Hitting pause on Mr. Replay

Major Facepalm

Major Facepalm

So after three long luxurious weeks of blissful peacefulness and relaxation, It was time to set the 2:15 AM ear piercing squeals of the alarms to ensure a timely wake-up and preparation for the long commute to work. Being a workaholic, one tends to miss the hustle and bustle of a career environment, the chatter of incompetence and progress of persuasive talk from intellects and the effects ones completed projects have on the company. During the long one hour forty-five minute drive to work (with no traffic) one has time to recollect the years closing and what is expected and planned for the new year as well as all of the familiarities of the office.There was something missing though…

Arriving in the wee early morning hours, with no one else around, work began and timelines projected. The sound of squeaky doors, held shut and steady during the long holiday break, gave indication that colleagues and others were slowly dredging their way into a new year and a new set of hurdles and projects. Swinging the cold door to the office and looking across, the door to a top executive was ajar, yeah it may be early but he is always up for a quick software jab. Laughter and techie talk ensued and came to an end and yet still something was missing…

A quick half flew through the window and in came the immediate supervisor, grunting and conversing to who no one is quite sure still. After the dust and food crumbs settled in his office, a question was asked and an ensuing two hour one sided conversation was had and that is when it hit like a ton of bricks and the feeling of the invisible palm of the hand slapping the forehead with a “Doh!” following. That is what was missing, the conversations with this particular individual and hearing the same thing repeated over and over again. It is like having a vinyl record get stuck on the same groove and go around and around forever until someone bumps the arm to get it moving again. Oh the joys of these conversations, Mental note after he is done repeating, do not ask another question.

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Above and beyond, Just Go!

pg6Another year past, another year ahead… of the same whining, complaining and dead end revolutions of the corporate world… Not this time!

You have read my banter of incompetence and the blind leading the blind and either found them quite amusing and tolerable or could even relate. Not surprisingly to say even to fathom, but those idiosyncrasies of the employment world exist and will never go away. So my fellow readers and daily stressers, what does one do about dealing with the inevitable? If you are anything like me, you will step up, shut people up, show and scold the higher-ups that you are one of the power houses in your company. You see I am like a well-versed travel agent. I tell people where to go and where to go to get the best bang for their buck.

Every year, your life should have those defining moments that make up who you are and what you believe in, no matter regardless of how insignificant or grandiose those moments may be. Whether it be a small email to the head honcho saying how excited it is for a new project at work to commence, or extreme measures of getting into someones personal space and showing them reality. Your actions and words at work define who you are as a person and as an employee, dedicated and indispensable or gabby and a disposable asset. Which one are you, or will you be this year?

A short description of my basic characteristics while I am at work, I am known as “The Bear,” yes that is my nickname at the office. That alone should give you some idea of how I am at work. I hunker down and get things done, focused and determined to get what I need done. I utilize and take advantages of the things and people around me that I know can gain me knowledge and a clearer path to my destination. When things aren’t quite right around me, I let it be known and loudly. And, if I don’t like you and find you useless to the cause or organization I let it be known.

Two instances this past year solidified my position and identity as an indispensable individual at my place of employment and why I am where I am in my career.

The first instance, and many of you have read in the past about this situation, was of constant complaining, whining and the sever lack of efforts or knowledge some of my “colleagues” posses. Granted I do my fair share of complaining, as well as the entire IT staff, but it is of due cause and is a right. This individual cross the proverbial line of idle ridicule to down right challenging and degrading my integrity and performance. Crossing that line is like entering my den during the winter and smacking my ass to wake me up, bad very bad choice. Now this particular individual is your typical office gossip and complainer, you know the type. This is the type that sits around all day talking about how hard they have it at work (yet do only the bare minimum to get by), how they only perform up to their position description (because it is above their pay-grade) and yet complain about being under paid and unappreciated. On a side-note but on the same tangent, you only get paid for as much as you are willing to put forth the effort into doing, sitting on your ass is going to get you to shit… literally. Now back to the program… Sometime in October, this individual in-front of my immediate supervisor, all of his fellow department colleagues as well as the head director of our company, proceeded to say, with his feet on his desk and a Google Search screen up for type of doll or something, “Let Matt do it, I have tested it the first time and it didn’t work so obviously he has no idea what he is doing and he has tons of time to do user testing. Also I need him to do some data entry because that is above my pay-grade.” Oh boy, in front of everyone I let this shit-lazy worker know where I stood and where he stood (beneath me) and told him two things. “First of all, I am a developer, and unlike common users I think logically not emotionally, therefore I cannot perform user tests to test out the stupid things that you common users do to software applications, and all software applications go through testing stages, A bug in the software is not a warrant for judging someones capabilities, however, feet on a desk while surfing the internet while work is needed to be done and at the same time complaining about not being paid enough is a warrant to judge the dedication and mental capacity of an office worker. And second you lazy ass, maybe instead of complaining about being underpaid, show some initiative and do work duties that are not in your description and go above and beyond.” With mouths dropped and eyes bugging out by everyone in the office I turned and walked away saying “I have to get back to my office and continue with my job of making your lives easier.” What I am trying to say hear is, don’t let those less productive push you around and make an unintelligible attack on your character or your skills.

