Sep 13, 2019

Micromanagement 101.

So, it’s a little but interesting to watch things at work sometimes.

As we get further into the year, I can’t help but feel there is something in the offing. My suspicion is that by the first quarter of next year, a lot of the folks including myself will not be working for the company because they’ll simply be moving operations out of New York City.

They bought in a new CEO and his past along with a recent Global Town Hall as well as a meeting with a upper level manager have spoken volumes about the direction things are going in. In the meeting with the upper level guy, one thing that was made clear was that work that was being shifted out of New York to other sites would not be replaced. Further it was pointedly said that they would never expand the office because the costs of both real estate and salaries made that cost prohibitive. The company is in the midst or renegotiating the lease on the space we occupy and I know for a fact the price per square foot will be tripling almost. There was also the added jewel in a statement made by the upper management guy that although clients in other locations want operations close by, customers in New York are used to dealing with suppliers all over the world.

Yes... oh there is just so much job security.

Which is fine really. These are the days that we live in. Yet, loyalty is a swinging door.

In the meantime there’s the other drama that’s been going on.

As I had stated there was a week a few weeks back that I expected to be my last week and involved me getting called into a closed door meeting with my supervisor and his boss. They were quite upset with me because I had made it clear to the sales director I would no longer be responsible for what happened on the account I had been nursing along for the last four months.

See, there was a decision made that even though things were going well that wasn’t good. It wasn’t a good thing for me to be handling this alone and other people ‘needed’ to be involved.

It was something my boss had been engineering for awhile but from a practical standpoint it was a bit unworkable. It wasn’t the kind of client or project that demanded a huge commitment of resources but it was a relationship that was growing (something I was taking pride in) but they needed to have someone ‘project manage’ things.

Again, supposedly this meant that I would ‘be able to focus on the work’ but the only thing it meant was someone was going to take credit for my work and do little which didn’t really sit well with me. I’m funny that way in the sense that if you are supposed to be responsible for aspects of a project then I expect you to actually perform those tasks.

So, I could see the writing on the wall in the sense that the people who were coming in were in the process of making it harder to do the work, were fucking up the work and were going to do a sidestep and that’s why I went to the director of sales because I could see where this was headed and wanted to be sure that it was abundantly clear that certain people were now responsible for whatever happened on this account.

Think, hitting a hornet’s nest.

Basically I scored a direct hit and my boss’ boss was upset because as he put it, ‘He wants the department to run like a Black Box.’

Yeah, I get that... it runs like a Black Box and then you can readily blame the peons but ummmm no.
 Anyway, I started that about three weeks back if you can believe it. Wow.

So, let’s see... we essentially lost that work. That account that I had been nursing along, being hands on and at their beck and call? Well, the ham handed idiots came in and basically lost the work which was really fascinating to watch.

At every step of the way, I explained the client didn’t want us doing the work to begin with, the client didn’t want to spend money, the client is disorganized but making them jump throw hoops is only going to make them go elsewhere and?

They did.

My boss and another person were supposed to be ‘project managing’ the account but basically that meant being in the way and I wasn’t having any of it because I’m not about to be a fall guy. If you want to drive, drive baby!

I’ll just sit back and watch the scenery.

What happened was they started to get in the middle of things and I was as cooperative as I could be. I answered all their questions (again and again and again), held their hands, watched them as it was obvious they were in over their heads. Sat in client meetings and here’s the funny thing I realized.

In these phone calls we were having, one meeting I was blindsided at the end of a call when the client was told that this other person would be handling all the project management. Then afterward in meetings I just let them take the lead but it was clear they weren’t really paying close attention. So, we were having daily calls and I was out for a few days and the client cancelled those calls when I was out. And during meetings after I realized the only contribution my boss had was to repeat what I would say to make it appear he came up with the idea, I figured I should just keep my mouth shut.

And I did which was a little funny to watch really as he wildly gesticulated during one call and I looked at the ceiling raptly listening to the conversation and after a prolonged silence the client asked if I had any questions at which point I went through all the work we had in the shop and very specific questions regarding each project and the direction moving forward.

It was really funny, for me, not so much for the other people.

Now, in the course of the discussion and reviews I’ve had it’s become clear that the thought is that I am overpaid because of the ‘band’ I’m in (the job classification and title) even though a lot of the tasks I perform are nothing similar to what other people in the same job classification do.

It’s two years, no raise and nothing at all in the offing either and my peer, he’s in the same boat too.

So they kicked me back onto this other beast of an account because as the guy who was supposed to be project managing said, ‘You’re good, that’s why they won’t take you off it.’

Well, in the next week, our account coordinator leaves... and the geniuses not only don’t have anyone internally to cover in the interim they are still scrambling to get people for interviews even though she gave notice the last week in August.

It was funny today because my peer is quite militant about certain things and going beyond the scope of his responsibilities is one of them. Me, I can see the accident coming down the road and things have already starting breaking down this week. They burned me on the other thing though so I’m just sitting back again and doing what I’m told.

That’s management motivating me to go that extra mile.

Oh and by the way... so apparently all this garbage caught up with me and I wound up having such a violent reaction to all the sturm and drang of these idiots I narrowly avoided a trip to the hospital (as in getting a cat-scan because I had such stomach distress). When the choice is between your health and your job I can tell you it’s an easy choice to make.

Readying for the fireworks to come as the same two that lost the account I was shepherding are now going to be responsible for the bear of an account.... this should be fun to watch.

Aug 11, 2019

Well that was a week.

It’s Sunday night and tomorrow begins another work week. My weekend involves me not going out of my house for two days and then intermittently sleeping on and off during the days. I also logged a few hours of work from home.

Last week was very stressful. Maybe that’s even a bit of an understatement. I full and truly expected Friday to be my last day. Not because of my work but because of the other shenanigans that have been going on at work over the last several weeks.

I’ll circle back to it later when I have the ability to look at it without any emotion but I do know that I was explaining the situation to someone on Friday (the events of the preceding few days) and I found myself so full of anger about it I need to move past that.

I’ve been doing what I do for a long time and know my job well. I also know when I see certain things happening around me that people are building up a narrative that suits them but bears little resemblance to reality. This past week, instead of being passive about it... I took steps to address the situation.

Well suffice to say it made some folks in authority WILDLY uncomfortable and it did that because it put the spotlight directly on them. I realized part of what goes on at my job is that people in authority make shitty decisions and then pass the buck and blame people beneath them instead of accepting responsibility. Well, I’m not going to be left holding the bag when the shit hits the fan especially when I’ve been the one sounding the alarm and being hampered in getting results or trying to head off a disaster.

It’s great watching the people who make more and are supposed to be in charge have their asses on the hotseat and watch them squirm. It doesn’t make me friends I know but at the end of day, I’m at a point where I won’t allow myself to be a patsy.

Jul 22, 2019

The dilemma...

Work is really not bad. I mean in the sense that it was shortly after I first started when we had a different manager who was something of a disaster.

At the same time, I can’t help but see agendas all around me.

This company doesn’t do much in the way of communication. Maybe I need to qualify that in the sense that managers in our office, my direct manager and my second line manager don’t communicate well with the chattel at all.

Things just happen around people, it’s more than a little disconcerting at times.

So, for the last two weeks, various folks have been out for vacation, random days off or just being sick and I’ve been covering. I don’t mind covering, I’m there to do what they tell me but at the same time I have a mountain of work I need to get done which I am constantly being asked if it can be shuttled off to someone else.

The thing of it is... I actually sit down and figure fucking things out.

Most people in my role, in our office, simply don’t do that. Figuring it out is really the hard part just like setting it up correctly is as well.

So, I’ve got all this work that’s coming in but there’s a lot of setup involved and suddenly it’s as if some of the management people have woken up! Everyone now wants to be ‘involved’ and in the process much things up all the more and make things more difficult.

And it’s a bit funny to watch them because it’s clear they don’t have the first idea of what’s been happening or how much I’ve been making it look easy. There’s that whole FIGURE FUCKING THINGS OUT thing that I was talking about.

So, ‘other people need to be involved’ in the project in case something happens!

Are you guys telling me something?

So, my boss made noise about being in the middle of things and it was more than a little funny because essentially I just turned around and made it clear if you want me to step back so you can handle all of this, be my guest. I mean, it’s not something I’m getting paid extra for! I haven’t even gotten a raise from these fuckers in two years.

Now, when I did that things suddenly started changing...

All of a sudden, it was apparent that it wouldn’t be at all easy to sort through everything and organize it. Now that doesn’t mean they still don’t want to try and do it but again it won’t be an easy thing for them.

Plus, I keep seeing them push back on certain things...

We have an online tracker that shows what each person is working on and I keep pushing my projects to a status so that it will show I don’t have much bandwidth (because I REALLY, REALLY NEED TO SIT DOWN AND HAVE UNINTERRUPTED TIME TO GET THINGS SORTED OUT). Yet I kept getting other things thrown on my plate that were large (seven actual jobs pushed out as a single job) which made me realize that maybe what could be happening is that they might be using this to show operator productivity.

I don’t know, maybe not.

But I did have a discussion with the account lead on it to make it clear I was being pulled away from the work and the thing of it is, we got the work based on my performance and my dealing with the client - think if it ain’t broke.

But then again I’m not management.

So we’ll see how this week plays out...

In the meantime again today, I’m told there are four people who are open but the one thing I do want to pass off they don’t want me to!?!?!?! WTF!

Jul 18, 2019

Face time with senior management.

This week, suddenly it seemed we had a meeting with out third line manager (does that make sense?). Essentially, it was my boss’s, boss’s boss...

And that is all fine and good you know, it’s couched in the whole, ‘this is how we want to operate as an organization’ thing and ‘we want to communicate’ thing. So it was more than a little funny in that it had those golden moments you can’t script.

At one point my second line manager was standing in the doorway and his boss asked the room whether or not they wanted the second line to stay (after the second line asked if he should stay) and of course no one said either he shouldn’t or said, ‘HEY, ##### STAY!’

Yeah, golden moment.


Anyway, I hang back at these things. I don’t want to put myself front and center but at the same time I don’t have a problem asking the right questions either...

My counterpart who sidled up right next to the third line immediately asked the first question which was about whether or not activities beyond the job description or title would be recognized. I know why he did it, but it was funny to watch him put himself out there both to the third line and to everyone else in a sense where he appeared more self serving than anything else.

That got shot down pretty quick in normal corporate speak which wasn’t surprising if a little but funny.

Someone else asked about our current lease which is up in the first quarter of next year and while I believe they will continue to have a presence here in NYC it’s questionable whether or not my particular department will remain intact.

That gave me the opportunity to ask a few questions the first of which was about revenue and whether or not our office was meeting the projections in terms of revenue and also regarding work moving outward from our offices to other offices here in the US (think cheaper labor first off) and I got pretty much the answers I knew I would get. None of those answers though were any good for the people in the room.

The thing of it was that exactly what I had been saying to people is obviously well in the works in terms of moving certain operations and job functions out of NYC (and part of it actually has to do with some of the well meaning labor laws they’ve put into effect here).

The new company is all about profit and the bottom line. I get that. I don’t really have as much of a problem with it as some might think, businesses don’t do well when they operate at a loss but at the same time I want to be sure that in this game of musical chairs I’m one of the people left with a seat when the music stops.

