Thursday, March 26, 2009

A letter to someone else's boss

Dear Little Hannity,

I know you'll never read this but I need to write it anyways. Because if I don't there may be random acts of unpleasantness in your future and I just think it's better for both of us if I write you a little letter.

My friend, we'll just call my friend "Downtrodden" for the rest of this letter, works for you. Downtrodden knew that there was an on-call portion to the job when he started. He was TOLD it would be one weekend a month and, really, that isn't all THAT awful. But on-call means you are working for 12 days in a row and then have a weekend (a mere 2 days off). So when you are working on call every other frickin week that's 12 on/2 off/12 on/2 off and THAT is simply inhuman and not what Downtrodden signed up for. Add to that the fact that on-call USED to mean overtime most of the time and there was at least a paltry financial reward for being tethered to your phone all frickin weekend, answering the beck and call of the lonely. And yeah, most of the weekend calls are from LONELY people who want SOMEONE to pay attention. But now you've decided that the best plan EVAR is to "short" hours before oncall time thus making sure your employees don't get any financial bonus and are, instead, compelled to come into the office if they don't get enough emergency call action.

Another thing I am going to take issue with. Downtrodden now uses his own phone instead of the company phone on his oncall weekends. When, exactly, are you going to start chipping in to pay part of our cell phone bill? Yeah... I thought as much.... Hrumph.

Also, your habit of telling Downtrodden lies because you haven't got the balls to be upfront about what a lazy fuck you are is not appealing nor is it making you any friends. And telling Downtrodden to do X and then getting mad when he does X and claiming you never said to do X? Let's just say that I believe you are still amongst the living after that bullshit only because Downtrodden doesn't REALLY want to have to watch his ass (literally) in a prison shower. Pray he never develops a fetish for playing rousing games of "we don't DROP the soap in here, son!"

Finally (for this letter anyways), I'd like to address your bullshit reason that you are out of the oncall rotation. If you are SO BUSY on weekends for a friggin' month ahead of inventory time that you cannot take your turn oncall, then maybe your happy ass better figure out a better system. Of all the people on call, I think YOU are the one who SHOULD take extra shifts. You make more money as a base salary than Downtrodden.

Hate & Pinches,
MsCleanslate

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Trouble with Travel

It's been quite a while since I've been involved in arranging travel as a part of my job. Back in "the old days" you called up a travel agent and they gave you the fare that made them the biggest commission lowest possible fare, you booked it and were done.

Oh, those were the days. Now, in addition to the airlines having websites and the hotels having websites and the rental car companies having websites there are all the sites like Orbitz and Expedia and Travelocity and Pleasescrewmetheleast.com and the information any given site gives you on any given day about any given itinerary could change if you don't book right NOW! No, you don't have time to ask the traveler... book NOW! Ooops, too late, now your fare goes up $50! BWAHAHAHAHAHAA!

And then I have the joy of trying to coordinate travelers and Traveler A can't POSSIBLY get up for an 8:30AM flight and Traveler B has to have a Vegetarian Kosher No Nut Product Within a 500 Square Mile Radius Meal and Traveler C cannot sleep if there is any noise but won't invest in a 50 cent pair of earplugs and don't you DARE book Traveler D in one of those hotels where the beds are as hard as a rock! As if I have been to each local hotel to test their beds! Next thing you know they'll want me to do a personal inspection with a blacklight to "see how many fluids have been liberated" in their rooms! No, I cannot tell you if a particular hotel has "the naughty channels" nor can I tell you the cost per adult movie at each of the fine hotel establishments in this town. I can sheepishly confess to having stayed in the cracktacular motel that is just down the road (because I didn't know any better and was broker than a celibate hooker).

I think I need to go wash this day off now... it's got me feeling a little icky...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stepping out of the lunch line

Come take a walk down Memory Lane with Ms. Cleanslate...

If we go back to grade school, I think we find where this all began. I was never a popular kid. I was always taller and bigger than most of the other kids. Plus, I came to the state I live in now when I was 6 and was always quite vocal about how I am not FROM here, not catching the fact that saying that tended to make the natives quite hostile.

Going to a boarding school when your parents aren't "somebody" and when your family doesn't have money and all of your college money is going towards paying tuition and your parents not understanding or caring that you not having the money to go out like the other kids do is a SERIOUS social crippler. And again, I wasn't svelte nor willing to puke up all of my meals to fit in.

