The next job (about two months after I finished the job at the hospital) was at Bluesun, a financial company with around 40 employees. HR found my RESUME on Indeed, and they were looking for exactly what I knew best: an expert in SQL Server, and wanted me to start the next day if possible.
I signed a 3-month contract and started the next day, a Thursday. The payment was better than my previous contract, but about half what a senior IT contractor gets.
Their problem was urgent; the system's performance was so bad that they said "hurray" during peak hours when a transaction went through the system. Their programming team determined the problem was in the database server, but they didn't know more.
I had a USB flash drive that, over the years, I added scripts to determine weak points in a database. On the first day there, my scripts determined the cause: their server had too little internal memory, and they didn't set the split between how much memory the database engine should take and how much for the operating system. So, SQL was grabbing all the memory, and there was nothing left for the OS, which had to use virtual memory on disk, maybe 1000 times slower than internal memory (external memory was on spinning disks - today that technology is expired). The first solution was to set the memory correctly, but it didn't help much, there was still too little memory.
What was I to do? I could find myself out of contract in a week. I felt very embarrassed not to tell them (prolonging the investigation time as much as possible) because they were waiting with breathless for the expert's verdict.
I told them that I would give them a first assessment the following Monday. That Monday, my conscience was stronger then the benefits of not telling them yet. I told them the whole solution, showing them the graphs of the data captured by my scripts during the four days from Thursday when I was hired until Monday. I told them to buy the maximum memory the server would support, which was about 4x what they had at the time.
The company decided to go with me, and the upgrade would take place in 3 weeks.
In the meantime, I analyzed their procedures, but the system was so slow that my changes would not have helped at all. I had to wait until they added the memory, as we agreed, and then see how much those changes I worked on would help.
It took about a month for them to buy the memory and have their network administrator add it to the system. The app started going so fast that they thought the system wasn't processing the transactions. They quickly clarified that everything was fine.
A party was held where refreshments of all kinds were served, cakes, sweets, and fruits in abundance, and colleagues and bosses competed to praise me.
One of the two owners (the one on technical issues) was my direct boss. I had my office in the cubicle next to him, discreet and quiet, no one could see what was on my screen.
I told him that in the second half of the contract, I would increase the performance of the system even more. Even though all transactions were going through quickly, there were still procedures that took 5-10 seconds (which meant a user was waiting on those screens for 5-10 seconds to go to the next screen). I told him I would try to get them all under one second. He agreed and seemed pleased, although it didn't mean much to him.
Since Christmas was approaching, I told him that I would wait two or three days to see if anything else appeared after adding the memory; then, I wanted to have a 10 days off, my wife suggested a Caraibean vacation. He agreed.
I had a huge surprise on the way back. My office was moved in the middle of the road. In front of my desk were those going to the cafeteria, and behind me was all the traffic of employees going from one office to another.
My former place was given to someone who was promoted to manager.
I don't have a lot of pride (at least I think so), but I felt terribly offended.
And I was caught at a bad time, as the plan was to start looking for a new job upon my return. So, I swallowed my pride and went ahead with what I promised, increasing the performance of the stored procedures.
I think my boss was happy with what I did, apparently, some users expressed satisfaction that the application was fast.
The 3 months have passed, but I haven't found a new job. The rescue came from my boss (if I can call it rescue). He told me that in a week or two, they were releasing a new module with heavy activity in the database and they wanted me to be around. We verbally agreed to a one-month extension.
The module was launched after 3 weeks with no issues.
In that month, two placement agencies found me a possible job, the interviews followed the very week after the end of the contract.
My boss asked me if I wanted to stay another month, but I refused. The priority was to seriously prepare for the 2 interviews, which meant getting as much information as possible about the two companies and preparing my mouthpiece, that is (knowingly) telling them why I would love to work for them (bla, bla, bla to get the job).
Do you think a job for a big company could solve the job-seeking problem? Nah.
Where it all started: