Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Onward and Upward

Last week ended my six-plus years at the (not so-) Pseudonymous Organization, or the PO that gives P.O.-ed new meaning. As many of you may know, I was on my 10th manager (4th in less than 12 months). Of the previous nine, seven were no longer with the company. That generated a more general sense of frustration, but the 10th, bless him, provided the motivation to leave, by proving to be a very acute form of frustration. The entire job search took less than two months. It started one week after I had to report to #10. As Pam says, “beware of the story where the story teller is the hero.” So, beware.

First, I am pleased to get a new job, with a great company. When I started looking (a week after working for #10), I sent out four resumes. Those four resumes turned into three second-round (or greater) interviews. Through the process, my current employer was my top choice. On my first day, I was told to not come in too early. When I got there, my desk was set up, a nice welcome package (candy, coffee mug, balloons, welcome sign, etc.) was next to my brand new laptop and docking station. I went through a wonderful orientation (mostly concerned about my benefits and making me feel welcomed). Then many of the associates joined me and the other “newbie” for lunch at a wonderful restaurant . All in all things are good.

Now contrast that with #10. To protect the identities of the innocent and the guilty, I’ll use more pseudonyms. My last title at the company was Pocketer, Pickle Pockets (it wasn’t that alliterative, but it was that redundant). I was the only one in the organization with the term Pickle Pocket in my title. I was asked to take on this role 50% of the time (splitting with a much more reasonable role and title). In my roles I had to work with #10, but he was just more of an ass-hat – a stunning display of ignorance and arrogance. Yet, he was tolerable as I still reported to #9. Then another reorg and BLAMMO, I’m stuck with #10. #10 immediately made me drop what I was doing for the other 50% of my role and had me focus solely on Pickle Pocket duties. A year ago, pickle pocket wasn’t in the PO lexicon, now it was the panacea. So, I was a little pissed about not doing what I wanted and then focusing purely on PP duties. It’s like I was a tight-end on a football team. The punter goes down. I know how to punt. Coach asks me to punt and I do. New coach comes in and says I’m punting all the time. And in the case of a good punt, it was due to coaching. If it was a bad punt, then it was my fault. So that sucked on various levels.

As I said, I was the only one in the organization with Pickle Pockets in their title. Well, #10 kept setting up meetings (that I didn’t know about) regarding Pickle Pockets. He started setting up ad hoc teams to do Pickle Pockets work. Then after a while he tells me I should really be in there because they’re talking about Pickle Pocket activites. No shit, you fuck-knuckle. The worst about it was when he made a presentation to the execs of the company (including #9). That presentation was called Pickle Pockets. The kicker? I didn’t know about it for two weeks. #9 thought I wrote it. When I told him I did not and what #10 had been doing he was a bit floored. Thankfully, my offer and negotiations with the new company were complete when I learned about that.

I’m so happy to be with the new company, but there’s a bit of trepidation. Kind of like Brooks in The Shawshank Redemption, I’m not sure what to do with my freedom. Another former PO worker warned me at my going away happy hour “remember, it takes a while to get away from the abusive daddy.” #10 didn’t even say anything about my departure (it probably stung when I told him I started looking for a new job a week after reporting to him). On the other hand #9 (a “c-level” person at PO) took me out to lunch because he wasn’t going to be able to make it to the happy hour.

One final thought as I bring this long-winded post to a close. Remember all of the dickheads in high school – the dopes, dumbasses, mean-spirited jerks? Well, they get older and they get jobs. The problem with unemployment rates that are less than 10%, just about every jerk you knew in high school and college has a job. Once and a while they even become your boss.