Archive for the ‘Rant’ category

And Now, A Rant…

June 30, 2009

One thing that’s been bothering me about my downsizing…OK, there’s plenty more than one thing, but this is bothering me right now.  Working in IT, it’s expected that you can be on call ALL THE TIME – evenings, middle of the night, holidays and you have to go in and fix things completely uncompensated in either money or time. 

When I asked my manager about comp time for the time that I drove in on a weekend to bring things up after an extended power outage, I got told “that’s part of being a professional”.  And the day after I stayed almost an hour and a half late to fix a printer that would mess up production, I was chided because on the same day, I arrived 5 minutes late.  The company got 1 hour,  25 minutes extra time from me that day, but the five minutes was a problem.

And what did I get for all of this extra effort?  I was about the first salaried person to be downsized.

Here is my call to arms to my fellow IT workers: 

NO MORE UNCOMPENSATED WORK!

Part of being an IT Professional means making changes when they have the least effect on systems and the users.  This necessitates after hour/weekend work.  I accept and agree.  HOWEVER, that is not card blanche for the company to steal that time for you without compensating you with either money or time.

Professionals – doctors, lawyers, accountants – all charge for their time.  They are compensated when they work.  Why should IT workers be any different?  Employers have successfully used the whole “salary exempt” classification to weasle more work out of workers without compensating them for it.  It’s time for us to just say no to this game.  If we are told we have to do the work on non working hours, we get either time or money in return.  Plain and simple.  And we have to be given the ability to use that time!

I did it out of a misplaced sense of loyalty and professional pride…and it got me an early ticket to the unemployment line.  I’ll never get back the time I didn’t spend with my wife and son when I had to go in on the weekend to restart systems or see my son go to school because I got back home at 4 AM because of a problem and actually wanted a few hours sleep before I returned.

I think every person in IT should adopt the mantra of the movie “Network” :

“We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

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And Then There Were None…

June 28, 2009

On Wednesday, I got a nasty surprise at my day job.  I went to check my mailbox when my boss asked me if I had a few minutes.  I walk with him to the conference where the HR person is sitting.  I’m thinking we’re talking about training because I had been fighting like gangbusters to get the training I need to do my job.  But that’s not what this talk is about.  I was selected for the Involuntary Separation as part of an ongoing effort of corporate. They politely explained everything to me, led me back to my office where I packed up my stuff and was walked out of the building.  One of my close friends at work had also been the lucky recipient of an Involuntary Separation so we commiserated over coffee.

I have no idea what they were thinking.  There is now no IT at the plant and an ERP and a main system that runs most of production that need support – and no one to support it.  The ERP system was supported locally since Corporate runs SAP and the other system was a Visual Basic system built over 13 years.  And no there’s no one.

I have run the gambit of emotions – anger, shock, depression, relief (today I seem to be centering on depression).  I know that this too shall pass, but it doesn’t make it any easier while I’m going through it.  Mostly, it  makes me feel like wasted four years of my life at a place that obviously didn’t think much of me if they can get rid of IT so cavalierly.  It’s not like my company is losing money – it’s probably a case of not making “enough” money.  Truthfully, I don’t see how they are going to save money and support the business because they’ll have to pay contractors to do it all.

It makes me mad for all of the middle of the night trips I made to get systems up so that production could continue, the working on Christmas holiday so that payroll could get processed and financial closing could complete on time – all obviously meant nothing in the end.  It’s an object lesson to me about trusting any corporation – all they seem to want is to suck out your knowledge and time and when you become inconvenient, you are jettisoned.  And this isn’t a “if we don’t cut people, we declare bankruptcy” kind of decision – this is a “we’re not making enough money” decision.  That I can only hope hurts them in the long run…not that I’m vindictive or anything…

So after having a pity party for myself, I’m redoubling my efforts on my business in hopes of finishing my product this summer and starting the search again.  The last time, it took me over a year before I found this position and the economy was better.  I don’t like my odds this time…

As someone said to me recently, God doesn’t give you anything you can’t handle – sometimes, I wish God didn’t have so much faith in me.