More Dispatches From the Front

Reply Sat 6 Sep, 2008 08:12 pm
I ran a switchboard for a while as a temp. It's odd to talk all day, but to never have a conversation that lasts more than ten seconds.
Reply Sat 6 Sep, 2008 08:14 pm
(oh my.... i best not get a job doing that then a? Laughing )

love, love, love your stories Jes.... keep 'em coming when you have the time.

hugs xox
0 Replies
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 09:06 am
Thank you. Smile

I'll start thinking about 'em. Every time I think I've remembered my oldest job, I remember something else that goes back further. Most of the oldest stuff hasn't been on my resume in years.
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 09:24 pm
I love the way you observe your co-workers (or not) and their mannerisms. Keep on keeping on!
Reply Mon 8 Sep, 2008 04:02 am
Thank ya!
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Reply Sat 11 Oct, 2008 08:48 am

Why TID? Well, why the hell not?

Actually, YTID stands for, "You Think I'm Dumb". And you do. I'm talking to you, person in charge of certain files that I need.

You have your files.

I need them.

Sometimes you give me the wrong ones.

That's okay.

It happens.

But it does not mean that I am to blame.

I do not make your screwups no matter how hard you're wishing and hoping that the blame would somehow stick to me.

Sneezy in Outer Space, or, Hip Deep in the Hoopla

Sneezy has also been engaging in a bit of the thinking jes is dumb action lately.

In Sneezy's case, I don't think it's malicious. I think Sneezy actually likes me -- and enough that I think his wife insisted on meeting me (she's very nice). Not that I'm a threat or anything but I think Mrs. Sneezy just wanted to be sure that this woman that Sneezy was (I believe) talking about was just some coworker and not, you know, a hot tamale (please, I am a hot tamale in progress).

But I digress.

Sneezy has been working on two automating pieces for the interminable data loading that I do. One piece is done. Another is a work in progress.

For the one that's done, it seems like it took a lot of time to be created and perfected. Which is fine. God knows I am no programmer (which I think has more to do with why YTID thinks I'm a moron than anything else) so I respect the skill set required to get this stuff all in motion.

Anyway, last week it became obvious, as I spoke with Incredibly Nice, that it would be a good idea for me to occasionally be able to disable the currently running automated process.

I go to Sneezy. I explain this. He says, Okay, you shouldn't be touching that. And next week I'm out (we were talking last week; Sneezy was referring to Yom Kippur. Sneezy is a lot more religious than I am). So we'll get JJ to take care of.

And that's perfectly fine. So I go to JJ and I tell him that I'll need his help because I want to be sure this is all going to go down properly as I am now on a crazy deadline. Hence I need for this to all run like a top.

JJ tells me he has no idea what the heck I'm talking about. He and I go to see Sneezy.

Sneezy says, Well the automated process isn't done yet.

I say, No, we're not talking about that one. We're talking about the one already working. You know, the one you put together.

Sneezy replies: Oh. Well, jes shouldn't be touching that one. Can you take care of it, JJ?

JJ says, Uh, sure. What do I do?

Sneezy says, You go in here and right-click and select "Disable Job". To reenable it, you right-click and select "Disable Job" again and check to see if it says "yes". If it does, it's reenabled.

I look at that and say, Why can't I do that? I go into that program all the time.

Sneezy says, No, you don't.

I say, Yes, I do. Look at my screen. The program is up right now.

Sneezy: Really?

Me: Really. This is a big part of what I get paid to do, is to run this program. I am perfectly capable of right-clicking once or twice.

Sneezy: Really? Well, um, you need to be careful because you could forget to reenable the job.

Me: I'll write myself a note.

JJ: Is any of this documented? How did you do this?

Sneezy: I just enabled the Scheduler.

JJ: You mean you didn't write anything new?

Sneezy: No. I just enabled the Scheduler. You need to make sure jes reenables it while I'm out of the office.

JJ looks at me. Can you remember to reenable the Scheduler?

Me: I can remember lots of things.

JJ: Sneezy, you need to document these things. Even if they only took you ten seconds to set them up.

Sneezy: But I'll be out next week.

