That’s an important page, so I marked up my test session to report an error if that page contained the text “ERROR HAS OCCURRED”. Well, the problem is that one of the change sets I rolled out this week had an error in it which caused an error in the menu system for that page. And as far as a web browser is concerned, the menus are a different page, even though they show up on the same screen as the account view.

To sum up, my tests were inadequate, and as a result, I broke a very important system three times this week at the same time that a major worm attack was slowing down the network and people were being told to clean out their desks.

Y’all excuse me while I leave the county for a couple of days.

No Responses to “Not feeling so good”

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  2. sean808080 Says:

    unh…layoffs. i know just how you feel. we have layoffs every quarter. i dont know how i made 5 years there..they laid off my boss 2 years ago.

    qa?!? we dont have a qa dept!!


  3. David Says:

    Thanks, guys. Friday actually ended on a positive note, but I was just feeling kind of shell-shocked. Things are much better now. I’ve gotten a little perspective and rest.

  4. Kaetchen Says:

    Many, many good thoughts your way. Everybody fucks up. And Cari’s right – sometimes good stuff comes out of what starts out looking bad. Go easy on yourself. Look at Mars. And as stupid as this sounds, don’t forget those yoga breathing exercises.

  5. Cari Says:


    I’m sorry you’re having such an awful time of it these days. Though as QA guy I suspect you’re safe from the layoffs, I understand the stress the layoffs are causing. When I was laid off from my web producer job two years ago, there had already been two previous rounds of layoffs and we were all just waiting and wondering when it would be our turn. It was an awful feeling. The good news is that the worst case scenario here is a layoff…and being laid off turned out to be the very best thing that ever happened to me. Seriously.

    You know what they say: When one door closes, another one opens. But it’s hell in the hallway.

    Hang in there. I’ll be thinking about you. You’re a good egg.

  6. S. Zettner Says:


    When heads have to roll, businesses usually fire the least popular people first. That way they don’t have to worry about it affecting morale so much. Otherwise, they risk a wave of their best people quitting in protest.

    Secondly, even when they do consider performance, they tend to look at the overall record.

    And of course, the serenity prayer applies here. You can’t change your last week, so don’t sweat it. How’s that for unsolicited advice? Look at it as two more cents in the bank in otherwise hard times.