Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/10/2003 at 19:22:30I've discovered the secret
With this new job, I'll never run out of things to talk about. Each day thus far has provided an entire site's worth of Nearly-Impossible-to-believe idiocy. I'll be detailing the worst of it here...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/11/2003 at 15:19:21See? Already it's begun. Despite my title being "e-Commerce" manager, one of my job functions includes Payroll. Thus, during this past week, I took care of the necessary paperwork to ensure that people, including (most-importantly) myself, got paid promptly on Friday. As you might have guessed, it didn't quite work out that way... Here's where it gets kind of convoluted, so try and stay with me. My boss is more than a little on the anal-retentive side, so he's got a "procedure" for everything. In this case, I have to run the payroll reports in Quicken, then give him the printout to check and initial - as though Quicken's ability to add and subtract was in question. After he's approved it, I print the checks and he has to check and sign those. Well, despite there being only 2 of us on the payroll, he somehow managed to only sign the first check.
I suppose I have to take some of the blame for inadequate QA on my part, but you'd think if his "procedure" was so inflexible, I wouldn't have to worry about such an obvious error.
You'd also think he'd be more careful about upsetting the guy who runs the server...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/13/2003 at 06:35:13Today is Columbus Day. From all accounts, a national holiday, right? Are you enjoying your long weekend? Good.
Me? No, I'm at work.But that's a good thing, see? If I were home today, I'd miss all the entertainment... Once again, this gets a bit confusing (even for me, and I lived through it). My boss owns the building in which we work. He has two tenants that pay rent and are supposedly responsible for their own utilities. About a year ago, there was some confusion about who owed how much on which meter and, ever since, things have been muddled. Well, back in March, there was an additional dispute. One of the tenants claimed his power bills were exorbitantly high, so my boss promised to look into it and see what was up. That was the last time anyone did anything with regard to the bill - to include paying it.
Over the past week, the power company has been here twice with the intent to shut off the power. My boss has managed to stave off disaster both times through the use of some quick-thinking, but they're on to him, now. Last week, they told him that if things weren't rectified by Oct 13th (today) then that was that.
At this point, you must be wondering what any of this has to do with yours truly. Believe me, I've asked myself that same question more than once. Unfortunately, after this problem has sat and festered for over a year, it suddenly became MY task to fix it. So I spent a week scrambling for all the documentation - which, of course, was old, outdated, erroneous, or just plain missing. After a week of trying to track down the one tenant's bills, including several calls to the power company in which I was instructed to "just pay the damn bill", I finally had to admit defeat. I was simply unable to locate the paperwork. Just then, said tenant made a fortuitous appearance, so I asked him if he had copies. His response, and the causal factor of this particular rant? "Oh, I gave those to your boss weeks ago."Since, however, my boss can't seem to recall in which disorganized heap of papers he "filed" them, I'm sitting here on this holiday morning, patiently waiting for the lights to go out...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/14/2003 at 08:02:00This just continues to get more and more surreal. Somehow, my boss managed to earn himself a reprieve of 24 hours before the lights go out. I pictured it as an "Arthur Dent in front of the bulldozer" sort of event, but at any rate, the deadline has been extended until today.
Which is when things really got weird...After a herculean effort, I finally managed to wrestle the convoluted billing history into something resembling order and discovered that I only needed one more piece to complete the puzzle and put this mess to rest, hopefully for good. The quest led me to Tenant #2, a previously unindicted co-conspirator and, incidentally, the guy who is responsible for the bulk of the disputed charges. If I could just get copies of three of his old energy bills, all would finally be revealed. The power company would get paid, the issue would be resolved, and yours truly could finally put the entire nightmare behind me. You'd think that, given the imminent blackout looming on the horizon, he'd be inclined to be helpful, right?
You'd be wrong.
He flat out told me that he wasn't interested in discussing the issue with me; He hadn't agreed to any situation in which sharing a meter was required; He wasn't giving me anything; and, if we presented him with a bill, he'd give it "consideration, just like any other bill".
At this point, I'm really looking forward to the blackout...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/15/2003 at 09:21:00I love computers. In fact, I like machines better than I like most people. While normal folks spend their leisure time socializing with friends, talking on the phone, going to parties, or otherwise interacting with their fellow human beings, I spend my free time tinkering with hardware, writing pointless and inane PHP pages, and playing computer games. I'd much rather order merchandise over the internet than have to actually pick up the phone and speak with someone. I've got a thing for computers and technology. It's just me.
And then there's my boss...I'm considering writing congress to see if I can get a law passed that will keep him away from anything more complex than an abacus. The man has no business owning or operating a computer. Now, don't get me wrong. I know computers aren't for everyone. My mom has absolutely no clue how to do anything computer related. The difference is, she doesn't try. My boss tries to use his computer for everything, except he knows just enough to be dangerous. His outlook inbox has 35 folders, for pete's sake. His list of email filters is 2 pages long. He has messages dating back to the Jurassic era. When was the last time any of you needed to access an email that was more than 4 years old? And he wonders why his computer takes so long to do anything. The worst part is, regardless of what other task I'm trying to accomplish, he's constantly interrupting me to fix his email.
Here's a tip: the delete key exists for a reason. Use it.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/16/2003 at 14:36:18It's funny how luck works sometimes. How you can make one simple decision that saves you from a hellish fate arguably worse than a thousand deaths and yet be totally, blissfully, painfully ignorant of exactly how close you came to certain doom.
This episode of the daily rant is dedicated to the nice young lady who narrowly avoided working here...Let me discuss my job search for a moment to put all this in perspective. In the 11 months that I was unemployed, I used every tool imaginable in my quest to find not just any job, but one that wouldn't make me feel like I was the 21st century equivalent of a galley-oar slave. If you've spent any time reading the front page, it's obvious I failed in that quest, but I digress. Daily for nearly 6 months I saw an internet posting for the position I now occupy but I declined to apply. The hours were too long, the salary was too low and the responsibilities weren't in line with my desired goals. Makes sense, right? Anyone who's ever looked for work has made the same decision 1000 times. In my case, though, desperation finally wore down my defenses and prodded me into making the call. During the exchange of emails that followed, my future boss indicated that he had a questionnaire that he sent to all prospective candidates and would I mind filling it out and sending it back to him. Ok. No problem, thought yours truly, expecting some questions on programming, web development, database design, or something else related to my qualifications. That's reasonable, right?
Wrong. What I got was essentially an IQ test. Basic arithmetic. Sorting by Alpha. Comparing numbers. The sort of tests I slept through during high-school. To say I was insulted is an understatement. I really needed a job, though, so I swallowed my pride, shut off two-thirds of my brain, filled out the tests, and eventually wound up an employee of what I would normally term a Mickey Mouse organization, except that I've been informed that said rodent is highly offended by the comparison. Which finally brings me back to the topic of this post. Earlier this week, a young lady applied for the other open position here and was provided the same battery of tests as I was. She, however, wasn't forced by circumstances to lower her standards to subterranean levels and her email reply follows, with emphasis added:
"The test left me feeling perplexed and insulted. My resume speaks for itself. I could understand a typing test or an A/R-A/P ledger test. But truly? an IQ test? ... I wish you luck in finding the candidate you are seeking."Thanks, Mrs. Z. I'm sure I'm going to need it...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/17/2003 at 19:19:47Less of a rant than normal today - I think of it more like supplemental information so that my ability to concoct a new rant on a daily basis seems less like some miraculous gift and more like a curse...
As you know from reading this page, my Boss has been trying to fill various positions around the office. If today's fiasco is any indication, and I'm utterly convinced it's completely typical, I can see why he's having so much trouble...We had received an application from a kid for a position in the shipping department. I say department, despite the fact that more often than not I'm the shipping department, but I digress. After reviewing the application, we scheduled this guy for an interview. He arrives promptly for his interview and my Boss does a quick review of his application to prepare, before calling the kid in. At this point, he notices something on the interview that's a potential problem. The kid noted that he didn't expect to work on Saturday. Can you believe the audacity? Not work on Saturdays? It's inconceivable! Personally, I wouldn't even have thought to mention not wanting to work on the weekend. To me, that's a foregone conclusion, but again I digress.
At this point, my Boss tells me to go find out what he meant by that answer because if he really means it, he's not going to waste the time to interview him, despite the fact that this guy is already sitting in the lobby, patiently waiting for his opportunity to join me in my daily nightmare.
So he doesn't want to waste his time interviewing the kid, but it's ok to waste the kid's time and drag him down to the office only to tell him "I changed my mind about the interview".
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/20/2003 at 17:02:51I like the sense of accomplishment I derive from getting things done; the feeling of smug satisfaction as I gaze down at my desk and see it devoid of unfinished items. Unfortunately I actually have to complete my tasks before I get to be done with them. I'm not afforded the luxury of simply pawning them off on someone else. As though Mondays weren't aggravating enough by their very nature...
I've mentioned before that I'm allegedly the e-Commerce manager here at the Salt Mine, but I do very little managing and almost zero e-Commerce. Never is that more apparent than on Mondays when I play accountant, HR clerk, Shipping clerk, and Secretary. That's generally enough to fill an entire day, but it's rarely all I've got to do. Monday is also Unclutter-the-boss'-desk-day. Inevitably, my boss will wander in at the crack of noon and spend the next 45 minutes translocating mounds of paper off of his desk and onto mine. This is annoying enough in and of itself, but he'll then spend the remainder of the afternoon sending me emails asking me about the status of the half-finished tasks that he just bestowed upon me. Couple that with his irresistible tendency to provide an excruciating level of irrelevant background detail for even the most trivial task and it's no wonder that I feel like shooting staples into my eyes by lunchtime.
Is it Friday, yet?
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/21/2003 at 14:12:57I've always had sympathy for the color-blind and wondered how they got along without being able to differentiate the various shades. I'm now, however, wondering to whom I have to speak in order to have my color perception disabled. Permanently...
My company's website looks like a circus sideshow mishap - as though JoJo the clown had been involved in a tragic and explosive collision with Esmerelda the painted lady. I'd call it garish but that doesn't go nearly far enough to describe the cacophany of hues that assault unsuspecting shoppers. Our front page alone somehow manages to use variations of color that the human eye can't even detect. Why do I bring this up? Read on...
Interspersed amongst the multitude of pointless and mundane tasks with which I was inundated yesterday were two or three that were actually relevant to the position for which I was (allegedly) hired. However, in accordance with the company philosophy, nothing can ever by done without it becoming a total and utter fiasco, so as you can probably imagine, I viewed these simple web-related tasks with no small amount of trepidation. And rightly so. What should have been a simple game of update a product description field has taken the better part of the day and has required no less than 2 dozen emails back and forth to my Boss over every single detail. The last of these exchanges, and the one that elicited the comments above, was to castigate me because I had the audacity to dare to remove the bright teal text from the page. Apparently the 4 competing shades of orange that we already had were insufficient to attract attention. And my boss wonders why his competitors are attracting more internet business, despite being newer to the game...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/22/2003 at 08:30:58
Have you ever been mesmerized by an item or feature that was so cool that you manufactured an excuse to use it for everything? For me, it was my first Palm Pilot. I spent hours tranferring every scrap of data into it, even going so far as to concoct meaningless appointments just because I could. With my boss, it's Microsoft Outlook's pop-up reminder feature...
I'm not a big fan of this particular invention, but I'm sure it has its uses, when utilized properly. And therein lies the theme of today's rant. On those rare occasions that I'm forced by circumstances to create a reminder, my first step is to assign a due date. One that makes sense. When I've completed the task, I mark it as completed. No problem. Quick, easy, and relatively painless all things considered.
My boss, on the other hand, loves creating reminders. It's like a hobby of his and I wouldn't be surprised if he spent his weekends creating them. He has reminders for everything, and I mean literally everything. Turn on the lights. Turn off the lights. Turn on the heat. Turn off the heat. Unlock the doors. Lock the doors. Use the bathroom. If he could figure out how to make it work, he'd have a reminder to turn on his computer and check his reminders. And, to make things even more bizarre, he doesn't ever let them expire. I suppose it probably goes along with his 3-year-old emails, but he has tasks that he created back in 2000 that still pop up their little reminders every single day. He simply changes the alarm time to some arbitrary time in the future, so, on the off chance that he's actually got something useful in there, it's invariably buried beneath the other 300 nagging alarm boxes.
And then he asks me why his computer is so slow to do anything.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/24/2003 at 07:34:54
Remember the old Schoolhouse Rock cartoons from Saturday mornings? If you're not an old guy like me you may not remember, but they covered things of supposed interest to school-age kids - things like how the legal system works, why women get to vote, that sort of thing. They also did several segments on English grammar - conjunctions, verbs, adjectives, and most importantly, nouns...
My boss is an older guy. He's certainly been around long enough to have seen Schoolhouse Rock. The only explanation of which I can conceive is that he just didn't watch Saturday morning cartoons which is a crime of a whole other caliber, but I digress. Nouns are good. Conversations proceed infinitely more smoothly when they're employed regularly. Most of my exchanges with my boss display an alarming lack of this crucial piece of the language. As you can probably guess, this makes most of our discussions needlessly baffling. For example, I invariably receive tasks from him that include some variation of the phrase "Add that to the list". Now, granted both that and list do qualify, technically, as nouns, however they don't really convey those critical tidbits of information - namely add what to which list? Again, coupled with his tendency to ramble on about inconsequential trivia unrelated to the current topic, his apparent distaste for specificity in language has contributed in no small measure to my extreme frustration here.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/28/2003 at 08:41:01Let's talk a little bit about time management. I've never been very good at managing my own time, but I at least understand the concept. My boss, on the other hand...
The way I see it, managing your time is a very simple proposition. You have a set number of hours to accomplish a set number of tasks. If you have too many tasks or too little time, you prioritize the important items and defer the others until another time. Pretty straightforward, right? This process is used, successfully, by vast numbers of normal people every single day. It seems to work and it's the accepted convention. Sure, people can get aggravated if their request gets shunted down on the priority list by something more critical, but that's reality. Time isn't flexible - it doesn't stretch to accomodate your personal schedule. Unless you're my boss.
I have several tasks that need to be accomplished in order to close down our operations for the day. Through trial and error, I've managed to determine that if I start them at 6pm, I can complete them in time to go home at my abusive-but-scheduled time. My boss, on the other hand, spends the day in his office doing whatever it is he does all day. Then, as though he can sense the daily maintenance sneaking up on him, he invariably arrives at my desk at 5:59 with 2 or 3 things that need to be done ASAP. It's not like these things have just materialized, either. These are items that have generally been buried under the piles of crap on his desk for several days, but, somehow, they've increased in importance geometrically over the course of the day until their priority rivals that of autonomic bodily functions themselves. Even breathing isn't more important than this!
Now, in accordance with my time-management theory as stated above, you'd assume that the normal close-out tasks would just get postponed until another time, right? WRONG. That's what normal people do, but it's not how we do business in this bizarre, twisted, Through-the-looking-glass version of a company. Instead, we simply ignore all applicable laws of physics and just s - t - r - e - t - c - h the available time until there's sufficient time to accomplish every single trivial little thing.
Of course, that means Sam doesn't get home until well-after his dinner has congealed into an asphalt-like consistency and his kids have gone to bed, but, after all, getting trivial and, ultimately, pointless things done is what's truly important in life, right?
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/28/2003 at 16:02:00I'm not really a computer programmer, IT developer, or e-Commerce manager. What I am, apparently, is Indiana Jones. My sole purpose in life is to track down and solve the forgotten mysteries of the ancients. Who built the pyramids? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? What could have possibly possessed people to think plaid pants were stylish?
As has become depressingly typical around here, whenever I think I've finally gotten a handle on my boss' idiosyncracies, he digs deep into his bag of tricks to deliver another curveball. Today, for example, finds me happily tweaking away at the website, doing my best to drag it, kicking and screaming, towards professional respectability when Outlook's pseudo-cheery tone heralds the arrival of another of his dreaded status emails regarding several shipping airbills. Airbills that he had already, in fact, admitted were buried somewhere in the uncharted recesses of the archeological dig that he calls an office. His question today? "What's the status of the missing airbills?" Once my shock and dismay at the sheer absurdity of the question had worn off, I informed him that the status was exactly the same as the last time I had updated it - if he hadn't yet found the airbills, then they were still missing.
Simultaneously but futilely hoping that my witty retort will have averted the disaster that I can sense coming, I attempt to return to my tasks. And then it gets worse. Unfortunately, my pithy response apparently triggers some long dormant memory of his, and he manages to liberate an ancient, battered folder from the clutches of its paper captors. Which, to my dismay, contains the missing airbills. Which, to my even greater dismay, leads into a decidedly one-sided discussion of the quest that now lies before me. Much like my torturous and nearly fatal investigation of the Bizarre Electric Company Mystery, my trail begins with only a few scraps of crinkled paper from a past era. From these meager clues alone, I'm ostensibly expected to recreate an error in billing from well over 6 months ago and, more importantly, to reconcile the error in a manner which won't cost my thrifty boss a single penny.
I should have gone to lumberjack school...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/29/2003 at 12:14:38In case any of you have been keeping score at home, the epic saga of Samadhi versus the Electric Conglomerate has not yet ended. When last I updated, I was waiting expectantly for them to arrive and shut off the lights...
Obviously, days passed without further incident, and, seeing as how I had apparently extricated myself from the senseless carnage, the details gradually faded from my caffeine-addled memory. Until today. This afternoon, a scruffy-looking Electric Company technician arrived and asked for the keys to the power room. My helpful-but-clueless assistant nearly handed over the keys, but, my Boss, ever-alert for danger, intercepted her before she could make the disastrous delivery.
In a display of footwork that would have made Astaire envious, my Boss again somehow managed to deflect impending doom. The hapless employee was sent reeling by the barrage of incomprehensible details and eventually fled the building muttering something about contacting his superivisor under his breath.
If my Boss ever decides to pack in his career as a businessman, I foresee a bright future for him in politics.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 10/30/2003 at 09:20:10My boss called me in for a meeting last night, just before quitting time. Given his usual long-winded delivery, I fully expected to be detained well-past my scheduled departure time, but, amazingly, we completed our discussion in plenty of time for me to leave on time...
Even more remarkably, he managed to transcend his usual oblivious nature long enough to clue-in to the fact that everything wasn't running as smoothly as either of us would have hoped. I honestly don't think he's a bad guy, it's just that his approach to running a business is seriously out of whack. But, I digress. My point was that I was beginning to believe that we were finally coming to an understanding. That he was going to stop having me do the trivial, pointless, absurd tasks with which he's been loading me and start having me do the things for which he hired me. Great.
And, in fact, he did task me with an IT related function as his first order of business of the day. Now, I just have to figure out why his hacked, pirated, illegitimate copy of Norton Anti-Virus isn't installing correctly. Uhhh.... Yeah... I'll get right on that.
Let me just hop on the phone with Symantec and see if they can help you out...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/03/2003 at 08:02:10It's Monday again. In addition to the normal, everyday, run-of-the-mill loathing associated with the start of the work week, I get the additional kick-in-the-nuts of being faced with yet another week of micro-management as I try and handle the weekly bills...
It's another of those functions that I seem to have inherited due to the fact that I'm the only one here that's capable of actually accomplishing anything. We get paid this week, too, and while this is generally the sort of event to which I look forward, the added hate and discontent of trying to get payroll finished in the manner to which my Boss is accustomed makes the entire exercise painful beyond description.
