27 Things I Won’t Miss from my Job (and 5 Things I Will)

workI’m being laid off from my job next month, so I thought about what I will and won’t miss from it.

I won’t miss:

  1. Idiot coworkers
  2. Idiot customers
  3. Incompetent manager
  4. Jerkface department head
  5. Idiot temporary employees trashing the place
  6. Carl (there’s always a ‘Carl’)
  7. That guy that tries to justify the crappy things the company does
  8. Our crappy software
  9. Our crappy websites
  10. Our crappy apps
  11. Our crappy phone system
  12. Having to tell customer our crappy software doesn’t work because it was made in 1999.
  13. Having to tell customers our crappy websites, apps and phone system are down…again
  14. Having to tell idiot workers to do their jobs
  15. Telling idiot workers how to do the job they have been doing for years
  16. Workforce (mis)Management
  17. Waking up early
  18. Traffic
  19. Lousy parking
  20. Half-hour lunch
  21. Lousy places to eat in the area
  22. Timesheets
  23. 2% raises…when there ARE raises
  24. Shagnasty coffee
  25. Overpriced vending
  26. Having to bring my own coffee
  27. Insulting ‘contests’ from management

Things I will miss:

  1. The nice gal from Legal
  2. The ‘office mom’ (there’s always one!)
  3. The metalhead guy (there’s always one!)
  4. Money, but most importantly…
  5. Health Insurance!

300 Seconds #79: Job Separation Anxiety

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You are listening to ‘300 Seconds with Eduardo Soliz,’ and this is episode number 79, “Job Separation Anxiety,” so let the 300 Seconds begin!

I’ve had a feeling of impending doom at work for a few weeks now.  During this time of year, we usually start getting ready for our ‘busy season’ by preparing training materials and hiring new people so that they’ll (hopefully) be ready for the onslaught of customers in the fall. While there has been plenty of training prep going on, our boss hadn’t scheduled a single interview.  Suspicious, to say the least.

Finally, for the first time since I have worked at the company, every person in our department was called into a meeting.  The meeting began with a sad-faced girl from Human Resources going into a spiel about restructuring, company challenges, new directions, blah blah blah.  Yup, here it comes.

She then threw the hammer down: The thirty people in the room (including myself) were all going to be laid off after a few weeks.  The department was being scaled back, so if we wanted to hang around, we would have to apply for one of the new positions.  After some questions and one wire-acre comment from yours truly, we were each given a packet of documents and allowed to go home to digest the news, if we wanted to.  Needless to say, everybody called it a day.  I didn’t envy the Human Resources gals their jobs, but at least they would still have jobs in a few weeks.

In my so-you’re-about-to-be-canned document packet was a fun corporate-double-speak letter that referred to my last day on the job as the ‘job separation date.’  Yeah, I’ll be certain to file that letter next to the ‘thirteen dollar bonus’ one from a few years ago.  Yeah, that’s right.  Thirteen dollars.  And people wonder why I hate my job.

I chuckled at their choice of words: “Job Separation.”  I guess it beats ‘Don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya,” though.  This being Texas, I’m genuinely surprised they didn’t just toss us out right then and there.

In a sense, I’m a little disappointed in myself; I’ve seen the writing on the wall at other employers in the past, and I’ve been lucky enough to get out of Dodge while the getting was good.

I guess I’ll have to start paying attention to those updates from Monster and LinkedIn now!

This has been 300 Seconds, the next episode will be posted after my update my resume.  I am Eduardo Soliz, and if you’re looking for a software developer, help desk analyst, tech support lead, creative writer, copy editor, or maybe even a voice guy, shoot me an email at edsoliz@yahoo.com.  Whether you’re hiring or not, check out Eduardo Soliz dot com for more podcasts and short stories, and as always, I thank you for listening!