The second instance, and this one was even bigger than the first one, was one that had me walking a fine line on professionalism and personally attacking a higher up for their inaccuracies and mistakes in a project. A short history lesson of last year in regards to this project, my company took on a gigantic undertaking of hiring an outside company to completely redo our website, not to mention allowing an individual with a high ranking power to prepare and deliver the project contract. The entire year this project was underway, my fellow IT colleague and myself kept pushing our immediate supervisor for a “reclass,” basically a promotion, due to an overwhelmingly alteration and increase in our job duties but with his lack of commitment to getting things done at the office nothing came to light with that request, just stay with me, this last statement is an important factor in this instance and promotes the integrity of the first. Ok, back to the project. I was able to get my hands on the contract as well as the financials of how much the company was paying to complete this project. Two things, the first being the contract was missing many key aspects of a website contract not to mention a severe misstep that could have cost my company more than just the money, and second we were way over-paying for what was to be done and what was done. Fast-forward to the end of the year. The CFO approached me to discuss some issues people were having with my immediate supervisor and the conversation got around to the major project of the year. He asked my opinion about the overall aspect of it, and well laughing and head shaking aside, I let him know, professionally, what was done wrong and who did wrong. knowing all to well that he was the one that created the project contract and negotiated the overall cost. I let him know that with my previously contract work, I was involved and personally have created multiple project contracts, most of which could protect a single person against a large corporation like ours, with proof of concept of copies of previous contracts to back up my claims.  After a long talk with him about many other things, it was exposed that the throughout the company more importantly within the management there is a “list and ranking” of all the personnel in which they rank each employee based on how they spend their time during the day. This list is their way of seeing who is reliable, who works the most and who gabs and waste time the most, ranked best personnel to least favorable. Yours truly is #2 on the list, and the only reason I am not on top is because as I was told “You don’t have good PR skills with the other personnel.” And I was told that I need to work on that skill, for which I responded by telling the CFO that my desire is to only have good PR skills and meaningful conversations with those that can get the company ahead, meaning the management. Fast foward a little more, the CFO approached me and said that he spoke with the head director about everything I mentioned and said. With that feeling of overwhelming stress when you are stopped by a police officer, he informed me that the head director and himself are going to push forward with my reclass and basically skip over dealing with it through my direct supervisor. As well, they are going to be requiring me to be included in all software and website projects from now on with my words being put at the forefront. In this I am trying to show you that it is not what you say but how and to whom you say it to, and to show and open the eyes of your higher powered colleagues that you are a force to be dealt with and someone that they want with them in the long run. Show them that you have the skills and knowledge to make yourself indispensable and you will go through the roof, and leave all of those “It’s above my pay-grade.” co-workers in the dust.

I am sure there are going to be stresses throughout the new year, but as long as we all stay strong with our heads held up high and our convictions staying true, we all will persevere.

Arrogance over Advice

arroganceOh the arrogance and entitlements one becomes accustomed to based on the salary and position one holds.  To chuckle under ones breath, to mildly scoff at the round-about indecisive and blindly leading  ways of those with power, is to the reaction of someone falling over a crack in the sidewalk.

To think that a redesign project could be completed by those that are incompetent and unskilled in the technical world, let alone the project set forth of rehabbing a failed yester years design, would be anything but forgiving and chaotic, let alone as funny as a SMART car packed with clowns. One would think, a journey not oft traveled, nor chartered, the travelers would seek the wisdom and experience of one who has set out on that journey and is familiar with the territory that lays ahead.

This journey I speak of, the redesign of my company’s website. Leading the journey of this redesign are a few of the most non-technical and self-absorbed suits in our company. To start this journey, they recklessly tossed away the need to have the one person in the company sit in on meetings, or consult in regards to the current state of the website. With this misconception of them believing they could walk this path alone, they have succumbed to perils, adversity and hours of head scratching. When they were offered advice from myself or any other IT personnel, it was discarded.

