Jones Is A Shithead

I may have mentioned my crummy job in the past.

It’s wrong for me to be so disrespectful of it. It pays my bills and keeps me out of that large group of Americans who don’t have health insurance. Without it I wouldn’t have this fine, fine computer, with which I blog. And, as noted here in the past, every Monday I am full of resolve to make the best of it, to be friendly and helpful, to keep it light, to solve problems rather than create them.HugeCorp

Maybe it’s the corporate ownership. My company has been absorbed by HugeCorp, a company whose only purpose is to own other companies (and extract the cash). It was created just a few years ago, so no one working at HugeCorp has been around as long as I have, or most of my immediate colleagues, for that matter. They know nothing about the actual business we’re in – that is, the part of the business that generates the revenue. So their “management” abilities are purely theoretical, and as a result the orders we get from them are arbitrary and, well, pointless. And stupid.

This has caused morale on the ground to disintegrate. Everyone’s upset because they are following orders, rather than getting the job done. You spend most of your time following orders, and then when you can fit it in, you get the job done, almost as an afterthought, and certainly not as a result of the orders from HugeCorp.

As part of the takeover, HugeCorp made it clear that it was their way or the highway. I stopped counting how many documents I have signed saying that I understand that I serve only at their pleasure and can be discarded at any time for any reason. The good news was always that I could quit if I wanted to (as if I couldn’t do that anyway). I wonder if they really think anybody swallowed that. In any case, these documents always arrived with our paychecks, as if to remind us that there was a linkage between getting paid and agreeing with everything they wanted.

The progression of my attitude has been: first, I tried to be a good employee, so I could keep my job and continue to get paid. Then, I saw how things could be improved and I moved to do so. Next I found myself having to fix problems that wouldn’t have happened if the company had brought me in to the decision-making earlier. I got a little sour about that.

After a while I made proactive suggestions to increase efficiency and streamline procedures. These were either ignored or rejected, only to be resurrected verbatim by somebody higher up the food chain and presented as their own, often to me! Around the time of the takeover I began to realize that I was not a member of the family, and would never be allowed to sit at the table. I was only greased when I squeaked really loud, and I got pretty fucking sick and tired of that. At some point I just stopped trying to help.

I have a rotten attitude. If I worked for me, I’d fire myself, except I might not be able to replace me without paying myself a lot more than I’m getting now. Also, I might sue myself for wrongful termination, if such a crime exists. The only way to get rid of me might be to kill me, which is why I have an assistant start my car each day when I leave the office.

The other day somebody’s father-in-law died. Your wife’s dad. Terrible news for your wife, no doubt, but just a bummer for you. Nonetheless, I wanted to sign the card that was circulating around the office, let the guy know I sympathized (I’ve never even met his wife). But I couldn’t catch up with the damned thing, and it ended up in the hands of someone I can’t stand to talk to, a know-nothing, do-nothing, pompous jerk who, in my opinion, only works here because he couldn’t manage the deep fryer at McDonald’s. Every time we need each other we both get angry and frustrated. My fault, as much as his.

So I didn’t sign the card, and my empathy became the victim of a toxic work environment that has got me divided from the very people I should be working most closely with – if we were trying to run a good company instead of just trying to keep our heads down and get by with the least amount of friction, so we can go home at the end of the day and start our real lives.

I wonder if this is some kind of new management-by-confusion technique that they are teaching in business school these days. So anyway, I’m a shithead. I can’t take full credit for it. In fact, I’m sure someone somewhere at headquarters is getting a promotion and a raise for it right now.

In other news, last night I ate a rotisserie-cooked chicken with my bare hands. Just tore it apart and devoured the flesh like an animal predator. Got it all over my face and shirt, and didn’t have no stinkin’ salad, neither.

