This is just a running at the fingers marker post, a diary page for the weblog. I have a special Sunday post almost written, but it involves some (great Americana) artwork by a living artist, and I’d like to use more than small “fair use” thumbnails.
I would probably be within fair use using the low-res versions I want to use, but these pieces are so meaningful to me that I want to be as respectful to the artist as possible.
So—hopefully—you’ll be seeing that article down the road one of these Sundays. I’ll just give you a one-word clue for now. It’ll be a giveaway for anyone familiar with the works in question and likely utterly useless for everyone else (at least those not motivated to Go Ogle for it). The word is: Hipshot.
Instead, I thought I’d ramble on a bit about work and what I do for a living.
At least, it’s what I do for another 13 weeks, assuming I follow through with my plans to take early retirement. Frankly, I can’t see any reason why not. I sometimes feel guilty knowing that I will leave a hole, but my guilt evaporates every time I actually walk into work.
It’s been even worse the last few weeks. I have done almost nothing for three weeks, because I’m waiting for others to complete their work. What’s worse is that I’m sitting next to this guy with that “Restless Leg Syndrome,” and it’s driving me buggy.
I do not quite understand how someone can sit vibrating their leg like that and apparently not even know it. That level of a lack of self-awareness is completely beyond me. But it does seem that people can be incredibly obvious to the most basic things sometimes. The “situational awareness challenged” I call them.
Here’s another one that makes me crazy: the tendency to camp in an obvious walkway and have a conversation. Meanwhile those of us trying to walk somewhere have to edge around them. Some of the corridor and walkways at work are narrow enough that it creates an obstruction, especially when there is two-way traffic.
If they at least made an effort to hug the wall, I’d be forgiving (although the proper behavior in my mind is to find a less obstructive place to chat). It’s the complete oblivion to the situation that gets under my skin. Or maybe it’s the sense of entitlement or the casual disregard for others. There’s just no way to frame it in my mind that makes it acceptable.
But I digress. Where was I? Ah, yes, Restless Leg Syndrome.
I don’t know if that’s a real ailment or just more bullshit to sell drugs. It sort of plays to me like someone who just has no discipline. Just. Sit. Still. How hard is that? If you’re “restless,” go for a run, get some exercise, get laid, but just (please!) stop vibrating your leg.
It wouldn’t be a huge issue if it weren’t for the stupidest decision my company has ever made. I was a field tech at first, so I had a company van and drove around. But once they invited me to HQ, I had a cubical. I’ve had a cubical of one kind or another for 29 years.
And The Company has always been very precise about matching your physical work situation with your status. I know of situations where space requirements forced giving someone an office with a window when they didn’t rank the privilege. So The Company boarded up the window!
That may seem bizarre, but it’s based on the principle of fairness, which is a key principle from my upbringing, and therefore is a principle I understand and accept.
Now, due to poor planning, they’ve got us all sitting at desks in rows. No privacy of any kind. And more to the point, nothing to block the visual field of people moving around and having discussions.
And so, 33 years of experience in the company, almost 40 years of experience in software systems, over 9 years of experience in this IT division, and an extremely deep and broad skill set… and I’m sitting at a fucking desk with people with very little experience or training.
I have no desk space for documents or manual. I barely have room for my laptop’s docking station, second monitor and phone. And on top of all that, out of the corner of my eye, for weeks now, I’ve been assaulted by this vibrating leg.
The Company has, in my eyes, made it very clear that I don’t matter. Oh, they pay lip service to how valuable the “architects” are, but those pretty words are denied by the reality they practice daily.
There is something very sad about all this. The reason they give for this new deal is that it enables “collaboration.” (The real reason I’m pretty sure is poor planning. I’ve heard that once they finish this conversion, our building will be seven people below max occupancy.) What’s really sad is that there seems to be some truth to this, because I apparently work in an IT division that is fundamentally incapable of collaborating electronically.
Nothing ever seems to happen at The Company unless it involves lots of meetings. No one can function until they get a bunch of warm bodies in a room talking at each other. And it’s not that a lot happens then, either, but it’s the only way to even begin to get anything done. Most of the people I work with are apparently illiterate. They can’t even read a detailed memo let alone write one.
I know this because I wrote detailed memos back in October describing the problems that were going on. Now that the project is months overdue, people are finally noticing, so we’ve been having lots of meetings to discuss things I laid out in detail over three months ago!
But I digress. I meant to tell you what I do for a living. Or try to do, anyway. I’ve had one project on my plate since I came on board in September, and it’s only now that maybe things will start to happen. (But I’ve thought that for three weeks, so we’ll see.)
Basically I’m a data integration specialist. I get different systems to talk to each other and exchange data. This requires a good grounding in various data systems as well as various communication systems, since both are key here. XML is a second language!
The project I’ve been trying to accomplish, lo these six months, starts with web-based forms created by our various business groups. These forms are for customers to ask questions, order samples, request a sales visit or provide feedback. All these various forms feed into what we might call the “mouth” of the data chain I’m trying to build.
This “mouth” is an application that lives outside our corporate firewall and accepts submissions from these “webforms.” That application processes the submission and then interacts with the central system my department manages. The result is some sort of record of the submission created in our system.
Then, for submissions asking for samples or literature, our system sends data through a chain consisting of two internal systems, out the firewall, through another system and finally to our fulfillment facility. They ship the order and send back a status, which routes through all those downstream systems to mark our record as “Shipped.”
In some regards, it really is that simple, but—as they say—the devil (or heaven) is in the details. And there are a lot of details.
And guess who knows all those details. Guess who’s the one person who can probably make this work right. Guess who’s the one person with the background and experience to make it happen the way it’s supposed to.
Can you also guess who’s completely fed up, deeply insulted, utterly disgusted and so fucking angry with the situation that he’s taking early retirement just because he can’t be a part of this anymore?
13 weeks and counting (and I can take at least two of them as vacation). On some level it’s a tragedy for The Company to lose that experience. But I apparently work for stupid people, and the funny thing is that they will probably be glad to see the back of me (because, you see, my drive for quality work and my bluntness with bullshit all make me a “difficult employee”).
“Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.” ~~J.R.R.Tolkien.