By June, Cthulhu and me are engaged in open war again.
I’ve openly told him in my 1:1s that I will no longer be working on my MBOs. I tell him that I don’t have enough time during our normal 9-10 hour days to complete these additional objectives.
He’s furious, of course. YOUR BONUS IS FORFEIT is his big threat, but I no longer care about this. Instead I’m just like: OK. I understand. You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
The thing is, he has no bullets left in his gun. There’s nothing else he can do to motivate me to complete these meaningless tasks now that I’ve told him that I don’t care about the money attached to them.
And he has no idea what else to try. He threatens me with a PERFORMANCE PLAN but I remind him that my core output is exemplary, and I tell him I’ll fight it any way I can.
We both know that he has the power to fire me — after all, he’s in the process of dumping Beaker already — but I take a risk here and decide that he doesn’t want to go to the effort of hiring my replacement right now. I’m plugged into FinancialCompany’s system and culture, and with the Bert Problem fixed, I’m now a smoothly operating cog in the machine.
Besides, although I’m not FI, I do have FU money. If he does let me go, I’ll get some kind of severance package, and things will ultimately be OK.
Problems with Underlings
In October, I’m having an issue with one of my guys, specifically consultant B.
Consultant B is in his mid twenties and he’s doing his best to enjoy life while working an intense job for a large portion of every week.
I notice a few things. He’s late frequently, and he’s taking two sick days a month. I suspect he’s out trying to meet females, and these evenings involve drinking. Totally normal behavior for a guy in his situation.
It shouldn’t matter to FinancialCompany because consultant sick time isn’t a loss for us — we don’t pay anything if they’re not working.
But Cthulhu has noticed, and he wants to get rid of this guy as a result. We have a talk about it, and I agree he’s taking too much time off, but I think that he’s generally a good worker.
My manager doesn’t care. He produces a bit of paperwork for me to sign to document that consultant B has been failing to perform and is taking too much time off. I refuse. I tell him that he can sign it without me. I’m not going to directly fire this guy.
Of course, he tells me that as a manager, it’s my responsibility to HOLD MY EMPLOYEES ACCOUNTABLE.
I tell him I’m already holding them accountable, and it’s up to the consulting company that employs consultant B to take disciplinary action if they think he’s under performing. I don’t have an issue with his performance, and again, we’re not paying him when he’s out.
Cthulhu is sorely disappointed. Managers should not shy away from these necessary confrontations, he tells me.
I know, you’re right, I tell him. Like I said before, I don’t want to be a manager.
Cthulhu fires consultant B the next week and most of the stuff he was working on instead goes to me, because we don’t have a replacement.
This means I’m doing more technical work again, which is not a bad thing at all.
Holiday Work Fail
We do a lot of weekend work at FinancialCompany. I’ve mentioned this in some previous posts but there’s some crucial stuff that can only be accomplished off-hours, when users aren’t accessing the systems. I won’t go into detail because it’s deathly boring, but I do understand that it needs to be done.
One of our weekend projects has been continually failing. When it fails, we reschedule it for the following weekend.
What this means for the individuals who are doing the work is that you burn a Saturday attempting to complete a certain objective, fail, try again the next Saturday, and so on, until it succeeds.
This particular project has now spilled from October into November, and the rescheduled date is the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday.
Thanksgiving is, for me, one of those sacred weekends. I go to Connecticut to see my mother, and spend time with my older brother and younger sister. And we stay there all weekend, catching up, cooking, playing board games and cards. This is how we maintain our family ties. Christmas is a mess — everyone is scattered to the wind, and it’s not a nuclear family event — but Thanksgiving is ours.
So I tell Cthulhu I can’t work it. It’s off limits.
He threatens to give me the boot. This is the first time since The Bert Problem got solved that he plays the “I’m going to fire you” card, but he goes a little farther on this occasion, trudging out the employee contract. Sure enough, it states, in ink, that although I’m salaried I agree to work extra as per needs of the business. I tried to explain that it wasn’t necessary to produce hard documentation but he’s dead set on showing me that I have failed to meet terms and he’s therefore justified in letting me go because I’m not doing the extra work.
Still, I tell him that I am working extra. I’m working extra all of the time. I’ve worked extra the previous six weekends. But this particular extra comes at a great personal cost to me. Can’t we reschedule the work to the following weekend?
NO THAT IS OFF THE TABLE
My coworker Statler ends up quite resentfully covering for me.
Cracks are forming between me and my closest teammates.
And things are falling apart.