The last straw, which basically told me, that my experience and any and all advice I give at work or in my own personal life is basically useless and unwanted. I was told by the Assistant Director of my company that my advice sucked and that what I suggested was unprofessional in regards to a company website. Mind you, I have over 20 years experience in the web industry. Then in the same breath, she criticized the fact that they were not made aware of certain things within the website that is now causing issues. HAHA, just shaking my head and exit stage left.

Interview with an Idiot

Reasons Not to Be an Idiot

There comes a time in every managers tenure, that one must consider the questions and procedures of an interview must change. With a plethora of pondering and possibilities of skills that one possesses, why does it seem to fit to still ask those dreaded redundant questions of old? These are the questions not of which focus on what the achievements and accomplishments of the interviewed or the possibilities of future such instances but the questions that have the highest potential to be a look into an imaginary world of self-assurance and ass kissing.

With the deep sedated pool of available talent looking for employment, one desires to find the best individual for the position. Therefore it is only logical to ask questions that will isolate the distinct individual just right for the job. These questions are micro specific and focuses on the field and position, not questions of the macro general field of desires, aspirations and dreams.

I am bringing this up because in the second round of interviews for a position at my company, our idiotic and lazy (to say the least) Finance Director must have not had enough energy to think of logical questions to ask and instead scour the internet for the top 10 basic interview questions and decided that was good enough. God forbid he actually for once uses his own words to ask or explain anything. His questions were the exact questions you would hear in an interview for a fast-food chain or basic job.

The following will show the questions asked with a proud grin and the answers I would have loved to hear:

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

A: I see myself alive and wondering why you were even invited to this interview.

Q: Why are you looking for a new place to work? (no joke, it was actually asked this way)

A: Because it was too boring. When I get bored with something I move on to something more exciting.

Q: What are your greatest strengths?

A: Putting up with redundant and useless questions. Oh and I can bench 325.

Q: What are you weaknesses?

A: My traveling joint pain, which causes me to take time off to work without notice.

Q: What is your work ethic like, you know in terms of working? (again not a joke, actually per datum)

A: Well I like to wake up around 8 or 9 and eventually make it into work, then I require at least a 45 minute nap either before or after lunch and I do not like working over time. Also I will not do anything outside the scope of my job description.

Q: In your mind why should we hire you? (seriously? I didn’t expect the interviewed to answer that question with someone elses thoughts)

A: Because you need someone to fill the position and I want a posh secure job that doesn’t require a lot of effort.

Interview with a mute – Laugh of the Day

Cairds Interview Lazarus

Imagine arriving at your potential new employer, rehearsed and thinking positive. You sit down in front of a panel of three; An older gentleman in a 3 piece suit, binder and note taking utilities in hand, a younger gentleman dressed very casual looking like he was dragged in just for the hell of it with a goofy grin on his face and a shaved bald gentleman, intimidating and rugged looking like a bouncer asked to sit in to keep the peace. Your palms sweat and your lungs fluctuate intensely filling with air and collapsing on each breath. You take one last deep breath when the older gentleman opens his mouth and says “Let’s begin.”

Your resume is reviewed and obviously already answered questions are asked that you easily spew the answers from your mind out through your mouth. An introduction about what the company is and who we are is dribbled out to you slowly and painfully boring, yet you listen eagerly waiting for the juicy meat and potatoes of the interview to kick in. Finally, a question that you have to put some serious thought and intellect into answering. After the sentences have formed and you are glowing with confidence, the words come out. While your answers are impressing the panel, the older gentleman across from you interrupts and begins to reminisce about the olden days, continuing on for what seems like a short novel. Each question that is asked and for each answer that you have prepared, you begin to notice that the interview is beginning to focus not on you but instead hones in on the elder gentleman’s past experiences.

The beads of sweat on your forehead have evaporated and have turned into salty white trails and the clams that once laid nervously in your palms have shut tight and buried themselves deep away under your skin. As the lone story-teller in the interview asks you if there are any questions and as you ask your logical question the story continues with an enigmatic answer to your question. Wait what was that? A joke or actually a crass realization of intelligence of progress slithers from the intimidating bald gent and as laughter fills the room your body releases its tight grip of stress and you slouch in relief, as you now realize that even though your answers were muted and hidden behind a repetitive story, they were still heard by the other audiences in the room. As you all rise to commemorate the end of this long journey down memory lane, you are relaxed and confidently stroll out of the building thinking to yourself… “During an interview sometimes it is not what you say that gets you the job, it is the muting of your ideologies and own experiences conversely the opening of your mind to what story is being relayed that does the trick.”

Good luck Mr. Irons, you did very well and it was a pleasure intimidating you today.