So, I think it's safe to say that I have pretty much a lifetime of social awkwardness under my belt.

Back to the present day... I am working at a VBC and my workgroup goes out weekly. They talk shop at lunch and because I am not a programmer or an engineer, I will admit to being completely lost and having absolutely NOTHING to contribute to conversations. Add to that the fact that I don't own my own vehicle so have to hitch a ride with someone and complete the picture of awkwardness.

So, I am now attempting to come up with some acceptable reasons for skipping these lunches. If I drove, I'd just sortve slip out to run errands when it was lunchtime. I am thinking that perhaps just saying that there is naught but dustbunnies in my wallet might work. In any case, I just think it would be better for everyone if I stopped trying to fit in.

Which leads me to my next musing.. I'm getting older now and wonder if I will ever stop caring about what other people think and about fitting in. I've never really made peace with being a loner. I sortve pretend that I'm ok with it, but I spend alot of time feeling awkward and trying to fight back tears and it's very draining to try so hard and know that you are just NOT going to be "one of them"... ever.... EVER. I think some of it has to do with accepting one's lot in life. Admins usually do not have peers because most offices have one Admin. It is the nature of the job. I don't have a degree so there's really not somewhere "up the ladder" for me to go and there isn't the money nor the time to go and GET a degree.

So, I think it's time to step out of the lunch line and embrace the Lone Admin status once again.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Go Team! (Wait, why are you all walking away?)

Wednesday is "team lunch" day. I was told this and told that I am invited along to the team lunch and all is right and happy in the world and knowing it was team lunch day (today being Wednesday and all) I didn't bring a lunch nor make provisions for driving the vehicle so I could go out and fetch a lunch. So, imagine my surprise (with a side of EXTREMELY PISSED OFF) when I found out that the "team" went out to lunch today without a word to me. This lead to ME having a very long and hungry (and increasingly frustrated and crabby) afternoon.

Add to this that I've been trying to get a damn expense report finished for The Boss for 3 days now and today, AFTER he's hit submit, he emails me and asks if I did his airline ticket as "company paid". The answer to which was NO because the only credit card listed in the profile is his personal card and I had NO WAY OF KNOWING that there was another way for him to be paying for things because it was never fucking mentioned to me and I am not The Amazing Kreskin! So, here it is, time to punch out, I have my ride waiting for me and The Boss wants his report fixed. Here's what gets me. It's a simple process. It isn't like he's never done it before, but he expects ME to go in and click on the drop down box to change it. Now, I don't mind doing these reports... really, I don't. But I MIND when someone is perfectly capable of doing something themselves and they not only choose not to do it but point the finger of blame AND expect me to fix it when it would be 100 times more efficient to just do it themselves!!

Ahhh yes... I had to do a minute or two of deep breathing and remind myself that somehow it is better for me to be employed and dealing with this aggravation than it is to be unemployed and cleaning litter boxes at home.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A delightful serving of humble pie

This will be a rather short post... I am just providing one last lil followup to my previous couple of posts.

Round about 6:15 tonight, Mr. Assclown comes into my office and hands over the copy of Project that he had so self-righteously insisted was his. Turns out both my boss and Euroboss said he needed to give me MY copy of the software and that once his was approved, he'd get his copy.

I know he was hoping it wouldn't install on my system... but it did.

Ran into my former boss in the hall. She looks older.

I'm exhausted and am planning on calling it an early night.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A lil' followup...

As you may (or may not) recall from Friday's post... Mr. Assclown asserted that he's been waiting MONTHS for his copy of Project. Well, my friends, a little investigation put me in touch with the following nugget of knowledge...

Mr. Assclown ordered Project on March 4th. His request is still sitting UNAPPROVED by his manager, Euroboss. Remember, if you will, that another of his assertions was that Euroboss would want him to have Project over lowly lil' me. Yeah, that's why Euroboss has let that request just sit there without approving it... obviously Euroboss is losing sleep over the fact that Mr. Assclown cannot use Project "weeks ago".

I know it's petty and maybe juvenile of me to feel so... validated by the fact that I was 100% correct that the copy of Project that Mr. Assclown appropriated was supposed to be MINE. I hope I get SOME credit, though, for just dropping it and not letting it become the arguement that Mr. Assclown seemed so hot on making it become.

The underlying issue here, though, is that the software SHOULD have been clearly labeled who it was for so there would not have been an issue in the first place.

