Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dress Code, pt. 一番

I’ve been debating whether or not to look for a new job. On the upside, I work for nice people who speak highly of me and (under)value* my work. I’m treated with respect, allowed to flex my schedule around my needs as long as theirs are met, and sometimes they feed us (mostly bagels and cream cheese). They never make unreasonable demands except by accident, such as when they truly don’t understand that it may take more than a few days to completely redesign a global database system to replace the other systems that disappeared without warning (to me, anyway) based on new sources of data which nobody can identify and limited to that stuff they want it limited to, whatever that is, and they can’t tell me because it’s my job to know what they’re thinking.** On the downside, the company I work offers a slightly better compensation package than the Jews got during the Holocaust (if you don’t adjust for inflation), although Hitler showed more concern for their well-being.

Let me just say that I don’t work for the people I work for. I work for other people who work for the people I work for. Instead of working for the people I work for, the people I work for tell me what to do and I do it and then they pay the people I actually work for and they pass along some of the money for the work I did for the people I don’t actually work for but in reality spend all of my working time working for. If that made perfect sense to you, then may your cubicle be free from the stench of your coworkers reheating salmon patties in the microwave. If it didn’t, you are obviously one of the few who doesn’t work for a large, soulless corporation and you probably don’t have the advanced degree required before attempting to read this blog.

For those few, I’ll put it another way: I am a contractor working for another company. The big company, rather than hire many of its own employees, pays another company to provide workers. I am in a permanent position but even though I work at and for the big company, it’s the contracting company with managers I never see who determine my pay and other things. The people who I actually support went through all the trouble of interviewing and accepting me; the contractors now get lucrative monthly payments for basically faxing a resume they didn’t bother to read seven years ago. I am definitely in the wrong business.

Anyway, my daily routine is normally free from the contractors, which is good since I would have walked out ages ago. My archives mention some of their misdeeds, such as trying to keep the employees from hearing about the 9/11 terrorist attacks because it might interfere with our work, but lately they’ve been mostly quiet. True, last year they cancelled all of our sick time, two holidays, and our third week of vacation (after telling me I was grandfathered in, they said it was a miscommunication and cut a week of my pay), but I accepted that and had moved on.

Okay, this is long enough. I’ll get around to bitching about the dress code tomorrow. Gortfuu is getting antsy and apparently the systems won’t write their own code, selfish pieces of crap.

* I say undervalue because they truly don’t understand how much I do – they just know they can drop it on me, go away for a bit, and all will be well after I summon Gortfuu, seventh level hell demon of database administration, and bind him to my will to produce the required reports.

** I’m not making this up – that’s a brief description of my current challenge.


Doug Murata said...

Ah! Contract work! I was aware of what you were talking about before you defined it as contracting. (My cubicle is free of the smell of microwaved salmon patties! However, a rather strong scent of maple syrup just wafted into the area. Much much more welcome than microwaved salmon.)

The big company doesn't try to bring good contractors in as "permanent" employees? That's what happens where I am. Contractors are hired until a position opens up for them (usually it's because the department gets approved for more head-count). I've seen people get "hired" in three months (it took me 14).

Patti said...

I totally believe you Grant! I know the hell in which you work. The whole contractor business leaves a bad, bad taste in my mouth

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

You were right. I e-mailed the comnpany I wanted to work part time for again and they told me to come on in and fill out an application. You're one smart fella. ;)

I actually LOVE the company I work for...or I guess I should say the government I work's just not what I expected to be doing at this point in my life (I'm supposed to be filthy rich by now, dammit).

And I'd have been LIVID if they'd cut my sick time and other hours like that!

Kira said...

Remember: Ariana is free to beat up people at your workplace over the vacation cutback. She's offered, and she's serious. She can kick butt very efficiently in a cute manner. Keep it in mind.

~Deb said...

GAWD this reminds me of the days when I was a contractor for IBM.

Normally, if I read your paragraph that started with, "Let me just say that I don’t work for the people I work for,"------ I would have been like, "WHAT?" But sadly enough I totally understood every single word. And, being a contractor really takes the entire benefit of working away. The middle guy is always involved and it's hard to determine who to go for and for what reason - etc.

When 9/11 hit, my company basically took away every single big tube TV away and shuffled them in a basement somewhere - hoping that our productiveness would keep moving along. Well it halted anyway. Their lack of concern about our concern about the entire world and our loved ones in those buildings was a huge slap in the face and the moral went down big time.

It's like working for the devil ... heh. ;)

Unemployment is a dream come true for many.

Spider Girl said...

Thank you for confirming that there is demonology involved in database administration. I suspected as much. :)

グラント said...

doug - actually, it works the other way here. I've seen them hire one contractor in seven years; otherwise, they're trying to downsize through attrition. In fact, the contract company began when the regular company created them and converted many of its employees to contractors. The old-timers who used to be regulars say they still make less now than they did when it happened in 1991.

patti - it's stil better than my last company, which I won't reveal here except to say its initials are BS and it rhymes with Hell Mouth.

pq - the worst part was that I confirmed with them in advance that I had the time coming, then they didn't pay for my vacation time and went into hiding when I e-mailed a request for an answer.

kira - the people here are fine. See if she can locate who really runs the company that owns my contract. I would not be at all displeased if they all receive beatings.

~deb - working for the devil might be fun if you can stand the heat. This is more like working for the Bush administration: 1) you only need to know and believe what we tell you, and 2) we're screwing you over for your benefit. Trust us.

spider girl - you would fit in well with my old non-tech department. They viewed databases with the same distrust and suspicion as if I claimed to obtain my reports from using witchcraft.

messiah said...

that's not a challenge... that's an ummm... opportunity. sort of like all of those microsoft 'features'.

chin up. or if nothing else, a sacrifice to Gortfuu.