Thursday, September 11, 2008

Enough steam to power a locomotive

I have had many days, over many years, at many jobs, where I've felt like just quitting. Turn in my notice, and leave. Never come back. Today is one of those days. I'm still employed, btw. I don't think I've ever actually left a job in the heat of the moment. Maybe I'm just chicken.

As I posted last week, I've been frustrated at work. Today, I left in a rage, that had I stayed a few minutes longer, would probably have errupted all over a couple of my coworkers. Not undeservedly, I might add. One in particular deliberately went behind my back and changed a file, sabotaging a couple of hours worth of my time. There was more.

I have mentioned before that I work 4 days a week. 32.5 hours to be exact. And there is a push at work right now to put in overtime. For the last month, I've averaged an extra hour per day, for a whopping 36 hours a week or so. Not a lot. Nowhere near the 60+ that some folks are putting in. But I am there, and I am working. And it is overtime, to me. But, what about those days off? Surely I'm spending them lazing about the house in my pajamas eating bon-bons while my staff of servants gingerly lift my feet to dust. Surely. Surely I'm not spending them getting pap smears, teeth cleanings, eye appointments, and taking Trystan for MRI's and echocardiograms. Of course not. Not that it would matter. Nothing matters except the job, right?

I say all this, because I am pretty sure that some of my recent issues have stemmed from the fact that I "flex" one day per week. That I don't show up for work. God forbid. I might be....(drumroll please)...PART TIME.

Normally, my schedule doesn't bother anyone. I get my work done, and when I'm not there, no one misses me. This week I was out on Tuesday, and the moment I arrived on Wednesday someone practically jumped on me because a code change I had made on Monday wasn't working. Um, ok. Sorry. Where's the fire again? After all, I've had to wait for days and weeks for other people's code problems to be fixed. And I didn't break anything on purpose.

Now, this was one error in a frustratingly long series of them that I keep thinking I have fixed. And, its an issue that I cannot physically work any faster. I must wait for a long process (minimum 2 hours if I'm lucky...overnight most days) to see if each subsequent problem has been solved. Some of the issues came from other people having made code changes several weeks ago--un-doing code that was backed out *the very first time* it was ever put in (I guess they're always perfect on the first, blind stab at something new...). We shall forget for now that when someone else backed out my code before, that they did so without consulting me first. I found out after the fact, secondhand.

So, this morning, just as I see that my new change is working on one computer (with no errors!), and am puzzled about why it's not working on another (configuration difference?), two of my coworkers gang up on me about some new change that they are already making (it was only 8:30AM! Don't they sleep?) to the process I've been working on. They didn't explain well 1) what was wrong 2) how to fix it or 3) who was supposed to be making the change (me? someone else?). What they were telling me did not fit the app and I could not for the life of me get them to explain it in concrete terms. (Probably like how you're feeling now...and no, I won't explain the discussion in more concrete terms either).

This wasn't a "discussion" it was a heated argument, where I kept saying "that doesn't make any sense...What do you want and where is it supposed to go and how is the code supposed to use it if it doesn't know anything about it?" and they kept saying "xyzabc13344322". The end result of the argument: 1) I showed them (visually, by opening a file and sticking my finger on the screen) that their concern is unjustified and 2) I learned, from an offhand remark, that the test computers don't have the same file permissions as my regular computer--in other words, I was trying to create a file somewhere I wasn't allowed to. That's easy to fix. And I did. I am now 99.999999% sure that my troublesome problem is solved. Completely. Utterly.

Except that one of those two kind coworkers went behind my back and changed a configuration file so that my process would never run. And didn't tell me. So I comissioned a special run of my 2-hour process and kept myself busy on other tasks until it was done. And discovered, to my horror, that it was time and server resources utterly wasted.

I left at 2. Today is the end of the pay period. I hit my 65-hour mark well before lunch time. I had intended to add an extra 3-4 hours of work today. But it's hard to feel like it's worth my time to sit there, only to have my work ripped apart underneath me. And it's a waste of company money to pay someone else to undo my work. And if I stayed logged in a second longer I would have sent a nasty gram to my lovely coworkers (cc'ing my manager). Or thrown something. Or broken down in tears. Tears aren't particularly good for confrontations, and the overload of emotions that was causing me to shake with rage would definitely have resulted in tears had I attempted to verbalize the issue.

Tomorrow, maybe, I'll be in a better mood.


flatflo said...

Wow, I'm sorry today was so cruddy. I'm sending you a virtual hug!

And, um...I hope you haven't been reading Andi's blog recently, as she recently told her employer buh-bye. It may be contagious!

Hang in there,

Kristi said...

Oh, I've been reading her blog too. I'm quite jealous, especially when I have days like this. Quitting's not really an option at the moment, unless you've seen any winning lottery tickets laying around.....:) It does feel nice to vent though. Thanks Laura!

Robin Bielman said...

I'm so sorry, Kristi! I hope things get better! No wait, they will get better. :) Take care!

Amanda said...

I'm with you on the tears. Sometimes they just turn up when you're feeling mad and frustrated and overwrought and... I understand being tied to a job that you have a love hate relationship with. I hope it starts cranking out the love aspect soon.

Angel said...


They are just jealous. You are very intelligent and have smarts. Just consider the source with those two. Don't you just love people like that!! (Yes, sarcasm hinted here.)