This is all about when a job goes wrong, when corporate America is left to run things with no responsibility whatsoever. Please feel free to comment and commiserate. I'm sure I'll be in need of a co-author to the book this just _has_ to become.

15 November 2007

"Dude, I really don't know"

At BigHugeCo, I install software. A lot of it. But I don't use it. I'll go as far as to say Dreamweaver and Office are the only two apps I know well enough to troubleshoot. So when someone calls and asks me "What does it mean when I can't see my database in Microsoft ResourceHog 2007?"

"It means," I say, "you need to enter your settings, which I don't have because we don't support the app. The database admins do."

"So you'll help me?"

"I'm not a database admin. I'm a desktop technician."

"But you build web pages."

"Those are not databases, and I don't do that for BigHugeCo."

"So how do I fix this?"

"I don't know. Ask the database admins."

"Well, could you fix this for me?"

"Hold, please." Mute phone. Bang head against desk. Go to Starbucks on the lobby level. Return. He's still holding.

28 September 2007

Just Say No To Crack... Berry

I get maybe three calls a month on my corporate cell phone. In fact, I don't even take it home with me. As far as I'm concerned, the little electronic leash is an intrusion on my time.
Well, now BigHugeCo has decreed that all IT personnel will carry Blackberries.

Actually, all IT personnel will receive Blackberries. I suspect I'm going back to carrying only one cell phone, the little LG phone I got when I switched to ATT ('cuz Verizon was a bit pricey at the time.)

I'm not sure why BigHugeCo wants me to carry one of these pieces of shit. They don't pay me enough for 24/7 access. And there's nothing people can call me for on the weekend that I help with unless I'm in the office.

"But, Jim, don't y0u want to be fully connected?"

Not really. There's a reason I enjoy vacationing in West Virginia and Southeast Ohio. No cell phone or Internet access!

I'm sorry, but there really is nothing that important that anyone needs to get a hold of me that fast. Publishing? If Svetlana got an offer today for Road Rules, I most likely would not know about it until Monday. It would take me a few days to ponder whether I want to accept it or not. And that assumes Svetlana and her partner aren't holding back a few days to mull it over themselves. (15% of this hypothetical offer would be theirs. 15% of a turkey is still a turkey.) Then we'd have to negotiate, which would take weeks. All in all, nothing warranting an emergency call.

Family? My brother and in-laws know where to find me. Beyond that, you don't need to know.

"But, Jim, how can your employer reach you on vacation?"

Why would I want them to do that? I'm on vacation.

Someday soon, I will be completely freelance. Writing, web design, other nefarious misdeeds people will pay me for.

Then BigHugeCo can have back their overpriced, underused Crackberry.
Assuming I haven't sold it on eBay.

21 July 2007

Cube farm hijinks from Seamonkey of

This came to my e-mail recently and was just too appropriate to not post.

"Oh, here's some sh!t. I got fired today because, "I shouldn't have hired someone with the high level of experience you have for this job." WTF??

Ok, so this b!tch contacts ME and takes me OUT of the steady job I ALREADY HAD and puts me in a more remedial position for my line of work (residential title insurance) for less pay, but it was MUCH closer to home and right by my kid's schools. I was cutting 60 miles round-trip off per day. But at least I HAD a job and now... NOTHING. Fu*king b!tch."

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17 July 2007

2nd Annual "My Bad Boss" Contest is doing it again. If you think you've got a story, then get in on it!

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16 July 2007

Put The Coffee Cup Down And Step Away From The Pot

I've been a corporate drone at the same corporate hive for about 8 years now. My last job was a stint at a retail big box hell I'll call "The Computer Stuporstore," where America used to get its computer equipment before Michael Dell and Steve Jobs mercifully cut out the middle man.

My job was as a PC technician, one of the guys in the back room working on whatever clusterfuck someone brought into the store. Well, that was my job description. My actual job was, from 5 to close, was to work the counter.

