The Job Experience, MegaSoftwareCoSupport: Year #11

Continuing the Transition

paperworksanity In January of 2010, immediately everyone from StartupVille begins to report to work in the East Cost offices of MegaCo.

We receive orientation and then something surprising happens:  I’m separated from the rest of my old co-workers.

They get slotted into Engineering Cube Farm A, and I’m slotted into Support Cube Farm B.  We’re on different floors of the same building.  This is because at Mega, there are distinct divisions between groups, and these organizational lines are physically enforced by locating folks in different areas.

At any rate, once I’m settled into my personal four by four cell cube, I’m engaged by Mega’s support management.

They’re doing a couple of things at the same time — a) trying to figure out exactly what to do with me and b) taking stock of StartupVille’s customers and making sure that they’re all happy.

Paperwork Time

As a part of the transition work, I’m asked to manage a few things:

  • Identification of all active customers from StartupVille.  This includes gathering all pertinent info (phone numbers, addresses, length of support contract, lots and lots of other boring attributes), and generating reports.
  • Contacting all active customers and notifying them of the acquisition via phone, then sending personal memos to document the details
  • Migrating knowledge-base solutions (FAQs) from StartupVille’s systems into Mega’s.  (We had 300+ solutions and this was a manual process, i.e. I had to recreate each solution from scratch. Right, I know — tedious.)
  • After learning the new ticketing software that Mega uses, I offer to hand-hold customers through the service request creation process to make the experience positive and smooth.

You’ll notice most of these tasks had to do with customer retention; Mega wanted to ensure that StartupVille’s old clients all came along for the ride and were going to be happy — because happy customers renew support contracts, and the other kind of customers do not.

So functionally, you get it.  I’m no longer with my old teammates, and I’m doing a lot of paperwork and management-type duties, both of which I don’t particularly enjoy.

On the other hand, the stuff that I do enjoy — troubleshooting technical issues — has been reduced to perhaps ten hours a week at this point.  Our old customers just aren’t opening a whole lot of tickets. And do you know what?

It’s totally OK.

I happily supported all of this work.  Yeah, it’s paperwork, and my distaste for this kind of activity is well documented on this blog, but still, I keep the ultimate goal close in my mind’s eye.

The way I see it, I’m laying the foundation for the success of StartupVille’s software, as now sold by Mega.  If the software takes off, our engineers will retain their jobs and have a sense of legacy; the work they’ve been doing for the past 6 years will have more meaning.

I lied.  It’s not totally OK.

The truth is that it was simultaneously OK and not OK.

I agreed with the overarching goals, but continued to hate the actual work.  (Aside:  I think this sums up much of how I feel about office tasks.  I understand why certain tasks need to be completed, but actually doing them isn’t fun or interesting at all.)

Mining through old documents to find accurate information, copying and pasting data between field after field, clicking on one tab after another, cross-checking to ensure zero-mistake delivery, and migrating knowledgebase articles wholesale was astonishingly tedious.

I was glad when this period of my Mega experience was over.  It lasted about six months.

Harry Potter is familiar with painful paperwork.

Harry Potter knows that lying only leads to more paperwork.

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10 Responses to The Job Experience, MegaSoftwareCoSupport: Year #11

  1. Dwayne Hoover says:

    When you were getting towards the end here, did you ever consider the option of simply working PT but extending the journey to FI by a few years?

    • livingafi says:

      Absolutely, I’d much prefer to work part time. Problem is that I don’t think it’s possible on the IT/Engineering Support side of things. Sometimes strict programmers/developers can manage this sort of arrangement, but organizations only have FT positions available for support — my guess is that this is because of rigid availability requirements. I’d love to hear from any readers that think I’m wrong or can share ways to go about making it happen though.

