Category Archives: Work

Stunned and In Denial

No, I’m not talking about the election, or how handgun silencers are being de-regulated under the Hearing Protection Act (what’s next, rape is ok, under the Blue Balls Elimination Initiative?).

My entire JOB, Data Modeling, which ten of us do, along with two other jobs (about 100 people total) is being eliminated at ‘Large Southern Retailer’, where I work. Or will work for the next 19 days, anyway. We’ve been invited to take a severance package (which they have not detailed to us yet, though no one has called it “generous”), or we can apply for one of several other jobs, none of which we are trained in, qualified for, nor remotely interested in. And this is all happening by 30 January.


I’ve been a Data Modeler for 13 years. I’m pretty good at it, I understand it, and its role in the life cycle of big corporate data. Unfortunately, it’s the only thing I know how to do. I don’t speak Java. I don’t agile. And I sure as hell don’t pair-anything. (Keep your damned hands off my keyboard.)  

My boss was walked out yesterday morning by HR; no warning, no explanation, and no time for goodbye. And it wasn’t until about 4 hours later that anyone said ANYTHING to us about what was going to happen to us, and STILL, a day later, no one has said anything to us about our boss. Class act, huh? 

Anyway…whine whine whine. At least I have my health!  ūüėČ

Totally Underwater Tuesday

I just realized I haven’t posted anything since Christmas Eve; I guess I just didn’t have anything to say. If we HAD been planning to have¬†coffee over this past weekend, I probably would have just not answered the door and let you wander away, un-caffeinated.

It has been a horrible week at work and it’s only Tuesday. It’s not that I have so much actual WORK to do, in fact I have just the RIGHT amount of work to do – enough to keep me busy and challenged, but not enough to make me weep.

So what’s putting me underwater? ¬†Well, let’s see. Within a ONE HOUR period, I got all of these:

Can you send the PDF of CID in portrait mode

Me: Sure, let me drop everything and whip one of those up for you.

The code and description tables are manual tables?

Me: Yep, as ¬†I had explained to you when we created them. And which you said, “oh, ok” to, in the email which I have RIGHT HERE.

Weight limit was 1,000,000,000.  Is it legit value ? or someone just typed in ?

Me: Whadda YOU think? You think we have trucks that can hold ONE BILLION POUNDS?

I have updated attached mapping document with following highlighted missing columns and rules, please let me know if anything needs to be changed.

Me: Mapping is YOUR JOB!¬†But sure, let me drop everything and go over YOUR work with a magnifying glass since you don’t know how to do it properly in the first place. And be sure to ask ME to do it, not someone on your own team because then they might find out how LITTLE YOU DO AROUND HERE!!!!

<deep cleansing breaths>

Ok, I’m sorry. I’m all better now. And now, let’s find something GOOD to say, to balance the karma of the universe. ¬† …

OH – I know. The new person on our team is working out VERY well. She’s picking things up after being told only ONCE, she’s volunteering for things, she gets my JOKES – I can’t WAIT to dump a couple of my nightmare projects on her. YAY!!!!

I promise to try to post something FUN to read before the weekend comes. Honestly. ¬†How about a story from the childhood vault? ¬†In Which Uncle Shorty Throws the Cards in the Fire. ¬†(oops, too late for a spoiler alert on that one); How about In Which I Hike Around The Island With a Sandwich and a Book. Hmm, not much story left now. ¬†I’ll work on it.

 

Fun 2015

For whatever reason prompts these people to do these things, our weekly team status meeting was pre-emptied* this week by a session of Team Building Fun.  For those of you who only know about Team Building from TV and movies, let me tell you a little secret.

It’s not all country house weekends and falling backwards into someone’s outstretched arms, and then uncovering a plot to <insert goofy plot here.> This one was sitting around the conference table gluing little pieces of plastic stuff together.

I made a penguin with, apparently, a black eye (talking about Hillary at a Trump party, no doubt), and a snowman with sparkly purple shmutz all over himself. The Kill Me Now scarf was in reaction to the Klassic Kountry Kristmas Karols we listened to while having this fun.

I’m not a fan of this thing. I participate… see my shmutzy snowman?, but I don’t enjoy. However…. Coming up next week, we have another corporate fun event that I actually MIGHT like. I certainly hope I do… mostly of course, because it will be me doing it, so I want to enjoy it. But partly I want to enjoy it so I can tell YOU how much fun it was!!!

Aren’t you excited? Sharing in y corporate fun? YAY, corporate fun!

How about you? Any thrilling corporate fun activities this season? Do tell.

* I actually meant preempted, but auto-spell, or whatever his name is, though pre-emptied was better, and on reflection, so did I. Emptied of all the joy of the season. Grinch, grinch, whinge, crab. ūüė†

Why I’ll Never Be An Amazing Boss

The November¬†27, 2015 issue of the Harvard Business Review has an article called¬†What Amazing Bosses Do Differently., by Sidney Finkelstein. I don’t know Mr Finkelstein personally, or even impersonally, but I want to talk about his thoughts anyway.