There were a few takeaways... the office will not expand. The office will not get an implementation of company wide operating software (which makes sense in the context of shutting down operations even though it was masked by the new hire of a CTO). The office will remain although it may have a different configuration than it has currently. Oh, and New York clients unlike clients in other parts of the country are used to dealing with suppliers all over the world so they don’t necessarily need people local to perform the job function (or at least what my job title says) locally.

Now, I do a lot more than my job title.

That was the thing my counterpart bought up in his first question but to me it’s more about being integral in the whole process to the point where it’s more of a bother to get rid of you than to keep you.

I’ve been doing that in a big way... my counterpart? I don’t know if he realizes that for all his talent (and he is talented), he’s a huge pain in the ass to work with.

So, anyway, I’ve got a full plate and I spoke with one of the design directors frankly because I want to have the ability to move over if I need to. I’m worried in the way I think anyone should always be worried in the fluid dynamics of any job nowadays particularly when you get to a certain age.

But I don’t wait and I don’t react so we’ll see what happens....

In the meantime the takeaway from that meeting was this:

https://6dollarshirts.com/image/cache//data/designs/readbetweenlines/readbetweenlines-t-shirt-red-deepred-swatch-400x400.jpg

Jul 7, 2019

Some things are still very, very good.

So this weekend I was doing some reviewing and in this case I was reviewing some things I liked I hadn’t looked at in a long time. One of those things is Chuck.

Chuck if you’re not aware was a TV Series that ran from 2007 to 2012 and while it was something that was always on the bubble it was one of the rare instances where Primetime TV actually made something really good.

Don’t take my word for it though, I found the Pilot online and it still holds up very well.

See for yourself:

Jul 6, 2019

The joys of time off.

I’ve got four days in a row off because of the holiday, taken a PTO day and the weekend, it’s simply wonderful.

So, I went out Wednesday night after work and then stopped to look at fireworks when I got off the train. The whole area around the train station was packed with people, it was close to sunset and I figured I could watch a little of the fireworks too.

The next day I slept even though I had to be at a barbecue and I was late because of it. Sleeping seems to be something I excel at more and more as the days pass. Now, I was supposed to be somewhere at 1:30 and got there at 4:30 but you know, it appears the day after the work week is over, sleeping is something I find very, very welcome.

After the barbecue, I saw the Avengers (which I already wrote about) and hit a White Castle and then came home and over the next two days, binged on DVR stuff I hadn’t watched and on Stranger Things. I’m a real ball of fire I am.

When I go back to work next week I know full well that work is going to be holy hell. It’s going to be crazy busy and I have no doubt it will be full of stress. As a matter of fact, I know right now that the company has machinations working, they have machinations working that will impact everyone in my office.

See, here’s what’s become apparent... there’s an office in Westchester where they laid off four people last week. They laid off those people and the folks shared a few common traits... they were all older people and all of them were people who had been with the company for a considerable amount of time. The reasoning in the company meeting that they had in that office was that the office hadn’t ‘met their numbers,’ certain work didn’t materialize the way they thought it would and so there had to be cuts.

The rub here was, a few days later the very same office advertised several positions being open. Of course all those positions were for more junior roles but it’s fairly transparent that the expectation is to take someone at a lesser wage and have them do the same work of a more experienced person.

Yes, it’s employment at will but what I’m seeing increasingly from the new corporate masters is a pattern of both age discrimination and gender discrimination based around the roles that they place people in.

Just fun times to be sure.

Now, in the meantime a couple of other things have been happening in our own office...

We were dead for a couple of weeks as worrk that had been done in our office was shipped out to other offices in different locations around the country. They try to do a good job of hiding it but I’m a nosy fuck and was able to keen out some things with what I managed to see on different calendars.

Work picked up but, the precious Account Director who I have little love for had been meeting with folks from other offices which seemed suspiciously like that account would be moving as well. I had been out with someone for drinks and put it to them and they gave me a very clear non-answer that told me all I needed to know. That work will be moved, probably in a few months time.

