A (Very Long) Day in the Life of Bill Ouchark

William J. Ouchark, the manager of Harvard's computers network, works hard. Very hard. He's on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whenever there's a problem with the network, he's ultimately responsible.

"It's my ass" says Ouchark, who began working for Harvard in 1987. "I know of nothing more stressful than working on the network."

Take Ouchark's office, for example. It's too bad he declined a request for a photographs, because words cannot do justice to his cramped quarters.

Ouchark's office is so small, he barely has room to move--literally. He works on four computers monitors on two desks in a room title bigger than some jail cells. Books and computer manuals are stacked to the roof. The shelves are bursting at their seams. There are no windows.

So someone who works as many hours a week as Ouchark--"a good week is 80 hours," he says--one would think Harvard could provide more spacious accommodations.

And they are indeed accommodations, not just an office. Ouchark sometimes sleeps in his Science Center office basement. "A bad week?" he says. "It's pull out the cot."

"Kiss your personal life goodbye. Before I accepted this position I didn't think it would be this bad," says Ouchark, who once spent 60 hours straight in his office. "I have no outside life at this point."

Ouchark says he typically begins his work day around noon and leaves Harvard about four or six a.m. the following morning. Does he eat a lot of his meals in the Science Center's Greenhouse Cafe?

"No. I have a rule," Ouchark says. "I don't eat dinner until I leave. Sometimes that's at McDonald's--at six a.m. when they open for breakfast."