JJ: Then you can do it when you get back.

Beautiful Lunches Gets an Eyeful

As I continue to do the weight loss thing, half of my clothes are too big for me and half are too small for me. This is fine; I just improvise, but sometimes I, heh, forget.

Consider the top I was wearing earlier this week. It was a sweater, low cut (low enough that I had to keep adjusting my bra so that it was not showing). It was a little snug.

There was cleavage.

And I'm just running around, minding my own business, doing whatever, and Beautiful Lunches calls me into his office because of the aforementioned wacky deadline. Hence BL wants an update.

We sit down. I'm just talking -- I have no notes with me or anything as this is wholly impromptu.

I'm not thinking about the top or my bra or whatever. I lean over the top of his desk.

And I take a look at his face.

His eyes have widened, kind of a cartoonish widening and suddenly I'm picturing Elmer Fudd seeing Bugs Bunny in drag.

I straighten up and realize, ai yi yi, I have been showing some pretty serious cleavage to BL.

Oops. Embarrassed

Incredibly Nice Gets an Underling

In keeping with the tight schedule, the company has been looking for ways to eliminate bottlenecks. One of the main bottlenecks is on the Incredibly Nice end of things. Once IN returned to IN's real office, IN was hit with about a million non-project things to do. And, at the same time, the wacky schedule was created. The fact that both of these things happened at the same time and were both caused by the same person (IN's boss) is an irony that I hope is not lost on anyone.

Hence IN needed help.

They didn't hire anyone new. They just brought in someone else.

I have never met the underling but we have spoken on the phone.

The only issue with the underling is that the underling and I have almost opposite schedules. I get in at 730 AM and leave at 3. The underling gets in at 10,1030 AM and doesn't leave until maybe 630 or later.

Perhaps I'll give the underling wakeup calls or something.
Reply Fri 20 Feb, 2009 09:02 pm
Stealth Management

That's what we've got. Stealth management.

As in, few people are actually told what to do at any given time. Instead, emails are passed around and little tiny off the cuff, offhanded, perhaps slightly off-color remarks are made in the vast wasteland that is most email and there is a tiny little nugget of information akin to a diamond in a vast gravel pit and once you find that diamond you realize it means that someone wants you to do something.

And they never seem to either ask you if you're too busy or if it's even feasible.

Case in point.

I do something that's just not very exciting with data.

It's just about all I do (I also do reporting and security, but most of what I do is this less than wonderful stuff about which I will not elaborate).

It is rather dull. It's s...l...o...w, too.

I just set something off and then do things like shop online, read CNN, say hi to all of you fine folk or enjoy some oatmeal.

This wonderful stuff these days takes two hours. More, actually, but let's use two as a nice round number.

Hence no more than maybe four things can be done in a normal (well, no day is normal, let's go with typical) day. Four. Five if I start and end the day with kicking things off and then let things fly during the evening when I am supposed to be going to the gym or eating dinner or hanging around with RP or watching TV or managing A2K or getting some rest or maybe just zoning out and certainly not thinking about work.

There are something like eighty or so items to do for this particular phase of the project and they each take two hours. No, I take that back, they are going to take longer and longer as more of them are done (this is the nature of the tables in which the data is stored. I won't bore you with the technical details). So we are talking 160 hours but probably more. Let's say 200 for another and nicer and rounder number.

Eight hour day. 200 hours. Or, 25 days. But no, not exactly, because I don't always catch things perfectly on time (sometimes I am at meetings or nature calls or whatever). So it's more like 30 days. Perhaps more. But wait, I have to take time off because I am slaying some vacation time I didn't take last year and I must use or lose it.

So it's more like 35 days.

Seven weeks. Okay, let's call that two months. It may be less but hey, you never know.

Know when it was all promised for?

Three weeks from now.

I explained that, while I am a loyal-type employee kind of person, I tend to not want to work at 2 AM.

Plus the database is getting a shave and a haircut then anyway. I couldn't do stuff at that hour even if I wanted to.

Adding people to this problem will not make it go any faster, as it's a database. Things have to stay together, all in one happy little package.

So what's being done?