In what I can only interpret as a desperate attempt to placate my grumbling, my Boss claims that he's going to interview a couple people this week in order to try and fill the Office Manager position. It's a nice gesture, but I don't have a lot of hope that he'll actually hire anyone. As I've mentioned, my boss is Cheap. This is reflected in everything he does, but is most blatant when it comes to employee salaries. He offers entry level salaries for positions that require both specialized experience and ingenuity and then wonders why all his applicants are hopelessly incompetent (Yours truly excluded, of course). His prospects come from one of three pools of applicants: Recent graduates, who lack the experience he seeks; People who are content with his offered salary, who lack the initiative and drive to succeed he seeks; and bitter, cynical, desperate people like myself, who are only here because nothing else was available. Anyone else that might be even remotely interested is totally and irrevocably turned off by the long hours, low pay, endless micro-management, paltry paycheck or the insulting questionnaire/IQ test one is forced to endure. Maybe my Boss should start searching the 'Net for other I hate my job websites. Their authors would fit in perfectly here...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/03/2003 at 11:56:38It continues. A few weeks back, I told the story about the kid who applied for the shipping job. After filling out all the paperwork and subjecting himself to the digital equivalent of a rectal exam, my Boss nearly declined to interview him. Remember?
Well, he eventually offered the kid the job, but it took nearly a week for the kid to acquire the necessary paperwork to get started. During that time, my Boss decided the kid was clearly unreliable, despite having initially instructed him to get back to us when he was done. Apparently, sometime between delivering that message and receiving the response, the assigned deadline firmed up from its jello-like state to something more akin to granite. So, today when the kid finally arrives to deliver the paperwork, my Boss gives me his now-trademark Are you kidding? look and asks me what I think about the whole situation. Now, personally, I'm a big supporter of anything that relieves me of the burden of busywork and hiring someone to pack boxes certainly qualifies, so I shrug and recommend hiring the kid. It's not like we're searching for brain surgeons, after all. So he took his time getting prepared to start; Who hasn't? Besides, this is a high-school kid. The last thing in the universe that he's concerned with right now is his future.
Despite the bizarre facial jewelry, he seems like a decent kid, too. I almost feel bad about doing this to him...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/03/2003 at 13:00:58Update on this morning's comments. The woman showed up for her interview at 2:30, took one look at the shambolic nature of the office and said "I don't think I'm really interested in continuing this process."
One more fish escapes the hook, but that means continued hate and discontent for yours truly.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/04/2003 at 07:53:38In any managerial position, a certain level of "hands-on" management is unavoidable if you want to ensure that subordinates are accomplishing the tasks that you've set for them in a satisfactory fashion. This, I accept as a necessary evil when starting a new job. My Boss isn't yet accustomed to my capabilities and I'm not yet accustomed to how he prefers to have things done in many cases. Fair enough.
There's a very fine line, though, between this required interaction and the intrusive, second-guessing, micro-management that marks every single exchange between my Boss and I. I'm annoyed this morning; More so than usual. Can you tell?
Last week, I reshuffled the order of the products on our website in accordance with the directions that my Boss provided for the task. No problem. This morning, however, I was greeted with yet another of his emails regarding the job. I've begun to expect these. Every morning I receive between 8 and 10 messages requesting the status on various and sundry little jobs he's assigned me over the course of the previous day. It drives me nuts, but I've already ranted about it, so they're hardly worth mentioning anymore. But I digress. This message wasn't asking me about the status of the job. This message was giving me supplemental information regarding HOW to do the job. Does anyone else see the problem here? You'll note that I mentioned I had completed the task last week which implies that any additional information you're providing this week isn't particularly helpful. Honestly, either give me all the information I need in order to accomplish the task, or do it yourself. Don't come back to me later on and quiz me about the status, complain about my technique, offer suggestions on the output, or observe that the normal procedure is to checkmark the number and I circled it instead. That's not helpful. That's just irritating beyond comprehension.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/04/2003 at 08:19:48It occurred to me, shortly after I posted today's rant, that, on the one hand, I complained about him micro-managing me by giving me explicit instructions on how to do things, and, on the other hand, I complained about him second-guessing me on those rare instances when I'm permitted to use my judgement. So maybe it's neither of those things, specifically, that I'm really perturbed about. In retrospect, that's probably a true statement. What really bugs me about interacting with this guy is the fact that he's SO incredibly anal-retentive about absolutely everything, he feels like he's simply GOT TO have his hand in literally everything that goes on, while simultaneously being monumentally disinterested in actually doing anything that goes on. He allegedly hired me as a manager, but he really has no interest in allowing me to manage anything. He just wants a body here to handle the trivial day-to-day crap that he doesn't want to do himself. He wants someone to run interference between him and the actual daily workings of the business. He wants someone to screen his calls so that he can convince himself that he's in charge of something important instead of this piddly, little, hole of a business. He wants someone to act as a go-between for him and the rest of his (currently non-existent) employees so that he doesn't have to interact with them. Any actual managing going on is purely coincidental.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/04/2003 at 11:24:59Update to yesterday's story:
Remember the kid that we nearly didn't hire, but then did? He was supposed to start work today at 1:30pm. He called at 1:15 to say he wasn't going to make it. Ever.
It's starting to become almost comical.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/04/2003 at 13:01:07Update to the update to yesterday's story
I should have seen this coming, I suppose, but it's ceased bearing any resemblance to comedy. Of course, my Boss had a bunch of tasks that he was planning to assign to the new kid. Guess who gets the privilege, now that he's no longer joining us? Looks like I get to spend the afternoon being the Receiving Department...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/05/2003 at 10:12:54This morning at 10:20am, we got a visit from the contractor that my Boss had contacted regarding fixing the gargantuan pothole in the parking lot. The gentleman informed me that my Boss had scheduled a meeting for 10:30...
So far, so good, right? But, as usual, nothing is ever as it seems around here. 10:30 comes and goes without any sight of my Boss. I explain that we expect him any minute, despite his normal showtime of around lunch, hoping that, in this case, he'll make an exception. Silly me. At 11:15, the contractor, disgusted at wasting 45 minutes of otherwise productive time, tosses his business card at me and storms off. It's now 12:15 and I still haven't seen my Boss.
This makes me wonder. My Boss goes to nearly superhuman extremes to avoid having even one millisecond of his precious time wasted. What would possibly possess him to think, then, that it's perfectly acceptable to force others to stand around for hours waiting on him?
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/06/2003 at 14:11:54The corporate policy document that I was forced to sign when I started here looks like something you'd see at Microsoft, IBM, or any one of several dozen other companies that actually matter. Covering every conceivable facet of every possible scenario imaginable, its written in what appears to be a cross between Sanskrit and Legalese and is so hopelessly-over-the-top for its intended audience that it borders on laughable. It's also, apparently, completely optional...
I've made previous mention of my scheduled 10-hour day. I'm allotted a half hour for lunch. I'm not a smoker, which is fortunate, because smoke breaks are entirely prohibited as are ALL personal phone calls in either direction. Personal email and Instant Messaging are forbidden. It specifies, down to the last millisecond, precisely how the work-day is broken down. About the only thing missing are scheduled bathroom breaks, and that may only be true due to my careless perusal of said document.
The point of all this? Today my Boss wandered in at just before 3pm. He was apparently home all day waiting for a refrigerator to be delivered. Now, I'm aware that being the boss is supposed to have its advantages. If I were the boss, I'd certainly use that fact to make my life as painless as possible. I just can't reconcile the inflexible, draconian policies which I'm supposed to follow without question against my Boss' unwritten and obviously different rules. At what point does it go beyond Managerial privilege and into the realm of blatant, shameless hypocrisy?
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/07/2003 at 07:39:19Lately, when people ask me "How's your job?", I'm finding myself at a loss for how to answer. Surreal? Bizarre? Inconceivable? I'm tending towards unbelievable more often than not these days and just letting people draw their own conclusions...
To set the stage, let me remind you that my day is scheduled to end at 6:30pm. That tidbit is important to understanding why the following exchange is rant-worthy.
Yesterday at 6:15pm, I received an email from my Boss asking me about the status (as an aside, I'm starting to despise that word - but I digress) on the application of a candidate for a shipping position. Reviewing my notes, I found that he had asked me to send said application the previous day at 6:15pm. As I have a dozen things that need to be accomplished each day between 6 and 6:30, I didn't get around to sending the application until the following morning and I informed him of that fact. He wrote me back immediately and told me that, in the future, to please send out these applications Right Away. "Filling this position is absolutely critical. If you made up a form letter, like I asked, all you need to do is cut and paste," it said. Filling this position is critical. Right. He's been expecting a massive delivery for months, but NOW it's critical. Still, I was willing to let it all go at that point, as it seemed to be a petty thing about which to argue, but then he sent me another email on an unrelated topic. The subject line pushed me over the edge: "IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ IMMEDIATELY".
In my defense, I can only say I was provoked. First off, I read ALL my email immediately, provided I'm at my desk and not hip-deep in some trivial project like I was at the time he sent the original request. Secondly, he knows the list of things I need to get done in order to close-out for the day - He assigned it to me! Thirdly, if it's such a simple task to cut-and-paste the form letter into the email, couldn't he do it in less time than it would have taken to type the email asking me to do it? I've copied him each time I've sent one out, so it's not like he doesn't have the text. Fourthly, he's been trying to fill this position for literally months but, somehow, a delay of 12 hours places the blame squarely on me? Lastly, if time were really, honestly, truly THAT critical, wouldn't the smart thing to do have been get off your ass and walk the 15 feet out of your office to ask me in person?
Like I said, unbelievable. I honestly, sincerely, just don't get it.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/10/2003 at 08:35:20Thus far, I've been uncharacteristically silent regarding my single co-worker. Partially because I feel like we're united against a common foe, despite my allegedly being management but mostly because she's young and I don't really expect a lot out of her. Today, however, I am compelled to comment...
She called this morning to let me know she couldn't make it in today, thus extending her unbroken streak of partial weeks to 6. 6 Weeks in a row that she's found some excuse why she needs to take a day off. Now, in her defense, I'll grant that as a young single-mother she's got more important things to worry about than being here, but still. If she plans on making something of herself, she's got to understand that she's accepted certain responsibilities by taking this, or any, job. Actually showing up for said job being, quite possibly, the most important.
Now, normally, I would applaud anyone that can get away with such blatant slacking, but in her case, of course, her absence means even more work for yours truly. Since she's the one that normally processes and ships the daily orders, I'm going to have to add that duty to my normal Monday tasks. Additionally, since she does an unbelievably bad job of keeping track of things, It's going to take me the majority of the day just to figure out the status of things that should have been completed last week. For example, I just checked the customer service computer and discovered that she had emailed a customer to inform him that his 3-week-old order had shipped and he'd be receiving it shortly. Nice work, right? Wrong. Further review revealed that his order hasn't even been processed yet. It's not in our computer, so there's NO way that it's been shipped. Honestly, how do you make that mistake when you're the one responsible for the entire process from start to finish???
I think I feel a case of 48-hour leprosy coming on...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/11/2003 at 09:11:22A minor issue, barely rantworthy, but it helps me to continue to illustrate the unfathomable degree of bizarre to which my Boss will go. This mini-rant brought to you courtesy of the US Postal Service and by the letters W, T, and F... We have a large mailbox out in front of the building that normally contains... mail. Yeah, go figure. Our friendly neighborhood postman normally deposits the mail into our mailbox around 11am whereupon it's retrieved by my occasionally-absent co-worker. Today, however, our bundle included a package - one too large to fit within the mailbox, so our carrier brought the mail inside. Instead of handing it to me, however, he simply placed the pile on the ground. In a heap. In front of the entrance to the office.
My Boss arrives promptly at 1:13pm, wanders into his office and begins doing whatever it is he does in there. Not 5 minutes later, though, he calls out to me to inform me of the mail's current, non-standard location. You know, the pile that he had to literally step over in order to get into the office.
I don't get it. Every time I think I've got him sorted out, he goes and does something like this. Is bringing in the mail beneath him? I seriously don't get it.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/12/2003 at 09:04:18It's here! The update you've been waiting for! The next thrilling chapter in the saga of Samadhi vs. The Energy Behemoth has finally arrived!
The office space heater, set at a thrifty 59 degrees, had just begun to ease the chill of the damp morning when a sharp rap at the reception window announced the arrival of an unexpected visitor. With a grimace at the interruption, Samadhi set down his third cup of tepid coffee and went to investigate the intrusion. On the far side of the chipped glass, a stern-faced gentleman in an official Energy Behemoth jacket stood with a scowl and a clipboard. Though he didn't identify himself or state his purpose, his appearance could mean only one thing - the unstated armistice had expired and the next skirmish in the ongoing battle had begun.
"I just shut off the gas next door," he growled, his frown intensifying. "You guys owe us over $1100 and I ain't turning anything back on until the bill is paid in full. Got it?" Before the stunned Samadhi could even begin to formulate a reply, the surly technician turned and stomped out of the office.
The gas? Our hero was slightly confused. It had, he thought, always been about the electric bill. So why had the gas been shut off and the electricity been left unscathed? It made no sense. This required clarification meaning that, despite the consequences, the Oracle must be consulted. His sense of dread growing stronger, Samadhi reached for the phone.
Samadhi had always suspected that the intricate threads of the conspiracy went far deeper than he had been told and this phone call confirmed his worst fears. Spawned even further back in the haze of pre-history, the Gas Conundrum had been lurking, silently undetected, until the perfect opportunity to strike had arisen. That time, apparently, was now. Even the Oracle's highly-detailed and excruciatingly painful explanation did little to dispel the fog of uncertainty and doubt that surrounded this latest wrinkle. And, adding even further to the gnawing, looming, sense of impending doom - the Oracle denied any further responsibility!
"There is only one thing left for us to do." His Boss spoke the words with almost mystical solemnity, awe, and reverence, but the words stabbed directly into Samadhi's heart like a lance. "Contact the Lawyer."
To Be Continued?
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/13/2003 at 11:14:23His counter-attack blunted by the deft manipulations of Energy Behemoth representatives, my Boss retreated to his standard fall-back position: Intricate explanation and Discussion. Unfortunately, his opponent this time isn't as susceptible to his nigh- overwhelming barrage of verbal misdirection...
Despite his threats of legal action, after yesterday's saga my Boss didn't, in fact, contact his lawyer. Instead, he called one of the supervisors at Energy Behemoth - the very same individual who had, according to my Boss' nearly incomprehensible explanation of past events, been responsible for mutating the billing chain into its current horrific state. I've spoken to this guy myself, back during my unfortunate involvement with trying to salvage things, and the last thing in the world that he wants is to be dragged back into this fiasco. Not unlike myself, in fact. Undeterred by this fact, though, my Boss proceeded to regurgitate the entire sordid history upon said supervisor in the misplaced hope that said supervisor would care enough to intercede, despite being my Boss' current scapegoat.
Now, I can't really fault my Boss up to this point. Given this supervisor's previous involvement, it at least makes some sense to see if he could undo what he had done way-back-when. Unfortunately, my Boss' attempts at resolution ended there. That seems to be his tragic flaw - if explanation and discussion doesn't fix the problem, he has NO idea what else to do, so he either dumps the entire issue in someone else's lap - mine, for instance - or, like some giant, balding, micro-managing ostrich, ignores the problem entirely in the vain hopes that it'll just solve itself.
So, when the Energy Behemoth truck pulled into the parking lot this morning and shut off every last shred of power in the building, my Boss had NO clue on how to proceed. When I called him to inform him that the attack was underway, he again resorted to trying to explain to me what he had done last night. As though the fact that he had finally gotten someone to listen to him should have been enough to stave off imminent destruction, despite the fact that the enemy was, quite literally, at the gate. He's so blind to the fact that his explanations are totally, completely, utterly irrelevant, that he couldn't even be bothered to show up as the Behemoth technician shut off the power.
Even now, he's on the phone spinning his web of explanation and analysis hoping to find the one sympathetic ear that'll hear his plight, wave a magic wand, and make the whole thing go away...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/14/2003 at 10:43:08It's all over. In an unexpected turn of events, the saga of the Energy Behemoth drew to an abrupt close this morning as my Boss' recalcitrant tenant surrendered, much like the French, without a fight...
Here's the recap, for those of you playing along at home. My Boss, stymied by the Electric Company's refusal to be influenced by his convoluted explanations, was forced to call a meeting of his two tenants to discuss the solution. Almost immediately the tenant responsible for the majority of the charges wrote a check to cover the damage. That's it. As easy as you could possibly imagine. All it took was forcing the tenants to resolve it, instead of trying to explain it all away, which, incidentally, was what I had been recommending all along.
So now the power is back on and everything has returned to what passes for normality around here. The final casualty toll: My sanity, $1200 in electricity charges, and both tenants, who have declined to renew their leases for the upcoming year.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/14/2003 at 11:13:20Please excuse the ill-formed nature of this rant. I am, at the moment, entirely too pissed to form coherent sentences. Despite my already interminable hours and paltry salary, my Boss still has the audacity to ask me to spend ALL DAY SATURDAY at a software conference with him!
I'm so disgusted by this that I can't even think. I mean, it's typical. He finally asks me to start doing things that are in my job description, but they can only be done on the weekend. My problem is, I'm just too damn nice to tell him to take a flying leap, which is what I should do, given my circumstances. And yet, I won't. I'll just sit here and stew, growing more and more bitter with each passing second because I just can't say NO.
Someone please kill me.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/15/2003 at 16:59:30Never have I been privy to a more detailed examination of a piece of software - it was like the modern version of the Spanish Inquisition. Honestly, you'd have thought my Boss was selecting a brain surgeon for life-saving neurosurgery by the hoops through which he made this vendor jump...
It's not just the intensity of the questioning that has me shaking my head. It's also the now-painfully standard deluge of useless, irrelevant, extraneous detail that surrounds each question. Instead of just asking, Does the software support Feature X?, he feels obligated to provide a solid 10 minutes of explanatory detail that covers why he feels Feature X is absolutely mandatory. Additionally, he got sidetracked at least a half-dozen times comparing the program with another package - one that costs more than 10 times as much. Hardly a fair or useful comparison, in my opinion.
I've got a sneaking suspicion that the software vendor has NEVER worked so hard to earn $600 before...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/18/2003 at 09:40:21There appears to be some bizarre misalignment of the space-time continuum focused just above my head. I've managed to isolate the phenomenon and it's definitely localized to the vicinity of my desk. In proximity to this wrinkle in space-time, the laws of reality, as we understand them, have a tendency to fluctuate wildly...
Take time itself, for example. Throughout the morning, the seconds tick by at what appears to be their nominal rate. If I look at my watch every hour, a single hour has elapsed. Shortly after my Boss arrives for the day, however, things begin behaving strangely. If I glance at my watch once an hour, it seems only seconds will have passed. It's quite unbelievable, but I've witnessed the bizarre effects with my own two eyes.
The distortion grows even worse as the afternoon progresses, too. Take last night, for instance. My watch chirped 6pm at me, as it always does, and I began my daily ritual of closing down things so that I can leave at 6:30. Of course, that's the time that my Boss decides that he has a half-dozen things that need to be done right now. For him, at least, time seemed to have actually come to a complete stop! That's the only way I can explain his apparent total inability to comprehend the fact that after my scheduled 10 hours here, I'm more than ready to go home. Unless the building is on fire, there is absolutely nothing so critical that it can't wait until tomorrow. What's even less comprehensible, given that I did, in fact, leave at 6:30, is why I had email waiting for me this morning asking me for the status of those very same tasks!
