Drinking From a Firehose

Two weeks into the new job, and the spinning my head was doing is finally starting to slow.  It’s a lot to take in, but I think I’m doing pretty good.  Part of the reason I was sad to leave my old position was because of all the new ‘toys’ we had just ordered, and some of the things we had put in place.  That suddenly doesn’t bother me at all because all of that stuff (and then some) already exist at this new place.  It does suck that all the work I had put into researching, spec’ing, and ‘selling’ the project was for nothing… but c’est la vie.

I’m glad that my skills seem to be scaling well – for a company that has maybe 5 times as many employees, the network infrastructure is 10 times the size of where I came from.  The only technology they employ that I haven’t had in a production environment before is VOIP – and I’m at least pretty familiar with that.  So most of the learning right now is just how things are done and getting a grip on the layout.  I’ve actually been able to fix a couple of things that they had given up on fixing — the guys I work with seem pretty sharp, so I’m sure they would have eventually gotten it they just didn’t really have time.  I’m really thankful that I have a job that I enjoy again.  It’s stressful, but in a good way.  The stress comes from trying to get up to speed and be useful at the same time.  The director told me he didn’t expect me to really be productive for a month, but for my own sense of self-worth I give myself higher expectations than that.  Before, the stress was created by a number of things: not knowing if I’d have a job (before they actually told us we wouldn’t); wondering what dumb-ass decision they’d make next; not being able to stand a few of the people I had to work with; and being expected to adequately perform my job within the constraints that were placed on me.  Good example of that last one – I showed one of the guys I work with a set of network management tools I had played around with before that I thought would be useful.  Someone else saw it and said “It’s $1,000?  Just buy it.” That’s a 180 from where I came from.  I couldn’t get $50 without pulling teeth, even if I could show that it would pay for itself 10 times over.  It’s odd to actually have diagnostic, troubleshooting, and monitoring tools at my disposal now.

Speaking of 180s – the culture here is just fun.  Granted, I came from a financial services company and this one is a little different… but I think any company can and should be a ‘fun’ place to work.  No one walks past the offices at 8:00 and 5:00 to see who’s there and who isn’t (and yes, that routinely happened at the old place).  Hell, the first few days I walked in at 8:00 the place was almost empty.  You’ll see people wearing jeans and t-shirts… I have yet to see a tie.  They have an internal rewards program where people give you points for doing something extraordinary that you can redeem for anything from electronics to camping gear.  Friday I thought maybe I had gotten off on the wrong floor because the door I usually go in had red carpet leading up to it and a velvet rope across it.  Nope, this was part of their Halloween party.  The lobby of my floor had been converted into a dance club complete with a disco-ball, music, and people dressed up in polyester bell-bottoms.  Then there was the whole department that had become a circus – popcorn, peanuts, midway games, (people dressed like) animals, and a freak show.  This is not your average office environment.  They even closed the office at 4:00 to have their “Monster’s Ball” at a bar down the street.  The VP of HR saw me there and said “Are you ready to bail yet?”  I said “Nope… this is completely different from what I’m used to, and I like it.”   I never did feel like I fit in at the old place.  Even after 10 years… that kind of stuffy environment where the ‘fun’ is forced and appearances are everything just never sat right with me.  The amount of BS, politics, and lip-service that went on there just drove me insane.  I’m not all optimistic here or anything… I’m sure some of that still exists, just not to an extreme.

I guess that’s enough of that… one of these days I’ll get out of the work category and back to more fun stuff.

That was easy…

On Sept 20th I was told I wouldn’t have a job as of December 31st. I had a second interview with a company I had interviewed with a few weeks before on Sept 24th. On the 28th I had an offer, and on Oct 1 I told my current employer that my last day would be the 5th (they talked me into staying until the 9th) … I start my new job on the 15th.

I guess they really didn’t expect me to find something that fast (and it wasn’t that fast – I had obviously already been looking) hence the “… can you stay until the 9th?” Not sure what they thought they’d get out of two more days, but I did make the offer. I was trying to be nice, I told them I was flexible by a few days to make it easier for them. I realize I didn’t give them two weeks notice, but they had already said I wasn’t needed, so two weeks seemed silly. I thought I was helping / saving them money. Guess it wasn’t seen that way… oh well. Never planning on going back there anyway or asking anyone of importance there for a reference – they’re pretty much the laughing stock of the business community around here right now anyway.  And since they let the 3 of us go, they let another one go and another one pretty much walked out.  And I’m sure there’ll be more – morale is at an all-time low, they’re making messed-up decisions, and it’s just not a good feeling to be there.

It’s weird – I’m happy and sad. It’s what I would imagine a divorce would be like – you know it’s for the best, but it’s still hard to leave. I’ve been there for 10 years… it’ll be strange going 1/2 block down the street now instead. But if this is a divorce, I just picked up a genius 24 year old that could be a model. The new job seems to be a better company, better pay, better position… everything. And the timing was just perfect. I still don’t completely believe it, it seems too good to be true. I’m not sure why I’m a little bitter about the whole thing – I was looking to leave anyway. I guess there’s a little sense of failure involved – what could I have done better so they would have at least wanted to keep me instead of who they picked? I know the answer to that… I think the deciding factor was an idiotic one. And even if they had kept me, I would have left anyway – I wouldn’t stick around to deal with the maelstrom that’s going to hit that place. I think I would have just preferred to do it all on my terms.

I’m really looking forward to this new position. I’m excited and a little nervous. I’ll miss most of the people that I’ve worked with over the last few years… and I’m actually a little concerned for them. The company is obviously heading downhill, and the driver just keeps giving it gas. I mean seriously – who in their right mind would lay off / be planning to lay off like 20% of your workforce, then turn around and hire your own daughter?! It’s just doesn’t seem right. I honestly want the company to do well because of most of the people there… I’m just afraid it won’t. However, the people that I like there are a pretty talented group that will land on their feet. The people I don’t like there are crazy morons, and I would laugh at their self-created misfortune. I just don’t think you can treat people like they have… I’m not a huge believer in karma or anything… more of a “hoper” I guess. 😀

We’ll see. Should be a new, interesting chapter in my life. Another exciting adventure. I’m sure I’ll keep an eye on the old one and see if my gut feeling turns out to be true.