Monday, October 18, 2010

Dream Job Update

I started my first day as a work-at-home IT pro feeling a little guilty. Sure, the company didn't go far out of it's way to accommodate me and there are several people who are permanently allowed to work from home for no obvious reason, but I've never been comfortable asking for concessions - it's just become necessary to keep working at my former capacity. Since I felt guilty, I was determined to do such an outstanding job that they would never question the wisdom of their decision. I set my alarm early, dragged myself out of bed at 5 AM, and began working on the day's most critical reports in the hopes that they would all be waiting for the department manager when she arrived (which means any time at 6 AM or later or not at all). Then I would spend the rest of the day alternately working and resting, but always near the computer with the speakers on high and audible prompts any time anyone e-mailed or IM'd me. I would be available to them in a way never possible in the office since the bathroom is now ten feet away instead of three counties over.

To say I am not a morning person is to say the Pacific ocean is a tad damp. My symptoms are at their worst early in the morning, so I struggled with them as I coaxed the bronze-age laptop into operation. I began running the queries, and immediately everything that had ever gone wrong before went wrong again. In addition, I even discovered some new things that could go wrong because they went wrong (excuse my technical jargon). So, three plus hours later the first report was ready, slightly early (although not impressively so) and I no longer felt guilty.

I took a short rest break while the computer computed, then returned to my normal daily routine, albeit still ahead of my normally scheduled schedule. People sensed I was out and began requesting that I join them for meetings RIGHT FREAKING NOW! I let everyone know that I would be within reach of my computer all day long, even later than normal, available for phone conferences and IM's and e-mails and teleconferences, but that I was working from home. This upset them as the entire worldwide computer infrastructure will fail if I am not in my cubicle for people to bother in person (if your ATM is temporarily out of order, you can assume I'm in the bathroom), so they apparently began questioning my primary handler about my new schedule which prompted him to call me and have the latest version of the conversation we've been having every time I've been sick over the past few weeks. "Grant, you do great work, blah blah blah, thanks for getting those reports early for us today, but the laptop is just for rare uses when you can't come into the office." Apparently I was supposed to assume "You can work from home" meant "You can work from home in addition to being in your cubicle."

The new deal is this - if I feel as though I may be too sick to work in my cubicle a full day at my regularly scheduled hours, I have to let them know when I'll be out in advance and what my status will be (beyond being logged into the IM system as "working from home"), and then I can work from home for a couple of hours until I'm well enough to return to my cubicle. This is the special new system created just for me to replace the antiquated system other employees use, known as "calling in sick". And people say large corporations don't treat us as individuals. That's not true. They just don't treat us as individuals when it would benefit us instead of exclusively them. So, apparently I don't work at home, the new offer is that I get to work at home in addition to the office. And thus ends the great work at home experiment of 2010.

That was lovely.


Kira said...

Didn't I already say it under your last post? "April Fools!" :P

Jay said...

That is just so corporate America.

tiff said...

It's nice to know that your company thinks you can be in two places at once.


Robin said...


Grant said...

Kira - I was hoping they would at least wait until April.

Jay - and Dilbert.

tiff - when they perfect cloning, it will be the least of their expectations.

Robin - I'm beginning to think this is not they greatest place to work.

Lady Tragic said...

That's sad.. The IT companies here that actually offer telecommuting are pretty great. My friend who doesn't even have any health issues/children/pressing home events was working from the dressing table in her bedroom and the company said it was actually cheaper for them to allow workers to work from home if they would/could AND were reliable. She was at some branch or other of IBM.. Are all IBM offices that forgiving and wonderful? *shrugs* in any case, if I ever get a 'real job' it'll have to be one like hers.. This seemed pretty great to start but wow, they're kinda dicks.

Also, don't fuck with my ATM dude, I already thank the damn thing out loud and make myself look like an ass, don't make me kick it now after all the love!

Kerry said...

Wow. I'd say you're getting special treatment. lol

Ricardo said...

They rigged the situation for you to fail. No matter how good of a job you do at home, they will frown upon it and assume it is the equivalent of calling in sick. I worry this may be a grating issue for you and your job and that they could use this to spin you out of the company so you'll get fired for something vague like "not fitting in."

Avitable said...

You should sue under the ADA. And the BMW. And the SNAFU.

Grant said...

Lady Tragic - my company does allow people to work remotely, but my department manager has decided to pay the extra money to make us all work in the office as much as possible. I'm glad the rotten economy hasn't forced them to take cost-cutting measures beyond layoffs.

Kerry - I wish they'd quit being so good to me.

Ricardo - in this state they don't have to give a reason for termination, so if they ever decide I'm not worthwhile they'll probably just remind me of that.

Avitable - and let us not forget the FUBAR act of 1943.