An intern (Da Kid) is now put on it.

And they may be hiring someone, too. I dunno if it'll be another intern. I like Da Kid but I don't see Da Kid as getting more than maybe 2 days/week work out of this.

Why? You may be asking. There's all this stuff to do, but no work for Da Kid?

It's not that I'm hanging onto the work for dear life or anything. Rather it's because this stuff is like baking bread. You do a buncha stuff and then you let it rise for -- you guessed it -- two hours. I could do the quickie stuff and let it rise or Da Kid could. Seems kinda silly for two (and maybe three) people to wait for the bread. It won't make it go any faster.

The bread will not rise any faster, the toast will not pop up more quickly and the doughnuts will not be made more expeditiously.

You can tell I haven't had my dinner yet.

Anyway, bottom line: I didn't know about the three week dealio (which my boss and I finally broke to the higher up powers that beep was a pipe dream, alas) except that I read one line buried deep in a several dozen line email that was not even addressed to me.

Stealth management. It's all the rage, dontcha know.

Me, I'm getting a sandwich.
Reply Fri 20 Feb, 2009 09:28 pm
I don't see what you're kvetching about. A pregnancy takes nine months for one woman; the company has committed to deliver the child in three months; you pointed out the problem, so now they're assigning three women to do the job. Their math is impeccable, their logic watertight. How can you not get it?
Reply Sat 21 Feb, 2009 11:00 am
Except Da Kid is male. Should I break it to him that he needs to, er, take some less than legal substances in order to retain this job?

Poor Kid.
Reply Sat 21 Feb, 2009 03:24 pm
I am appalled by your gender-discriminatory attitude towards your coworkers. You are no team player. Let's face it, that's the only problem here, isn't it.
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 04:28 am
The Stealth Deadline

A few weeks ago, I relayed the tale of a three-week deadline. Well. My immediate boss told me that the deadline was instead two months. This is what the Lightbulb (my immediate boss) and I told Beautiful Lunches (the Bulb reports directly to BL, who is a major league muckety-muck in the company). BL said that was fine.

On Thursday of this week, e. g. two days ago, I was told that the three week deadline was back on. The deadline? Oh, Friday of this past week. As in, yesterday. As in, one day after I was informed of the deadline.

I informed BL (nicely) that crack was being smoked somewhere in the building.

BL more or less agreed but really, really wanted things to be done or at least in a happier place as BL was meeting with the new COO and wanted some good news. The meeting was at 5. The discussion with BL was at about 430.

Well all righty then.

Actually, I had an ace up my sleeve and didn't even know about it.

I was running something, and it was a test of a new addition to the stuff I have to load. There had been coding. There had been (some) planning. Sneezy had worked extremely hard on things. But they had not quite worked. This was a second test.

The thing finished right after I stopped talking to BL, who ran off to prep for the COO meeting. I sent the stuff over to the new temp (more on them later) and asked for verification.

Please please please let it pass verification.
Please please please let it pass verification.
Please please please let it pass verification.

It passed. I sent out a quick email, saying we had liftoff. I turned off the laptop and grabbed my stuff. This was over an hour after my normally scheduled departure time. I walked by BL's desk; BL was on the phone. I got BL's attention, repeated the liftoff statement and walked out the door.

I was happier than I'd been in weeks (three, to be exact, ever since the imaginary stealth clock had begun ticking).

Got lots of kudos emails. BL is happy. Things are not finished but apparently this was a nice coup, a serious bit of good news on a project that (not my fault, not Sneezy's fault) had been behind the stealth imaginary schedule that neither of us were ever really told about.

Yesterday I informed Sneezy that yesterday was apparently a deadline. Sneezy informed me that I was on crack. And so the cycle renews itself. Can't wait for my next subtle incognito no one will tell me wtf to do assignment.

The Tongue

We have a new temp. This person is nice enough and is trying desperately to get up to speed. I have temped more than once in this life and I know damn well that the first couple of weeks can really suck as you are totally bewildered and everyone needs for you to hit the ground running.

I ended up, by default, being charged with shepherding this person and getting them access, setups, supplies, etc. I then wrote up what I did as that information was, well, nowhere.

