Archive for the ‘work’ Category

The Shoe Story

The man who hired me back as a contractor complimented me on the shoes I was wearing on Tuesday. I simply thanked him. I knew if I gave him any details about the shoes it would be a conversation I regretted. He has a way of converting every conversation into a story about him. My simple thank you turned out to be the catalyst for a monologue where I listed and nodded my head. The man stopped at my desk and proceeded to tell me how he is a “shoe man”. That comment almost made me laugh out loud. I’ve only seen him wear one pair of dress shoes, which were black with a square toe and probably dated back to 2003. He usually wears some type of trainers. He stuck out his foot to show me the new shoes he was wearing. He made a point of telling me they were Sketchers, as if he was wearing something stylish from Barneys. By this time, I knew why he complimented me on my shoes. He wanted me to comment on his new shoes. I didn’t take the bait. His Sketchers were deplorable, as most Sketchers are, in my opinion. He then went on to tell me how he thought the two millennials on the team wore really cool shoes. I told him I didn’t pay attention to the shoes the millennials wore, which was my way of saying their shoes aren’t remarkable. In fact the millennials usually wear some type of athleisure shoe. Thankfully, I had to join a conference call so I had an excuse to end the conversation.

I will admit I am a shoe snob. I like well-made shoes. I like pricey shoes. I like shoes you will not see on every other man. I covet the shoe collection of a certain man in Louisiana. He will often post pictures of the shoes he wears to work. No rubbish! As Dr. Spo would say.

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A Non-existent Work Ethic

One of the consultants at work, who happens to be a millennial, is getting fired. His manager informed one of my team members, who, in turn, told me. His manager, who is a woman known for getting the job done, described the millennial’s work ethic as “non-existent”.

The millennial was an employee who quit to pursue his dream job in another country. When that job didn’t work out, he returned to the states and tried to get his old job back. He was hired as a contractor on another team, as his former peers did not want him returning to their team. He was known for doing little and seldom followed through on commitments. The man I work for recommend the millennial to woman who is firing him. Clearly, the man I work for has lost credibility.

He’s only been in his current position less than three months and he’s getting the boot. He recently moved out of his parent’s house into a new apartment. Guess who will probably be moving home again?

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A Collective Sadness

Upon my return to work today, I received an email advising of an employee’s tragic death on December 23rd. A memorial service was held this morning. Sadly, the man committed suicide. He left behind his second wife and four children. A work friend informed me the marriage had failed.

Most of my team is sad today. I’m sad by association. The suicide is the dominate topic of conversation today. I didn’t know the man but had been on a few conference calls with him and had seen emails from him regarding some of my projects. I never had direct communications with him. I feel for his children who will forever have a reminder of their father’s suicide two days before Christmas.

I suspect things will return to normal tomorrow.

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An Arranged Marriage

One of the men on my team in India is getting married this weekend. It’s an arranged marriage. I was informed by the team lead that three of the four team members in India have arranged marriages. The sole woman on the team in India is the only one not in an arranged marriage. She managed to find a husband on her own. It seems odd to me that in 2018 arranged marriages are still happening. It is India after all, and not liberal bubble I orbit in.

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Another Year

My contract was renewed today for another year. The new contract includes a salary increase. My existing contract expires on Sunday. I’ll have continuous employment without a break. It doesn’t always work out that way, especially in times when senior leadership changes. Income, it’s a good thing.

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Reward On Thursday

One of my peers is on medical leave for a knee replacement. She asked me to cover one of her product lines while she is out of the office for 16 weeks. She told me there is very little activity on the product. She also said there shouldn’t be any life cycle changes until 2019, and that none of the company’s pending acquisitions will affect the product line.

It’s been smooth sailing. That is, until today, when changes my peer instituted went live and caused some issues.

I know next to nothing about this product so I’ve been struggling to understand the issues and formulate a corrective action. The product manager is in India so we’ve only been communicating via email. It’s going to be a trying week.

On the other hand, there’s a Rembrandt exhibition opening at the Denver Art Museum on Thursday night that I’m looking forward too. It’s will be a nice reward for making it through this week.

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What Is Wrong With Him?

The man I work for can be called odd at best. He still works from home in the afternoon because he doesn’t want his adult children (18 and 21) to be home alone. Every month he schedules a 30 minute meeting with each of his direct reports to discuss any issues that may need to be addressed. I’ve mastered the art of discussing issues with the man. I know not to bring up certain issues as he doesn’t want to help resolve the issue, but rather, assign you an action item to find a solution. He wants to know about the roadblocks but doesn’t want to be actively involved. He will, however, take credit for the resolutions.

My monthly meeting was held on Friday. We were both working from home so the meeting was held over on his multimedia conferencing bridge. After the standard obligatory greetings, the man asked about a painting on the wall that is in view of the camera. I talked briefly about the painting detailing a little about the artist, her representation and chosen medium. The man used the artwork as a launching point to make the call about him. He left his home office to retrieve the only “original” piece of art he owned from the second floor of his house. I still had audio as he was using a headset. I had to listen to him describe his walk through his house up the stairs to the second floor and the return journey to his home office. Next, he tried to get the painting in the best possible position for the laptop camera. His brother painted the picture of his toddler daughter years ago. This launched a monologue describing his brother and his artist abilities. He went on and on and on. The whole time I’m reminded I’m on camera by seeing my image being transmitted to him vie the PIP. I had to keep an interested look on my face while I’m thinking I don’t give a damn about his brother, the mediocre artwork, or the description of his family dynamics. I reminded myself to smile and nod. I really didn’t have to comment because he talked and talked and talked.

As the call neared its scheduled end, he asked if I had any pressing issues I need to discuss. I claimed no pressing items as I was ready to put a gun to my head. He ended the call as I had no issues to discuss.

What a freak show! The man talked for 25 minutes about the painting, his brother, his family dynamics and the painting’s provenance. The purpose of the call was to be about work topics I wanted to discuss. Instead it was all about him which was typical of his behavior. What is wrong with people like this who constantly turn conversations and meetings into platforms to talk about themselves?

My team lead advised me before the call that the man wanted to discuss giving me more NPI and M&A responsibilities, which I would be happy to take on. Instead I had to listen the man talk about himself, his brother and his family. The things I do to keep that paycheck coming in every month. I think I’m more of corporate whore than a slave.

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