Now, the other jewel was that the Account Director herself is now on the hot seat as she has been moved down in the pecking order likely meaning she’ll be gone by the time Halloween rolls around.

So there’s that.

Now in the meantime, I’ve been moving away from that particular account and doing other work, unfortunately one of the other accounts I’ve been working on was moved out to Illinois but strangely enough some of that work has started coming back.

And there was this other thing that happened too... I was asked to help out on something and over the course of the ensuing months I actually wound up being the key person on the account and dealing directly with the client.

This is a problem.

It’s not a problem because I’m doing a bad job. No, actually the client has been really, really happy. They’ve been so incredibly happy that we managed to pick up a ratherr HUGE CHUNK of business from them.

You would think this is a good thing, right?

Well, all of a sudden now, there are a lot of people who haven’t been involved in the process, people in management who now want to place themselves in the middle of things. They need to have visibility in this because they need to be able to justify themselves.

I don’t get any more money, I don’t get a different title, and if anything I’m still the target I was because even though I took a pay cut I’m making more than they want to pay for someone in my job band and this is even though I do plenty of things that aren’t in my job description but you can see the writing on the wall now.

Now, between now and next January there is supposed to be a ton of work coming through our office because of this account. By the time January rolls around though, I have every sense the office will be closed or downsized to a considerable extent.

So, these four days are jewels to me. Four days of peace and quiet as I plan and strategize. I need to be prepared, whatever does happen I need to have an escape plan that’s in place because honestly, I don’t trust the people in charge in the slightest.

Jul 5, 2019

The Marvel way.

Tonight, I managed to catch Avengers Endgame in a theater.

Well... there’s that.

Now, it was played up as there was going to be a bunch of things that hadn’t been included in the original theatrical release but to be honest SAVE YOUR MONEY.

The things that weren’t included were two scenes... one that got dropped from the film (featuring the Hulk) and a teaser for Spider Man Far From Home.

Funny thing about that...

So, in this last Avengers film, five years has passed in between the time Thanos snapped his fingers and got rid of half of all life in the universe and the time that all those folks who disappeared are bought back.

So... why is it that Peter Parker returns to High School and his friend is STILL THERE? It’s FIVE YEARS LATER! Glaring plot point where they dropped the ball.

Oh, and the other thing that was part of the previously unreleased stuff?

A tribute to Stan Lee. It was all I could do to keep from vomiting!

Let’s talk about the Marvel Way can we?

The Marvel Way is Stan giving an artist a seed of an idea, the artist doing all the storytelling and character design and then Stan throwing some corny jokes in at the end. That’s it, END OF STORY!

Oh, and the Marvel Way, you want to know what else that is?

It’s Stan taking ALL THE CREDIT and the artists who did the heavy lifting getting the short shrift.

Fucking stop with this bullshit already.

I get it, Stan was the best used car salesman that comics ever had but truthfully, he wasn’t a creator. And all those people who would contest that with me? Okay, answer this question then... Jack Kirby and Joe Simon (and other creators) leave Timely in the forties. All through the fifties Timely is publishing books. Not a few! They’re publishing all kinds of books but when does Marvel really take off?

It takes off when Jack Kirby comes back. It takes off when Steve Ditko is handling this throwaway character.

AND PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE... Remind me now exactly what Stan created of lasting importance ONCE JACK KIRBY LEFT?

NOTHING!

Jack Kirby went to DC and created a universe, a universe that not only is DC using to this day but the tenets of which were swiped for Star Wars. Jack came back and did more work at Marvel that STILL STANDS THE TEST OF TIME!

Steve Ditko? The Question, Shade the Changing Man,  Doctor Strange, the Hawk and the Dove... c’mon!

And the end of Avengers they have the glory hogging clown from beyond the grave getting a tribute for things he had little to do with!

SIMPLY FUCKING AMAZING!

It’s akin to the Devil convincing the world that he doesn’t exist, it’s history’s second greatest lie but man, if the public hasn’t bought into the bullshit!