I’ve never handled no-win situations well

But I’m nonetheless sitting here feeling pretty proud of myself about the current no-win situation I find myself in.

I recently got reassigned to a new boss. I’d heard rumor and innuendo about him. But I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. I’m glad I did, but he proved himself to be exactly what the rumors said he was.

No real surprise there.

He doesn’t like me much, again no big deal. I can work for someone dutifully and still wish to see them disembowelled slowly with one of those inquisition torture thingys. I wouldn’t actively cause someone like that harm, unless they messed with me first. But as long as we managed to have mutual respect for each other things would be fine.

However, once that line is crossed… all bets are off.

Well, the new boss has been working very hard at crossing that line.

Thus far I’ve been pretty mellow.

The other day he hauled me into an office and told me that my work wasn’t up to par. I thought, “OK, perhaps that’s true,” I also thought “Of course, had you bothered to tell me what your expectations were then perhaps we’d be further along here.”

Anyway, he blathered on and on, I sort of tuned him out… Until he said something about a personal improvement plan.  In the corporate world such plans are shorthand for You’re SCREWED bucko.

Now, he had my complete attention.

What he was talking about is that I’ve been doing my job. But he’s of the philosophy that I should be answer only one question per phone call then moving on to the next phone call. I was of the impression that we were supposed to actually Help.

Apparently, I was incorrect.

As I listened to the remainder of his blathering, deep inside me there was a stirring. My rage monster shifted and started to wake up. “Uh Oh,” I thought. “Gotta stop that from happening.”  To maintain my calm I thought about the fact that less than 24 hours earlier I’d signed a lease on the apartment. 

That’s gonna cost a pretty penny to break,” I realized. I also thought about the fact that twenty four hours earlier, and I’d simply have stood up and said, “FUCK YOU With broken glass” then left the building. I’d have given notice at my apartment and allowed my rage to burn itself out loading a U-Haul and returned to the mountains and my home, calmed down and turned the job search into a full time job.

I found out today, that a similar event happened on Monday. Another person was in a similar situation, like me, he thought he was doing a good job, helping people. But the management was displeased that he wasn’t blowing our clients off and making them call back multiple times in a day for the same problem.

In his case, he told the management, ” This meeting is over.” 

He got up over their objections and threats, then gathered his stuff and walked out.

Oh if only I hadn’t signed that lease, it would have made one hell of a statement to have two people walk out at the same time for the same reasons. 

The impending Exodus might be amusing to watch while I’m waiting for my ship to come in.

I’m smart enough to play the game, I’m enough of a chameleon to pull it off, and I’m amoral enough to not feel guilty about being disingenuous. 

I can do this… For a while longer.

It Begins

Once again I find myself at odds with a woman in power. She’s not even in a position of anything but minimal authority. But like so many women she apparently thinks she’s got something to prove.  Unfortunately, an older white guy presents her with an easy target. 

The older white guy in this case is me. Either I must look weak, or she figures with all the recent events, “the old guy won’t fight back because he’s white, male, and knows I’ll win.”


Here’s the crux of the issue. The rules at work say, “Document everything.” The time it takes to do this, in part due to some of the shittiest software I’ve ever seen, the complexities of proper reporting, and my admitted unfamiliarity with said software, plus a steep learning curve means that sometimes I may take 15 minutes or so collecting information or filling out the documents in the right way.  Sometimes longer, If I have to ask questions.

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That being said, I’m taking more calls every day, I’m documenting things better every day, and I’m getting better every day at doing all this.

I know I’m improving and I know this because Each day I’m more comfortable and not spending as much time figuring out the “usual” stuff.

The totally wacky stuff on the other hand takes a lot of time. Especially if you’ve got someone on the phone who is randomly talking about every thing they’ve ever had happen to them. It’s being recorded, and so you can be chastised for missing or not reporting things too.

