Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Quirky co-workers and relatives

Lessons from Corporate America:  One of my earliest experiences navigating the Corporate Ladder came at the No-Name Software Company. My team lead at the time – JT, which stands for Jealous Troll – wanted all the benefits of being in charge but none of the responsibility.

I recall asking JT for a day off about a month in advanced. JT's answer was to ask him when the time drew closer because he didn't want to endure the overhead of tracking vacation requests. Because, you know, it would be such a hassle to put a note on his Outlook Calendar.

Even with my inexperience in CA, I could see where this was going, especially since I heard him say the counterpart to another teammate earlier in the week. Someone had asked for a day off and he said:

"Oh so and so already requested that date off and he has seniority." Pause. "You should have asked sooner."

JT had many of these management quirks. With new hires, new equipment was often ordered. As is the nature of the timing, that equipment is sometimes slightly better than what the current staff had. JT would not only order a new laptop and swap it out with his old one, giving it to the new hire, but he would also brag about doing it.

The interesting thing is that a guy like him was able to thrive and surive at a place like the No-Name Software Company because it lacked infrastructure and governance, especially our little support department.  Eventually the company grew enough to no longer ignore JT's behavior and while he was smart enough to be valuable, they had to take away his title, his responsibility and whatever semblance of power he had.

I've long since left the No-Name Software Company.  The last time I visited, JT was still there and he was miserable. Most of the people he use to have seniority and authority over are higher on the Corporate Ladder than he. 

Not in the Top Five:  My cousin Wednesday just had a baby and I found out on FaceBook. I'm not sure how I feel about that. From a geeky, techy POV, I get that it was probably the easiest way to get the info out. It's also a cousin I’m not particularly close with and am over a decade age wise so it’s not like I was anxiously awaiting the news with baited breathe (the kid was also a week early).

On the other hand, I’m sure some shout-out must have gone out to some of the family and it makes me wonder how come we weren't part of some smaller private family related communication.   It's probably nothing. Wednesday doesn't seem to be a big emailer and prefers FB chat and text messages, so it might just be that the medium is what it is.  At least she and her husband remembered my birthday, since FB is good enough to remind people of that these days.

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