CHANGE in March -- free from the corps

I quit my job on Friday, March 9th. Today's March 22nd, and I'm happy I did it -- although I admit it was a bold and brazen move. I feel emotionally a financial fear, but sometimes I know I'll be OK. The move was definitely not made without forethought!

Some backstory:
My former boss asked me (and the whole "Solutions Engineering" team I was in) to send in a 'weekly report' listing everything I'd done that week, including phone calls, emails, and conf calls. We had been sending monthly reports for awhile. He had created an elaborate spreadsheet (with pulldowns) that we were supposed to fill out every week, and it would take about an hour or so.
Again, this was at a software co, but once again I'm forced to fill out lengthy reports in Microsoft Office software -- and management doesn't see the irony in this!!!
(This reminds me of the previous use of Excel spreadsheets at this corp -- to email to EVERY SALES EMPLOYEE a spreadsheet with the newest pricing info. This went unquestioned even when the price sheet hit 5 megs and 20+ worksheets! We're talking approximately 120 sales people... HA HA -- I can laugh at this now.

So ,why all of a suddent these new reports? Because 'management' wanted to be able to present more accurately what we were doing without actually talking with us about what we were doing.

It was yet another waste of time in corp America, and I refused to do it.
Well, the first week. Then I buckled when directly confronted. On the 3rd week, however, I resigned instead.

I emailed my resignation instead of the Excel 'weekly performance report'.

On Monday, my (ex-)boss calls me and says he's very surprised about my resignation... because bonuses are being paid out right now. I didn't know that, b/c I'd asked him in Dec when Christmas bonuses were coming, and his response was a laugh and the comment, "We haven't been paid Christmas bonuses in December for years!" So I guess my question was funny?

Anyway, I gave him 2 weeks notice. He asked for three, through the end of March. I agreed, because despite the bile rising in my throat at staying there even a minute longer, I had been making A LOT of money at that corp job and an extra week was about another $1k after taxes.

After we discussed my resignation -- he still wanted the 'Weekly Performance Report"!!! And I, the 'nice guy' and dummy that I am, did it for him. I told him I had a lot of other things to do, but he said he needed it for his reports to his boss. So at 2pm on Monday, I created the report.

Then on the way in to work on Tuesday, I'm catching a ride on 'the commuter carpool' and I get an email from my boss to contact him ASAP. I call him and am told, while carpooling on the Bay Bridge, that today will be my last day. I'm stunned. Then he conferences in the HR rep in Boston, and she runs me through the basics and schedules my departure interview for that day. I try to protest -- ONLY because I have about 18 months of expense reports on my desk that I didn't file on Monday because I was working AND because I did the "Weekly Performance Report" -- but the HR woman says I'll get the bonus AND they'll pay my two weeks notice also. Who can argue with a bribe like this?

So I go to work, and I knock out those damned expense reports all day. I'm not good at expenses, I have some kind of organizational phobia for expense reports along with a difficulty filling out paperwork of any sort. And yet, despite delaying 18 months on these, I finish them in about 6 1/2 hours! HOORAH! I fax the expenses into NY HQ -- but get no confirmations back from NY that the faxes are received. I still haven't heard!

Then I start putting all of my belongings into boxes. I have too much stuff, so I schedule with HR to return the next day. They cancel my security pass, so I'll have to come in the main floor. I ask a coworker to hold my stuff and I grab everything from him later, making the poor guy walk three blocks with me, I'm carrying a printer and a box of books and he's carrying my gym bag.

I'm somewhat proud of my corporate paranoia, because I drove in to work on the previous Saturday and cleared out 90% of my stuff. I couldn't fit the last 10% in my car without paying another $2 on the parking meter for 40 minutes, but I figured I'd have a few weeks to clear out.

Why did they want me to leave the next day? I still don't know. It was unusual, to say the least. I hadn't done anything wrong, and I wasn't going to a competitor or anything. However, rumor now has it that the entire department is getting re-org'd. No details have yet emerged thru my network, however.