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18 Replies to “Jones Is A Shithead”

  1. First one’s free? Uh, this ain’t my first.

    I remember a get-well card that I was circulating for an older worker (and friend) who was in the hospital from a heart attack. One friendly worker somehow misjudged the situation and ended up sorry as hell that he’d made a smartass remark on the card. He forcefully took the card back from me later and laboriously reworked his message with thick dark ink so that it was friendlier! But it was a fucking mess. See, I learned that sometimes it’s better not to say anything.

  2. Every day I resent the fact that my crappy job interferes with my otherwise pleasant life.

    Like you, I started out as an enthusiastic, involved, helpful employee for my company. I don’t do rewarding work, but I thought it was worth it to try. After several mergers, each with increased unneccessary BS, I’ve become a cover-my-ass-until-quitting-time employee. I still fake it pretty good, and I know I’m not alone with my dissatisfaction, but it makes 40+ hours of every week seem like prison.

    At the same time, I’m getting tired of listening to myself and everyone else complain. It may be well past time for a change for this girl.

  3. Found your blog through a friend’s 🙂

    I was in the exact same stinkin situation for the past three years. It’s a long story (which I will happily tell you one day if you’re interested), but I finally made a “radical” (some would say) move and got the hell out of there. It was scary and difficult and exciting and liberating. I now have a brand new job that I love. Something to think about….

  4. It’s no wonder you hate your job, Larry. It sounds like condensed Dilbert soup. You probably feel hooked by your salary – I’m just guessing.

    As for the chicken – good for you! Even better if you ate it standing at the sink and tossed the bones into a trash can on the other side of the room.

  5. Sorry to hear about the job. Glad to hear about the chicken! Nothing like ripping a poor defenseless dead chicken apart limb by limb and devouring it like the carnivore you were born to be!

    I once had a CEO tell me in a meeting that *my problem* was — was that I tend to try to solve the problem, instead of just getting the project to the next step…

    Never quite figured out what that actually meant. He got fired, by the way.

  6. Ron – You’re right, but then what would we say on our blogs?

    Theresa – See, I always thought you were faking it…

    ANS – Welcome! Yeah, the longer I delay, the scarier it gets. It’s now scarier than jumping out of an airplane.

    Dick – I backed down on throwin’ the bones, opting to carefully hide the evidence.

    kStyle – Hey, thanks!

    Blue Girl – HugeCorp hasn’t yet told me what my problem is, because so far they don’t know. I expect when they get around to it, my problem will be that I’m unemployed.

  7. I like that whenever I’m working on Huge Corp’s mainframes that I get my cellphone blown up with:

    Why isn’t this fixed yet?? We’re Huge Corp…

    Huge Corp wants you to know that there will be consequences…

    HUGE CORP!…

  8. Jeez, I’m sorry, man. I didn’t know HugeCorp was getting heavy with you, too. Not that there’s anything I can do about it, but I feel kind of bad. I hope you do an extra-careful job for them, even if it takes, you know, an extra day or two…

  9. Despite what Larry says about his rotten attitude and his being a shithead, it is clear to me that he provides far more value to his enterprise than he consumes in goodies from the company coffers.

    I say this because I have seen his story play out, in rough fashion, where I work. It’s a company that produces something relatively easy: monthly magazines. That takes about 6 people to do the work and 15 people to sit around. I lie awake at night for many hours pondering the physics or the biologies that determine why the competent people are treated badly, while the lazy prevail and are vastly overpaid.

    (Hint for employees of small, single-site companies: Ask for the “full report” on the 401(k) plan. It’s possible you will accidentally receive, as I did, the “full evaluation” instead, and therein you will find the salaries, birthdates and home addresses of all your coworkers. DON’T DO THIS IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH.)

    I bet Larry has ideas about these physics. Something along the lines of people being like dogs. That is, dogs are said to smell fear in some people, and so they growl and try to bite those people, just because they can get away with it.

    In similar fashion, bosses smell superior intellect, no matter how hard you try to conceal it, no matter how much you try to remove the tell-tale glistening spark from your eyes, no matter how you mispronounce words. And bosses, like dogs, bite back in the ways they can, and they lick the butts of the lowly curs who are like them.