The Computer Stuporstore had a few bizarre policies. Everyone was reviewed on income generated, but technicians were not allowed to make sales. Naturally, we were always evaluated as "Losers." My personal favorite was "Overtime is not permitted and not tolerated at The Computer Stuporstore." Yes, we were written up for clocking out one minute late. I finally took to telling the operations manager to learn how to make adjustments since I'm too busy doing, yanno, work to be arsed with worrying about the clock. (Or "Poor planning on your part does not constitute failure on my part.")

The absolute worst policy concerned coffee. Someone at corporate decided that, if one drank coffee in the late afternoon, they were not rested enough. If they were not rested enough, they were not giving The Computer Stuporstore their all. And if one is not giving the Computer Stuporstore their all, management should intervene and give counseling.

Never mind we all drank Coke after noon, which not only contains caffiene but sugar as well. And the professional geeks in the back room? Half of us were Mountain Dew addicts and future type II diabetics.

In December of 1999, I got an offer to join BigHugeCo in a job that 1.) was accessible by bus and 2.) wouldn't insult my intelligence. The offer increased my salary by 33%. "Let me think about that. Yes." So I turned in my three-week notice at The Computer Stuporstore and embarked on a month long campaign to get myself fired.

I cussed out the general manager in front of a customer for telling her that I would work overtime off the clock. I punched in early and went to breakfast. I let the phone ring evenings while I spent half an hour in the break room watching Jeopardy. Did this get anyone's attention?

No. What did?

One afternoon, the new Starbucks opened in the strip mall next door. I walked over on a break and got myself a cup. This got the general manager's attention, who brought it to the operations manager's attention. The OM, his name was Roger, hauled me into his office for "counseling."

"Were you aware of the rule about coffee during afternoon hours?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "Are you aware I turned in my notice and that I will be leaving your fine establishment for one that, unlike this one, pays more than people on food stamps get?"

"Nonetheless, for the next sixteen days, you are an employee of The Computer Stuporstore, and therefore, I have to ask you about your coffee."

"Okay, it's called Sumatra blend. It will knock you on your ass. For the largest size, it's $1.50." (This was 1998.) "If you like, I'll buy you a cup."

"J, understand that when we see you drinking coffee, we have to wonder why you're not getting enough rest."

"I'm not getting enough rest because I work two jobs. And no, you have no say in that situation. Unless you want to pay me more."

"I understand. But I still have to write you up and take a statement."

"Okay, here's my statement. 'I'm sorry you losers don't understand that sometimes people drink coffee because they like it. I'm sorry some moron in corporate has nothing better to do with his time than make up silly rules to make this place an even bigger hell than it already is. I'm sorry I still have to work here until New Year's Day.' Did you get all that?"

"You could quit now."

"You could fire me now."

Roger smiled. Roger actually got it long ago. He was biding his time until he either replaced the GM or he moved on to someplace better. Like everyone else who quit this place in the seven months I'd worked there. "Get back to work."

"You're not going to fire me?"

"For drinking coffee? Where do you think I work? Corporate?"

They never did fire me. Though the GM did avoid me after I cussed him out in front of a customer.

13 July 2007

The PHB Is Real

About a year and a half ago, BigHugeCo got a new CIO (Chief Information Officer or Career Is Over. You make the call.) The new CIO was a straight-shooting guy from India with a sense of humor. His underling, the Vice President of Infrastructure (or "Infantile" as we liked to call him) wanted the job.

Infantile was a poster child for bad management. His conversations were designed to hunt for flaws in the other person so he could cut them down "like a good manager." His all-hands meetings rewarded all the ass-kissers who'd worked for him since he was just a team lead. He openly trashed managers at the business units for being more concerned with doing business than [*gasp!*] following his IT edicts (many of which were overridden as part of the previous CIO's Monday morning routine. Coffee, read Wall Street Journal, invalidate all or most of Infantile's new policies.) Infantile had managed to become one of the few managers at his level where people questioned his parentage within earshot. And why not? He wasn't allowed to fire people, only humiliate them. And humiliation doesn't hurt your mortgage payment the way termination does.