In Defense of Gordon Ramsay

1I had a ‘conversation’ the other day with The Boss about how I address people at work.  I am a blunt, no-nonsense person there and I do not suffer fools gladly (think Zootopia’s Chief Bogo).  I had made a simple request to some new folks we had hired.  Two hours later, I had not received any replies from them.

I walked over and made my request in person, only to be met with a blank stare in response.  Not exactly the best way to endear yourself to leadership.  I then got a little short with folks, which ultimately led to the ‘conversation.’

On to Ramsay, then.  I’ve had the pleasure of watching a few of his shows on the breakroom television at work.  Like many of you, I wonder why he famously gets so angry at the people on his shows.  I did a bit of soul-searching during lunch and realized something:  I got upset for the same reason he does.

Call me crazy (you wouldn’t be the first) but like Ramsay, I have high expectations for people.  I like to think that the people that The Boss hires are good techs.  Given my recent experience, I’m reconsidering that, but that’s a conversation for another time.  Now, I am realistic: I don’t expect people to be kicking tail and taking names off the bat, but I should at least get competence.  Most of the folks on Ramsay’s shows (and on my team) should be professionals, and when they don’t work or do things the way professionals do, it is very aggravating, hence Ramsay’s wrath.

Mediocrity has become the accepted norm at my workplace.  While leadership seems to be okay with this, I have not lowered my standards or adjusted my thinking along those lines.  God help me, but I want to work with people that are great at their jobs.  If they aren’t there yet, I would like to help them get there, but if I can’t trust people to perform a simple task, I don’t know that I can trust them to do more complicated things.  Because of this, work is incredibly frustrating for me.

While I can’t explode in anger like Gordon Ramsey does, the next time I see him on the breakroom TV, I will certainly relate.

Dear Upset Employee:

So somebody else got that promotion instead of you and you aren’t happy because you feel that you should have gotten the nod.  I get it; I’ve been there myself.  But before you come to your bosses (including me) asking why you didn’t get it, ask yourself:

Can you honestly say you are the best at doing your job compared to everyone else?  If you have to think it over before answering, the answer is likely no.  Even if one person does the job better than you do, guess what?  They’re ahead of you.

Do you slack off?  Be honest.  You do.  I know that you do.  Heck, I do, too.  Everybody does and that’s okay, as long as you’re discreet about it.  Here’s the kicker, though:  If the guy next to you slacks off less, he’s ahead of you.  If he doesn’t slack of at all, guess what? You can’t slack off at all, either, unless you want to be second-best.

Do you give your superiors attitude or treat them with disrespect?  Don’t worry, you aren’t the first person to give me crap and I give my bosses crap too.  But I only do so when I have a good reason to.  Only when I was two hundred percent certain that I am right did I even think about going there.  If you throw back attitude at your bosses for no reason, we don’t want you in charge of people.  If you can’t respect the people above you, we’re pretty sure you are not going to respect the people beneath you.  If that other guy isn’t a jerk and you are, guess what?  We’re going to pick him before we pick you.

Do you take on challenging tasks?  It’s okay to go in over your head if you think you have a strong chance of success.  You don’t have to always succeed, and that’s okay, but you need to show that you are willing to go where angels fear to tread every once in a while.  If that other guy is kicking more ass than you are, guess what?  He’s the one we want.

So why did that other guy get the promotion instead of you?  They did their job better than you did, slacked off less than you did, give their bosses less crap than you did and kicked more ass than you did.  You didn’t get promoted because you weren’t good, you didn’t get promoted because the other guy was better than you.

So Long, And Thanks For All the Laughs

Today is the last day at my job.  This is usually a cause for celebration, but in this case I’m not one hundred percent sure that I will be going into a better situation next week.

On paper, everything sounds better: a chance to start over in my preferred field, more money, and the opportunity to work with some good people I worked with in the past.

As much as I like to harp on the fact that I have never worked in a workplace where software development was done “the right way,” I am just as much to blame for my atrophied skills.  While I have dabbled in programming after-hours here and there, I never really dived into it as much as I probably should have.