Clearly, the only rational explanation is that time operates in some unfathomable, non-Euclidian manner within the confines of his office...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/19/2003 at 15:09:40Do you ever get so fixated on a task that it's all you can think about until its finished? It happens to me fairly frequently and it drives my wife nuts. Particularly when computers are involved, I become obsessed with a problem and absolutely nothing else matters until I discover the solution. In this respect, as in several others best left to the imagination, my Boss is my polar opposite.
He is unable to focus on anything for any significant length of time. In fact, he rarely finishes a sentence because his brain flits off to another, generally unrelated, topic in the time it takes for his mouth to complete the words. This is, needless to say, incredibly frustrating for me, since I then have to go back and interrogate him on every point to ensure that I've correctly surmised his actual intent and not gotten sidetracked by some extraneous trivia. This, of course, is incredibly dangerous.
Given my Boss's predilection toward interjecting volumes of excruciating and irrelevant detail into even the most simplistic of queries, so any forced interaction opens the door to an hour-long discourse of the whys and wherefores underlying every single decision he's made since our ancestors first crawled from the primordial ooze. Coupled with his unquenchable lust for micro-management, and his inability to comprehend the concept of finite time, and you've got the ultimate recipe for Sam's spicy peptic ulcer casserole.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/21/2003 at 19:47:35I nearly neglected to update the running tally. This morning, my co-worker called to let me know her son was sick and that she'd be late because she was taking him to the doctor. Apparently, in her version of English, the word late actually means 'I'll see you next week" because she never arrived at the office. For those of you keeping score at home, this is now eight consecutive weeks that she's missed at least one day of work...
That, in and of itself, is annoying enough, given the fact that her absence obligates me to handle her duties in addition to my own, however that's not the part that inspired this daily diatribe. What really irritates me is that she told me she'd keep me updated as to her arrival time and, not only did she not show at all, she didn't tell me anything. Thus, when my Boss asked for his inevitable status report, I had to shrug and plead ignorance regarding her whereabouts. Again.
I'm looking forward to hearing her excuse on Monday. I'll keep you posted.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 11/24/2003 at 12:26:41It's been said that when you most need inspiration, it will appear. Sadly for me, my inspiration takes the shape of my Boss, but I suppose I shouldn't look down on fortuitous circumstance...
The email started out innocuously enough. When you get a chance, please research the pros/cons of VOIP vs. our current phone system. Great, thought I. Finally something relevant. And not on a weekend this time, either. Knowing how these exchanges invariably go, I attempted to overload my response with data in the vain hopes of forestalling the inevitable barrage of supplemental questions. Of course, providing that much data simply offers my Boss even more areas into which to inquire, so I, of course, received the expected follow-up request and I took the opportunity to educate him on some of his more egregious mis-interpretations of my findings. Apparently, the additional information mollified him, because he requested that I go ahead and place the order.
I can see you scratching your collective heads. "But, Sam," you're thinking. "What's the problem? This is entirely up your alley. You've really lost the edge if this is all you've got to rant about."
And, if the story ended there, you'd be entirely correct. However, as is so often the case around here, things are not always as they appear. For, you see, my Boss really was interested in VOIP technology, but it wasn't for the office. It was, instead, for his home.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/01/2003 at 07:41:02Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. It's Monday; I have a headache; I'm at work. So you know what that means: your regularly scheduled programming is back!
Today's topic: Trust
On a thankfully abbreviated Friday, I emailed a purchase order to one of our more finicky suppliers just before close of business. This morning, I find an email from my boss informing me that he had logged into my email in order to see if the supplier had sent a response. Now, disregarding the fact that the elapsed time between the two referenced events was around 30 minutes, and further disregarding the fact that it was Friday evening and nothing could be resolved until Monday even had there been a response, and yet further disregarding the fact that purchase orders aren't even my job, I fail to understand the rationale for the drastic measure of checking my email for information.
Did he think I hadn't sent the purchase order? That's how I took it, and I fired off a snarky email this morning to say so. My boss claims that wasn't his intent, but he does this sort of thing all the time and his continued rationalizations and denials are beginning to sound a bit hollow, in my opinion. Micro-management is bad enough, but if you're going to go to the extreme of actually restarting my computer to check my work, then this employer/employee relationship is utterly doomed. The really sad part of all of this is: on Friday I had a long discussion with him about actually fixing a lot of the issues here and I actually thought I had gotten through.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/01/2003 at 07:58:22Dateline: 0943 EST, 01 December 03
Betting is now closed. No more bets! No more bets, thank you!
My co-worker just called. In what can only be interpreted as a kind-hearted and benevolent attempt to spare you, the reader, from the stress of an entire week of suspense, she has informed me that she won't be joining me today.
For those of you keeping score at home, the magic number is now 10. Ten solid, or rather not-so-solid, weeks in which she's found some flimsy excuse for her absence. For those of you wagering on the actual nature of her excuses, this week's submission is : had to take her car to get registered.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/01/2003 at 20:56:14Our last mail pickup for the evening is at 6:30PM. It used to be even later, but I told the driver to come promptly at 6:30 to prevent the day from being any longer than it absolutely had to. Tonight, right as I was preparing to depart, my Boss asked me if I had processed the orders for the pickup. The time was 6:20...
Never mind the fact that he had been in the office since lunch. Never mind the fact that, due to my co-worker's unscheduled vacation, he had been out checking on the day's orders earlier in the afternoon. Never mind the fact that I already had my jacket on and was eyeing the exit. Never mind the fact that trying to process an order was going to add an additional 20 minutes of overhead to the daily closeout. Never mind the fact that there was absolutely no possible way on Earth that I could get even a single order completed in 10 minutes. He still refused to be satisfied until I spent 40 minutes trying unsuccessfully, I am compelled to add, to complete the paperwork before the driver arrived.
And what really steams me is that he probably left shortly after I did...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/02/2003 at 08:31:36I left work last night at 6:50pm. So, why is it that this morning I have an email from my Boss timestamped at 6:52 with questions about the work I had done earlier in the day?
This happens all the time and is a large portion of my distaste with the dreaded and frequently cited status emails. They always appear in my inbox right after I've gone home for the day. He rolls into work at Noon, disappears into his office, and remains in seclusion until the office is abandoned. Is there some reason why he can't ask me these things when I'm sitting right bloody here? Instead, I have to decrypt his intent from his rambling missives and then try to deduce what the appropriate correction might be, since he never actually specifies what he wants done with anything even approximating precision.
This morning, for instance, he informed me that the products I had recently added to the database were mis-categorized. Ok, fine, I can fix that. Except, upon further review, they were not, in fact, miscategorized at all. It took me over an hour of checking to arrive at this conclusion and the entire issue could have been solved in 30 seconds if my Boss had simply deigned to mention it while I was still here to fix it.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/03/2003 at 11:03:16I hired you to help me grow this company, he says to me. That's why I brought you on board.
So, if that's the case, why is it that the first thing he asked me to do when he wandered in this afternoon was change the lightbulbs in his office?
I mean, in all honesty, does that sound like the sort of things you'd be asking an employee to do if you genuinely respected their abilities? Would you hire someone to be a manager and then have them changing lights? That's menial labor. That's not the sort of task for which you hire a skilled programmer. The only possibilities I can see are either he's a) lying through his teeth in order to get as much out of me as possible before I finally get fed up and quit, or b) so incredibly, absolutely, impossibly, hopelessly stupid that he's utterly incapable of comprehending the schism between his words and his actions.
Neither possibility is especially comforting.
Help me cope here
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/05/2003 at 22:49:45Sorry for the delayed blast rant today, but Mother Nature appears to be conspiring with my Boss against me. Fasten your safety belts, boys and girls, because this one's a doozy...
First, a little background. I finally got sick and tired of trying to work on our obscene website in its hideously bad form, so I began rewriting it from the ground up to try and drag it, kicking and screaming, into the 20th century. Over the course of this process, I updated my Boss on the status of my progress, so he would see where I was going with it. The intent was for him to let me know if he had any issues with the direction, layout, or content that I was producing. Up through this morning, he had no comments. The project was ostensibly completed late this morning, coincidentally, right around the same time that it began to snow. And I'm not talking about a couple flakes wafting gently from a serene sky, either.
I had been making good progress, and I'm not generally inclined toward believing claims of meteorilogical disaster, so I ignored the rapidly accumulating precipitation and continued my quest to eradicate all traces of the legacy retarded monkey code. I'll label that as Mistake #1.
Around 3pm, Roobi called to let me know that, by all reports, the roads were beginning to get ugly. A quick look out the window lent credence to her assessment, and I decided that sticking around any longer would be a Very Bad Plan. I quickly wrapped up the required updates for the day, uploaded the files to the server, and let my Boss know that I was headed home before I got stuck spending the weekend at the office, buried under 3 feet of snow. An admittedly harmless, and probably required gesture, but we'll label that as Mistake #2.
While I was packing up to go, my Boss told me he was going to take a quick look at what I had done. Seeing as how he had previously refrained from commenting on anything I had worked on over the past few days, I didn't see any harm in this. That would be Mistake #3, which completed the Unholy Trifecta of Aggravation and launched the disastrous chain of events that fuel this rant.
Despite having already reviewed the same, unchanged, identical page yesterday, and despite the fact that I specifically asked him about the menu items, today my Boss decided that the menu isn't good enough. No, it couldn't wait until Monday - it needed to be done Right Now. And we're not talking about a 5 minute fix, either. It took me over an hour to make the changes, which really didn't add any significant value to the page, in the cosmic scheme of things, it was just my Boss' usual anal-retentive nature. So it's 4:30 before I finally make it to my car, dig it out from under a heap of snow, and commence my slow, tenacious, painstaking journey home; a 10 mile trip.
It didn't take long for me to realize that Roobi was wrong. The roads weren't just ugly; they were downright hideous. Traffic was barely moving, and when it was it was doing more fishtailing than actual driving - my car, a rear-wheel-drive sportscar, being one of the worst offenders. Every time I had to stop, getting started again was an adventure. I'm pretty sure I covered at least as much ground horizontally as I did axially. Unfortunately, I was barely inching my way towards home and, 3 hours later, I finally ran into insurmountable difficulty on the only bridge I needed to negotiate when I fishtailed off the side of the road onto the shoulder. Despite my best attempts to get out over the course of the next hour, I was unable to free myself. I was stranded.
Because I get paid squat at my job, I don't have a cellphone. Fortunately, I wasn't the only unfortunate chump to have a car that wasn't winter compatible, and I was able to borrow the phone of the guy behind me and let Roobi know that, while I was delayed, I was at least alive. A passing police-officer also lent assistance and let us know that a tow-truck was on its way. Roobi mis-interpreted my call and arrived shortly thereafter with her truck (4 wheel drive = good), but I was told I couldn't leave my car where it was and, since she had the kids with her, I sent her back home. Mistake #4, if you're keeping track.
So the tow-truck arrives and I'm thinking: Great. If I can get over this bridge, it's only another mile and a half home. I can finally relax. Unfortunately, that wasn't to be. The tow-driver winches my car onto his flatbed, and only then does he inform me that it's going to cost me $100 for him to take my car BACK to the very place I had just spent the last 5 hours trying to leave! When I protested, he generously offered to drop me on the far side of the bridge... for $70 in CASH. At this point, the last shreds of my patience evaporated like a Karaoke singer's dignity, and I stomped off to the waiting patrol car to vent my displeasure at the apparent extortion.
Unfortunately, the officer didn't share my interpretation and I was left without recourse. I wasn't about to ride all the way back to my origin, so I borrowed the cop's phone to let Roobi know what was going on. I'm standing there, trying to explain the situation with a minimum of profanity, when the tow-driver, apparently tired of waiting for my response, just drives off with my car. Leaving me standing by the side of the road in a blizzard and with no idea where he was going or how I was going to recover my car. Fortunately, Roobi didn't take long to arrive, so I didn't freeze to death by the side of the highway, which is good because otherwise this saga would have been really late.
That's where it stands for tonight. Stay tuned for special, weekend updates as this story develops...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/08/2003 at 13:09:08Because I know many of you are keeping track at home, and since the Vegas bookmakers have started running odds, I think it only fair to update you on the status of my co-worker...
Those of you who picked "Monday" in the Guess what day she'd come up with some flimsy excuse to be absent sweepstakes - Congratulations! You've won! Your prize, a scrap of useless note-paper, can already be found on your desk. For those keeping score, that makes 11 consecutive weeks.
Click here for next week's contest!
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/10/2003 at 08:17:44"Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony." - Morpheus, The Matrix
I've previously mentioned my Boss' anal-retentive micro-managerial style. This has been most-recently reflected by his latest directives regarding updates to our website...
Without exception, and despite the abysmal user-experience of our website, every change for the past few weeks has been in pursuit of one single-minded goal: Increasing our ranking on Google. He's asked me to embed our keywords within the page. He's asked me to change our links to contain our keywords. He's asked me to optimize the page to maximize our keyword exposure. Never mind actually improving things to generate more sales - only the Google ranking mattered.
Which is where the above reference quote becomes relevant. During the end of November, Google changed how they filtered search queries. The specifics are still under debate, but as a result, websites that made aggressive use of tactics designed to skew Google search results suffered a dramatic decrease in their calculated ranking. Sound familiar? Fortunately for his business, though, I'm a stubborn bastard and I resisted the vast majority of his suggestions or the damage could have been even worse.
The upside to this? Maybe now he'll actually have to focus on improving the site's content, instead of hiding behind the artificiality of a page ranking. It's a nice theory, at least...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/13/2003 at 09:34:36Return of the King, arguably one of the most anticipated movies of my entire life, will be released next week and, in an attempt to avoid the throngs of slavering fanboys sure to overrun theaters on Opening Night, my friends and I have concocted a scheme that provides benefits on several levels...
Rather than go on the 17th, we all decided to take off work on Friday the 19th and see an afternoon showing. We shouldn't have to fight for decent seats and, more importantly it's a day off from work for everyone, especially me. The instant we decided on this plan, I sent my Boss an email to request the day off. That was December 4th.
I sent a follow-up email on the 11th just as a friendly reminder, but I have yet to receive any indication that he's even considered my request, much less approved it. However when he's demanding a status report, if I haven't replied within an hour I am literally deluged with follow-ups from him, even when there's no status to report.
Given his reluctance to handle unpleasant tasks, I suspect he's procrastinating for as long as possible to deny my request, in his typical, ostrich-like behavior of ignoring the problem in the hopes it'll just go away. We'll see how it plays out over the next few days. Stay tuned.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/15/2003 at 07:56:20Did anyone not see this coming? Not only has my Boss denied my request to take Friday off, but he's also broached the likelihood of working on both Saturday and Sunday in order to make sure all the orders ship by Christmas. Funny, but last time I checked, my job title wasn't shipping clerk...
I've already written three incendiary messages in response to his wishy- washy denial, but even as furious as I currently am, I didn't have the balls to send them. Rest assured, though, I will be off on Saturday, and Sunday. Unfortunately, Friday might have to be my reluctant sacrifice in order to strengthen my defensive position, but I refuse, on general principle, to play his manipulative little games.
In case you're curious about his rationale, he claimed that, since my co-worker has been so frequently absent, we're already behind on shipping orders and thus might (read: will) have to work this weekend in order to get caught up. Since my co-worker is legally restricted to 40 hours, it therefore falls upon me to handle the excess work. You'll note that he doesn't volunteer to show up and assist or anything. While I have no doubt that he'll be here, micromanaging and being a general nuisance, I suspect he'll remain cloistered in his office, as usual, doing whatever it is he does in there during the day.
The point is, he's known for over 3 months that he needs another person in the shipping department, but he's procrastinated and delayed to the point where it's now an emergency. That's his modus operandi regarding just about everything - ignore it until it's an emergency, and then expect his employees to bust their asses to pick up the slack - but this time it bit him in the ass, because I refuse to work a full weekend of unpaid overtime because of his failure to plan. He hired my co-worker, but I have to work extra because she's incompetent? I don't bloody think so. Sorry, but that just doesn't rise to the level of an emergency as far as I'm concerned. Not to even mention the fact that I have yet to buy a single gift for anyone and this is literally my last opportunity to do so before Christmas.
So, it comes down to the final showdown. Samadhi versus the Wizard, winner take all. It was bound to happen eventually, given the constant friction and my Boss' utter inability to think of anyone beside himself. I had hoped I could gut it out until the beginning of the year in an optimistic, but probably totally misguided hope that things would magically change for the better in 2004, but it seems painfully obvious to me that this situation is simply untenable. I doubt I'll be able to refrain from launching my opening salvo today, so stay tuned for the play-by-play and post-mortem.
Ooh and Aah over the fireworks display, here.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/15/2003 at 19:28:29NEWS FLASH
UPDATE to this afternoon's story! Sorry for the delay, but I got home late and have only just now had the opportunity to update. Since at least one of you is curious...
The battle was fierce and furious. For such an effeminate little guy, the Wizard put up quite a ferocious struggle and victory, ever elusive, flittered and fluttered just out of Samadhi's eager grasp. The Wizard was wily and, not unlike a greased eel, difficult to pin down. He repeatedly slipped through our hero's grasp, dodging questions, providing half-answers, and trying to redirect the discussion along his own, sinister, micro-managerial lines. Long, the battle raged and Samadhi grew impatient, delayed far beyond his normal departure. Eager to be away, he pressed a perceived advantage - perhaps too aggressively - and the Wizard counter-attacked with renewed vigor, sensing our hero's reluctance to maintain his attack. For a moment, it seemed all was lost - the Wizard's position appeared unassailable and Samadhi could taste the bitter ashes of defeat. But appearances can be deceiving and our hero, faced with a full weekend of tedious, mind-numbing drudgery relaunched a counter-offensive, leading with his last, most-potent weapon: The threat of Abandonment.
It was a desperate gamble, but this was a desperate hour and, when the smoke and haze finally cleared, our hero emerged victorious!
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/17/2003 at 07:49:46The fallout from Monday's clash of wills continues. During our discussion, I was reluctantly forced to confront the fact that working this weekend might be a possibility if we couldn't get caught up during the week. Somehow, though, in my Boss' addled brain that translated to working this weekend is peachy-keen, so let's organize our work priorities accordingly...
He obviously doesn't comprehend the prioritization process. In his mind, that simply means the order in which you do tasks regardless of how much excess time you spend to get every single one done. I've explained his error several times, but one of his half-dozen emails to me this morning confirmed my suspicion that he either doesn't listen to what I say, or doesn't care. His suggestion for this morning would have taken both me and my co-worker away from what he told me Monday was the priority task for a solid two hours today. Because doing so would jeopardize completion of said tasks, I told him that I was not going to proceed in the manner he had directed because it would leave me no option but to complete them this weekend.
This is, as previously mentioned, unacceptable. Being forced to work on the weekend before Christmas due to an emergency I can stand, albeit grudgingly; Being forced to work the weekend before Christmas because my Boss doesn't understand time-management, on the other hand, is a crock. I'm not going to take actions during the week that will result in unpaid overtime this weekend, simply because my Boss feels it necessary to micro-manage. That's both absurd and self-defeating. Particularly given the fact that, despite the alleged importance of shipping all our orders in time, he still doesn't show up for work until Noon.
Anyway, as long as I'm ostensibly the manager, I plan on managing. If he'd like to manage things differently, he's more than welcome to come in and take over the process. Not that he will.
Join the rant here
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/18/2003 at 11:14:23For the moment, all remains quiet on the Western Front. I've been busting my ass trying to get as much done as possible to avoid having to work this weekend and it looks like I might have pulled it off. My grand scheme was nearly ruined, however, by a totally unforeseen event...
