Friday, December 23, 2005


As I'm about to leave yesterday, I hit the bathroom and am practically punched in the nose by the most powerful, foulest smelling piss smell I've encountered outside of a rest area bathroom. Some freak with a kidney problem filled the urinal with some ice tea colored urine and then didn't flush. It was gag-worthy. Where the fuck do these people come from? And would it kill you to drink some water during the day to take the edge off of that battery acid you're spewing out of your member?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

It's the Little Things

I've been at the new job for about a month and a half and we've left work early as a company several times. The Christmas party was better than at my last two jobs--they actually paid for the food (with 2 drink coupons), they had somewhere under 10 free raffles for assorted prizes (I don't remember the exact number because in addition to my 2 drink coupons, I used my wife's coupons and bought a couple with cash), and they gave everyone a gift with the company logo on it. Today we had a free pizza lunch and tomorrow the owner has invited any employee to come by his wife's coffee shop in the morning for a free coffee and pastry.

Don't get me wrong, the my last job did in fact do things for its employees. It's just that, generally, when you are at a bigger company either the perk is smaller or a smaller number of people receive it (in fact the best perks I got were a couple of parties that were only for an office location or a particular team). When you get into 5,000+ person companies, I think you see that absolute dollar amount and balk. It doesn't matter what tiny percentage that is of your profits. If I'm giving everyone a $10 thermos with my logo on it, I'm out $50,000. That's real money. I could hire a professional ball washer for that kind of scratch. Or better yet, I could buy 10 XBox 360s and give them to the top contributors and save myself around $45,000. This of course leads to the awkward moment when nearly everyone at your company outside of those 10 people begins to feel under-appreciated.

This is where I think the individual manager should step in. They need (and usually have) the flexibility to handle perks at the local level. But this leads to all sorts of problems. Anywhere from "my manager's a selfish asshole" to "these incentives don't motivate people" to "Derrick's manager did more for his team than my manager did, so now they both must die." That's another major problem at a big company--it's us versus them, baby. If someone gets a new computer, you can bet everyone will be sniffing around and someone will want to know why that guy's computer has an additional 512 megs of RAM. It's like ants in a bowl--you don't need to put a lid on it because the ants will just keep dragging each other back down. That's just the momentum of bitterness and resentment in action. Couple that with the fact that every middle manager is too busy crapping his pants because either he's about the be "flattened" out of existence or be put in charge of a bunch of contractors halfway around the world, trying to manage people he can't see or talk to and the situation begins to look dire.

Look at that. I start by writing about the good things and here I am whipped into a frenzy about something I'm not currently dealing with. So, what's the solution? I don't know for sure. It's probably something like "treat your people fairly and the bottom line will take care of itself" or somesuch. Sounds easy and apparently that's what a lot of successful companies already do. Unfortunately, it takes a while to gain back the trust of your employees--turning this ship won't be easy, but ultimately I think it's worth it. That is if the stock holders and/or executives would let it happen.

Monday, December 19, 2005 downtime

By the way, I think this blog will just be my general bitching dumping ground, whether that is work related or just my disappointment with people in general. I'll try to save funny or useful (at least what I consider to be such) stuff for my other blogs.

It seems that delicious experienced a little downtime this weekend. Out of curiosity I headed over to their blog. Besides all of the lame attempts at jabs by people referencing the Yahoo! acquisition or people recommending this as an opportunity to switch to digg, there were several idiots whining that they had multiple browser windows open and were waiting to for delicious to return so they could bookmark those sites. It'd be nice if they were kidding, but assuming they're not, do people really become that stupid that quickly? Every browser still supports bookmarks. Just make a delicious folder and drop them in there. Then, when delicious is back up, add them. And if you want to piss and moan about how your bookmarks are inaccessible, try using something like Foxylicious next time.

Watch for Flying Customers

Someone here at work just threw out the "C" word--customer. If you know me at all, you know that that is not my favorite "C" word, although "customer" can be used in more polite conversations than the one I really like. It's not that I hate the customer as an entity. I do however hate it when they're irate little babies, but that's another issue.

What I hate about the word "customer" is that as soon as someone uses it, I know there's a 90% chance that someone is in the process of justifying doing something stupid. Usually it has nothing to do with what the customer really wants. It's more likely some pet feature of the person speaking and, in the face of not being able to justify the idea on its own merits, they throw out the vague and unassailable phrase, "Our customers really want this."

Even if that were true, I don't really care. I'm not as interested in how the customer thinks they can solve whatever problem they have than I am in what the problems are in the first place. That is to say, tell me the problem, not your idea of a solution. I'll listen to the solution you have in mind, but don't expect it and hopefully if you're a sales guy don't fucking promise it to close the deal. That's how application rot begins.

Now bitching is all well and good, but how does this boil down to something that is my fault and that I should work to correct? My job (the one I'm not doing) is to demand several specific scenarios from the speaker. What customer needs this? What is the specific problem they're trying to solve? What alternatives have we considered? Who else will this be useful to? Who died and made you boss? The list goes on.

I have of course tried this in the past and it ultimately fails in many cases. Those in the know will recall the big customer functionality of pasting non-ID values from an Excel spreadsheet directly into a text box to accomplish some task. My new supplementary job on top of this is to be a siege master. Sure, you repelled my initial attack, but now I'm going to dig under your walls and catapult diseased meat into your courtyard. In general, I'm going to keep making it difficult for you to drop the "customer" trump card and make sure that every discussion ends with you feeling like a fucktard that won't want to open his mouth in the future.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Switch Swap

Probably not surprising given the amount of vitriol in all of my job related posts, but I've changed jobs. I'm doing similar stuff, just with fewer people (both ones that I like and ones that I hate). One of my former co-workers suggested I not let this blog completely die, so I'm going to try and determine how exactly to do that.