I don't even really care how this gets resolved. I'll either get the software or I won't and I'm enough of a professional that I'm not going to gloat (much) when/if Mr. Assclown gets told that he was WRONG. I know I'll never get an apology for him being such an asshat to me so what happens, at this point, is really not even something I am really emotionally invested in. I get the feeling more and more that Previous Person was pretty much a useless piece o' fluff and I've been written off as the same. There are two roads I can take... I can bust my ass and prove that untrue or I can just keep my head down, do my job and not give a rat's ass about what people think. And I'll tell you right up front that I'm not gonna be busting my ass because that has never ONCE been a tactic that has resulted in any long-term gain for me. I'm more than willing to put in the hours and go the extra mile. I've done that at job after job... it's not saved me from being downsized or phased out.

I just want to go and do the job and when I leave at night, the job stays where it is and I can walk away from it without having to think about it. If this was "the one", I'd likely feel different. But, it's not. I don't even know if "the one" exists. Is it different anywhere out there or does this dysfunctional stuff exist everywhere and I should just lose the illusion that there is salvation waiting somewhere?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Honeymoon's Over...

I had been hoping that this job was "the one"... the one that didn't have epic levels of asshattery to deal with, the one where people acted like adults, the one where I finally got some respect and was a valuable member of the team. Alas, that was not to be.

It's been a glorious three weeks, though and I am impressed it took three weeks for the asshattery to crawl out of the woodwork and sit it's unwelcome ass square in the middle of my desk. But it was there today.

We'll start with the folks who are coming to visit and the fact that while I was informed of their arrival in a rather roundabout way, I was doing what needed to be done and really did not need my cow-irkers to be "helpful" and try to do my job for me. Just how incompetent WAS the last person in this position? I am starting to get a really clear picture of just how incompetent... There are certain things that the person in my position is supposed to do and I was doing those things and really didn't need people going AROUND me to do my job. I know I'm new, but try to give me SOME credit people.

I've tried to get important information from the visitors and get everything that needs to be done to the point where it is as done as it can be before they get here. It would have been nice of them to respond, right? I'm trying to help them and they can't even be bothered to respond which does not bode well.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to procure a copy of MSProject so I can do the Project Managment thing that my boss wants me to do (which previous person didn't do because her skillset was different than mine is) I did all of the things I am supposed to do to procure said piece of software and have been waiting for it to arrive. Another coworker comes in today and asks the coworker to be known from here out as Mr. Assclown if he still needs a copy of Project because they sent her another one. I ping The Lady of the Lab and ask what she did with the copy of Project because it's supposed to be mine. She tells me she gave it to Mr. Assclown. I mosey over to Mr. Assclown's office to get my copy of the software and he informs me he ordered it MONTHS ago and just installed it and now it's registered at Microsoft on HIS computer and what do I, who is JUST A SECRETARY need with Project anyways because "it's not like you know how to do scheduling" and I inform him that I have done Project Management before and it is something Mr. Bossman wants me to do. He snarks that Euroboss wants HIM to have Project and I can just download a free trial until they can get me the software because he's been waiting MONTHS for it. I do some checking and find out that Mr. Assclown has not only not ordered the software in question but the last software he ordered at all was in 2006. There is no point in arguing with Mr. Assclown, even though I KNOW FOR A FACT that I am right and he is WRONG and that is MY software that his happy ass has installed on his computer and I may or may not have entertained the notion of hiding something that will become increasingly noxious in his office.

Of course, the time I DID waste researching and trying to resolve the issue without getting into a snarkfest put me way behind schedule to the point that I get to go in tomorrow and get done the things that I didn't get done today.

On the up side, it will be sans an Assclown tomorrow and THAT will be wonderful!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Focus lost

Have you ever had a day when no matter what you tried you couldn't focus? Today was that day for me.

The first couple hours at work went fine. I got things done, had a plan for the day, everything was going along. I get a meeting notice right before I was scheduled to go to the Project Managment meeting so I let the boss know there was a conflict and went to the meeting he'd pinged me about only to find that he wanted me in the Project Management meeting which I then ended up walking into late. There's a good feeling. (*rolls eyes)

The afternoon was a disjointed mess made even worse by the fact that while I LOVE Indian Food, I really should have some notice that's what I'll be eating because my stomach let me know for the rest of the afternoon that there would be a rebellion.

I sent off a couple of emails and got the "I can't approve the attachment IF IT ISN'T attached" email (you know, the one that lets EVERYONE know you're an unfocused idiot?)