My Boss hadn't seen my email yesterday informing him that I wasn't planning on following his directive, so when he arrived he immediately began grilling my co-worker on why she hadn't accomplished his assigned tasks. Before I could inform him of his error, she quit. Just like that. Just walked out the door without a word!
Fortunately for me, she had to return to get her stuff and by that time she had cooled down enough to explain her concerns without having to resort to a string of invective. Surprisingly, my Boss managed not to misplay the scene - a possibility that would never have occurred to me - and got her to reconsider. He spent the remainder of the day in a perpetual state of anxiety, though, so maybe the conflagration was precisely what he needed to get a clue - but I doubt it. I give it 24 hours before his behavior reverts to the norm.
In a way I'm disappointed that she stuck around. I would have loved to see how my Boss would have reacted to her departure. I suspect he would have automatically assumed that I'd just pick up the slack, leading to my rapid departure as well, but that's just conjecture. It certainly would have made for a few exciting entries for the front page, at any rate...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/22/2003 at 07:47:12Coming back to work this morning was difficult. Each day I spend here makes me dread the next and Mondays are the absolute worst since I know I have a metric butt-ton of non-IT tasks that I need to get done. Not to mention the inevitable morning email barrage...
This morning, however, I only had 3 emails from my Boss, which is highly unusual for a Monday. Generally, he uses his weekends coming up with grand and absurd things for me to do, so I normally spend the first hour of my morning trying to decipher exactly what it is he's talking about. This morning, though, there was only one worthy of real scorn. Friday morning, in keeping with his belief that I'm actually his secretary, he asked me to mail an application to a prospective candidate. Given her qualifications, I'm absolutely certain there's no way she'll come work here, but I digress. Friday afternoon, just before I left for the weekend, he stood and watched as I put the paperwork into an envelope, sealed it, attached the mailing label, applied postage, and finally dropped it into our outgoing mail box. He even made some lame attempt at humor during the process, so I know he was cognizant of what I was doing. So, imagine my frustration when the first email I get from him this morning is "what's the status on that application I asked you to mail?"
That's precisely the sort of thing that gets me steamed beyond my capacity to compensate. It's not bad enough that he tasks me with trivial, demeaning, non-job-related, administrative crap - On top of that, I waste even more time following-up on his bloody status emails! Last week he told me that he didn't think it was his job to follow-up on every little thing, but I notice he seems to have plenty of time and inclination to question me on every, single, little piece-of- crap task he assigns me. Detailed analysis of that behavior leads to some rather unpleasant assumptions, though, so, in the interest of keeping my job until alternative employment presents itself, I'll defer that for now.
Join the discussion here.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/22/2003 at 10:46:32Update to this morning's comments:
My Boss responded to my email regarding the letter he had requested I send. In his defense, he claimed that he sent his status email at 12:09pm on Friday, "well before you sent the letter"...
Which, ordinarily, would be a great answer. One which would likely elicit an apology and a reduction in the frequency of future snarky email replies. Except for one, small, virtually inconsequential problem: At 12:09pm on Friday afternoon, I was already on my way home for the day. Therefore, his assertion is obviously, blatantly, and inarguably WRONG. For the record, though, I resisted the temptation to do anything more than point out his error, despite my initial desire to launch into a tirade about being treated like his bloody secretary.
A minor victory, admittedly, but one takes what one can get around here...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/22/2003 at 18:13:51This is another of those days in which I should have waited to post my daily rant instead of squandering my ammo on a silly email exchange. This afternoon's events, instead, were truly rant-worthy...
Taken separately, none of the following really reaches the level of infuriating, but in aggregate I was steamed by the time I finally broke free and headed for home.
First, my arrival this morning was greeted by the smell of ozone, a faint greyish haze in the air, and 3 dead computers. A short consultation with an Energy Behemoth representative revealed that the transformer out front was failing, but my Boss decided that the inevitable repair had to wait until we were done with our daily chores. So we suffered with flickering lights and frequent, intermittent brownouts all afternoon until the lights finally went out for good around 5pm, leaving me to try and close up shop in the dark, a process that's aggravating by nature, even in perfect lighting.
Second, my Boss spent the vast majority of the day in his office with the door shut. This is unusual for him. Normally he keeps his door open, making the enigma of exactly what he does in there all day even more mysterious. But I digress. During one of his rare appearances, I noticed a stack of holiday cards on his desk. He disappeared around 5pm with a stack of envelopes and my sinister suspicions were confirmed when I took our daily parcels to the mailbox and encountered him returning from said mailbox empty-handed. Yes, you read that correctly. He spent all day working on his greeting cards, then went to the mailbox at our usual pickup time, but he didn't even bother to take the work packages with him. Then, to add insult to injury, he says "Fancy meeting you here" as we pass on the sidewalk. It was all I could do not to shove him into oncoming traffic.
He's constantly telling me how he needs me to do things before him because he's so busy, yet he can waste an entire day on personal business while my co-worker and I are busting our asses running his business. Never in my life have I encountered an individual more self-centered than this guy and it drives me virtually insane to be forced to respond to his egomaniacal whims. I've tried to reconfigure things around the office to be less adversarial, but nothing I say or do seems to have any impact. At this point, I'm ready to jump at any remotely viable job opportunity, simply for the satisfaction of walking out of here.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/26/2003 at 10:40:52Christmas is officially over, so we now return to our regularly scheduled programming. I hope you enjoyed the few rant-free days I was able to generate. Now that I'm back at work, things should be returning to what passes for normalcy around here...
Today's topic is misguided holiday gifts and our first subject is, of course, none other than my Boss. While I submit that his heart is probably in the right place, the execution of his stated intent is so horribly wrong, it can't help but call into question both his sanity and his common sense. For example: he offered to take my co-worker and I to lunch on Christmas Eve, then close the store early. On the surface, this sounded like a great plan and the fact that he suggested it, rather than my having to force the issue, made it even more attractive. Unfortunately, when he rolled in at Noon on the 24th, it became obvious that there were some serious discrepancies between his intent and my interpretation of same. For one, he wasn't planning on lunch until 4pm, and he estimated the event to last 2 hours. Maybe it's my shoddy math, but somehow that doesn't really strike me as going home early.
This plan didn't go forward, obviously, and today at Noon, he presented his secondary suggestion: an estimated 2-hour dinner, at the same establishment, commencing at 6:30pm. Once again, it's nice of him to offer to take us to dinner, but my day is already quite long enough, thank you very much, without spending an additional two hours on a Friday night, having dinner with my Boss.
They say "it's the thought that counts" and in this particular instance that cliched platitude is frighteningly accurate, given the enormous flaws in the execution. Maybe I'm just being cynical and ungrateful, but if he really wanted to give me a gift that I'd appreciate, it's not complicated: Just stop treating me like a secretary the other 364 days of the year.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/30/2003 at 07:08:48No rant yesterday, Sam? I can almost hear the question through work's thrifty, discount internet connection. I had intended to post a rant, but rather than allow my blood pressure to skyrocket to John Candy- ian proportions, I spent the vast majority of the day avoiding the drudgery of my menial job and re-enacting the Siege of Minas Tirith here. If you've got several mindless hours to kill, it comes with the UF Seal of Approval.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/30/2003 at 12:32:38It's 1pm and I'm trying to take my lunch. Of course, the instant I start, the phone rings. There's someone looking for help on our live tech support chat line. At the window, a customer wants to place an order. My co-worker is away at lunch so I ask my Boss to lend a hand. He refuses, saying he needs to prepare to interview a prospective client. At 2:30...
So I end up running around like a maniac, trying to handle the half- dozen minor crises, while my leftover pizza solidifies into an impenetrable mass of congealed grease. Which, in itself, is enough to put me in a mood for the remainder of the day. But the hypocrisy and abuse doesn't end there. Oh, no. Not around here. As it turns out, the preparation he was doing consisted of faxing a personal letter to his eye-doctor about some issue or another.
As I've mentioned, this isn't the first time he's prioritized some personal errand ahead of work. He's too busy to help run HIS business but he's got plenty of time to spend an afternoon writing his holiday cards. I've seriously just about had it with this guy. He has absolutely zero regard for anyone or anything other than himself and he doesn't give a festering crap about the people of whom he takes advantage to advance his personal agenda. I'm not sure how much more of his blatant abuse I can take, and I mean that quite literally. One day very soon he's going to try and pull another of his little stunts and the consequences are going to be catastrophic. Stay tuned.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 12/31/2003 at 13:52:54I QUIT. Yep, you heard that right. For the second straight day, my Boss decided that his personal business was far more important than allowing his employees to take their lunchbreak. When I complained, he basically told me to shut up...
So, I quit. I told him I was tired of him taking advantage and I wasn't going to put up with it anymore. I cleaned out my desk and made it as far as the parking lot before the specter of my empty bank account forced me to confront reality. While I was absolutely justified in my righteous wrath, indignation doesn't pay the bills, so I was forced to swallow my pride and slink back into the office with my tail between my legs.
The discussion that followed immediately afterward was typical of every other I've had with my Boss thus far: he totally missed the point. My list of grievances grows longer and longer with each passing day and he just continues on his merry way, oblivious to everything except his own personal agenda. I'm sorry, but I simply can't countenance the blatant hypocrisy any longer. He gave me his standard line about working from home and being so busy he needed my help, but when I confronted him about handling his personal issues on company time, he told me it was none of my business. Pardon me, but if I'm doing YOUR job so that YOU can screw off during the day, then it bloody damn well IS my business! That's called taking advantage and I don't care who you are - it's unacceptable.
He basically flat out told me that he doesn't want to hear my input. He just wants me to do what I'm told without complaining. Which is absolute rubbish, in my opinion, seeing as how he's gone on and on about helping him "grow the company". Apparently that was all just a load of crap designed to placate me for a few months so he could get every bloody nickel's worth before I got disgusted and quit. That seems to be the pattern with his previous employees, and it certainly goes a long way towards explaining his draconian benefits package. Employees aren't eligible for 6 months, because he knows that nobody can put up with him for that long.
So, we come to it at last. I'm faced with a rather unpleasant decision at this point. Stick to my principles and tell my Boss to stuff it, or do the fiscally responsible thing, swallow my pride, and continue to put up with his abuse. To be honest, I'm at a loss. Convincing myself not to drive out of that parking lot was hard. Convincing myself to continue to come to work every morning under these circumstances may very well be impossible.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/02/2004 at 08:57:26
Happy New Year
I'm back at work again after a sublime day away from my personal Hell, and the contrast between work and non-work has never been more distinct. I almost dread the weekends, now, because I can sense the beginning of the workweek looming ahead like an inescapable doom - like a massive tsunami of sewage, ready to crash down upon me...
It's gotten to the point where it requires a supreme effort of will just to get up in the morning, knowing what lies in store for me during the day. I had promised myself several months ago that I was not going to continue to make the same mistakes I had in the past, however. I wasn't going to just show up and collect a paycheck. I was actually going to try harder for a change. I had hoped that a positive attitude would yield positive results, but my grand intentions become more and more difficult to maintain with each day I spend in this place. I can almost feel it sucking the will-to-live right out of me.
I've been telling myself that 2004 is going to be myyear. That I'm severely overdue for a change in my painfully long string of rotten luck. That maybe finally I'd see some stability and start to be able to make some real progress, rather than remaining mired in this stagnant cesspool of mediocrity. It's a comforting thought.
Unfortunately, it also seems increasingly unlikely. 2004 has already begun the same way that 2003 ended. Poorly. Despite the nearly 2 hour argument between my Boss and I following my aborted departure, I arrived this morning to both an email asking me to grade yet another potential candidate's IQ test, and a sticky note requesting that I "Handle this myself" with no indication at all whatsoever regarding what "this" was, or in what manner I should handle it. And yet my Boss wonders why I complain that I feel I'm not being heard.
He tells me he wants me to manage my sporadically absent co- worker, but then, after we've both departed, he nitpicks every single detail of everything I've asked her do during the course of the day. He assigns me tasks with no clearly defined purpose and whose details make no logical sense. When I corner him for clarification, he invariably responds "I'll leave the details to you", even though he's given me no information as to what his desired end result should be. He continues to add irrelevant, useless, trivial functionality to a website that is, at its heart, fundamentally broken rather than take the time to fix the root problems. He routinely ignores constructive criticism on business issues - not only from me, but also from the very customers he claims to want to satisfy. He remains obsessed with his pursuit of a high Google search-engine ranking, utterly oblivious to the fact that Google can't possibly actually purchase anything. So we make changes to drive traffic to the site and do nothing to entice people to actually buy things. It's incredibly frustrating and, even worse, it's forced me into the habit of challenging even reasonable, legitimate requests since they're such a rare anomaly.
So, it looks like more of the same for 2004. Here's hoping your new year is a brighter place.
Help me decide how to dispose of the body here.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/06/2004 at 11:30:15My Boss hath decreed that we shall do inventory this weekend. As in, both days. Apparently, in his mind, an accurate inventory is the Holy Grail, despite the fact that in the 4 months I've been here, I've seen him make arbitrary adjustments on nearly a daily basis. But, I digress...
Because I'm a lazy bastard, I have a life outside the office, and I'm paid in seashells rather than actual money, I am opposed to the concept of spending all weekend crawling around a filthy, chaotic, unheated warehouse trying to count crap my Boss has imported from India. Thus, I recommended we do it at a time that made more sense, like, oh, I don't know, during normal business hours, maybe? Closing for a day to process the inventory would have a negligible impact on our daily operations. It doesn't require a major reorganization of my intermittent co-worker's hours. And, most importantly, it doesn't require me to show up on the weekend. Of course, as I'm certain you can imagine, this rational application of logic might as well have been presented in ancient Greek for all the impact it had on my Boss.
Deep down, I knew he wasn't going to go for my plan, regardless of how much sense it made, so I wasn't at all surprised when he said no. His rationale, however, was such a blatant, obvious, weasel-like crock, that I simply couldn't let it slide. He claimed, and this is a direct quote, that "Inventory traditionally takes 2-3 full days, with 3-4 people doing inventory, plus office time." On the surface that's not a bad argument, except for the fact that despite only having 2 people, he only scheduled one full day's work to complete the job. From where I'm sitting, those numbers simply don't add up.
Only one of two possibilities can be true:
- Either he has deliberately scheduled insufficient time to complete the task. In which case he's going to expect me to hang around late on Sunday to finish up. Which means we're going to have a problem.
- Or, we'll finish with time to spare, proving that he simply made up those numbers in order to have some counter-argument with which to refute mine. Which means he's a lying weasel. Which means we're going to have a problem.
Either way, we're going to have a problem. It's one thing if you're going to make capricious, arbitrary decisions about business operations. To some degree, that's both your privilege and responsibility as the Boss, but don't try to camouflage such a decree with absurd, made-up logic in the hopes of lending it legitimacy. I will find out and I will call you on it. Unfortunately, despite all of that, it appears I'm still going to have to work this weekend, which is an utter load of crap.
Point and laugh, here.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/08/2004 at 13:53:28It was too good to last. My co-worker was on the path to a miraculous turn-around, having strung together 2 entire weeks of perfect attendance. We had gotten caught up on current orders and were poised to obliterate some of the lingering chaos of past eras when, apparently, her resolve evaporated...
On Tuesday, her Mom called to say she wouldn't be in, claiming she had some kind of "virus". Ok, I suppose I can buy that. On Wednesday, however, she again failed to arrive at work - and this time I didn't get a phone call or anything. She just didn't show up. All progress we had made towards cleaning up past messes was undone and we're behind on regular orders once again. I'm questioning how that's going to affect things, given that we're allegedly doing inventory this weekend.
The part that really gets me is that we had just discussed giving her a raise last week, too. Now, however, my Boss has already decided that she's gone as soon as he can find a viable replacement. Fortunately for her, this planet will be a cold, lifeless husk long before that happens, given his prior track record on hiring qualified applicants.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/09/2004 at 08:10:43In an astonishing turn of events, my Boss actually hired someone new yesterday. Unfortunately, the doomed soul's skills are a horrible match for the position for which he was hired, so I can already see that this episode is going to end badly, but at least it'll prevent me from having to take over my departing co-worker's job as well as my own. For a few days, at any rate.
It's typical of how my Boss does things, though, that he intends to have my soon-to-be-fired co-worker help with inventory over the weekend, before telling her that she's no longer needed on Monday. It raises my Boss' weasel factor to a whole new level in my book.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/10/2004 at 15:47:13If my wife's theories on karma have any basis in reality, I must have been a very bad boy in a previous life. I just got home from an agonizing day of unpaid overtime with my Boss, his friend, my intermittent co-worker, and the new guy hired to replace her. Sounds like tons of fun, eh?
I wouldn't have believed it possible, but the new guy is going to fit right into our work environment - He's every bit as annoying as my Boss. I'm not positive, but I don't think he passed on a single opportunity to interject his opinion on a single topic all day. Listening to he and my Boss opine on subject about which they were both obviously clueless was painful beyond my pitiful attempts to describe.
And, best of all, I'm blessed with the privilege of doing it all again, tomorrow. On my next trip through the karma recycler, I just hope I get a break - maybe I can come back as a cockroach or something...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/11/2004 at 18:49:20As I predicted, today's episode was as painful as it could be - on every conceivable level. With somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 items in our warehouse, I think I counted somewhere on the order of 800 of them. There's nothing like counting 4713 blue glass marbles to really put one's life in perspective...
My Boss' friend declined to join us today, as did my intermittent co-worker, a decision that pretty much sealed her fate come tomorrow morning. I had tried to convince my Boss that she deserved a break, being young and ignorant, but the fact that she just doesn't show up for work whenever the mood strikes her is going to be a show-stopper in just about any profession. So that left Mr. Know-it-all, my Boss, and me to finish up whatever hadn't gotten done yesterday. Since I polished off a good two sections of the warehouse myself yesterday, I figured we were in for a short day. We'll label that mistake #1, since I'm apparently the only one interested in finishing the job so I can get on with my life. In a display of fastidiousness bordering on obsessive, my Boss was re-arranging the inventory with laser-sharp precision. As a result, despite an entire day of counting yesterday, he still hadn't finished counting even a single shelf of stuff. Needless to say, any hope I had of an early dismissal were obliterated almost instantaneously.
I also heaped additional needless frustration on myself by going against my normal instincts and giving my Boss the opportuntity to manage the evolution. When I arrived at Noon, I asked for an estimated time of departure and was told to ask again in a couple hours when the situation had developed a bit further. However, rather than doing so, I decided I'd give him a break, forego the inevitable argument, and allow my Boss to let me know what the plan was. We'll label that mistake #2. Without a concrete ending point, my Boss has an uncanny knack for simply continuing indefinitely until someone either passes out from exhaustion or quits and today was no exception. Around 5pm, I finished my 4th section of the warehouse and finally asked whether I could go, only for my Boss to tell me "a little longer". It was another 2 hours and another 2 complete warehouse sections before I finally told him I was done - one way or the other. He still hadn't even finished the first section that he had started.
I also noticed something while doing the inventory that disturbed me. While my Boss was adamant that the inventory needed to be done this weekend, it was apparent from the previous markings that he hadn't actually done inventory since 2000. Just thought I'd point that out, for those of you who might still think I'm just whining.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/12/2004 at 16:01:43I'm beginning to wonder if my intermittent co-worker has become a regular UF reader. That's the most plausible explanation for her failure to either call or show up for work today...