Apparently, Amazing Bosses follow these five key behaviors.¬†It becomes more and more obvious to me every day that I am a worker-bee and NEVER EVER EVER want to be a Boss. I couldn’t POSSIBLY¬†do these things.

Manage individuals, not teams.

Amazing Bosses realize that each of their snowflakes IS a snowflake, and have to be handled differently. Oh brother. I can’t give any additional assignments to¬†you on the Monday after “your” football team loses? Ummm¬†– shut up and get to work – also, did you actually PLAY football yesterday? No? Then it wasn’t YOUR team that lost, was it! The entire company has core hours of 8-4, but you are afraid of traffic so you want to work from 11-7? Ummm¬†– we work as a team and the rest of the team manages to be here, and besides, rumor has it you leave at 5:30 every day anyway. Be here on time or don’t be here at all.

Go big on meaning.

You can’t rely on incentives like bonuses, stock options, or raises. You’ve got to inspire them with a vision, set challenging goals and pump up their confidence so they believe they can actually win.

Umm… that’s ok. I’m REALLY happy with bonuses, stock options and raises. To me, those ARE a win. Shallow and materialistic, I know. If you are the kind of person who can be ‘incentivized’ by snappy slogans and cheers,¬†maybe you ARE playing football, in which case I’m totally not the boss for you.

Focus on feedback. 

This part is about “the dreaded performance review” – yeah, buddy! ¬†I really do dread this. Personally, I can’t stand bragging on myself,¬†it feels like punishment that twice a year I have to spell out in painful detail that “I helped guide the XYZ project to see that their initial approach blah blah blah”, and “I spearheaded the switch from The Stupid Tool¬†to The Less Stupid Tool, thus increasing our team’s productivity blah blah blah” – AUAUGHGHGHGHGH.¬†And¬†as a boss, I certainly wouldn’t want to have to read such drivel from my team. If you’re doing a good job, I¬†should KNOW it, and if you’re¬†not, then everybody probably already¬†knows it.

Coming from a military background, I’m really in favor of the Time In Grade + Test Scores method of sorting people. After 3 years in one position, take a test covering the things you SHOULD be doing every day; partly written, partly oral. If you ACE it, you move up; if you fail or even do only average, you stay where you are and learn more; after you fail it 3 or 4 times, maybe it’s time for you to move DOWN or OUT.

Don’t just talk… listen. 

Apparently Awesome Bosses let their employees make suggestions and take initiative. Well, sure. I can go along with that. But not for the reasons of letting the employees “feel good” about being “a part of”.

For me, it just makes sense to let the people who DO the work have some input into HOW (maybe even whether) the work should be done. When you have dictatorial rulers at the top saying in January that “we” will complete XYZ project by April 30th without having any idea what is actually involved, which teams need to be engaged, and what those teams might already be signed up for between now and April, you are dooming your project and your company to breakdown and failure. The good people leave, those who can’t leave are over-worked and stressed-out…

<takes a deep breath and backs off from rant-mode>

…ok, enough about that. ¬†I guess I just needed someone to listen ūüôā

Be consistent. 

Yes, please.

———————

I’m lucky – I HAVE an Awesome Boss who does all those things and more. I am amazed at how he manages to remain so cheerful and upbeat working with a¬†whiny crabby snowflake like me!

Not My Kind Of Meeting

Nobody likes meetings, that’s science. So if you have to have a meeting, you want to do it virtually,¬†from your desk, or couch, and possibly while still in your jammies (at least from the waist down, where the camera can’t see). Enter – the virtual meeting tool, of which GoToMeeting is one. Be on camera, share your computer screen, chat during the boring parts… very handy.

I’ve used GoToMeeting. It’s good, it does what it’s supposed to do;¬†it lets you have a meeting without paying any attention. This ad, however…this ad confuses me. (For some reason, in the original it says “body language” not just “body”, and¬†that didn’t come through when I copied it, but either way it works for my point.)

Are they saying – “You do NOT want to be in the room with these people!¬†She’s either yawning or laughing like a demented drain, and he’s in his underwear. Avoid! Avoid!”, thus hoping you’ll use their tool so you don’t have to share space¬†with these fruitcakes*? ¬†Or are they saying, “If you just attend¬†this meeting over the phone (eww, how primitive!), LOOK at the fun you’ll miss! She’s hilarious and quirky, and he’s uber-hip!”, thus hoping you’ll use their tool so you won’t feel¬†left out?

What do you think? Am I just old crotchety ‘hey-you-kids-get-off-my-lawn’-ing again?

 

*I apologize if any actual fruitcakes were offended by this; but… my blog, my rules.

 

Komodo Dragon Acid Spit Fingers

According to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park website, komodo dragon spit is bad news.