Tidbits that I hope to take away from this whole experience:

  • Corporations have some cool, smart people in them, but most employees in corporations are neither.
  • Corporations don't always reward based on talent, don't always promote based on knowledge or skill, and don't always manage with insight. I'm being optimistic.
  • Corporations occasionally make the right move -- but rarely know it. By the time anyone in management realizes they did the right thing, it's months later and that project/team has been scrapped.
  • Managers may have no management skills, social skills, job skills, intelligence, or common sense. The only requirement to be a manager is someone getting you into the job.
  • My worst manager at this corporation was hired straight from grad school MBA program, asked me to train him, quickly pressured me on my own job performance, singled me out and fired me, then had the nerve to ask me to train my replacement. This manager also fired the previous year's best salesperson because that sales rep disagreed with the manager's style, among other folks. His signature technique was pressuring employees to sign a humiliating "Performance Improvement Plan" which made outrageous demands, hoping that the employee would quit on the spot. My 'PIP' included mandatory 7:30am meetings with him and leaving no earlier than 5pm. I recall laughing at mine and refused to sign it. (And fate spoke -- I got a new job at the corp, but he was fired. I don't make the assumptions that the corp knew it was making a wise move. And no one was ever told why he was fired anyway.)
  • My best manager was in New York and didn't really give a crap about what I was doing until his bosses required him to.
  • My worst review came when I was working really hard (50-60 hrs a week) trying to satisfy all the clients and managers. My best review was after I gave up on my job and changed my strategy to maximizing my hourly income by showing up as little as possible (25-35 hrs a week).
  • I was harassed by a director who said he wanted to smash all of my knickknacks at my desk. After saying to me for months almost humorous comments like "Turn to the Dark Side!" and "Conform!", this one day he blew it by getting in my face and saying, "How would you like it if I smashed all of your stuff with my baseball bat?" When I said, "I don't know", he said, "What would you do?" I then emailed him that I thought he had threatened me, and he emailed me back that he was just playing. 5 minutes later, he was at my desk cajoling and trying to be Mr Nice Guy. I think he realized emailing me a response about him threatening me was stupid. He never talked to me after that.
  • Another director commented on how New York was controlled by the Jews, and that he couldn't hire a 55 year old woman to work as the HR woman because she was too old and no one could relate to her. This guy was a weasel, no doubts about that. Anyway, now over 2 years have passed with no HR rep hired!!
  • My work friends were folks I could bitch with about how screwed up work was. No matter if I wasn't interested in talking about it, we'd always wind up on the topic. It was too hard to break free...
And here's the Astrology forecast that foretold of my aspirations to move to something new:
(from my.yahoo.com) Monthly career (by Astrology.com) for Sagitarius

What is happening for you at work on the 1st? Are you reevaluating whether or not it you find a certain spiritual comfort in the work that you do? Are you wondering how important it is to feel as if your work is somehow uplifting -- whether that means you're helping others, expressing yourself or in some way giving back to the community? It sure looks like you could be engaged in pretty heavy thinking like this as the month begins. By the 3rd and 4th, you've reached a kind of turning point. Maybe you've recognized that there is something missing in your work life. Maybe you've identified what it is. Maybe you're ready to take steps to remedy the situation. If so, go ahead and take those steps the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th. By the 10th and 11th, you'll be feeling fulfilled in your work (or by the future potential of your work) in a way you haven't been in a long, long while. It feels -- as you can imagine -- fantastic. The 17th, don't let an obstacle get you down. So somebody tells you the changes you want to make can't be made. Just because they say so doesn't mean it's true. And where there's a will -- well, you know the rest. You'll find the way. The 23rd, give yourself permission to take a little break. You've been thinking hard and working hard, and before you start playing hard, get some sleep. By the 27th, you're in a good space to do little more soul-searching. The 30th, wrap up the month with a big change.

3 comments:

Javan said...

Big up, brother. I respect that shit. I'm trying to get out of corporate slavery myself and into a film gig down here in LA. Good luck with all your shit, bro. -Javan

REkz said...

Gracias. Y tu tambien!

Sony said...

fellas, its not slavery, its voluntary. If it was slavery, Ari couldn't quit. The slavery is paying taxes because that's involuntary.

Good luck Ari, I hope the free market buys what you're selling.