Enter little miss twinkle twat…

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Who walks up to my work area and never bothers to introduce herself or even say hello…

“Can I help you????” said with a sneer or nasty edge, is not what someone says when they’re honestly interested in helping.

We all know it. The implied message is “YOU’RE NOT WORKING FAST ENOUGH” or “GOD! WHY IS THIS FOOL BOTHERING ME?”

And that means, that no matter how fast, or good you ever become… You’ll never be good enough.

My response was neutral, “Nope thanks, I was just documenting all the issues a call raised.”

OOOPPPSSS! Not the right answer. This is the problem men always have with the question “Does this dress make my ass look fat?

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In retrospect I probably should have said, “Yes, oh I’m so glad you’re here and thank you for your assistance I couldn’t have possibly done anything without your intervention.

But I’m kind of Harry Potter in that regard.

I shouldn’t tell lies.

Oppps, water under the bridge. 


The whole call / documentation process itself is somewhat problematic. Calls come in, problems are documented. If they’re not documented correctly, an oversight team sends the documentation back telling you what is wrong and to make corrections.

The problem is, this process is by necessity asynchronous. This means that by the time you’re being asked for corrections, days or weeks have gone by and now you have to research what was happening and try to recall why you did something the way you did.

Add to that, being saddled with a non-standard keyboard that you’re chasing all over the table and having to keep up answering phone calls and you’re always behind in everything and under stress.

My nature is to front load the process and do things ”Right” the first time. Apparently, that is not the philosophy of this “supervisor”

She’s also very new to the management scene. She’s not yet learned that whipping the slaves can be effective, but that whipping the slaves too hard, or often, inevitably leads to revolt.

Initially I assumed that all the new folks, (Like me) were under her scrutiny and being asked, “CAN I HELP YOU?”

As it turns out, apparently, I’m special.

Which ties back to my initial suspicion that she’s looking to make an example of someone and I’m the “Soft” target.

The first time, I wrote it all off to just her being concerned that I was taking too much time in the documentation process. Then IT relented and gave me a “Real” keyboard. Huzzah! I can freaking type again! So I’m accelerating and streamlining the way I do things and picking up helpful hints along the way.

The second time, I was surprised when I got the “CAN I HELP YOU?” because I was in fact working more efficiently and taking more calls. “Meh, whatever…”

She’d come over to my work area, from her work area on the far side of the building to ask her question. I was in the midst of documenting 12 issues from the last call, not including the actual corrective action.

The third time, she sent a higher level manager to check on me. OK Now, I’m pretty sure, we’ve got some kind of perceived issue… But no-one is being forthcoming about what that issue may be.

Yesterday, she was particularly nasty, while I was packing up to leave. I had one of those moments where you’re tired and I was checking around my desk area to make sure I wasn’t leaving something behind or undone and she happened to be speaking to one of her peers. I was standing there scanning my area and she interrupted her conversation to turn and look at me with what I can only describe as open hostility, “CAN I HELP YOU?”

“Uh, no… Just packing up to leave…” I answered very confused by her attitude.


When I was very young, I fought back, playing the same nasty political games, as my opponent. As I matured, I’ve tried ignoring situations like this, hoping they would go away. Later in my work life I tried more centrist positions between the two.

Where I played the political games, I won. Typically, I win, by using a scorched Earth policy. This is effective as hell but doesn’t win you many friends, and usually leaves you at the bottom of the list for promotion.

Where I tried to be “above it” I lost. In both cases I was completely miserable.

Trying more centrist positions, was just exhausting. Keeping track of all the bullshit and mounting moderate defenses takes a lot of time and thought. Time that I think is better spent doing the job I’m actually being paid to do. I know… What a fucking concept!

Memorial Day, had HR been in I’d have been in their office nipping this shit right in the bud.

Yesterday, I decided it was far more important for me to get the hell out of work and on my way home. I was tired and usually when I’m tired I tend to be a bit more direct than I would be otherwise. Folks sometimes have a problem with my “moderate” directness, I can guarantee there’d have been a major problem if I was completely unfiltered.

After being pissed off about the situation on Sunday and then pissed off again on Monday, I slept on it.

I’ve decided I’m going with a more centrist position. I think I’m going to talk to the higher level manager that she drew into this situation. I’m just going to bluntly ask what I’m doing wrong.

I’ll see if this situation is salvageable. If I get some guidance, I’ll implement what I’m told to do. If that helps, great, I suspect that it won’t, and am therefore going to begin looking for another place to be either within the company or, (more likely) outside the company.

However, I’ve also decided that if this crap continues…  I’m going to put the company’s “Zero Tolerance” policies to the test. 

If little miss annoying continues her passive aggressive harassment I’m going to file a complaint. Let’s see how Zero Tolerance works when the aggressor is a woman and the victim is a white male.

Should be interesting…

My instincts tell me that this will not end well, but I feel like I have no choice but to respond.

So twinkle twat, this old white boy ain’t gonna get fucked over AGAIN… Let’s fucking dance!

Gee it’s nice to have Income!

Unfortunately, I’ve got stuff breaking left and right, and all of it is expensive!

These devices were clearly just waiting until I could think about getting them repaired. I’m good with that, but I do wish they’d staggered their breakage a little more evenly.

On the plus side, everything held together really well, on the down side well … cash is going out as fast as the checks clear the bank!

cést la vie!

Tomorrow, Bits & Pieces of the car. While I’m at it, I’m going to get a quote for new tires and find out how much a new clutch is gonna cost me. Gotto start setting aside cash to cover those things. no complaints here, I’ve gotten absolutely great milage out of this set of tires, and over 100K on this clutch.

The clutch is original and thankfully I’ve not abused it. But nonetheless, these parts do eventually wear out. I might as well know what I’m looking at.

Tires, hey I know folks that go through tires faster than some people go through socks.

(That is not a hole in my sock… It’s additional ventilation!)

3AM Working Schedule

OK, 

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At first it sounds brutal, but there are some advantages. 

1) No traffic!  Boy! Is that nice!

2) It was a cool night, and being able to move at freeway speeds made the commute really bearable.

3) Coming home, was OK even at noon. Once I got on the freeway it was a breeze. I was able to get to the bank, the first time in 4 weeks. 

The downside is that other people in the complex have normal lives and so it’s a bit noisy until about 10:30 so that makes it hard to sleep.  There is another issue, in that my system has always hated radical schedule changes, Today is no different, the last couple of hours at work were a bit uncomfortable. That too shall pass and it is… ahem.

I have to get to bed kinda early so i could in theory have an early dinner with friends but wouldn’t be able to party hardy 

Another problem is that as the Summer gets hotter, I’m going to have to run the A/C which will be a bit more expensive especially without a nest thermostat. Gotta see if the complex will let me install one.

Generally, I think I could get used to working the O’ Dark Thirty schedule. So after this mentoring thing is over, I’m probably going to request to stay on the graveyard schedule.

Hey I like the dark and it occurs to me that I could be writing for a couple of hours in the sun. While I might be working a Vampire schedule, I don’t have to worry about bursting into flames in the sun.

Possibilities

Fearful Egg

Well the trepidation of starting a new job is starting to abate. On a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being most freaked out, I’m hovering at about a 9.7

This is serious stuff and while I’m worried that I might not be up to snuff, I’m at least getting into the subject matter and totally believe this job has potential.

This technology is medical and it’s about making the lives of people using the technology better. I’m not just talking about convenient. This device helps people manage an illness and that means that it makes a real difference. 

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When I was in the printer industry, I remember clearly asking if the world really needed another eight page a minute printer.

When I was in Escrow and Banking I realized that I was making a difference, until I also realized that the software protocols we were building into the software were chronically being over-ridden so that loan officers could package loans and escrows that would make them money but that would ultimately result in many home buyers being upside down on their loans when / if the bottom dropped out of the housing market.

Housing Bubble

We all know exactly where that ended up…

I moved to the Military industrial complex so that I’d have the ability to contribute to bringing more of our troops home safe. At least that was the plan. Congress being Congress and The President being The President, they completely forgot that while they were measuring dicks playing games with the financials of the country and engaging in party politics that their actions had a direct and terminal effect on all kinds of projects in the Military industrial complex. Most of those effects were less safety for our troops and tons of people being tossed out onto the streets when projects were cancelled due to lack of funding.

Politicians at Work

I ask again where the morons in politics loyalties actually lie. I know the answer, it was a rhetorical question.

I suppose that I’ve always wanted to contribute something, anything that would make a difference and that would ultimately leave the world a better place for my having been in it.

Cry Bullies (grrrgraphics.com)

That’s how I came to be interested in Social Justice, and that’s also why I’m no longer interested in the “normal” social justice warrior crowd. They (as a broad generality) are interested in their pound of flesh, being perpetual victims, and I’d hazard a guess, getting some kind of revenge. Or, as in the case of the HRC crowd finding a way for their cause to net them millions of dollars for their schmoozing with the “in” crowd.

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This company is interested in making money, as am I.

The difference between this company and virtually all the others I’ve worked for, is that they’re also about making life better for people suffering from diabetes.

Diabetes

I had no idea that managing this disease was so very difficult, I was equally clueless about the devastating effects that managing the more severe aspect of the disease could have, not only on the person with the disease, but on their families and their loved ones. I’m learning a lot about it and begin to have a very tiny inkling of the emotional costs.

Insulin

I’ve got friends that have the most severe form of the disease and while I was aware of their dependance on insulin and the care with which they planned their meals and lives, it’s so much more complex that I ever imagined.

Picture yourself as a parent with a child who has the most severe form of the disease. Now imagine what its like to wake up every night several times a night to go check on your child who might be having an event that could literally kill them in their sleep.

How about considering what it would be like if your spouse could go to sleep and simply never wake up.

This is serious stuff!

My friends who manage their diabetes silently, and with such grace are quite simply amazing. I’m glad to have gained an appreciation that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

At its core, my job is to help give folks with the disease, parents of little children, and spouses, a tool…

A little bit of technology, that will monitor and warn them that they, or their loved one may be heading into a life threatening situation. Even better is they may then be able to intervene appropriately and early enough to head the problem off before they have to make a 911 call or sit in an ER wondering if their loved one is going to be alright.

That’s leading me to think that perhaps this is exactly the right place for me to feed my soul and be happy in my work. I don’t want to jinx it, but perhaps after all of my ups and downs, I may have finally found the right place for me.

Perhaps by my small contribution kids can be kids. Lovers to keep on loving and folks who’ve wanted to climb mountains, or be athletes to do just that.

This is what technology is supposed to do. This is the kind of thing that I, and many of my colleagues used to believe in. Then slowly it became about shareholder prices, profit, and stock options.

In my heart of hearts i still believe technology should make differences in lives, and / or the world.

Games? Big Deal!

Email? Hey, you can lick a stamp.

Those are interesting uses of technology but they’re ephemeral.

This company and it’s products appear at first glance to be in line with my core beliefs and it’s very possible that I’ll have even more pride in what I do than I ever had in my entire career.

Of course I’m not longer that naive starry-eyed techie who was sold a bill of goods again and again. 

So while I believe in the potential, I’m not going to swallow the corporate line I’m being fed, hook line and sinker.

I’m going to see where this leads and I pray that this company really does live up to their stated core values.

And no, I’m not going to try to sell you all on the products. They’re not right for everyone, but for those people this tech is right for, it can be a game changer. That right there is enough for me to sleep soundly at night.

Speaking of which, it’s time for me to go to bed.