The Job Experience, MegaSoftwareCoSupport: Year #11

Team Transition

we felt sort of like this

Spock.  We.  Are.  In the.  Big City Now.

I wasn’t the only one having difficulty with the transition.

When you’re used to working in smaller groups of people and you’re suddenly absorbed by Team Infinity, it’s a little strange.

The best analogy I can draw is when members of the Enterprise travel back in time to pick up some whales on good ‘ol planet Earth in Star Trek IV. They land in San Francisco and are utterly clueless about how to integrate into the crowds of the city. We stand out.

Our Sales Guy

So first off, the lone sales guy who comes over from StartupVille is a total grump about the thing. You’d think he would be a little happy — after all, he’s still got a job — but he’s the opposite, constantly complaining about absolutely everything. You couldn’t shut him up.

He complained about the lack of real work, too many meetings, and the fact that he was being asked to learn some new product suites so he could sell additional products offered by Mega. He complained about the size of the kitchen and his shitty commute and the lack of a real break area and he didn’t like the enormity of the building and didn’t want to meet anyone new.

I know what you’re thinking. I complain about the same things, you’re saying. So I’m being a massive hypocrite by calling out the same behavior in this guy.

But here’s the thing. I didn’t once complain about any of this stuff publicly. In the office, I put on my happy face and dealt with it. I didn’t want to look ungrateful for what Mega was doing for us, and the truth was that I was happy to have a job because it meant that I could pull good income while looking for a new gig in my leisure if it suddenly became necessary. And holy crap, the last thing I wanted was to be a poison or cancer. I’d actively rooted for Mega to buy us, and now that it’d happened, I wasn’t going to undermine the assimilation process by sowing the seeds of discontent.

At any rate, after two months, our sales guy was gone. Quit on his own accord. I don’t even remember where he went. Initech? Intitrobe? AnotherSoftwareCompany? It hardly matters. I’m pretty sure he ended up doing the same thing at a different place, just like most normal folks do when they leave their current employer.

Unless, of course, they FIRE.

The Engineers

I believe this group had it the best.

For the first six months or so, they continue to work on the ‘original’ StartupVille software. The Mega management staff wants them to add new features, which is the kind of work they like to do. Sure, they’re reporting to someone different, and this new guy isn’t as likeable or competent as the one from StartupVille. And yeah, they are, much like me, forced to do a lot of additional paperwork in order to complete tasks because of the high level of beurocracy built into the system.

But overall, the kids are all right.

QA

Our QA staff is mostly comprised of our H1-B folks.

They’re very happy to have retained their jobs, because it means they don’t have to worry about their legal status in the US.

It is true, though, that they don’t have much to do for a long time. It’s only in their second year that they’re finally tasked with interesting work again. Mega let them idle for nearly twelve straight months. But this didn’t really bother them. They were pretty good at wasting time.

I tried hard not to envy them.

My Old Manager

Probably had it the worst. He was instantly demoted to a sort of engineering-lead position, since the real engineers were placed under a new manager.

As a part of this title change, he took a large pay cut. Privately, he told me that Mega asked him to leave, i.e to seek alternate employment, but he was just unable to find anything. (Keep in mind we’re in early 2010 at this point and the job market is still very weak.) So although he manages to hang on for a while, he’s demoralized. Mega was awfully nice to keep him around as long as they did.

I felt pretty bad for him, but there wasn’t much I could do. He mentioned a few times how glad he was to have increased his savings and lowered his cost of living, though. It made him a lot less afraid to lose his job, if Mega ever chose to make that decision.

And they eventually did.

The Executive Staff

All gone. CEO, CIO, CFO, CSO. Poof.

Rumor has it that they weren’t taking a salary during the last couple of months at StartupVille anyways — that they were hanging on just to complete the sale.

Didn’t matter. Mega already had folks slotted into those positions (obvious!), and so there was literally no place for them at the new company.

Our Lone HR Rep

Left after two months.

He was vocal about his disinterest in working for a company as large as Mega.

I remember him saying something like Been there, done that, never again. Basically he hated the massive quantity of red tape required to get everything done.

Another complaint: If I learn Mega’s systems, after a while, I’ll only be employable by Mega. No thanks.

Made sense to me.

Me

So I have a new manager. It’s a woman in her mid forties. She seems fine — absolutely crushed by life, but fine.

Her main functions are to assign work, manage people’s time off, review performance, and listen to customers complain.

And I already mentioned how things went over the first half a year or so. I’m interested in doing well and completing all of my work on time and delivering high quality stuff but at the same time I’m frighteningly bored+busy: a bad combination.

Still, it’s tolerable and I’m not yet thinking about looking for something else. It doesn’t take me long to get there, though.

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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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