Crunchy Goodness

I'm three days into my Big New Project at work, and my brain hurts. It involves lots of numbers, and figuring out how things were done a year ago in Excel, then recreating those things in Access - a program about which I know some basic theory but no actual techniques.

So in addition to a ton o' number-crunching, I'm learning a new program. Which no one else in the company has ever used, so I'm winging it (with a lot of help from my resident texmort*, Dean). I've ordered a book, but even starting cold, using Access has already reduced two tasks which, I'm told, took 2 or 3 days apiece in Excel, to a couple of hours. So I'm already almost a week ahead, having mastered exactly 3 basic skills. It's been a long time since I've had that sense of accomplishment at work.

And the higher-ups are getting excited. The reporting capabilities of our existing sales system are quite primitive, and I've given them some ideas of what might be possible with Access** (with repeated caveats that while I know these things are at least theoretically possible, I do not, at this time, have the expertise to actually do them). I've basically been told to do whatever I think needs to be done, and come back to them with some results. Any results, really. Once they see what I can do, they'll start figuring out what they want. At this point, I probably know more about what they need than they do.

All of which is to say that my brain is sore. My head feels like a balloon that's been overinflated, then had the air let back out. But it's good - I haven't had to really think at work in probably 3 years. It's like going back to school after a very long summer vacation. I like thinking, and I'm really pretty good at it once I get going. I'm just out of practice.

*When Chickadee was about 3, she transmogrified 'tech support' to 'texmort', which sounds a lot cooler. Or at least like something for which you would need a large hat.

**I know real programmers look down on Access, and that, like most Microsoft ware, it makes it very easy to crank out large volumes of garbage. But it's a damned sight better than what they've got, and the first real opportunity I've had to move out of Marketing and into a more analytical position. And I've got a real database programmer in my corner, which should reduce the proportion of crap I produce.