Despite years of programming experience, I will be starting my job next week as an entry-level programmer.  In fact, the possibility exists that I might be reporting to some of the guys I was ‘above’ in the past.  That doesn’t bother me much; it could be argued I have been starting over every few years with each new job that I’ve jumped to.

My experience has always been that people who say “money doesn’t matter” either have more than enough of it or not enough.  I’ve been in both situations, and while I won’t be making quite as much as I did last year, the ends will have an easier time meeting now.

The company I will be working for is a subsidiary of one I used to work for (and absolutely hated). Both companies share the same office space, so I will see some of folks that I used to work with in the past.  I’m looking forward to that, but on the flipside, some of the folks that I didn’t get along with are still there too.  I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

What sucks is that the only bad thing about the job I’m leaving was the job itself The temporary thing sucked too, but I can’t begrudge them for that.  I leave behind the best boss I have EVER worked for, and I’m not just saying that because I’ve had a bunch of crappy ones in the past.  Unlike the taskmasters, micromanagers and bullies I’ve dealt with, Susanne sees the human side more than anyone that I have ever worked for.  That sounds like an odd thing to say, but trust me, there are too many managers out there that see everything (including people) as numbers and nothing else.  Frankly, I’d rather be “that guy that brings in cookies every so often” than Employee #867640-2.

My co-workers are a bag of mixed nuts which is a very good thing.  Too often, people get ‘assimilated’ into their workplace to the point where they start to act alike, turning the workplace  into a weird cross of 1984 and The Stepford Wives.  I try to buck the trend wherever I go.  Its not like I can stop being me for 40 hours a week, or even want to.  The workplace I am leaving has a great bunch of folks that aren’t afraid to be themselves and a boss that lets them do just that.  As crazy as it sounds, they are real people and I will miss them dearly.

Best of luck to all y’all.

It was fun.

There’s No Place Like Home Sweet Cube

We were supposed to move to a new area at work recently.  Of course, everyone got excited and went to the new area to stake their claim…I picked out my new cube, and was looking forward to the move.  Things were looking up at work.   I soon took to going down to my future cube whenever I needed some quiet time.  I quickly adjusted the seat to the way that I liked it, and mentally placed my PC, whiteboard, and comics in their appropriate locations as I sat in My New Home and soaked in the newness of it all.  I smiled when I first saw the “Future Desk of Eduardo Soliz” sign taped to the desktop.

A few days later, we found out that we would not be moving to the new area; it had already been assigned to another team.  (Insert joke about bureaucracy here)   Instead, we will be moving to a different area with “open seating,” which sounds like a big ball of SUCK.  I felt disappointed.  The next day I went down to my former-future work home and sighed upon seeing that my “Future Desk” sign was gone, replaced with some random stranger’s name.

I’m not sure why was I disappointed, or even excited, in the first place.  After all, a cube is a cube; a box exactly like all the other boxes on the floor where I sit for 40 hours a week and make my living.  It doesn’t sound like something to get emotionally attached to, but yet I did.  Perhaps, despite its utility, a cubicle is a home-away-from home.  There, I not only make my living, but I also do some living as well; talking with friends, receiving occasional phone calls from family, and getting things accomplished at work.

On a normal week, those forty hours represent about twenty-three percent of my week, which is a not much less than the time I spend asleep in my bed at night.  When guests stay overnight, I like to tell them about how comfortable the bed is and how much they will enjoy sleeping in it.  (in the Soliz household, it is a tradition to give guests your bed)  Thus, it would be a fair statement to say that I am emotionally attached to my bed.  Perhaps, then, being attached to one’s workspace isn’t the big stretch it appears to be.

Work life might be boring, mundane, and many other unpleasant adjectives, but for what its worth, it it is still life nonetheless…

Or maybe I just need a new job. 😛