But, ah, the tongue. You see, The Tongue does the best thinking, or says something important, and then the actual tongue comes out. It is very pointed at the end, points to the floor (to Australia, perhaps) and a response is awaited.

I find, personally, that somewhat disembodied body parts (like the pictures you often see online of just lips or whatever) to be inherently creepy.

I try not to gaze at the actual tongue any more than I have to but I realize I need to maintain eye contact and interest.

So I am subjected to ... The Tongue.

The New COO, or, everyone's a DBA

I don't know much about the new COO, except that that person seems to believe that everyone in the department is a DBA. Truthfully, the only ones who are DBAs are Jesse Jackson, Sneezy and another dude (I think I've mentioned him, he plays baseball). No one else. Not me, not The Tongue, not Coughy. But everyone is listed in the COO's Org Chart as being a DBA. Wanna be a DBA? Don't bother going to school, just get on the COO's Org Chart.

I Need a Vacation

I do. I'm going to Philly for the weekend and returning to the office on Tuesday. If this doesn't sound big or exciting, it's because I am cheaply slaying more vacation time. Mondays are the best days for me to take off as then Da Kid has something to do. So Da Kid is in charge. We have had problems with one major load for the past month (which ratcheted up BL's insanity level during the imaginary stealthy three week deadline time period to no end) so I have provided many different types of written and verbal instructions. I also offered my cel # to The Duck but The Duck was good about saying no, go enjoy yourself.

I'll have the laptop with me. I really, really don't want to look in on work, but I feel kinda protective of Da Kid (who is young enough to be my child) and don't want anything bad to happen. So I may (hey, I can be stealthy, too!) take a quick peek on Monday. Or not. I'll be on the return train in the morning, so WiFi access (and access to a plug, e. g. do I need to work off battery power?) will be spotty at best.

Da Kid needs to spread little wings. So does The Tongue. I hope good things happen, not only for their sakes but also so that BL doesn't have another massive conniption.

They'll do fine without me, and the world will not go careening off its axis.

If it does, though, feel free to blame me.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 01:17 pm
Hey! Is your middle name Scott Adams by any chance? Your journey sounds somewhat familiar ....
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 03:59 pm
BL's hair is not pointy, and neither is the Bulb's, at least not since the most recent shearing. It's only the tongue that is pointy.
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 05:05 pm
Oh, the tongue... an office phenomenon I've never ever run across. Not quite something for the personnel director (I use old terms) to take one aside about, but still, an impediment toward forward career progress. Looking just at Tongue and the future, this seems to need adjustment, preferably nicely. How does one do nicely, nicely?
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 07:05 pm
Particularly cross-culturally. Sneezy has an affectation, too, but seems to rein it in on occasion. Plus Sneezy and I are at least culturally similar whereas the Tongue is from the other side of the globe.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 07:10 pm
jespah wrote:
BL's hair is not pointy, and neither is the Bulb's, at least not since the most recent shearing. It's only the tongue that is pointy.

I would put that down under artistic license. You are that creative, you know. I hope you'll enjoy your vacation in Philadelphia. I know I will.
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 07:11 pm
I'm having a blast. M__ and I caught up as if we'd just seen each other yesterday, when the real last time we'd seen each other was at my & RP's wedding. She walks really fast, and everywhere.
Reply Sat 14 Mar, 2009 07:18 pm
Yay for catching up with ol' friends while speed walking.
Reply Sun 15 Mar, 2009 05:54 am
And today -- the catching up will occur at the Cezanne exhibit. Pics to follow if I can remember to take 'em.
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 10:41 am

I've told you about The Tongue, but Sneezy also has an affectation, and I finally remembered where I'd seen it before, and what it was called, so I am hereby plonking it here: wacky url. Oh, well, he doesn't cross his eyes, but the mouth looks quite a bit like this: http://www.harpomarx.net/gookie5.jpg

Yep, it's what's called a Gookie.

Whenever Sneezy is deep, deep, deep in thought, or waiting for an answer after some discussion where we're all deep, deep, deep in thought, the Gookie appears.