It's as if she just suddenly surrendered entirely when my Mr. Knowitall came on board. As though she could see her position in jeopardy and simply bailed rather than be fired. Bizarre.
Of course, the other possibility is that this is just her typical disfunctional behavior and she'll come strolling in tomorrow as though nothing had happened. Which, if it should occur, should make for a nice vignette for tomorrow's update. Stay tuned, or risk missing the fun...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/13/2004 at 08:55:51Update to yesterday's story: Apparently, my intermittent co-worker had given notice of her absence. Three weeks ago, she mentioned in passing that she needed to take care of some paperwork with her son and that she'd be late on the 12th of January...
So at least part of the mystery is explained. I'm still fuzzy on how late turned into absent, though, and I know for a fact I told her to call that day and remind me because I knew I wouldn't remember 3 weeks later. The big question remaining is whether or not the extenuating circumstances will be sufficient to convince the Wizard not to fire her. Overall, her attendance record is spotty at best, but the Wizard is a rabid avoider of conflict so it's possible that her sob-story will hit the appropriate triggers and stave off the inevitable. Given her history, however, I doubt it.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/15/2004 at 07:21:33Despite everything I've seen already, I am continually amazed at the Wizard's lack of perspective. It's as though he's incapable of understanding that not everyone shares his passion for his business...
We got about 4 inches of snow overnight and it was still snowing, albeit lightly, while I was getting ready for work this morning. Given my past experience with driving in the snow, I decided against donating any additional money to the local tow institutions, so I called my Boss to let him know that I'd be late - at the very least. Since his last foray in the snow ended no better than mine, I assumed he'd be sympathetic. You'd think I'd know better by now.
He questioned my judgement. He tried to make me feel guilty. He pressed me for details on when I expected a snowplow to clear me a path. While he stopped short of actually accusing me of shirking my duties, his thoughts were quite apparent by his tone. Sorry, but I consider attempting to navigate an unplowed road in a high-performance sports car to be above and beyond the call of duty and I'm just not willing to go to extreme measures for either him or this lousy job. He's proven time and time again that the only thing that does is indicate my willingness to do so again next time - providing him with incentive to continue asking.
Comment on my lack of dedication, here
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/15/2004 at 09:45:25Just a little update for those of you who might be induced to care. A plow made a cursory pass down my street, making it look essentially navigable so, despite my fondest desire to slack off for the entire day courtesy of Mother Nature, I forced myself to hop in the car and head for the office...
Fortunately, once I got out of my neighborhood, the roads were essentially clear and, with the exception of a little excitement on the infamous bridge that derailed my journey last time, I made it in without mishap. Interestingly enough, however, I appear to be the only one to have done so. I had expected to find everyone here waiting on me and muttering quietly about how I was the only one who seemed to have an issue with the snow, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The doors were locked and there's a swath of pristine, untrampled snow leading up to the door indicating that nobody has entered the building since the snow began.
So, I flirt briefly with the notion of pretending none of this ever happened and heading home. Unfortunately, before I can commence my scheme of plausible deniability, my Boss calls my home and Roobi, without considering the possible implications, generously volunteers my location. DOH! He calls me at the office and that, as they say, is that. Had I known that the entire day's play was dependent on my actions, I would have stayed in bed.
So once again it's proven that doing the right thing never fails to bite you in the ass.
Point and laugh, here
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/15/2004 at 09:47:32One minor additional item for today. My Boss has apparently taken to turning the heat off overnight, presumably in keeping with his thrifty nature. Which would be just fine if he was the first one here in the morning and had to shiver while the building warmed from its sub-arctic temperature. My fingers are so cold, I can barely force them to type this rant with anything approaching coherency.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/17/2004 at 08:02:53It appears that my Boss might not be totally impervious to my frequent and persistent attempts to explain things, after all. Now, instead of going into excruciating detail about how I should accomplish tasks that are both pointless and impossible, he's started telling me that he'll just "leave the details to me"...
Which would be great if he'd accept "That's not going to work" as an answer, which isn't bloody likely. Instead, he second guesses my conclusions, so I end up having to try and explain the minutae of why what he's asking for is both illogical and impossible, which leads into a discussion in which he goes into excruciating detail about how I should accomplish said impossible task. So, in the long run, the only change is I have to anticipate all his ludicrous assertions before he tells them to me, so that I can be properly prepared to refute them. *Sigh*
This all stems from his total ignorance of how a database is supposed to work - which I could accept if only he'd stop pretending otherwise. Our current database structure, accumulated over the past 10 years or so is a godawful mess, because nobody that's ever worked here has had the faintest clue what they were doing with it. Now, my Boss wants to move the existing data into the new database format, but there's so much garbage in there, that the data is essentially useless. Without going through each individual record, one at a time, there's no easy way to separate the good from the bad. That's going to take time, but since time is money, my Boss is, of course, resistant to leaving me in peace long enough to finish the job. The other alternative is to pay someone to un-screw his data, but you already know that's not going to happen.
I should really post one of his design documents so you could all see precisely how bad he is at explaining what he wants, but I fear for your collective sanity. And my own.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/20/2004 at 07:44:31I have now spent the better part of two days up to my armpits in the seething chaos that is our "database". I italicize that by design, since the contents can be referred to as data only by the loosest interpretation of the word...
I've already mentioned the sub-standard practices around here, but after detailed review I've discovered the situation to be even worse than I thought. It's become painfully evident that, during the 10 or so years that this detritus has accumulated, no one has made even a token attempt to protect the integrity of the data. So, instead of a usable customer database with a 10+ year history, I've got crap. And not just a little bit, either. I have 72000+ records to go through. Individually, since there's absolutely zero consistency in any of the data fields that I could use to automate things.This means that once I finish paying my Boss' bills today, I'll earn the privilege of spending the rest of the week perusing customer records - one at a time - trying to separate the good from the bad.
So, if you see me up on the water tower on Friday - try and talk me down?
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/21/2004 at 12:55:51I continue to be amazed by the dichotomy between my Boss' persistent need for constant and timely status updates and his utter failure to provide any information in response to my requests...
Shortly after I started here, we had a brief discussion in which he cavalierly reported my ineligibility for benefits until I had been here for 6 months. Even then, I calculated the possibility of surviving that long as infintesimal, but I digress. After several weeks of no additional information, I specifically requested a copy of the benefits document so I would know exactly what was available and when. That was the 26th of November. I still haven't gotten the document. During my interview, my Boss mentioned that I'd be eligible for a review after 90 days with a token raise attached. I asked about the review on the 1st of January, since he hadn't given any indication that he remembered. I still haven't heard anything. A few months back, I had suggested staggering hours so that once we got an additional office-person, I wouldn't be the only sucker here for 10 hours per day. When my Boss hired Mr. Know-it- All, I reminded him of the discussion. That was the 12th of January. I still haven't heard anything.
And yet if I haven't reported my status after 24 hours, no matter how trivial the project, my Boss immediately goes to Condition Red and I'm immediately subjected to a barrage of follow-up emails. I'm simply at a loss to explain the obvious schism between the one and the other. Meanwhile, I continue to pay his bills and essentially run his business, despite his assurance that the situation would only be temporary. Apparently 4 months still qualifies as temporary.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/26/2004 at 13:41:57Way back on December 10th, I commented on how Google's update to their page ranking scheme had affected my Boss' business and his underlying sanity. At the time, I suggested that we try coding our site to appeal to customers, rather than to a faceless search engine...
Today, almost two months later, my Boss approaches me with a snippet from some Search Engine Optimization clown's analysis of how to minimize the negative impact of the changes. This alleged expert suggested reducing the overuse of keywords. Sound familiar? The part of this that really bugs me, though, is that I offered him my recommendations in response to his request, and he completely discounts anything I have to say. Even though my contentions have been borne out by the so-called experts, my Boss still resists making significant changes, despite the fact that our home page title alone repeats his favorite keyword three times! Just wait. By next week he'll be asking me to research why our site ranking still hasn't improved any...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/27/2004 at 14:19:54Once again, I'm obliged to comment on my Boss utter inability to comprehend anything other than his own, narrow self-interests. Whatever trivial task he's undertaking is monumentally more important than anything anyone else might be doing...
Just this afternoon, I got the patented look because I had the damn gall to disturb him with my petty questions while he was otherwise occupied buying something off of e-Bay. I mean, what was I thinking, daring to intrude simply so I could figure out how he wanted me to pay his taxes? What nerve!
There was an additional episode this morning, when he spent 15 minutes instructing Mr. Know-it-All on how to properly package a letter, due to the fact that the way he had done it would have cost an additional 12 cents. I just finished another in my long series of futile arguments because he wanted to correct mistakes we made in calculating shipping costs by going back and charging the difference to our customers. Even though the orders in question are, at this point, months old! He's so wrapped around the nickel and dime mentality that he'd be willing to obliterate any chance at future business over a couple bucks. And this in response to an error we made. It's surreal.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/28/2004 at 11:30:13When running a business, every dollar counts and extraneous expenses need to be curtailed. But there's a fine line between being necessarily thrifty and just being cheap. Normally, my Boss straddles that line. Today, however, he did a running long jump across it...
I've already mentioned his penchant for turning off the heat in order to save a couple cents. Generally, the only one inconvenienced by the sub-arctic temperature of the office is me, since I'm the unfortunate soul stuck being the first to arrive, but today was different. On Tuesday evenings, the cleaning crew comes through and when they were done, they apparently shut the door to his office - the only room in the building without its own heat source. So, when he arrived this afternoon, his office was like a meat-locker even though the rest of the building was relatively comfortable. While apparent to me, the irony was clearly lost on my Boss, because his first request was to make sure I opened his office door if I arrived to find it closed - because it was cold in his office. I will, of course, ensure his request is handled with all the consideration it deserves...
One would think that vignette illustrative enough to make my point, but we here at Undead Fish are nothing if not thorough. Until the horse is really dead, the beatings will continue. To wit: The antivirus subscription on one of our computers had expired this morning, but rather than spend the $30 to renew the subscription, my Boss instead directed me to install a pirated version. Ethical considerations aside, this is the computer that stores records of every internet order we've received since 2001. One would presume that my Boss would take at least a modicum of caution to prevent that data from leaking out onto the internet. At least, if I were crazy enough to actually order anything from this company, I'd hope we weren't so stupid as to be sharing my credit card information with every hacking syndicate on the planet. And yet, my Boss is more than willing to take that chance, just to save a couple bucks. I voiced my strenuous objection to his plan, but, given how much impact that usually has, I won't hold my breath on changing his mind.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/29/2004 at 09:13:50If my World of Warcraft blurb seems unusually snippy, you can blame it on the fact that my work computer is a worthless pile of steaming dung. Each day, my pointless daily tasks are interrupted by frequent and repeated crashes that only a hard reboot can rectify. I suffered two such lockups while writing that item...
Not only is the hardware grotesquely inadequate for my daily tasks, but it's running quite possibly the worst operating system on the entire planet: Windows ME... Yup. For those of you who had been wondering who it was, now you know. I think Microsoft sold one copy and I'm the sucker who gets to use it. It all derives from the fact that my Boss thinks he knows what he's talking about regarding computers, when in actuality he's clueless. Allow me to elaborate.
Every other box in the office is running 98SE, which, while it's admittedly outdated, I still run on several of my home PC's. It's fairly stable and I've never had any serious issues. But, even though the only networking it has is a shared printer, my Boss refers to this work machine as "The Server", therefore, in his technology-addled brain, it requires a "server" operating system. I'm not sure how he arrived at the conclusion that Windows ME qualifies as a server OS, but given the logic he's displayed thus far, I can't say I'm surprised.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 01/30/2004 at 07:29:02Comic book villians often possess superpowers that allow them to detect the heroes' weaknesses. I'm starting to think my Boss possesses the same innate sense, providing him with the knowledge of precisely which buttons to push to get my blood boiling. It's the only explanation for his seemingly effortless ability to set my teeth on edge and drive me to within a hair of a blind rage...
Last week, he asked me to investigate one of the functions of our e- commerce shopping cart. After a quick but thorough analysis, I told him that it was insufficient for the task he was trying to accomplish. He immediately agreed with me, recalling his own investigatory findings from back when he first put his store online. So far, so good.
Given that, I can't even begin to understand the inexplicable e-mail I received this morning after learning that he had posted the same question to the shopping cart user's group! And then, despite the fact that his question was vague and poorly worded, he proceeded to second-guess my conclusions on the word of some anonymous user. Because, of course, this random individual is clearly perfectly suited to answer a question that my Boss can barely formulate in his own mind, much less transcribe to the written medium. What's worst is, now that he's gotten an answer that's obviously more to his liking, he instructs me to follow up on it!
It sends my blood pressure through the roof. Literally. If you ask me a question, and I answer it, don't keep asking everyone else until you get the answer you're looking for. Why even ask if you're not going to accept my answer? For crying out loud, my 3-year-old knows better than that! If you really doubt the veracity of my conclusions, then feel free to research things on your own. If I'm wrong, I'll be happy to admit it. But do not just sit and second guess me - it infuriates me. And then, if you're stupid enough to ignore that advice, definitely don't come back and ask me to follow up on your inquiry!
I tried to compose a polite, rational, well-reasoned response to his email, but was utterly incapable of doing so. I'm still seething over his utter inability to take me seriously and I'm genuinely thinking of telling him where he can shove this pathetic little job. I've about exhausted my patience with my Boss' inept, anal-retentive, micro- managerial meddling.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/02/2004 at 16:03:33Slow news day, today. The only topic of note is that my Boss just asked me when the software upgrade will be ready to go live. This, despite the fact that he's basically stone-walled every single suggestion I've offered regarding ways to make the upgrade go more smoothly...
So, instead of using this new package in its default configuration, I'm expected to do massive rewrites of the underlying code in order to handle the bizarre and non-negotiable deviations my Boss feels it necessary to retain. Then, on top of that, I'm restricted in the degree to which I can contact the developer for technical support, because my Boss is loath to pay for an extended support contract. Of course, this is all time- sensitive with an expected deadline of last week. And he wonders why I groan whenever he calls me in for a meeting...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/03/2004 at 10:28:45Every time I think my Boss has reached the absolute limit of thrifty, he immediately proves me wrong. In his mind, there's always another nickel to be extracted from an unsuspecting source. Sadly, in most cases, that source is his customers...
We shipped a package to a customer in England but she never received it. Despite the fact that she needed the items on a specific date, she was forced to wait an entire month before my Boss was willing to accept that fact that the package was lost. So, she's already understandably upset that her items didn't arrive for her deadline, but my Boss isn't yet done ensuring that she never makes the mistake of ordering from us every again. Oh, no. Not yet. For some unfathomable reason she still wants her stuff; Personally, I would have cancelled the order weeks ago. But I digress.
In my twisted view of retail, I'd think you'd bend over backwards to rectify the situation with the least additional hate and discontent for the customer. But, apparently, I'm completely wrong. Instead, my Boss offered her the options of either a) waiting 12-14 weeks for the postal claim to be paid before he re-sends her order or b) paying for the entire order again with a promise that he'll credit her account once the claim is paid - in 12-14 weeks. I suspect she'll choose the unstated third option: tell my Boss precisely where he can shove it and take her business elsewhere. At least, that's what I hope she says.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/04/2004 at 11:22:32We had a discussion about our shipping methods this morning. After yesterday's discussion regarding forcing a customer to wait 3 months for a refund, my Boss tried to claim that "Customer Satisfaction is our number one priority". It was all I could do not to laugh...
I mean, honestly, how can he possibly think we're going to believe that, when it's so blatantly obvious that our number one priority is stuffing my Boss' pockets with as much cash as humanly possible. Customer satisfaction is number one, but we'll force people to wait literally months for the Post Office's ridiculously inept bureaucracy to respond to our claim before we'll consider refunding the money that they spent, in good faith I might add, on our products. Customer satisfaction is number one, but we'll continue to take orders and charge people for a printed catalog that doesn't even exist. Customer satisfaction is number one, but we'll add a $10 surcharge to your order to cover the 10 seconds of labor required to slap a label on a box.
I think it would be more accurately phrased as "Customer satisfaction is our number one priority... as long as it doesn't cost anything".
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/04/2004 at 13:00:32I know there are those of you out there that are sorely disappointed that there haven't been any additional installments in the saga of Samadhi vs. the Energy Behemoth. Fear not, however, as the next thrilling episode in the tale looks like it's about to begin...
Because my Boss apparently didn't learn anything from our last fiasco involving the absolutely nightmarish gas and electric configuration, we're poised to dive right into the very same quagmire. Shortly after the disgruntled tenant moved out of the building, a new victim moved in and proceeded to make the very same types of mistakes. As of two weeks ago, he hadn't yet transferred the billing information into his name, so I'm still getting their bills. Now that it's time to actually pay said bills, my Boss finally decides that he needs to get involved. So, of course, he, as always, immediately delegates all responsibility for the task to our hero. Fortunately, in this case, he didn't wait until it was a festering glob of 18-month-old trouble, but I can already foresee it's not going to be as quick and painless as I would like.
Stay tuned for imminent blackouts!
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/06/2004 at 07:53:42I hate it when I'm given partially-completed tasks and asked to handle all the details with which my Boss can't be bothered. And yet, he does it constantly, in spite of the fact that I've told him no less than a million times how much it aggravates me.
Yesterday we had this same conversation yet again, after he got off the phone with his ISP, then instructed me to call him back with a couple questions that he had forgotten to answer. Never mind that his questions both made no sense and were irrelevant, or the fact that since I wasn't privy to the original conversation I had no idea of the context in which he was asking. Oh, no. Just do as you're commanded, peon.
So this morning, of course, I get yet another email with some garbled instructions about checking some online advertising along with the ubiquitous irrelevant text, cut-and-pasted from their website. In 90% of these cases, it would be quicker and less painful for him to just do it himself rather than taking the time to cut-and- paste worthless information into an email asking me to do it, but of course that makes sense so it'll never happen. No, instead I'll get to spend 45 minutes trying to decipher his cryptic message, then another couple hours retracing his steps around the website trying to figure out exactly what the hell he's talking about. The worst part is, I'll undoubtedly get another email later today asking me for the status of what's supposed to be my priority project: trying to finally fix his godawful website even though I've wasted the better part of my day on yet another pointless, trivial, anal- retentive task.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/09/2004 at 07:33:13I hate paying my Boss' bills. Actually, no; hate is far too inadequate a word to accurately describe my soul-searing loathing for this task. Up until this week, I had been under the impression, however, that I had seen the worst Accounts Payable could throw at me. I was wrong...
Normally, my Boss reviews the paperwork - to ensure I know how to properly use a calculator, I'm assuming - and then returns the stack to me with a half-dozen items that his magical micro-managerial skills have identified as failing to meet anal-retentive standards. This entire process is repeated from one to three times during the week until his obsessively thrifty demon is finally satisfied and I'm permitted to print and mail the checks.
This past week, however, I decided I was going to have this distasteful task done early so as to not have it hanging over my head for the balance of the week. So, I compiled the necessary paperwork, shut down all higher brain functions, generated the reams of useless supporting data, and deposited the impossibly anal stack on my Boss' desk in the sincere belief that I'd accomplished my assigned mission. This was on Tuesday.
This week, however, he decided to run a different pattern. The bills
sat on his desk all week without review. If you could see the
pool of seething chaos that is my Boss' office, you'd understand
precisely how dangerous that is. At any second, a tendril of chaotic
gray ooze could subsume his desk and all my work would be lost to flux
forever. But I digress. On Friday he finally calls me in to
discuss the AP. That's always a bad sign, and, sure enough, he
had comments and/or complaints about every single bill.
