Archive for May, 2009

Back to Work Again

I got a job offer.  They met my price and I’m scheduled to start on Tuesday. I’ll take a drug test on Monday.  They have asked me to start before the background check is completed and the drug test results are received.  The contract will be terminated if I fail either one.  That should not be an issue since I went through this process in March and I’ve been behaving myself.  I’m still not trilled about the commute but I’ll try to get my hours changed after I get settled in and prove I’m worth my asking price.

I can’t believe how fast this happened.  My head is spinning.  It will be a little strange working for the company that I’m suing.  My lawyer has given me permission to take job since I’m actually working for an employment staffing firm and not directly for the company.  I had my lawyer approve the deal because I was thought it might violate one the provisions of my fee agreement.  Better safe than sorry.  I didn’t want to owe my lawyer the equivalent of two years pay.

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An Interview

I had an interview for a contract position at my former employer this morning.  A few weeks ago I received an email from D, a man who wanted to hire before I was laid off.  At the time I told him I was gainfully employed but thanked him for considering me for the position.  After I was notified I was being laid off from my current employer I called D and set up an interview.  I was to interview with D and L, the woman I would report to. We met in the building lobby.  D told me to lose the coat and tie and we went for a walk around the grounds.  We ended up in the courtyard between the two buildings.  The remander of the interview was held at one of the outdoor tables under an umbrella.  They told me that they were given great recommendations from people in their department that knew me.  I think the interview went well overall.  However, there are a few things that I’m not happy with.  First of all, the hours are 8 to 5 and I must work in the office. This means a horrendous commute during the morning and afternoon rush hours.  Also, the contract will only run until the end of September.  I will have to take a sabbatical in July when the department closes down for a week to cut costs.  Finally, the pay is lower than I expected.  I’m not sure what to do.  I’ll be on payroll with my current employer until the end of July and I’ll only get five weeks severance pay.  I’ve got a lot to think over.

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Easy Come, Easy Go

I got laid off today.  I’ll get my official package via FedEx tomorrow.  Sigh!

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The plumbing company came out on Monday to replace our sewer line from the house to the city tap. They were installing a new Perma-Liner that only required access at the house. About an hour after work started I get a call from the man who prepared the bid. He informs me that the sewer line increases from four inches to six inches about ten feet before the city tap. They will be unable to use a Perma-Liner and now have to switch to the pipe burst method. This means that the cost increases ($2,200) and that they need to bring a trackhoe into the yard in order to dig a hole at the city tap. Two fences have to be removed and the trackhoe needs to be place in our neighbor’s yard (Tom & Sheila). The trackhoe will run over anything in its way so we have to move any plants that we want saved. K took off yesterday to get the yard ready for the project. He took down three sections of fence between our yard and Tom and Sheila’s yard and dug up as many plants as he could. Our backyard is all garden with no grass so there were a lot of plants to move. Some were sacrificed and will need to be replaced. The work has been completed and the workers are getting ready to leave.  We now have to rebuild the fence between the properties, rebuild the fence along the side yard that was removed so that the trackhoe could access the back yard, relay the flagstones on the patio on the lower level seating area by the pond, repair the sprinkler system, replant the garden and relay the pavers in the courtyard patio. The plumbing company will tear things up but will not replace the items they remove or tear up. There’s no way we can get this done this weekend. K leaves on Tuesday for three more weeks in Missouri. So whatever we don’t finish may have to wait until K comes back. Our priorities will be the fence and sprinkler system. The flagstones and pavers can wait. I can handle replanting the garden while K is away. My dream of having a long relaxing weekend has turned into a nightmare.

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Work Overload

I’m getting my butt kicked at work. My workload has gone from almost nothing to complete overload. Everything seems to be a rush and each salesperson thinks their customer is more important that the others. Everyone wants a bigger discount in order to close the deal. I’m also dealing with a lot of Euro to US Dollar conversions. I would love to choke the living hell out of one particularly aggravating sales person. I also have a customer in London who is the biggest penny (they have pennies in England, a single pence is called a penny) pincher I have ever encountered in my career. I still have a lot to learn and I get confused every day.

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Where Did We Go Wrong?

K’s niece, S, was in town last week on business and decided to stay over for the weekend so she could squeeze in a visit with us. She arrived on Saturday afternoon just as we were finishing up a yard project. K and I cleaned up and then headed to Cherry Creek Mall with S for a little retailing. After the mall we decided to have dinner in Cherry Creek North. That’s when the bomb was dropped. S tells us she is dating a young man who is a republican and is the great grand son of a former republican president. Her boyfriend has political ambitions and she may soon be dating a man running for office. K and I have always tried to be good democratic role models for S. S grew up with republican parents in a small town in southwest Colorado and supports the Republican Party. We have tried to convert her but it looks as if we have failed. Where did we go wrong? At least she wants us to meet him before she introduces him to her parents.