My former boss has a client who tracked me down but found my PERSONAL email address on the internet and rather than use the address that is frakkin' EVERYWHERE, she chooses my personal email which ticked me right the fuck off. At least I found out where she found it and was able to change it! (Huzzah!)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's the little things...

In the course of my working life, I've worked places where the salary was bad and there were no fringe benefits, places where the salary was bad but there were some nice fringe benefits, a place or two where the salary was decent and the fringe benefits were plentiful and places where the salary was mediocre but the fringe benefits were pretty decent. Of course, you optimally want a big salary and lots of fringe benefits.

One of the places I worked I had to take meeting minutes at manager's meetings where these people who had their health insurance paid for 100% by the company (and it was GOOD coverage, too), bitched because they'd have to start paying co-pays for their families. Not PREMIUMS, just co-pays for office visits and soforth. This was because the premiums for the REGULAR (non-management) employees were so high that many of them were opting out of the insurance. Their master plan was to FORCE employees to take the company's insurance. They backed off this after they had 60% of the employees who were informed they were going to HAVE to be on the company insurance turn in letters of resignation.

I've always appreciate the perks that came with a job.. whether it be free sodas being available or a company-paid Sam's Club membership or 5 weeks a year paid vacation time. I enjoyed having an amount of money I could spend each year on "professional development". But there is one benefit I ran across that seems very inconsequential until you have an actual NEED for it... it then becomes a HUGE perk! It's free feminine hygiene supplies in the bathroom on a day when you weren't prepared (because you were early/late/in a hurry). The VBC (Very Big Company) where I am now employed has this perk and I am ever so grateful.

Sometimes, my friends, it's the little things that make a BIG difference in employee satisfaction!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dubious honor...

I'm finally getting some tasks at my new job. It worries me to hear them say "...since you have an IT background..." I hope that doesn't mean they think I am a programmer or something, because I'm not and I thought I'd made that clear at the interview. If they just mean that I understand how software works and should work and know how to make software do what needs to be done, then, yeah, I can probably do that. But, it's come back to bite me in the ass that 'well, you said you'd done programming..." Noooo.... what I said was that I worked with an independent software development team and did Project Management and Public Relations and some Marketing and I did some cat herding and made sure that programmers stayed on task and knew what they were supposed to be doing and acted as a liaison between management and programmers and designers but no, I've never done any programming myself as that is not where my intelligence lies. And I'd never represent that I'd done any programming, either.

So, I am waiting for whatever this task list that they're formulating is going to be and am getting worried about it and don't really want to lose this job and have to look for another one and there was nothing about needing an IT background in the job description and I am sure that my predecessor wasn't doing any programming or anything...

That being said, given the correct circumstances, I could likely be an awesome Project Manager/Cat Herder and nag people about deadlines and deliverables and crank out awesome Gantt Charts and stuff.

I also get the feeling that I am asking an awful lot of questions and the folks I am working with aren't quite used to that. I'm a "clarifier"... I want to know what I'm doing, why I'm doing it and what you expect the outcome/output to be. I conjure up a number of "what if" scenarios because I know that "shit happens" and I want to know when I'll need to have a Plan B.

I hate new jobs, because I always feel like I'm trying to be the "good girlfriend" and doing way more than expected to make sure they like me... then, when I back off to a "solid production" state there is a bit of a letdown because I'm there to produce, not necessarily impress.

Speaking of producing... I'd best get the dishes washed!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Back in the Saddle

I have once again joined the ranks of the painfullygainfully employed.

The only problem with that is that I was getting weekly unemployment checks and now it'll be 2-3 weeks before my first paycheck and money is TIGHT, folks. So, I guess this whole JOB thing came about just in time.

I'm working with really hardcore computer geeks. You know, the guys who probably never dated in HS because they were busy having LAN parties and/or playing D&D and they didn't really even give a rat's ass that they weren't scoring because if a girl doesn't look like Lara Croft, what the hell is the point?

For the record, I'm talking about THIS sortve guy...

Except for mine are older, employed geeks who don't need to be all FANCY and wear button up shirts and dress pants because the company lets them wear sweatshirts and jeans. It's really quite something when I'm the best-dressed person in the office. The nice thing is, if I have an off day fashion-wise (ummm, EVERY day?) they won't notice.

So far, it's going all right. I hope it keeps going all right because I could use a job without a whole lotta drama and politics for a change (might not make a great book, but preserves my sanity!)