"You know that AP's job is to verify that all our bills are correct, don't you," he says.
"No," I reply. "I guess you'd better make sure that whoever you hire to do AP understands that, then, eh?"
Needless to say, the sarcasm totally eluded him.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/09/2004 at 07:40:36We haven't had an intermittent co-worker update in a while. Some of you probably presumed that's because she was no longer around, which, on the surface, would be a pretty safe assumption. You overestimate my Boss' ability to deal with an unpleasant situation, however...
Despite the fact that he had boldly proclaimed his intentions, when the time came to actually drop the ax, his weasel nature took over and he was unable to fire her. Personally, I think the fact that she asked him for a meeting, and not the other way around, threw him off balance and prevented him from following his rehearsed script. I'll freely admit I enjoyed his discomfort, (Karma -10), but I digress.
The bottom line is she dodged the bullet and has been here, more-or- less reliably ever since, working at her established 47% of capacity. Up until this past week, when it seems her good intentions have faded once again. Maybe it has something to do with the phases of the moon, but on Thursday she decided she could only work a half-day and she was totally out on Friday. This morning, she showed up for work, but was suddenly called away on an emergency after about a half an hour. Which means, unfortunately, that I'm going to be forced to have a long, tedious, excruciating discussion with my Boss about her "reliability". Again.
Seeing as how it's Monday morning and I'm already prepared to call it a week, this prospect chills me even more than normal.
Submit your favorite excuse here.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/09/2004 at 16:10:22The man was born to torment me. Like Prometheus' eagle, my Boss's sole purpose on this earth is to make me suffer. There's simply no other explanation...
Over the past few weeks, I've been trying to work out the kinks and get our archaic order processing software upgraded to something relevant to the 20th century. This has involved several excruciating meetings with my Boss, who seems hopelessly mired back in 1975, over every possible detail regarding the software's functionality. Despite my best efforts to convince him that change is good, he refuses to be satisfied by any paradigm other than crippling the new package so that it operates in the exact same manner as the old one. Even my so- rare-as-to-be-nearly-unique victories were washed away today as we revisited a host of details I had thought already finalized, and my Boss, in a magnificent display of ignorance and close-mindedness, proceeded to stubbornly cling to his outdated notions of software utility. So now, the brand-new, advanced ordering system is going to look and feel exactly like the crappy, old, vintage 1980 software it was purchased to replace. I'm appalled.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/12/2004 at 10:32:13Some of the things that my Boss considers reasonable business practices simply baffle me beyond the point of comprehension. I mean, I know he's thrifty, but the lengths to which he's willing to go are truly astounding. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they actually border on criminal...
I've already mentioned (several times, in fact) the chaotic nightmare that is our webstore's shopping cart checkout page, but I don't think I've covered the associated shipping and handling charges that are imposed on every single order. This is, of course, because it's yet another bizarre and baffling arrangement that defies being described within the attention span of the typical UF reader. Suffice it to say that it's every bit as confusing as any of the other incomprehensible policies in effect here. So, as you might be able to predict, it's inevitable that errors are made. Frequently.
This particular set of errors, however, is especially egregious in my Boss' eyes, because my intermittent co-worker appears to have neglected to charge our "standard customs-documentation surcharge" on all international orders that she had processed since October. Since my Boss never passes on an opportunity to line his pockets at the expense of his customers, this afternoon he has decreed that we will go back through our records and apply the correct charges to those orders - even though many are nearly 4 months old at this point. I'm sure these people won't notice, mind, or complain about the sudden appearance of charges on their credit cards for arbitrary surcharges from last year's transactions. After all, he claims, they agreed to the charges when they placed the order.
Personally, I seriously question the legality of such an action. I mean, for how long is a merchant permitted to use the card number a customer has provided? 30 days? 60 days? Forever? I suspect we'll find out. Irate customers have a nasty habit of consulting lawyers when they feel they're being taken advantage of...
Offer your legal assessment here.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/13/2004 at 13:26:59Micromanagement really irritates me. It implies, to me at least, that I can't be counted on to accomplish a task without the oversight of one more enlightened than I. It's particularly annoying when the one doing the overseeing is anal-retentive to the point of obsession...
It was, admittedly, a minor incident that led to this rant, but it's the principle of the thing. As has become the norm around here, this morning I had an email from my Boss asking for an update about a trivial task on which I was working. It wasn't something with which he needed to become involved. It wasn't something that required his input or approval. He just felt obligated to get involved in order to satisfy his unquenchable need for control.
Of course, when confronted with my accusations of micromanaging, he of course denies that he's doing any such thing - even when confronted with several dozen undeniable examples. But the part that really gets me going is the fact that I keep trying to convince him to change even though I'm well-aware that he's utterly hopeless.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/16/2004 at 09:07:59I hope everyone is having a nice holiday. There's just nothing like a three-day weekend to help one unwind. At least, I suspect that's true. Since I'm once again at work, however, I have no way of knowing for certain...
What scares me is that I've actually begun to grow accustomed to being at work during Federal holidays. It barely even warrants a rant these days. That bothers me. I hate the fact that I've begun to internalize the unfair restrictions that my Boss has imposed upon the work environment. It implies to me that I've accepted the unacceptable - that I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm going to be stuck here for the indefinite future. I keep telling myself that's not true but I've had no other nibbles despite my continued searching and I can't financially afford to quit, regardless of what my principles are shrieking at me on a daily basis.
So fear not, loyal readers. I shall remain here, mired in misery yet striving to continue providing the high-quality UF entertainment you've grown to expect. In related news, stay tuned for Haiku Week - only here at UF.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/17/2004 at 09:00:56Pain and suffering related to paying my Boss' bills continues unabated. Yes, that's right - the monthly Visa bill is once again due and, as always, the process of trying to sort out the tangled morass of responsibility is like my own personal monthly brain aneurysm...
You see, every month, we write three checks to cover the bill, so we have to go through each and every charge in order to assign it to the appropriate account. This agonizing process is required because my Boss doesn't understand the concept of a corporate credit card, but I digress. This month, my Boss decided that he was going to do me a favor by having Mr. Know-it-all go through the bill and generate the spreadsheet, instead of forcing me to do it. While I appreciate the intent, however, what that really meant was that I got to hold his hand and explain my Boss' anal-retentive procedure, because, as you know, everything has to be done exactly his way or it's simply wrong. But, again, I digress.
At any rate, because of his generosity instead of simply taking a single full day, this process took almost three. But that's not all. Oh, no. Because, in addition to his other infuriating idiosyncracies, my Boss also has an obnoxious habit of buying things and then returning them a few days later. Thus, the Visa bill is never simple and straightforward and, as a result, for the past three months, the Amount Due hasn't equalled the total of all the charges. If you've only read a few of my previous rants, you'll know that a financial discrepancy of even a few cents sets off my Boss' thrifty alarm and I was forced to spend several long hours trying to reconcile the bill so that my Boss would finally sign off on the checks.
When presented with the bill this month, though, he questioned why the totals didn't match. This, despite the fact that the financial gyrations over the previous bills were a direct result of his instructions on the matter. I could deal with that, though. It frustrates me, but everything he does frustrates me, so I'm used to it. What prompted this rant, though, is the fact that he acts as though I had come up with the solutions on my own, even though HE has to approve every single god-forsaken decision in the entire company!
"I know how much you dislike doing the Accounts Payable," he says to me, as though he could actually sense the invisible death rays emanating from my eyes. No. No, actually you have no idea.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/18/2004 at 07:03:49I'm starting to wonder if maybe there's something contagious around here. That's the only explanation for the dramatic change in my intermittent co-worker, who is, again, more intermittent than worker...
Maybe whatever it is that causes my Boss' bizarre schisms is somehow transmissable through the air; or maybe it's something in the water. That would make more sense, since I never drink water unless it's been purified with coffee beans, first. But I digress.
After a few weeks of perfect attendance, I was starting to think my co-worker finally understood that coming to work wasn't optional. Then, she was suddenly infected with bacillus bizarrus, and since then all bets have been off. Today is Wednesday and she has yet to make an appearance at the office this week. Monday she called to say she was in the emergency room, but she'd be in late. Tuesday, she needed to take her son to the doctor, but she'd be in late. Today, she was headed back to the doctor, but she'd be in late. Once again, apparently "late" has a different meaning in her language.
At this point, one of only two explanations seems plausible: Either she's having a relationship with her doctor, or she's Patient Zero of the fatal plague destined to obliterate the human species. Since it would finally free me from this job, I think I'm hoping for the plague.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/19/2004 at 12:05:18Yesterday, my Boss graciously informed me that he was planning on taking a long weekend through the middle of next week. So today, of course, in order to accomplish all the details that require his direct oversight and meddling, he did what anyone else in a similar situation would do: He decided to work from home.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/20/2004 at 14:45:06People are broken. I don't normally write about our customers. Partially because anyone clueless enough to order from this company already has enough problems, but mostly because I'd generally side with them against my Boss. Today, however, I was finally faced with a situation worthy of comment...
I had spoken with this individual previously. They were having items shipped to California for a relative in Peru and the details made the transaction memorable. He had called before, claiming that he hadn't received one of the items he had ordered and, given our mediocre track record in order fulfillment, I sent out a replacement without question. So, I was understandably confused today when he called and claimed we had sent him the wrong item and he now had two of the incorrect product. Wait a minute, if we forgot to send the first one, how did he get two? Some additional questioning eventually revealed the real story: He had ordered the wrong item, then claimed to have not received it in the hopes that we'd "replace it" with the item he had intended to order. When confronted with this, he actually said that "You should have sent me what I wanted, not what I ordered".
He plays the "Do you really want to lose a customer over a $10 item?" gambit, but he's already got me so annoyed at this point that I'd bury him in my backyard for less than that. I finally convince the guy that I'm not responsible for his inability to actually order what he wants and that I'm absolutely not going to ship him another free trick. Given that he's admitted lying to me already, I'm not feeling particularly magnanimous. So, he immediately shifts tactics and starts claiming that he wants a refund on the shipping, because our carrier took 3 days to deliver his package instead of 2. "Or," he says. "I'm calling the Better Business Bureau". I love being threatened, so I promise him that I'll get right on it. I'll just need to clear it with my Boss first. Provided I don't forget...er... What were we talking about again?
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/23/2004 at 15:28:46Since I know the lack of misery and suffering is driving my readership away in droves, I feel compelled to point out that my Boss, the Dark Lord of Micro-management, will be returning to his Fortress of Sorrow on Wednesday. Your patience will soon be rewarded by the resumption of my normal agonized shrieks.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/24/2004 at 08:17:44"His arm has grown long indeed..." Gimli, The Fellowship of the Ring
Even from across the country, my Boss is still capable of causing frustration and discontent in my daily life. His refusal to handle details that require his attention continues to transform what should be trivial, mundane tasks into crises...
For some bizarre reason, my Boss felt it necessary to separate his business interests into two distinct corporations, so every week as I'm working on my ulcer while paying his bills, I have to write checks from two separate accounts, depending on which entity is responsible. About two weeks ago, I notified my Boss that we were just about out of checks for the one account. I wasn't the least bit surprised when he, of course, simply directed me to handle it - because, you know, he was far too busy bidding on eBay to be bothered - and I attempted to do so. I ran into a roadblock, however, because I'm not authorized to do anything with the account so I informed him of this and requested that he take care of it. Since he's the only one who can.
I'm certain it won't come as any surprise to any of you that I'm now down to my very last check. There are a half-dozen bills to pay and he still hasn't done a single thing about ordering replacements. And yet, when he returns tomorrow, he'll still manage to find some way to make this MY fault.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/25/2004 at 09:30:02You'd think that someone as anal-retentive as my Boss would pay a little more attention to detail. Instead, however, he gets so wrapped up in his own little self-centered universe that he completely ignores the impact his actions have on the rest of us...
For the entire week prior to his leaving for vacation, he's been totally obsessed with getting his ad on the back of one of the trade magazines. He drove his desktop publisher to the brink of insanity with his constant requests for trivial, pointless changes simply to satisfy his own anal-retentive, control-freak nature, and utterly neglected every other detail of running his business for an entire week, but he did manage to meet the deadline. For once, he took my advice on something and, as a result, his ad doesn't totally suck for a change. So all is good. Except for a couple of minor details.
For example: Anyone going to the URL in the ad gets a 404 - Page Not Found error. NONE of the items that he's advertising currently exist on the website, so you can't buy them online. Nor do they exist in our Ordering Software, so you can't buy them over the phone! And now, of course, the ad is running, so I'm starting to field calls and emails asking about the new products. Maybe it's just me, but you'd think that if you were going to spend the time and money to advertise a product then maybe you might actually be willing and able to sell it.
And what's worse, when he finally decides to show up for work, I just know I'm going to earn the privilege of spending the afternoon in crisis management mode trying to recover from his stunning lack of foresight.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/25/2004 at 12:16:06Update to this morning's rant: Exactly as I predicted, my Boss' failure to plan and/or communicate is now my problem. Is anyone surprised to hear this?
In fact, the only part of my prediction that was incorrect was thatI believed the hate and discontent would occur upon his arrival. He called instead. Other than that, I was dead on accurate. In response to my complaint, however, he claimed that he had asked me to set up the missing products on the website. Which is true, at least on the surface, except that I told him at the time that what he was asking for was impossible. I mean literally impossible. In my world, if someone tells you something can't be done, you don't sit around waiting for them to do it. Apparently the laws of reality are different in my Boss' bizarre universe because he couldn't understand why there was a problem. He just kept going back to his assertion that he had asked me to handle it. When I reminded him of the fact that I had already informed him that his request was unworkable, I got the distinct privilege of explaining WHY all over again. Just like I did the first time we had the conversation. And yet he still wonders why I don't think he listens to a word I say.
So, as predicted, I have to try and accomplish his task. Even though it remains impossible. This should be fun.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/26/2004 at 11:29:57I am continually amazed at how close-minded my Boss can be when it comes to other peoples' ideas. Unless the suggestion has leapt from within the chaotic, tangled morass of his twisted little mind, he just blocks it out entirely.
I've lost track of how many times I've offered some tidbit of advice, only to have it downplayed, argued with, or simply flat-out ignored. The man is utterly convinced that he has all the answers, even when presented with incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. This causes no end of stress and frustration for me, because I'm always the one left trying to implement his bizarre and complicated little schemes.
Today, for example, he decided that we needed to set up a mechanism to track visitors generated by our newest advertisement. As usual, when presented like that, it sounds perfectly reasonable, however, as always, there's far more to it than it first appears. In this case he wanted the tracking URL to redirect the customers not to the usual destination - our hellish home page - but instead to our soon-to-be- completed-but-not-yet-ready-for-prime-time dealer site. When questioned on his rationale for this seemingly bizarre action, he told me it was because "they're dealers. They need to go to the dealer site." Which makes sense, except for the fact that we our dealer site is just a holding page right now. It's a dead end. So he's directing potential customers to a dead page with no links to the very products that enticed them to go to the site! And yet this makes perfect sense in his mind. When I suggested that maybe we might want to make it easy for people to buy stuff, he looked at me like I was speaking Swahili.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/27/2004 at 07:21:38I try not to, but I continue to be stunned by my Boss' callous disregard for anyone other than himself. It's as though everyone else on this planet exists for the sole purpose of serving him, and no matter how I try to explain things to him he just doesn't get it...
Yesterday afternoon, in response to Wednesday's rant, I finally got the information I needed in order to complete the task of setting up the new products on our website. Or so I thought. By now, I suppose I should know better. I upload the new changes to the site, only then does my Boss finally decide to offer his insights on how he wants it done. I about flipped. The task is complete but I get to essentially redo the entire thing because he didn't bother to tell me what he wanted until I was done!
That's bad enough, but it gets even better: It's already quitting time when he tells me this, and, despite the fact that I've been here all week running his business while he's been on vacation, he still has the gall to ask me if I can stay late and get it done! For those of you keeping score at home, that's: Work additional unpaid overtime to make pointless, trivial, anal-retentive changes due to his failure to either plan ahead, or properly communicate his intent. Somehow, however, I managed to retain my composure, instead of stapling his lips to his cheeks, and offered a compromise - if there were any emergency changes he needed made, I'd do them from home.
Of course, as I'm sure you can easily guess by now, when I got home I had a 2-page email waiting for me with a laundry list of changes he wanted made. None of which were critical errors, most of which were directly attributable to his stupidity, all of which he, typically, wanted completed immediately. I'm talking about a solid two hours of work, easy. And yet, when I protest, I'm the bad guy - the uncooperative employee.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 02/27/2004 at 08:13:23"And let's see...what else can we pile on? Is there any more s#!& we can pile on to the top..." - Vinny Gambini, My Cousin Vinny
It's got to be a conspiracy. Somewhere, in some secret, subterranean lair, a nefarious cabal is plotting my demise. A shadow organization, bent on my utter destruction, their evil schemes are designed to crack my fragile sanity and turn my tremendous powers to evil. Either that or my luck just plain sucks...
It always worries me when I get a call at work from Roobi first thing in the morning, and this morning reminded me of precisely why that is: she called to let me know that her car's steering system blew up while trying to get the kids to school. Fortunately, they were still in the driveway at the time and not on the highway, or things could have been a hell of a lot worse, but, regardless, neither she nor I needs the additional stress right about now. My crappy job gives me plenty to write about, but it pays jack and an expensive car repair bill is just another one of those things that I really don't need.
I like to think I'm a flexible kind of guy, but I've just about reached my limit. So, if you're one of those kinds of people that believes in religion, new-age mysticism, karma, destiny, voodoo, channelling, Shirley MacLaine, or the Theory of Atlantis, do me a favor and put in a good word with your personal Cosmic Muffin, willya? Thanks.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/01/2004 at 09:18:48It's Monday and time for yet another foray into Lost Secrets of the Ancient World. In this episode, we'll attempt to determine why we're receiving bills claiming we owe interest and penalties due to errors on my Boss' 1999 corporate tax return...
No, I'm not kidding. Here it is, 5 years later, and he actually expects that I'm going to be able to not only figure out what the error was, but also why it was committed. And, knowing my Boss, he'll also want me to concoct some plausible explanation as to why he shouldn't be required to pay it.
And he wonders why I don't express any satisfaction over my job.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/02/2004 at 12:08:38I am in hell. I am trapped in a fiendish, nightmare reality overseen by a vile, twisted, anal-retentive egomaniac who is incapable of comprehending the fact that people were not placed on this earth for the sole purpose of serving him...
Some background detail to ensure continuity, then I'll launch into the rant proper. I've previously mentioned my struggles with trying to coerce archaic data into some semblance of order while attempting to upgrade our order management software. I've also mentioned my Boss' anal-retentive inflexibility and his overarching need to micromanage absolutely everything. Combine these two and you've set the stage for this morning's discussion.
The new order management software I'm trying to install doesn't exactly mimic the old, outdated, broken, proprietary software it was designed to replace and my Boss is apparently consumed by the desire to force it to do so, despite the fact that he's destroying advanced functionality in order to make it work just like the old system with which we currently fight on a daily basis. No, it doesn't make sense to me either, but he's absolutely adamant that it must done that way. So much so, in fact, that he's willing to pay the designer more than double the purchase price to customize it to conform to his whim. This is incredibly stupid and short-sighted, but in and of itself, isn't really a problem. In fact, given what you've all heard about my Boss over the past 6 months, it probably doesn't even come as any surprise.