  2. Steph says:

    When I was a wage slave it was in an open plan office, I actually would have loved a soulless cube. I began to really hate some people as I just couldn’t get away from them and I wasn’t allowed headphones to help me concentrate above everybody’s voices. Introverts and open plan offices (4 people to one bank of desks) are not a very good mix. Sometimes I would pretend I needed to make a private phonecall so I could go into an empty office and sit there in peace for a few minutes.
    At one point everyone was offered voluntary redundancy and I took it and ran. It was enough to pay off our mortgage as our house was v modest. The year after I left (I was pregnant by this point) I bought another small house and renovated it and sold on for a nice profit. I haven’t really worked since having my daughter but knowing how to live frugally is very freeing and gives us as a family so many more options. A bit of a rambling comment, sorry.

    • livingafi says:

      That’s really tough. I didn’t get into it in this post but my cube was right next to sales at Mega and those guys were also on the phone constantly, very loud, and frequently talking about very obnoxious non-PC things that really get under your skin. It’s great you were able to responsibly get away from that job and spend more time with your family, very cool. “Voluntary redundancy.” Love that corporate-ese.

  3. Good stuff, sounds like the next update will shed light on what makes FU money so important. Even better if it’s FI money! Real world issues (and vacations) have killed my blogging lately, but I need to get revved back up. Lots of interesting things going on.

    • livingafi says:

      I’ve had some of my own real life things going on as well (mom moved to senior housing last weekend, had to clean out a house of clutter and list it. More than ‘clutter’ actually but that’s another story.) Family’s first, though, much more important than blogging or my day job. I have been looking forward to more details on your lifestyle inflation posts, though. Get em out, please! 🙂 BTW, yeah, if you enjoy reading about incomprehensibly awful jobs and insane people, you’re going to love Year 12 but hate the final entry (Year 13-present), because I found another really nice place to ply my trade.

  4. I eagerly await Cthulu-119, the radioactive isotope of vanilla ‘Thu.

  5. Tom says:

    In retirement, I’m finding those home improvement and maintenance costs creep in more frequently than I would have expected. Little things here and there – and some bigger ones. I try to adhere to a pretty low budget, for now, so those costs tend to upset the cart a little despite primarily doing the work myself. Not sure these will ever go away completely – it’s always something.

    When I first had an opportunity to occasionally work from home back in the mid-90’s I had a very difficult time getting much work done, due mostly to lack of motivation (and probably because the technology for working remotely wasn’t what it is today). Funny aside – I was making a long distance call one day from home and dialed 9, then 1, for an outside line (as if in the office) out of habit and accidentally hit 1 a second time. Imagine my surprise when the cops showed up at my door and insisted on walking thru my apartment to make sure no one was being held against their will. Wonder if this has happened to others. Years later I found myself to be much more productive working from home and actually liked it (mostly) despite living alone. Yes – I have loner tendencies so it was easier for me to tolerate. I loved waking up early and getting right to work. I was paid by the hour so it was perfect for someone trying to build a stash. I was never paid 1.5x for OT – that would have been sweet.

    I worked on an extended project that required driving 6.5 hours Sundays and Fridays (I hate flying) and living onsite during the week. Most all of my communications with various teams was done thru phone and IM. 95% of folks I worked with daily were in far flung cities. Even folks in the same office used IM – even if they were in the next cubicle. Weird to have that kind of culture where people got irritated if you stopped by their desk to talk instead of using IM. So it was sort of ludicrous to have the company pay my expenses when I could work just as easily from home. Luckily we convinced management of that fact after the first year. On the plus side of IM – we would attach cool little emoticons and I had an awesome collection before I left that job. It was always pretty awesome when someone sent you a new one. (Sadly, this was one of the few positives on my own personal job from hell.)

    • livingafi says:

      Thanks for the stories — the accidental 911 call sounds like it spiced your day up pretty good.. Here’s hoping you’ve moved on from your own job-hell experience by now!

  6. A W S says:

    Interesting observation in regard to working at home. Especially today. Some of us are working like that from March 2020. Never been better whilst climbing the corporate rotten ladder. No office politics and empty smiles. Tons of money saved commute but more important to this is the most valuable commodity- time that is saved. Goodbye commute. Good luck ya all.

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