Ringside Seat to a Small Disagreement

Data loading is going on more or less swimmingly but there are always snags. It is actually rather close to being finished (at least on a historical basis; current week stuff comes in every week and is reviewed by Da Kid or Incredibly Nice's replacement - IN still works for the company, but is off on something else - Downstairs All-Star). But there are problems because, well, there are always problems.

The Tongue's main job is to review problem stuff and help to get it to work, whether it's to get to the nugget of the problem or obtain new data files or whatever. And there were four files in question. They'd been loaded, then backed out, then reloaded. And they passed inspection every single time.

But now suddenly they don't pass again.


File #1 did not pass. Then a day or two later, files #3 and #4 didn't, either. #2 remained fine.

So what did The Tongue do? The Tongue's email said: File #1 has no problems. Files #3 and #4 now have problems.

For those of us on Planet Earth who understand language, that means that suddenly File #1 is fine. That's what I thought. That's what The Duck thought.

Oh, no.

There was an unwritten word.

That word was other.

As in, File #1 has no other problems. Files #3 and #4 now have problems.

Well, that's a whole other kettle o' wax, or ball o' fish, now, i'n't it?

The Duck and I kept asking, is File #1 okay? We kept getting conflicting answers.

The Duck finally asked The Tongue to go line by line on File #1 and tell us, one way or the other, whether it had problems.

The Tongue blew up, and muttered something about having done this already and why the hell weren't we reading The Tongue's emails?

The Duck answered back, "I don't do this to make your life miserable. I just want to know what's going on." The is because The Duck has to deal with the users. I totally get this.

The Tongue comes back later, and it becomes clear that the word other somehow never made it to the original email. No apology, of course, but that part was pretty freakin' obvious, or at least it should have been.

I told The Tongue that we can't read an unwritten predicate in a sentence, and if there is information, it needs to be put into writing so that we can reference it and understand it.


And so it goes.


Constant Caller has had a coworker for a few months now, but I haven't had much occasion to discuss this person, as they are nice and patient and we get along rather well. Chirpy refers less to this person's demeanor than to the tone of their voice. Chirpy always seems to be on, even though they are in Chicago, and so it's an hour earlier there and usually they're all just tired when we talk on the phone. Dunno if I'll ever actually meet Chirpy in the flesh; I think when Constant Caller was here, the company sowed that ground with salt. But hope springs eternal. If Chirpy comes here, I'm sure we'll run off to have snacks and diet sodas and gossip about Constant Caller.

Extra! Extra! Read All About it! Data Loader in a Miracle Cure! Extra!

Points to anyone who knows what that lyric is from. Obviously, the profession referenced in the original is not Data Loader.

Anyway -- after my lil appearance, Incredibly Nice called and said: You need to be marketed.


IN also suggested submitting my tale to the company newsletter. I said, well, I won't but if you do it I won't mind. I think IN forgot about this.

I just so happened to go over to human resources as they were starting this walking challenge so I needed to pick up my official pedometer. They have all seen my clip, as has, I believe, 90% of my office. I oh so casually mentioned that IN would be submitting my story to the newsletter people. The HR gal offered to follow up. I ended up writing my own copy for it. And, last week, sure enough, in the newsletter I was (I sound like Yoda).

This is when JJ came over, looked me up and down and said, "You have lost a lot of weight."

Then Sneezy did something similar.

Then Red, the dude who handles the company website (he sits on the other side of the partition from me, so I can hear but not see him), said something similar.

And then two of the Help Desk people did (they had come over to fix something on The Tongue's computer).

The Bulb told me I'm whittling down to nothing.

And then I realized, despite the self-promotion on the newsletter, the original source of the link going out to pretty much everyone was staring me in the face: The Light Bulb.

Now I have people who I don't really know asking me what I eat from breakfast. Three people have told me they're starting alli.

Ai yi yi, I suppose I really should be marketed at some point.

Related Topics

Dispatches from the Startup Front - Discussion by jespah
Adventures in Job Searching - Discussion by jespah
Remembrance of Dispatches Past - Discussion by jespah
Dispatches from the Front - Discussion by jespah
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