    Many readers will say that I’m to blame, or Larry is to blame, for the lack of better success and promotion. Well, that’s pretty cute and facile.

    I hate to insult the people who suffered during legal segregation, but was it ALWAYS fair to blame the situations of blacks in 1954 Alabama on their “attitude”? Of course not.

    Yes, I think there’s a similar insidious, animalistic resentment in most people over the aroma of intelligence they get from others. The aroma cannot be stopped, in the way skin color can’t be stopped. One has the lean and hungry look, period. One is dangerous, but he is tolerated because of his performance and his reasonable salary.

    It seems to me that discrimination over skin color is relatively easy to purge from a society, if 200 years from slavery to Oprah can be cited as an example of progress. But discrimination over intelligence is only getting worse. I mean, like, shit man, look at what’s going on with the high-school exit exams in California. We don’t even have the guts to require high school graduates to do 8th-grade arithmetic.

  10. True, you didn’t say you are smart. But you seem to be smart, and I think I’m smart, and I believe I too am presentable and well-liked at my workplace, and I’m sure my skills and value are comparable to people getting paid more, so I’m looking to bigotry as the explanation for why others get more than they seem to deserve. There, I’ve said it.

    For example: A couple of years ago, the founding boss died at the age of 71. I knew he was a Catholic, and he knew I wasn’t, but I never thought anything about that until the funeral.

    At the funeral, nearly all my coworkers were doing all the kneeling things and the Hail Marys and whatever else goes with the ceremony. It was pretty surprising.

    Then I thought about how nearly all of them were women with children (I am not a woman and I don’t have children). Then I thought about the times I noticed them being in the boss’s office (door open, though), chatting about small stuff, like kids and weekend outings.

    I had never had any exchange like this with the boss in the eight years I knew him. I did, though, talk about the business, and I had suggestions about improving efficiency. Respectful, smart suggestions that were and are the right things to do.

    Evidently the boss didn’t care about his own business. He was pulling down $400,000 a year, and he knew his family was set, on account of his estate, his $2 million house, and his daughters marrying well. He was tired of the industry, and he didn’t want to be bothered. He knew I was doing good work, but he didn’t care that it would take two people to replace me. He just wanted to relax and talk to Catholic “girls.”

    Shortly before he died, he hired a new boss-type, who is very much like him. This guy needs piles of money he doesn’t have, but his main interest in me is to talk about our college alma mater and how great the basketball team was in the years I attended.

    I think this is one peril of working for a small company. The leader has to care. But if his stomach is full now or sure to be soon, he doesn’t want to see hungry people.

  11. Blanca – I’ve had the “advantage” of working for the company when it was 100 people, and now the same company while it has tens of thousands of employees. I signed up when it was a small company, and that’s the kind of place I still want to work. They didn’t ask me when they sold out, however, so I’m learning about corporate life, against my will. At least in a small operation you have a chance to talk to the boss. Around here these days, no one knows who the hell is in charge.

  12. Thank you for your wisdom. Yes, there are things I should be grateful for when it comes to working for a small company. For one thing, I have enough importance and sway, and the managers feel enough guilt, that I could probably reduce my hours to 20 a week without hearing anything about it for a few months. (I would get the same salary, since I’m an exempt employee, meaning exempt from overtime regulations.) As it is, I’m down to 32 hours, and that’s before I run my afternoon errands.

    However, that has to be tempered with the fact that I’m denied my due by someone I know, someone I PISS with in the men’s room. The first time that happened, I said, “Great bladders think alike.” He thought that was pretty funny. Now he thinks he said it first.

    If you work for a public company, you at least have the option of driving down the stock price by spreading factual information about the inside operations of the company. Better yet, you can drive down the stock price by spreading lies.

    If I were to calculate my salary based on the hours of actual work, I’d have a decent hourly rate. Even so, I’d rather show you my penis — in its most shriveled, George Costanza state — than show you my paycheck.

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