When he didn't get the CIO's job after his previous boss left, Infantile decided the best way to look managerial in front of his new boss was to take him around and introduce him to the peasants. Where I work, we sat with the Help Desk at the time. It was a quiet afternoon, and one of the techs had us riveted with a tale of Duke Energy using his payment to pay someone else's electric bill. How did the new boss react?

"That's good, can you pay mine?"

Well, Infantile was having none of that. We just got friendly with his boss before he had a chance to poison the well. What a horrible crime. Infantile looks around and notices no one's on the phone. Well, it's a Help Desk, isn't it? Aren't these people supposed to be on the phone?

"Why aren't these phones ringing," he said. "Come on. Let's get back to work."

Silence. Staring. Roomful of jaws hanging open.

Finally, Rafferty, the one who had his light bill payments funneled to the wrong account, spoke up. "Um... People have to break something before we can fix it, you know. And they're just not breaking stuff today."

CIO cringed. So did we.

Infantile was fired two weeks later, replaced by an unabashed Office Space fan who let me keep my stapler.

We had a party.

10 July 2007

Jesus Saves. Because He Knows What The Fucking File Menu Is For.

[Reposted from Northcoast Exile, October, 2006]

Another week, another clueless moron at BigHugeCo who should not be let near a computer. Let's call her Jane, shall we?

For two weeks straight, Jane has complained that she worked and slaved over a masterpiece in Microsoft Word for three whole hours only to lose her masterpiece when Word froze up.

Why, oh, why, she moans, must she suffer at the hands of us unsympathetic technicians?

Because, Jane, you are too stupid to live. Let me clue you in on the novelist's secret weapon.

See, Janey, I write books (and allegedly published one of them.) And they take a helluva lot longer than three hours to write. And Word has frozen up on me. Windows has crashed. Power outages have occured. Do I lose anything when this happens?

Why, no, Jane, I don't. You know why?

Because I know what the fuck the Save button is for!!!

Yes, Jane, I realize I never went to law school as you did. In fact, I never finished college. And yet I know how to click File>Save As. It's one of the first things we all learn when using a computer. It's the very first thing I do in any word processing program when I start a new project. After that, I hit the Save button after every paragraph, if not more often. Why? So I don't slave for three hours and lose shit to a computer glitch. Oooh! What a concept!

And yanno what? They have a similar handy function on Macs! That's right, Janey. You're supposed to do this on good ol' simple, only a brain-damaged-chimpanzee-can-break-it Macs.

So what's your excuse?

Please ship your laptop back to BigHugeCo corporate immediately. Your new Etch-A-Sketch will be configured and shipped to you as a replacement.

I swear to God some people need to audition to be Steve Irwin's replacement.

With live crocs.

The Evil J Winter


22 March 2007

Best. Scamback. Ever.

This isn't the usual type of post for this blog, but it's too funny to just let pass. I highly recommend reading and listening to the call. It's a new twist on scamming back the Nigerian 419 scammers. It may be even better than EbolaMonkeyMan.

read more | digg story

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15 January 2007

There are not words...

I know you guys don't doubt me, but in case you ever did, you are about to hear the most horrible example of insensitivity displayed by my ex-company...

|UN-NAMED SOURCE|: So we get an email today

|UN-NAMED SOURCE|: titled: Martin Luther King Luncheon

MAT: k

|UN-NAMED SOURCE|: In observance of today’s holiday lunch is being provided compliments of Tyler Gifts, Please help yourself to lunch now set up in the lunch room.

|UN-NAMED SOURCE|: guess what we had


|UN-NAMED SOURCE|: to honor the king








|UN-NAMED SOURCE|: how f'ed up is that?

MAT: is that really true? That's the most messed up thing I have ever heard...


|UN-NAMED SOURCE|: buckets of fried chicken, biscuits



MAT: oh my...

09 August 2006

My Bad Boss

Voting is wrapping up over at where they're holding the My Bad Boss competition. As part of the wrap-up promo for that, they're showing off this bit Al Franken did for them. It's worth a look and a chuckle:

Actually, his satire sounds so much like my ex-boss, the accuracy is scary.