Two weeks ago, I translated my Boss' nearly incomprehensible requests into English and emailed the software designers with his customization desires. As of this morning, however, we hadn't heard anything. And that's where the events take a turn towards rantworthy. Yesterday, my Boss asked whether I had "followed up" regarding a quote for the work and an ETA as to when it might be accomplished. However, since he had also sent me a half-dozen emails over the weekend with other tasks to go along with my normal Monday duties, I didn't get to it. So, this morning I get a curt email complaining that: "Another day has gone by without any update..." and "It is very important to me that you demonstrate time-sensitive follow ups on all issues..." Yes, those are direct quotes.
First off, it's been ONE FREAKIN DAY! Second, if following up is the number one priority, as he claimed in the email, why did he both neglect to say so and bust my chops about the other tasks he assigned? Make up your mind - you can't assign priorities after the fact, then berate me for not following them! Lastly, why is it ok for him to hound me for status reports after only 24 hours, yet my requests to him for information go unfulfilled for literally months? I've been here for nearly six months and I still have no idea what benefits are available to me. Apparently, none of that is important, so long as I continue to pay his bills and put money in his pocket. I'm supposed to just run his business perfectly, without any intervention at all whatsoever from him while he remains peacefully ensconced in his office like some effeminate, anal-retentive, micro-managing troglodyte, ordering crap from e-Bay.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/02/2004 at 12:19:27For those that might be getting bored: things may be looking up around here. I know many of you are growing weary of hearing me complain about the same issues day in and day out. Believe me, so am I...
So it should come as something of a relief to hear that there may be another saga brewing behind the scenes, reminiscent of the now-legendary Energy Behemoth fiasco. It's still too early to determine whether this will rise to same the dizzying heights as that tale, but if my intuition is correct, it's going to be EPIC.
Just a few minutes ago, I received a phone call from a young woman who identified herself as the representative of an unnamed legal firm inquiring about an unpaid bill for $200 from 1999. Right there, we have all the ingredients for a rousing tale of incompetence, conspiracy, cheapness, and sneaky conniving, but it doesn't stop there. I put the young lady on hold and asked my Boss if the scenario she was describing sounded familiar to him. He adopted his all-too-familiar deer in the headlights expression and told me in a conspiratorial whisper: "Tell them nobody here knows what they're talking about. Don't get involved."
Since she claimed to be from a legal firm, I know for a fact they're not going to just drop it without getting paid. Thus, I'm reasonably certain that the mystery will continue to unfold and, as it does, I'll regale you with the gory details. Stay tuned!
Stake out your prime spot on the grassy knoll, here
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/08/2004 at 07:30:15I am growing weary of coming to work in the mornings to find multiple emails from my Boss telling me that I've accomplished one of his tasks in an unsatisfactory fashion. Particularly because in 90% of the cases, my "non-compliance with his instructions" is wholly and completely a result of his inability to string together a sentence in a coherent fashion...
This morning, for instance, I got an email regarding some trivial text changes to a pair of products on the website. He claimed that I had added some incorrect text to one of the products, however the text in question has been there since before I was hired. Yet, this is somehow my fault. He also claimed that I hadn't added some other text in bold. His arbitrary and random use of decorative text is another one of my pet peeves, but I digress. He did, in fact, tell me to "Add bold text", but I interpreted that to mean "Add the text I've indicated in bold" and not "Add the text, in bold, I've indicated in bold." Silly me for not automatically assuming that adjectives are intended to modify every noun in a sentence.
I know when I confront him on this, he'll deny any responsibility for the error and will, in fact, claim that his curt messages imply no dissatisfaction, but that's not the point. It frustrates me to no end to constantly have to re-do work because he's either unwilling or incapable of explaining what he wants. Unfortunately, this phenomenon isn't restricted to his emails, either. Every facet of this job is subject to the same frustration and I am stuck without recourse. Micromanagement and imprecision simply don't go well together.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/09/2004 at 11:03:13Despite the fact that this business can only be thought of as being corporate through the absolute loosest interpretation of the word, occasionally the Dilbert cartoon scores a direct hit on some of the idiocy that runs rampant amongst the clutter and chaos of this office...
The episode immortalized in my Dilbert calendar on Sunday is a perfect example. Click the image for a larger, more clear version.
My boss IS the pointy-haired Boss, minus only the pointy hair. This morning he had me craft a letter to the insurance company to inform them that he was terminating coverage. Predictably however, when I did so, it wasn't precisely in accordance with what he wanted, so, of course, it gets handed back to me so I can make a half-dozen trivial, "Change puppy to small dog" sorts of changes. Had he simply done it himself, as I suggested when he initially asked me to do it, he could have saved us both some time and needless aggravation.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/10/2004 at 10:37:05I'm beginning to wonder whether my Boss and I are actually speaking the same language. Maybe it just appears that we're both using English, when in actuality one of us is really talking in an obscure dialect of Ancient Martian or something...
I've commented previously on my apparent inability to communicate my points to him and how he always acts suprised and offended when I get annoyed and accuse him of not listening to me. Yesterday's discussion was yet another glaring example. He called me from his office (an uncrossable gulf of 12 whole feet, but I digress) to ask me to do some analysis on the inventory database.
First, though, a little background. Because nobody with a clue has ever worked here before, there's NO consistency to the product identification scheme at all, whatsoever, and my Boss decided that it would be a fabulous idea to simply append an "M" to the products that he deemed slow sellers. This, in and of itself, isn't really a problem, except that he went and re-used the original numbers, so now we have a table of products with ID's that only differ by one character - the added "M". So now, he's trying to add an additional layer of complexity onto the database, but his prior bad decision won't allow it.
Back to yesterday's discussion: he asked me whether it was possible to write a query that could identify all of the products with bad ID's and I explained that it wasn't - that we'd need to do a character by character comparison of each ID in the table. Unfortunately, that wasn't the answer he wanted, so the discussion continued. The conversation below is paraphrased, but I think you'll get the general idea:
- "Well, can't you just compare Table A to Table B?"
"There's only one table. There's no way to do that."
"How about if you compare Table B to Table A?"
"There's only one table. There's no way to do that."
"Well, how about if you make a copy of Table A and compare it to Table B?"
"There's still only one table. There's no way to do that."
"Ok, then make a copy of Table B and compare it to Table A. Will that work?"
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/11/2004 at 10:40:55I'm the guy that pays the bills around here. Of course, I'm the guy that does everything around here, so that should come as no surprise to any of you, but I digress. One of the accounts recently ran out of checks, initiating yet another nearly-unbelievable example of my Boss' inability to see the forest for the trees...
Two months ago, when I first noticed that we were running low on checks, I informed him and asked him to please re-order. He, of course, declined to do so, passing the task back to me. So, I trotted off to the website and attempted to place the order, however I was unable to because I'm not authorized to do anything on the account. That's another issue about which I informed my Boss but he has, typically, chosen to ignore. In this case, however, it bit him in the ass because in my failed attempts to get the checks ordered, I accidentally entered his personal account number, instead of the corporate account number. After three such failed attempts, the bank locked his account, leaving him looking like a total ass when his ATM card was declined over the weekend.
So, instead of taking the 60 seconds to fill out the form like I asked, he spent all weekend trying to figure out who was attempting to hack into his bank account. Additionally, since the checks never got ordered in a timely fashion, none of the bills that are piling up on my desk can be paid from that account, since we still have no checks with which to pay them. The best part of all of this? Getting his account frozen really was an accident on my part, although I'd love to claim otherwise. The only sad part is that he won't have learned anything from the experience.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/12/2004 at 09:51:29I try and try, but I simply can't comprehend whatever passes for logic inside my Boss' mind. When presented with a set of facts, he leaps to the most illogical, inane, bizarre, off-the-wall conclusions you can imagine. This isn't an isolated event, either. This is every time...
Take yesterday, for example. We were discussing his impending trip overseas to sort out some issues at the factory of his primary supplier. I wish I could be around for that scintillating conversation, but I digress. He intends to be gone for an entire month which brought up the issue of how to pay the bills while he was gone. I like to consider myself a fairly logical soul, so my immediate thought was to give me authority to sign the checks in his absence. An easy, painless, elegant solution to the problem, right?
Wrong. Not only did the simplistic solution completely elude my Boss, his suggestion was about as far from simple as it could be. Instead, he proposed that we just pay everything in advance for the full month, despite the fact that we have several bills that arrive with varying amounts and there's no way to predict how much we'll owe. Not to mention the pain I'll suffer having to endure his anal-retentive micro-managing over the details of an entire month's bills. It's bad enough in small, weekly doses. Having to bear the brunt of the entire month, all at once, could be lethal.
I have to admit, I was so flabbergasted by his suggestion that I couldn't even manage to propose my alternative, but given his past history, I'm utterly convinced that he'll insist on his solution - if only because he thought of it.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/15/2004 at 10:53:11"Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answers?" - Charles Xavier, X-Men
You'd think I'd have learned by now. I constantly berate my stupid dog because I can't teach him anything and yet here I am, making the same stupid mistakes day after day. I am, of course, referring to my consistent failure to influence my Boss to see reason...
In the course of upgrading to our new order management software, I've come across several inconsistencies between how our online system interfaces with the new vs. the old software. Thus far, in every single case, my Boss' solution has been to tweak the new system to be more like the old, despite the fact that his recommendations have decreased the functionality of the new system. Regardless of the strength of my arguments or the impregnability of my logic, I still end up retreating in the face of the avalanche of inane drivel that spews forth from my Boss mouth.
Which makes me wonder why, when I once again discover a point of contention between the two systems, I would even consider mentioning a viable solution to my Boss. Wouldn't I be better served to simply concoct the most ludicrous solution imaginable and implement it, rather than go through the painful process of trying to convince my Boss of the stupidity of his suggestions? I know he's not going to change. He's proven that repeatedly. Am I merely a glutton for punishment? Or is there some deep-seated psychological flaw in my makeup (besides the obvious, of course) of which I'm unaware? Kind of makes me wonder...
Offer your diagnoses here.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/15/2004 at 12:16:11Inspiration, thy name is Energy Behemoth! After a long, tedious drought, the continuing saga has returned. Already, the forces have begun to gather, but this time the stakes may be far higher. It may, perhaps, be a bit premature of me to fan the flames of your collective enthusiasm - this scenario could still easily fizzle - but I'd be remiss if I didn't keep you, my loyal fans, apprised of the potential fireworks...
This morning we received a fax from yet another unnamed legal office regarding the former tenant who executed a hasty evacuation of the premises after the last great conflict. My Boss claims that he broke the terms of his lease by not giving "proper" notice of his departure and has withheld repayment of his security deposit in retaliation. The tenant claims, of course, that my Boss' inability to manage the heat/electric situation forced him out and that my Boss' refusal to return the deposit is unacceptable. Apparently, they argued about this back in January (without my knowledge) and my Boss has simply refused to respond to any additional emails or phone calls since that time. Which leads us to today and the intervention of the most dreaded of infernal minions - the Lawyer. So far, it's been relatively cordial: they simply requested that my Boss return the security deposit to the former tenant. However, given my Boss' thrifty nature, I wouldn't gamble on the likelihood of that happening, so I suspect the pressure to ratchet up another notch or two in the very near future.
Stay tuned for more fun and excitement!
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/17/2004 at 13:33:50Shortly after I moved back east from California, I took a job as Night-shift Manager for a small shipping company. At that time, I had never worked for a more hypocritical individual. The owner was certifiably demonic when it came to billing her customers, but creditors had to threaten physical violence before she'd pay her bills. I wasn't the least bit surprised when the company folded...
Which leads me to today. My Boss puts her to shame. He has taken hypocrisy to an entirely new level - one that any sane human would be hard pressed to top. Not that I want anything to do with such an attempt.
Allow me to elaborate: This morning, I got a call from our web hosting company asking to speak with my Boss. When I informed him who was calling, he appeared visibly annoyed and declined to speak with them. The caller then explained that "unless payment is in our office by 2pm, your site will be terminated." And yet, even when I told my Boss the reason for the call, he still didn't want to speak with them. Personally, I would have taken this for a big deal, but, as always, there's a long, sordid history of which I was unaware.
Apparently, my Boss set up twin hosting accounts. One holds our hideously atrocious retail site, of which you've heard, while the other was being reserved for the eventual use of a companion wholesale site. This site has yet to be developed, but the holding page and some graphics have been sitting on our hosts' server for 3 years. At the time it was established, my Boss somehow convinced the host that, since the site wasn't being used yet, he shouldn't have to pay for the hosting. I'm not sure I follow the logic, but it was enough to defer the cost for a time. Last year, though, someone at the host company decided that enough was enough and they told him they were going to begin charging him for the space, since it appeared that he was just leeching and had no intention of actually using it. He, of course, considered this ridiculous - after all, they had told him they wouldn't charge him. So, when the bills began piling up, he did his usual head-in-the-sand routine and just ignored them. Which brings us to today, when the whole thing finally came to a head. And, since he still believes he shouldn't be charged for the service of which he's been taking advantage for 3 years, he ignored their threat.
So, as promised, at 2pm today, visitors attempting to hit our wholesale website were presented with a 403-Forbidden error. Personally, I would have shut down all the sites associated with the delinquent account, but, fortunately for my Boss, our hosting company plays more fair than I would. Our hideously atrocious retail site stayed online.
The bit that tips this into the realm of the surreal, though? Just now, my Boss commented to me: "Can you believe they did that? Why should I have to pay for the space?"
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/19/2004 at 08:09:21My Boss isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, I've decided. I mean, apart from his atrocious managerial style, his insatiable desire for status reports and his appalling sense of style, he's just not very bright...
A few weeks ago, I installed the new version of our order management software on his computer, however they released an update this past week and he requested that I update his computer to the latest version. I told him I'd take care of it before he arrived on Tuesday morning, but I was too busy updating this site to get to it. I took care of it first thing Wednesday morning, but by that time I already had a snarky email in my mailbox asking about it. However, since I knew he had spent all day Tuesday surfing e-Bay, I was pretty sure he was relying on the lack of a status report to indicate that I hadn't accomplished the task - he hadn't actually checked.
So, I sent back an equally snarky reply, stating that if he had checked, he would have seen that I had updated his version. My hunch was correct, as it turns out, but what makes the exchange even more typical of my Boss' lousy management is that he came over yesterday to apologize claiming that he had "checked the date of the executable, but didn't realize that the update had the date that was displayed". Right. Of course, he was lying through his teeth, because if he had checked the date on Tuesday as he was claiming, it wouldn't have displayed the correct one - it would have showed the old date, since the new one wasn't there until Wednesday. So in an attempt to make it appear as though he was staying on top of things, he proved that he was doing no such thing.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/22/2004 at 08:27:54Know what I love about my job? Absolutely nothing. I think what I don't love most, though, is my Boss' continued and constant failure to understand that failure to plan on his part, does not constitute an emergency on my part...
Apparently, in and amongst all the other stuff we've got going on around here, he planned to spend this week in Florida. Ostensibly he'll be "showing our products to retailers", but the timing seems suspect - as does the fact that he's taking his friend along with him. The point of this rant, however, is the fact that we still have a million projects going on here, including his planned month-long sojourn to India, and his refusal to set or adhere to anything resembling priorities means that he's as busy as a one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest. Which, of course, translates into me being tasked with handling all the annoying, piddly, little details with which he can't be bothered.
This morning, for instance, he assailed me with a whiny email about how stressed he's going to be, because he has "more required to be done than can be completed today before I leave for my trip". Yes, that's a quote. He actually writes that way. In the email, he listed about 2 dozen things he wants me to have done for him by the time he arrives. Now, maybe I'm insane, but if you had that much to do, wouldn't it only make sense to show up for work on time, instead of halfway through the day? But, no, he'll wander in at lunchtime, as usual, and then proceed to dump things on me.
The part that really spools me, though, is his unhesitating conviction that I should spend today as stressed out as he is, flailing about wildly in an attempt to tie up loose ends so that he can go on vacation.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/22/2004 at 12:51:10Update to this morning's rant:
I now understand why my Boss was planning on being so stressed. Apparently, the things he had no time to do today included, surfing e-Bay, calling his doctor, shopping for new car insurance, and talking to his friend for 40 minutes...
Plus, I've had to edit the purchase order he asked me to create no less than 6 times, because he writes one thing in his instructions, but really wants another. Of course, when confronted with the inconsistency, he denied telling me what he had explicitly told me in his email.
Oh, and he has, once again, refused to do things the correct way because he apparently knows more about database structures than the guy he hired to maintain his database. So we'll set everything up incorrectly in order to cater to his back-assward sense of logic and then I'll spend all next month trying to explain why we can't do stuff with the database because it's all dorked up.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/23/2004 at 13:39:55After our huge argument about his continued refusal to adapt to correct database techniques, my Boss went on to provide further evidence that he does not, and simply will not get it. Ever...
Shortly before I left for the evening, he sent me an email asking me to research and set up about a half-dozen new ad tracking keywords in Google. Of course, like anything he's ever asked me to do, he had about 1000 conditions, clauses, sub-clauses, and nit-picky details attached, to the point where the initial intent was totally obscured by anal- retentive micromanagement, but that's beside the point. I've told him several times in the past that I consider his current advertising "strategy" ludicrious in the extreme, but, as always, my futile words merely echo faintly within the vacant cavern of his feeble mind as evidenced by the fact that he actually had the gall to comment on how much he "trusts" me because he was allowing me to "spend his money".
Never mind the facts that A) I've been paying his bills with his money for the past 6 months, B) he told me exactly how he wanted things set up, and C) he made absolutely certain to specify that I was categorically forbidden to bid more than 15 cents for any ad. Oh, yeah, that's trust all right.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/29/2004 at 08:17:48Nothing can ever be easy, I've decided. Regardless of how simple a task appears to be on the surface, you can be assured that something will arise in order to aggravate me beyond my capacity for rational thought...
Even something as innocuous as updating the site is capable of generating levels of hate and discontent sufficient to elicit frothing and foaming at the mouth when, for example, my laptop battery dies as I was putting the finishing touches on my latest masterpiece. And that's one, trivial instance. It's all downhill from there.
It's also Monday and my Boss has returned from his "business trip", presumably well-rested and eager to resume his normal, day-to-day activity of making my life a living hell. What he failed to anticipate, however, was the fact that he's not the only one determined to achieve that goal. No, in actuality he's merely one of a massive horde - a veritable throng of entities whose sole purpose seems to be making our hero miserable. And, in fact, in this case he was beaten to the punch by the tiny virus that invaded my house and ran rampant through my family before settling in for a seemingly long stay with yours truly. Thus, my Boss will simply have to wait another 24 hours before he gets the opportunity to, once again, incite me to violence. I'm certain he won't squander the opportunity.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/30/2004 at 07:12:55Gee, what a shock. My Boss is, once again, displeased with how I accomplished one of the trivial, pointless, aggravating, tasks that he assigned while he was gone. Let me put on my surprised face...
My Boss has a thing going on with Google advertising. He's obsessed with it. I mean, if it were physically possible, I'd be concerned about him slipping off to San Francisco to be married. He's that crazy about the system. So crazy, that he continues to try and concoct additional searches for which he can buy advertising, despite the fact that he's already paying for virtually every single word in the English language that's even remotely related to his business. Which leads to his request from last week, that I "try to find some additional words we can use, then go ahead and set them up. Here's a list of some I'd like you to start with".