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I’m in the process of finalizing my objectives for this calendar year. I know that the year is almost half over but big corporations often run at a snail’s pace. After my last post I find it rather ironic that one of my objectives for this year is to treat all communication with the highest level of respect. I had to chuckle when I read this item in the email my director sent outlining the team’s objectives. Now if only this was a company wide objective. Do you think people will start answering my emails and returning my calls?

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A Sick Corporate Culture

The company I work for has a corporate culture that is infected with non-responsiveness. I have sent numerous emails requesting information that do not get a reply. I’ve left many voice mails asking people to call me that never get a response. The lack of responses to email and voice mail is reaching epidemic levels. What is it about this company’s corporate culture that allows this behavior? I discussed this with G, my peer who was hired at the same time and he has experienced the same behavior. I also talked with S, the woman who recommended me for the position. She agrees that the situation is out of control. S will send an instant message, followed by an email and then finally call the person. Why would anyone have to use three methods of communication to talk to fellow employee? This is utterly ridiculous. At my previous employer one was expected to respond to voice mail and email within four business hours unless they were traveling on business or on vacation. The lack of responsiveness to communications is quickly becoming the most frustrating thing I have ever dealt with in my career. It’s also a joke since I work for a telecommunication company. The company makes the things that make communications work.

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Pushing Paper

I seem to be pushing a lot of paper in this new job. I take a request from a sales team and send it to another group for processing or analysis. When the processing or analysis is completed the results are sent back to me so that I can forward the information on to the sales team. I question why I’m involved in these transactions. Clearly, I’m not adding any value. I’m just pushing paper from one place to another. I’ve questioned my peers about the situation and I always get the same reply. I’m told that’s the way it has always been done. It seems to be typical of large corporation. Most people don’t want to rock the boat or think outside the box. I speculate that I’m involved in these transactions as part of scheme to make the position seem more valuable thus providing some sort of perceived job security. Since I don’t quite fully understand the complex mechanisms of this company I do what I’m told. I don’t want to rock the boat by upsetting the status quo. In time I’m sure I’ll be confident enough to become a change agent by attempting to modify the process. In the meantime I’ll just keep pushing paper because I like the paycheck.

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A Difficult Dinner

I cooked dinner for Patty on Saturday night. She seemed lonely when she stopped by on Thursday evening so I invited her to dinner. I found inspiration for dinner on the Food Network on Saturday morning while I was trying to motivate myself to start cleaning house. I decided to make chicken cacciatore, a salad with asparagus, red onion and pecorino and a pear and ricotta cheese galette. I had to call K for wine advice because there were too many selections in the wine cellar and I’ve been in doghouse before for using a bottle that was being saved for a special occasion.

The evening started out great. We had a little nosh over a glass of wine before dinner while discussing the events of the day. During dinner I noticed that almost every conversation topic involved, Stephen, her late husband. I was getting a little frustrated. I started changing the conversation to a new topic every few minutes. Patty managed to bring Stephen into every topic. I was bothered by the fact that I was listening to stories about Stephen that I had heard several times. After a while it turned into torture. I tried to serve desert after dinner but she wanted to wait a while. I listened to more stories about Stephen. I finally served desert about an hour after dinner. Patty left around eleven. I was actually relieved when she left.

On Sunday I spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I felt tortured by Patty’s relentless inclusion of Stephen in every topic of conversation. I realize that Stephen has only been dead for six months and that she is still grieving but it was overkill. Was I being a horrible friend for wishing we could talk about something else besides Stephen? I wondered if I was not being understanding of the difficult time she is having without her husband. I’ve been around a lot people who have lost life partners and loved ones but I don’t recall every conversation being about the person they lost. Patty is seeing a therapist, attending a bereavement group and attending art therapy. Why was she constantly talking about Stephen if she has three mechanisms to help her overcome her loss? Perhaps I just wasn’t being patient with her. After all, there is no set schedule for overcoming a loss. I still could not understand why Patty dwelled on Stephen so much. Perhaps she doesn’t realize that she constantly brings Stephen up in conversation. How do you tell a grieving friend that enough is enough without ruining the friendship? I came to the conclusion that I did my part by listening to Patty talk about Stephen. I’m hoping it did some good. I’ll avoid having dinner alone with her. I’ll make sure there is a third or fourth person involved the next time we have dinner.

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