tunnel rat posted on October 28, 2007 19:17

I headed south Monday morning, back to The Box. This would be the first day that Dogboy was gone. It could finally start making some changes.

But when I got to the medical claims clearinghouse, I saw him and his dog Blake still occupying the office that I thought would be mine as of Friday.

I hadn’t even logged in when The Captain called me into his office, and shut the door.

“We’re going to have to let you go,” he said.

“Excuse me?”

“You haven’t been working eight hours a day. This is a small company, and everybody is expected to do their share.”

“Not enough hours?” I asked. “What do you mean, not enough hours?”

Boss Godfrey
“Cathy has been watching you.” Cathy was the office manager that had a line-of-sight to my desk. Her office was next to The Captain’s. She was his Boss Godfrey, the road boss who kept an eye on the chain gang.

“Watching? Really.”

He leaned back in his Aeron chair, the only one in the building. Everyone else had crappy armless chairs, or even folding ones. I had brought my own task chair in on the first day. I was used to dealing with the Cheap I.T. Bastard, and dragged my own gear from shop to shop; chairs, keyboards, LCDs, whatever, except for computers. That the bastards would have to pay for, and if it was a low-budget white box with not enough RAM, I bitched until they got me a real PC.

He went on. “We can’t pay for you to take long lunches and sit outside and read the sports pages.”

Sports pages? It is the Wall Street fuckin’ Journal, you nasally-voiced collector of skinny boy toys, I wanted to say. “It’s been one week,” I countered. “Are you sure about this?”

“Yes. We had a situation like this before, and we tried to work with the guy. After 2 months we had to fire him, and he claimed unemployment. And I had to pay it. The EEOD said that we should have let him go after 30 days.”

As you should of, asshole. Too fuckin’ bad. What the fuck does that have to do with me?

And I didn’t see a damn time clock in the place.

For those that are reading this and thinking, yes, you are supposed to be at your desk at the prescribed hours dictated by the company policy…and entitled to no less and no more than two fifteen minutes breaks…and a lunch break not to exceed 60 minute….

Shut the fuck up, Shit-For-Brains.

I was hired as an exempt employee. Exempt guys in I.T. get some latitude. As long as we are in around during business hours, the employers get to bend us over fairly frequently. That means that when the server crashes on Sunday afternoon and the whole site is dead in the water and the company is losing money every minute it is down, I am the bitch that gets to stay until midnight and figure out that someone like Ringbrow checked in the wrong fuckin’ code, and now all the redirects are broken, and I have to unfuck it.

And when, for instance, when some dweeb, who is kinda in charge of the servers, the clown who doesn’t know his IIS from his LDAP, decides not to open up the SSL port, and goes home at five to get in his eight hours of Warcraft...when the site is supposed to go live at midnight...and suddenly people can't log in over HTTPS... guess who gets the call?

Me, Mr./Ms. Devil’s Advocate. So as long as I am around between 9 AM and 5-ish, most places understand this. And this whole “you’re not working eight hours a day” was a bunch of drivel. A con.

Man, the F-Bomb is flying fast and furious in the post. It’s starting to sound like a rant, which is so out of character from my usual balanced writings that analyze both sides of the situation and attempt to be as introspective as possible. Yeah, right. But I digress.

“I’ll pay you for the week.” He stood up. “Here’s your check.” The meeting was over.

I went pack to my desk and packed my stuff. Everybody gave me a Dead Man Walking look.

On the way home, I called the wifey.

“Guess what? I got fired.”

“No fuckin’ way! I told you not to take that job.”

That much is true, but besides the point. The Captain had given me an offer that was 20k more than TCTSRN had thrown at me. Yes, after weeks of interviews and counters, I had two offers on the table, and took the money.

I sped up PCH, cell phone in my ear and my chair and cardboard box of stuff in the backseat. “I can always call TCTSRN again, its only been a week.”

“Are you sure you’re cut out for this full time employee stuff? Babe, I mean, that was one week. There had to be something else going on.”

“Yeah, I think so. I think that cocksucker hired me to put some pressure on Dogboy, keep him around. Make him feel not-so un-expendable.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right – he just used you to keep that guy around. What a prick,” she said. “Oh, can you pick up the dry-cleaning?”

“No prob.”

So now it made sense. The Captain had hired me to light a fire under Dogboy, and made up a bullshit story to get rid of me after one week. Because I never really was able to get anything done in that time. The first two days was spent setting up my PC. Then I got some half-assed specs about some nebulous change to the HIPAA extract, with no timeline, and no direction.

It was all a stunt to keep his primadona programmer from bailing and talking the whole nasty pile of code dead in the water. And I was just his pawn. What a douche bag.

I still had the number for H.R. lady from TCTSRN on my cell phone. Passing by Crystal Cove, I dialed it, hoping that the offer was still on the table. One thing I needed now was another job. The market was soft, no doubt due the flood of CEWPs talking all the good contracting gigs.

The TCTSRN H.R. lady picked up right away. We chatted.

“Yes, the job was still open,” she said. “I understand, these things happen. Can you come in for another interview tomorrow? Uh. Let me check the schedule -- how’s two sound?”

“Sure.”

“Great, see you then.”

So, there I was, no worse for the wear. I knew I was a lock for the TCTSRN job, because they had found no takers after I turned them down a week ago. It was a lot less money, but I figured that it would be a nice stable place to park my ass for awhile and get some supervisory experience under my belt and on my resume.

But of course, I didn’t know about Charlie. Or Burning Man. They hadn’t been in any of my interviews…Mr. Whiteboard has kept them locked up in the basement, and instead had some of the more impressive folks talk to me. It was all more smoke and mirrors.


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