So, I go and set up about a half dozen words in accordance to his instructions, only to receive an email yesterday evening stating that one of the ads I had set up "doesn't make sense to me. What did you mean by this phrase and what words is this targeted towards?" Uh, hello? YOU picked that phrase, not me. If it doesn't make sense to you, then why did you suggest it? All I did was follow your directions, like I always do. I've learned better than to try and inject any sanity into the operation.
Once again, if you're going to neglect to explain yourself with any clarity, then moan and complain about the manner in which I get things done, do it yourself. I'm really not interested in discussing your desired outcome after the job is already complete.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 03/31/2004 at 11:06:19The week before my Boss left on his alleged business trip he sent me an email asking Mr. Know-it-all to update all the vendors with whom we do business regarding the new expiration date on his credit card. This raises the questions of why he both insists on emailing me with tasks for my co-worker and refuses to acquire a corporate credit card for business use, but I digress...
I forwarded the email off to Mr. KIA and he dutifully handled the grunt secretarial task, or at least I presume he did. Since it wasn't my responsibility, I didn't feel the need to micro-manage his performance. I suspect you can see where this is headed. Yesterday afternoon, I got another email from my Boss asking, as always, for a status report on whether the task had been completed. I informed him that I had no idea, since he had asked my co-worker to do it and not me.
In response, I received a nasty email stating that my Boss had asked me to manage the other employees, and thus it was my responsibility to know whether the job had been completed to my Boss' satisfaction or not. Now, on the surface, I agree with that assertion. If he was letting me manage the employees, then I'd be happy to do so. My reply to his snarky email, however, made it clear that this was most certainly not the case. What he actually wants is for me to micro- manage the employees in exactly the same way that he does and I informed him of that fact, along with my flat and non-negotiable refusal to do so. But that's not the worst of it.
As a postscript to his little diatribe, he made the mistake of claiming, and I quote here: "Your response concerns me. It makes me feel you do not want to take responsility to manage or don't care what transpires outside of your world". At that point, any last vestiges of civility I had retained were obliterated in the fiery cataclysm of righteous rage. My initial response had to be heavily censored and was thus discarded, but I finally calmed down enough to remind my Boss that the door swings both ways, and that I was more than happy to handle things that were "outside my world". I have, in fact, been doing precisely that for SIX MONTHS while he has repeatedly and continually refused to uphold his half of the bargain. And yet, he's concerned about my attitude?
Interestingly enough, I did not have a reply to my scathing response when I arrived this morning, which is seriously out of character for my Boss. While I doubt that my words had an impact, since they never, ever do, I suppose it's at least a remote possibility.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 04/01/2004 at 12:46:32Something occurred to me today while I was procrastinating about paying the bills. My Boss is paranoid about the details of his finances. He claims it's to protect himself if he ever finds himself the subject of a lawsuit, which I can certainly understand, considering the almost certain probability of that happening. And yet, he's completely willing to violate his same rules without hesitation when it benefits him to do so...
For instance: You may recall our disagreement over installing a pirated version of anti-virus software on the main customer service computer from several weeks ago. Apparently, my stubborn refusal to do as he asked wore him down, because he finally did go out and purchase a copy of Norton 2004. Of course, the fact that the mail-in rebate essentially made it free might have had something to do with his willingness to spend the money, which is what makes this situation both interesting and typical. You see, my Boss paid for the software with his personal credit card, yet he declared the charge a company expense, since he was buying it for the work computer. Ok, so far. When I mailed in the rebate forms, however, I noted that they were made out to him personally, and not to the corporate account.
So, essentially he just transferred money from the corporate account into his own pocket, which makes me wonder. Is that sort of thing legal? I know if I tried such a stunt, it'd be called embezzlement.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 04/02/2004 at 09:15:03You'd think I'd have learned by now. You'd think, given my daily complaints about my Boss not getting it, that I'd stop trying to make him get it. But no, not me. Like a dog that keeps coming back for another kick, I keep trying to get my Boss to see reason...
Despite my normal, cynical nature, I have to admit I actually had a brief moment of satisfaction when my Boss indicated he wanted me to go ahead and update our hideously ugly home page. Sadly, that sensation was short-lived, because I was told I'm only allowed to tweak what we currently have, and not slash and burn the entire page and start over like I'd prefer. Still, this opportunity would allow me to eviscerate the worst of the offensive colors and pointless, extraneous text that he had added to impress the search engines. Or so I thought.
Of course, I was wrong. After I took the time to remove all the garbage that makes the site look like it was coded by a 14-year-old kid in his parents' basement, my Boss took a look at my work and decided that he really wanted 95% of the crap added back in. I explained. I argued. I cajoled. I threatened. But, as always, to no avail. No amount of logic can penetrate the man's impervious skull once he's decided on something. So, technically, all I really got to do was push things around on the page. Nothing changed, with the exception of some trivial cosmetic details, and the site continues to look horrendously amateurish. I remain embarassed to be associated with this site in any way, shape, or form, which really sucks because it would be nice to be able to take some credit for the work I've done.
I try not to be bitter, but I don't think I'm doing a very good job.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 04/02/2004 at 15:28:40It's funny. Today, during the continuation of our argument about my hatchet job on the website, my Boss asked if I had any samples of other sites I had worked on that he could see. I was literally this close to pointing him here and letting him get a sense for much I dislike his style. Unfortunately, I still need the job, so I was forced to resist the impulse.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 04/05/2004 at 09:29:26The saga of the great website war continues. I fought the good fight on Friday, but was forced to eventually concede and allow my Boss to have his way with the home page which, once again, looks like a tragic mishap at a circus sideshow. I was even helpless to prevent the re-addition of the hideous purple text...
It gets worse, too. Around 6pm on Friday, I decided I'd had enough for one week and packed my trash to head home. My Boss, however, being the anal-retentive bastard that he is, says to me "Your hours are until 6:30. I'd like you to upload the web page before you go." However, since he had only done a cursory scan of the changes, and I knew he'd find other things about which to complain, I refused. The last thing I wanted to do was upload the page and head home, only to find a half-dozen emails from him with important changes that had to be made IMMEDIATELY!!! That's what has always happened in the past, when I've complied with his requests and there was simply no reason to rush, especially given the fact that the initial re-design had been completed back in January and has been waiting on him since then. Sorry, but I'm just not seeing any sense of urgency on your part that requires immediate attention on my part. Fortunately for my fragile sanity, I finally managed to score a victory, albeit a minor one, and I left for the weekend.
So, this morning I do some last minute tweaking and let my Boss know that "with the exception of the horrific purple text, I'm satisfied that the site is complete", and it's ok for him to view it for final approval. Of course, nothing around here is ever so easy and within minutes I've got an email with another half-dozen minor changes that he's suddenly requesting. Gee, imagine that. Guess I was right to not rush, eh? The facet that truly aggravates me, however, is that most of these new changes are things that were blatantly evident last week when I first asked him to review it. It's as though he waits for me to be done and only then does he bother to check and see if my work is going to meet his expectations, rather than providing feedback at any one of several opportunities during the creation process. You'll see, by the time he's finally satisfied with the way the page looks, it'll be exactly like the hellish abomination I specifically designed it to replace.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 04/07/2004 at 11:11:08I feel compelled to give my Boss credit today. He's managed to sink to a new low -- a record that even he will have a tough time beating. Despite his atrocious managerial style, his inability to focus on anything other than micro-miniscule details, and his unwillingness to compromise, he still manages to utterly ignore everything except the issues which matter to him...
It's truly astonishing, but I guess he felt the need to flex his dictatorial muscles given his imminent departure for 4-6 weeks, so I spent at least an hour in his office this morning arguing over virtually every single facet of every single outstanding task. Most of which are only issues at all because of the fact that he decided that I should be the one to handle them -- even though they are in no way related to my alleged job description. For example, the first day I started, he dumped a heap of outdated customer service complaints on me. I mean, I'm talking about paperwork that was already 3 months old at the time. Unfortunately, they got buried beneath the other mountains of useless, trivial, not-my-job crap that he unloads from his to-do list on a daily basis and, as a result, a customer who had written us a bad check has not yet been re-charged for their $30 worth of cheesy merchandise. That was, of course, the first issue he wanted to discuss this morning, despite the fact that he never bothered to tell me exactly what he intended for me to do with the bad check, which is why I neglected to handle it in the first place! I guess I was somehow just supposed to know.
From there, we moved on to things that are, at least on the surface, part of my job. Unfortunately for yours truly, however, the reason we were, once again, wasting time and effort discussing the details was because my Boss refuses to accept any answer unless it is precisely in line with what he wants to hear. So, when I explained that technical issues with the database prevent me from implementing his incorrect, screwed-up, half-assed, bastardized system, that answer simply goes in one ear, through his vacuous skull, and out the other side. Even after a second round of arguing and explaining, he refused to accept anything I told him, so I guess I'll be spending the next several days trying to figure out some way to make his incorrect, screwed-up, half-assed, bastardized system work. To add insult to injury, when I finally and reluctantly agreed to do it his WRONG way, he had the gall to second-guess me on my estimate of how long I thought it was going to take to complete!
Finally, after being forced to concede on every single one of his points, I assumed it was going to be my turn to air MY grievances. Yeah, right. I should know better by now. As usual, he decided that he had important things to do before his trip overseas and that we'd talk about those issues next week. Which I'm more than capable of interpreting as "I'm in charge. You're not. You'll do things my way and that's the end of it." If that's what he believes, though, he obviously hasn't got me figured out very well yet. His trip is now scheduled for the 24th of April and he's actually expecting me to run things in his absence. Unless he and I manage to come to a real compromise before then, however, he's going to be a seriously unhappy camper on April 25th.
Speculate on what that means here
Submitted by: Samadhi on 04/07/2004 at 17:30:52More excitement today at the festering cesspit my Boss calls a business. I can sense disaster looming on the horizon as the intricate house of cards he's constructed begins to collapse under its own weight and I, for one, couldn't be happier...
Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Know-it-all went to ship some packages and was greeted by a terse message informing him that our shipping privileges had been suspended for non-payment of invoices. Gee, imagine that. Unfortunately, my Boss managed to talk his way back into business, but only by promising to pay the outstanding balance, nearly $1600, immediately. So, today, I hand him the stack of bills from the shipping company but the stupid, clueless twit actually tells me not to pay, because there's a $20 charge for which he doesn't think he should be responsible. $20 vs. $1600 and he still thinks they're the unreasonable ones! I simply can't believe one person could be so incredibly out-to-lunch. I can only hope that I'm around when they tell him precisely where to stuff his $20.
On top of this ludicrous display of poor managerial judgement, my intermittent co-worker finally made an appearance today, after a month-long absence. In her defense, however, this time her failure to show up for work was the direct result of my Boss' total lack of leadership ability. He had informed her that she was on standby until he got caught up and was able to give her a new project, but then, of course, he promptly got wrapped up in his own personal issues like he always does and simply left her to languish for nearly two months. She was understandably upset and rightly so in my opinion. She was technically still employed and therefore unable to accept another job, but at the same time she wasn't being paid. It's an understatement to say I'd have been pissed, too. At any rate, she finally ran out of patience and showed up spoiling for a fight.
Now, if there's one thing my Boss can't stand, it's being put on the defensive. It totally throws him off his game. As this morning demonstrated, if he initiates the argument, he's quite capable of standing up for his own moronic self-interests, but if the tables are turned, he's a hopeless little weasel. It was almost comical watching him try to fabricate a reasonable excuse to her attack and I look forward to our meeting next week when I'll finally get the opportunity to try and pin him down regarding my complaints. It should be fun.
Submitted by: Samadhi on 04/09/2004 at 08:45:08I've decided that it's entirely too nice a day today to be forced to spend it locked in a windowless cubicle, slaving away at pointless and irrelevant tasks for a unappreciative, anal-retentive control-freak.
Now if I could just get the control-freak to agree with me, I'd be all set...
Submitted by: Samadhi on 04/10/2004 at 10:35:44"Well, the Jerk Store called: they're running out of you!" -- George Costanza, Seinfeld
I felt not unlike the perennial loser of the aforementioned sitcom yesterday afternoon -- unable to deliver an effective retort until it was already too late to matter. My Boss, apparently not content with our disagreement earlier in the week, decided to continue to push the issue with me on Friday. In an ironic twist, however, I had just that morning come to the conclusion that I was, perhaps, being a touch more obstinate about his requests than I should be and had decided to be more accomodating in the future...
So much for that plan. It all started when my Boss casually mentioned that, despite the fact that I had grudgingly agreed to making one that afternoon, there was no bank deposit in amongst the bills that he was finally getting around to signing. Since, however, none of his tenants had bothered to pay their rents yet, there was nothing to deposit. When I presented this seemingly rational explanation, however, he insisted that he had instructed me to contact the tenants to ask for their payments even though, in actuality, he had not done any such thing. I tried to calmly explain that I disliked getting stuck in the middle of his continual landlord vs. tenant disputes and he quite simply lost it, slamming the door to his office and ordering me to sit down!
He then proceeded to launch into a tirade about how he was in charge and I would do what he asked me to do, without question, regardless of the specifics of the task. Calmly, which is an exceedingly rare state for me, I refused. I tried to explain that the employment agreement into which I entered bore no resemblance to the actual status of my job. I tried to explain that he had allegedly hired me as a manager and that I assumed that to mean I was going to be allowed to manage rather than simply being expected to blindly follow orders. I tried to explain that, while I was certainly willing and able to help out with tasks that were outside my stated job description, he had an obligation not to take advantage of that willingness and to follow through on the guarantees he had made at the time of my initial interview. Hiring someone to take responsibility for paying the bills, for example. I tried to explain that I had seen ZERO evidence to support his repeated insistence that he intended to do so. None of which apparently mattered to him at all whatsoever. In fact, during my attempted explanation he even admitted that he currently had no plans to hire anyone else to do the accounts payable -- a total and complete reversal of what he had told me at the time I accepted his job offer. I took his failure to inform me of that fact as dishonest and deceitful and I told him so in so many words. Apparently I hit a nerve, because that's when he told me to "Get out!" With a shrug, I replied "Ok" and headed calmly for the door.
He apparently was dissatisfied with that response, however, and followed me to my desk as I was gathering my personal effects. He started yelling again that I needed to "Leave right now" but I told him I wasn't going anywhere until I had gotten my things. He's so out of touch with reality that he thought I intended to vandalize my PC out of spite. I mean, honestly, he's nowhere near smart enough to change any of his passwords so there's no rush. If I were inclined to destroy him, there's not a thing he could do about it. But I digress. He continued to yammer at me, so I told him that I'd be happy to continue discussing things but I was not going to just sit there and take his abuse. Unfortunately, he accepted my offer and we withdrew back into his office for Round Two.
Sadly, the second half of the discussion didn't proceed any better than the first. He continued to stubbornly resist every single point I tried to make, clinging adamantly to his because I'm the Boss, that's why philosophy and continuing to insist that I do everything he asks, when and how he asks it. Despite this, though, he maintained that he wasn't trying to micromanage. Nothing I said had any impact. Even the most logical, rational, well-crafted argument I could concoct simply bounced harmlessly off his thick skull, and I found myself unwilling to continue the attempts. His utter inability to see any perspective but his own is infuriating to say the least and I'm ashamed and disgusted to be forced to admit that, in the end, I had no other option than to back down and agree to his demands. What's worse, he again managed to avoid discussing any of the topics about which I've asked over the past several months.
It wasn't until it was all over, and I had time to ponder everything that was said, that I realized I had made the Costanza mistake referenced way back at the top of this page. What I should have done was stick to my principles. I should have forced him to either accept that there were going to be some needed changes to our working relationship or I should have walked. Instead though, when confronted with the stark reality of unemployment, I caved and allowed him to score a total victory. Trying to resist his constantly unreasonable and absurd requests is going to be twice as hard now, and he's going to be far more likely to try to take advantage, since I've now shown him that he can get away with it. Sadly, I'm at a loss as to how to counteract this. I think the only hope I have of extricating myself from this absolutely untenable arrangement is to finally have some luck in procuring another job and I suspect my work situation to continue to deteriorate until that happens.
Given my track record thus far, I'm not especially optimistic.
Call me a gutless wimp here
Submitted by: Samadhi on 04/12/2004 at 09:36:57Hang on, folks, I suspect this is going to be a long one. It'll also be a tad disjointed in all likelihood as my brain is stubbornly refusing to compile this morning. To start with, though, I am no longer employed at the festering cesspit of incompetence that was my job, so I no longer feel obligated to protect the anonymity of either my hopeless boss, or his pathetic sham of a company...
I guess my total capitulation on Friday wasn't sufficient for my Boss, since at some point over the weekend, I suddenly found myself locked out of my work email. Interestingly, I noted this shortly after I posted Saturday's rant, so I'm forced to conclude that my Boss managed to stumble across the site and read my comment about him not being smart enough to change his passwords. Either that or he learned some lessons from the previous procession of disgruntled employees because all the passwords for FTP access were changed as well. On a related note, I have my suspicions about the cause of the fire that destroyed his warehouse several years ago, but I speculate. At any rate, I was merely venting, obviously, because the legal hassles would never be worth the fleeting satisfaction I'd have derived from malicious vandalism. Besides, given his total incompetence, I'm absolutely certain that he'll eventually fail spectacularly without my intervention. I'm just sorry I won't be around to see it happen firsthand.
Anyway, due to the odd interruption, I had a sneaking suspicion that something was up, so if he was trying to gain some personal enjoyment from my stunned reaction it didn't work. I was, however, surprised to see that he felt the need to bring the Middlesex Police with him this morning. As though I was going to freak out about losing the opportunity to be taken advantage of on a regular basis anymore. Yeah, right. Not bloody likely, you little coward. The only unpleasantness that occurred was due, as usual, to him being an unreasonable little cretin: I went to delete my personal email accounts from Outlook -- in his presence and while explaining precisely what I was doing -- and he flipped. From his reaction, you'd have thought I was reformatting his webserver, thus, I can only assume that my explanation, once again, failed to penetrate his thick skull. Due to his utter inability to listen to a single thing I've said over the past 7 months, I have zero difficulty accepting that explanation. When I resisted his attempt to physically remove the mouse from my hand, he stomped out and returned with a friendly, neighborhood Police Officer who proceeded to escort me peacefully from the building. It's just a shame my Boss won't be handed a bill for wasting the taxpayers' money on a frivolous call.
On the off chance that he is, in fact, reading this, I'd like to take the opportunity to offer some final unsolicited advice: You might want to consider taking a long, hard look at the way you treat your employees -- your inability to retain anyone for longer than six months is a reflection on you, not on the people you hire. Buy a dictionary and look up the word "micro-management". Learn how to work your computer, rather than expecting your employees to continually correct your ignorance. Purple text is eyecatching, but so is a traffic accident. Holding your employees to standards you refuse to meet is called hypocrisy. Just because YOU think something is a good idea, doesn't mean it is. Your salary offerings are paltry and your benefits package is draconian. Simple is always better. If you continue to insist on being inflexible about absolutely everything you're going to continue to run into problems. Advertising and charging people for catalogs you haven't had for 6 years is at the least unethical, if not outright fraud. Finally, stop being so cheap. I'd have thought that having your accounts frozen would actually teach you something -- if you owe your suppliers money, you should really think about PAYING them, instead of continuing to bicker and argue over $20.
As always, though, my suggestions will fall on deaf ears, but, unlike my Boss, at least I tried. When the business eventually goes under due to mismanagement -- and it will, no doubt about it -- I doubt there's going to be much sympathy from those he took advantage of during its run.
We now rejoin the Unemployment Thread, already in progress.