Monthly Archives: March 2021

An analyst day in the life: Plague Year edition

I was chatting with someone in vendor analyst relations the other day, who was jokingly asking me about a “day in the life” glimpse at what I do. I thought that might make an entertaining post from pandemic-land. So this is what that day looked like.

8:30 am: Woken up by munchkin, who wants a snuggle, presumably to generate enough cuteness to have videos unlocked on the iPad. (It’s spring break at his preschool, but my husband and I are working, and therefore anything that buys silence is worthwhile.) Get up, get dressed, view the munchkin’s “Dino Center” which has been erected outside the master bedroom door as a set of plastic dinosaur landmines waiting to be stepped on by unsuspecting parents.

8:45 am: Starting-the-day tasks, which occupy all the time until my first meeting of the day.

  • Work email: Respond to inquiry-routing requests. Contribute to various research community discussions, including consensus on the recent Azure Active Directory outage. Answer various other internal questions. Do some back-and-forth with vendors about research projects I’m working on.
  • Catch up on Teams messages: Interesting stuff on what’s been seen the previous day on cloud contracts, cross-team discussion on the right HA/DR patterns in cloud architectures, miscellaneous salespeople wanting help with a client.
  • Prep for the day’s client calls: Read request, supporting docs, company background, past inquiry history, etc.
  • Personal stuff: Look at personal email, glance at Facebook, check in on social Slack, do daily tasks on an iPad RPG game (gotta hand it to those guys for ensuring daily addictive habits are maintained).

10 am: Weekly one-hour team meeting. Various administrative matters. Eat breakfast on call.

11 am: One-hour vendor briefing on new product release.

12 pm: 30 minutes of “free” time, which will be my only respite until the end of the work day. Order lunch. Answer email/Teams, check in on Twitter. Work on responding to peer review comments on a doc.

12:30 pm – 4 pm: Back-to-back inquiries with 6 different clients. This runs from everything from a 30-minute chat with the CTO of a major global outsourcer (who wants to know about the latest trends impacting cloud adoption) to spending an hour with a cloud architect who’s dealing with the merger of two companies (one of whom is all-in AWS and the other is all-in Azure) and needs to untangle wide swathe of multicloud issues. While on the phone:

  • I feed lunch to the munchkin (who eats his fries, but none of his grilled cheese sandwich, it will turn out later), and get a few bites of lunch myself.
  • Cope with munchkin bombarding me with drawings of invented “Pokemon” with increasingly weird names (and evolutions that look like they belong in Pacific Rim rather than cute anime), done in the style of his dog-eared Pokedex encyclopedia, complete with type, region, and diet.
  • Navigate minor crisis created by munchkin’s uncertainty over how to spell “region” (thank you, mute button).

4 pm: 30-minute break so I can drag munchkin onto a Zoom call for his Suzuki violin lesson. Bribe him to cooperate with the promise of one forkful of pie if he also stays quiet until I’m done with calls for the day. Yay, bio break.

4:30 pm: Another inquiry.

5 pm: Talk to reporter in-depth regarding breaking news plus a longer-form article they’re working on.

5:30 pm: Check back in on Teams. Discuss breaking news, load-testing in the cloud, pricing comparison between cloud providers, data protectionism, the role-change of a colleague, and other miscellany.

6 pm: Faceplant. (Count for the day: Seven inquiries, plus three other meetings.) Husband works from the master bedroom, so there is background grumbling at his code. Munchkin reminds me that I still owe him pie.

7 pm: Order dinner. Promise munchkin he can also have ice cream if he cooperates with violin practice. Painstakingly teach munchkin to memorize exactly two lines of a new piece of music. Reward munchkin with precisely one bite of pie. Read various violin-related things for myself.

8 pm: Family time. Which is:

  • Dinner (and ice cream). Insist munchkin consume some protein.
  • Cleanup. Munchkin protests mightily at being told to clean up the floor, which is absolutely blanketed in faux-Pokemon drawings (sometimes cut out and taped to popsicle sticks to make “puppets”). Floor largely remains Study in Deconstructed Japanese Monsters.
  • Bedtime negotiation. Munchkin points out that since he went to bed properly the previous night (rather than staying up reading surreptitiously in his closet out of the view of the camera), he has earned the fifth reward-chart star necessary to get the next book  in the “Bad Guys” series, and that therefore I must order it from Amazon (despite the abject failure to actually get the reward system to produce a good habit). This is book #10 in the series; I admire the ability of children’s chapter book authors to turn out infinite content. Also, while he’s at it, he wants books on calligraphy and making “realistic” drawings rather than cartoons.
  • I place the next of what has been a seemingly unending stream of Amazon orders for books and household supplies. This reminds me of doing a series of executive dinners all over the US years ago, where the icebreaker was “tell us the last thing you ordered from Amazon”. That turned out to be an unexpectedly intriguing glimpse into lives in different parts of the US, especially differing gender-role expectations.
  • Ordinarily this would be (virtual Zoom) Scottish fiddle jam night for me, but a shoulder injury has left me largely unable to play, so PT exercises instead.

9:30 pm: Post-Munchkin bedtime, where the adults stare wearily at the TV and then do more work. So:

  • Episode of The Good Doctor while multi-screening other stuff. Match-3 games on the iPad. Facebook, other social media, and reading. Chat on LinkedIn with someone interested in working at Gartner.
  • Respond to more work email. Work on responding to Editing’s edits of a doc in the publication process. Do paperwork for previous day’s inquiries; send followup emails and research to clients. Prep for next day’s client calls.
  • Write a letter to the board of directors for the community orchestra where I’m the concertmaster, inquiring as to post-pandemic plans.
  • Write this blog post.

1:30 am: Bedtime.

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