Scientists had found some 50 different bacterial strains, at least seven of which are highly septic, in the saliva.

And apparently that is also a lot like what I have in my fingertips.

I had this keyboard for less than a year – look at all the letters that have worn off!

keyboard

 

Whaaaaat???

S is for Selfish

S

alternate title: S is for Surely They Don’t Mean ME!¬†

What is it that gets in these peoples’ heads? Are they defective? Were they raised wrong? How do they LIVE with themselves?

You know who I mean – the ones who will toss the piece of paper on the floor RIGHT BESIDE THE TRASH CAN and not pick it up.

The ones who, in the break room, take the last of something (Styrofoam cup, sugar, spoon, anything) ¬†and leave the empty container just sitting ¬†on the counter-top. Generally right UNDER the sign that says, “Additional supplies are located in cabinet 4”. And even though ¬†cabinet 4 is right there within arm’s reach.

The SAME ones who heat something the microwave and when it boils  over,  just LEAVE the mess  there for someone else to clean up.

Who spill sugar all over the counter and LEAVE it there.

Who send a document to the printer and upon discovering that the printer is out of paper, SEND IT TO A DIFFERENT PRINTER, thus making YOU (the next person who needs to print) not only have to load the paper, but also wait and watch someone else’s ¬†35-page piece of crap print out before you can get YOURS.

Where do they LEARN this stuff?????

Written as part of the April 2015 A to Z Challenge.

The Non-Anonymous Survey

I have several large projects all coming to a head this week AND to add to my hysteria, my boss’ boss’ boss sent out an email today to his entire organization:

Please reply by end-of-day today ‚Äď

Is there anything you don’t like about your current work environment?

What changes/improvements might you suggest?

Seriously?? He expects anyone to ANSWER that????

Since my boss knows me fairly well, as SOON as that email came, he IM’d me – STOP! Don’t answer! ¬†I assured him that I like both him and ¬†his boss too much to put them in jeopardy by telling anything LIKE the truth to THEIR boss.

I ¬†responded with the mild and politically-correct “Hazelnut coffee, please”. {We used to have hazelnut coffee in the breakroom, but then it disappeared and now all we have is Decaf Colombian, Ashtray, and French Vanilla.} Let’s see how well THAT request works out, shall we?

If Only They Would ASK! Part One

I know I could fix the problems that so many people seem to have, if they would just ASK me.

To the woman who comes into a conference room and walks around the table peering intently into each empty chair, studying them all oh so carefully before selecting one to sit in:. Now, I grant you that some of our chairs are a bit iffy:

But no one else seems bothered. If you CANNOT sit on one of the above, please bring a damned slip cover with you to all meetings; your precious ass will be safe from the crumbs and cooties of your coworkers, and we can start our meetings 3 minutes earlier.

I called this Part One, because when I started this, I was pretty sure I had 4 or 5 examples, but once I started writing, all but the chairs went directly out of my head. So there will probably be more of these in future. 

A Day Of Crazy-Ass Shit

The woman in the car behind me, using her non-hands-free phone while driving. Ok, that’s ok, not a problem, except she was talking WITH HER HANDS! Phone in her right and left on the wheel, except for the 3 out of every 10 seconds when she would take it OFF the wheel to wave her open palm around, make a fist, wipe her mouth, generally do all the things people do with their hands while talking, though not usually while also flinging several tons of metal around at 80 mph! The car was weaving back and forth crossing and re-crossing the divider lines, I’m glad she was behind me.

Then at work, even though the horse has not been born yet, the idiots are demanding that we give them its shit.

That might not be exactly¬†what is being asked for, but it’s a pretty close real-world analogy. (here’s the boring true¬†story) The operational tables have NOT BEEN BUILT¬†in the database yet, but the analysis and reporting people are demanding that we give them the output of those tables RIGHT NOW. Even if you have no IT background, even if the words ‘database’ and ‘operational’ make your eyes cross, surely anyone¬†can see that you CANNOT get output from something that does not put anything OUT!!!!

Ok, I’m over it. Oh wait – no I’m not! I have to keep working with these sub-par individuals. <sobs uncontrollably>

And finally, when I came out of work I ran into the strangest little weather pattern. I’m in a covered parking structure, but its sides are open to the elements. As I walked out of the building, my car was maybe 15 yards from me, and the fuzzy pink tail I have hanging from the clown-head on my aerial was standing straight out sideways.

Geez, I thought, I didn’t think it was that windy. ¬†And as I got further from the building, more into the open space, I still didn’t feel the wind. Quick look at the tail, still briskly flying. Now I’m right beside my car, STILL no wind. Tail STILL flying.

I raised my hand above my head and sure enough, about 6 feet off the floor it was VERY breezy, below that – – all was still. I¬†guess the other cars were blocking it, but I’ve been parking in that structure for over 7 years, and I ¬†have never noticed¬†such a micro-climate.

And that was my crazy day. I am QUITE glad that it’s over!

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