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I am so lucky I have a job

I am compelled to write this post anonymously. Guys, I work in a company where in I am surrounded by poor fuckers who are just as clueless about technology as first time computer users. The most irritating aspect of my job is that I see myself and pity myself as one of those guys who sincerely takes on work and kills himself into doing it, and thus encourage my bosses to delegate more and more work onto me and over burden my already stooping shoulders. I dont say no because I have a family to support and have been doing so for the last 12 years or so since my school days. I am very concerned about my job. If I were to be unbiased, I come out over here as a super star without whom these people would have hard days. Yet, I am so very scared every day when I think of the enormous resonsibilities I shoulder for my family.

I hate to think that I am working in a place where I have to take orders from morons who are always so frustatingly ignorant about technological matters that you can't even explain to them and expect them to see black from white. Lately, one guy asked me to write a document about, don't you chuckle like I did but alas with sadness in my heart, Application Architecture. No, not about one of the applications we've (or rather I've) developed. But just application architecture. Isn't that brutally ludicrous? I already have a week's load of work on my shoulders which I am asked to complete in two to three days. I slog here for days and nights together. I did not mind, until recently when my family started complaining and worrying about my health and I too am begining to feel the work is taking a toll on my health. I think I am not asking for a remedy because my situation has the easiest of answers - find another job. I am trying. But I do not have a degree in CS and that's my drawback.

I felt like saying it out here for a reason I fully do not know. May be just writing it makes me feel like I am not alone. Things are getting so much more hopeless than I though I could endure. Tonight is the umpteenth night and I am out at work switching a several tasks while my clueless rulers sleep a blissful slumber.

A regular poster to this forum
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Take a vacation.

m
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

i think you have an attitude problem. most programmers do. they are subservient weiners. the key is to make the people around you YOUR bitch, not let the people around you make you their bitch. it can be done.


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

In my first month at my new gig, I was forced to stand up to a senior exec.  He was making demands that I was unwilling to accept.

I was scared shitless.  I thought I'd be gone in a week.  News spread amongst the middle managers and peons.

6 months later, everyone knows my name.  Eveyone knows I'm a straight shooter and a hard worker.  I got respect, by standing up to this guy.

Sassy
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

In case it helps, last year I was in a similar position, in that I'd worked at one company for 12 years (not that my fellows were clueless). When we were all let go, I spent an anxious summer looking for my next job, which I eventually found. I worked there and did well (which is nice: I knew I was relatively good at my previous company, I didn't know that I would also be relatively good at another company). To cut a long story short, I now have a third job, with a standing offer to return to the previous one if this one doesn't work out, therefore I'm presently feeling less insecure than ever.

> I am out at work switching a several tasks while my clueless rulers sleep a blissful slumber

Can you tell people what you're doing (complete with timesheets)? So that, if they give you task B, you can ask them whether they'd like you to do it before or after task A?

"I can do anything, just not everything at once. The job of a manager is to sequence (prioritise) the tasks I am assigned."

> I already have a week's load of work on my shoulders which I am asked to complete in two to three days.

You could tell them it will take a week. They might very well prefer that to your not doing it all.

Christopher Wells
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I sympathise with you man. Must be really tough. Its really thoughtless of them to give you work like "Application architecture".

Decide how much they need you. When extra work comes, politely tell them that you are already busy. Maybe the problem is communication?. I mean, they are not going to kick you out, are they?.

There are ways in which you can avoid unnecessary work and still be considered useful. I would recommend you read a nice book called "Dont Say Yes when you want to say No". It will teach commmunication skills,  especially in dealing with such clueless morons.

Dont be hard on yourself. I hate to tell my parents what i do too. I program, but it is not pleasant work. And yes, i take orders from cluless people too (though friendly).

Take some time off, meditate and listen to some relaxing music !

Kar
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Welcome to the Club man!!!!!!

GenX'er
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Your reply was beautiful, Kar. It brought a smile to my face. I am having this pain in my back and around the back of my neck doing so many nights. I do communicate but I guess my bosses are all too scared of their boss biting their asses. What's the worst thing is that my hard work, though well known here, never gets communicated to the person whose attention actually matters, i.e the owner of the company who lives in another country. Then, my work is passed on as my boss's. Mostly, when my boss gets a scolding from the owner for some stupidity of his, he delegates all the work to me and gets appreciated. And my boss is well aware of the fact that I already have loads of work. Besides, he knows fully well that the team of 4 odd guys I have with me (who are being given different less important clerical assignments which programmers would not take out of shame) are working on clerical jobs. He has sleepless nights the day I refuse to do some work and ask for postponement. I keep fearing they must not fire me. I spent an exile of 8 months of unemployment after september 11th 2001.

A regular poster to this forum
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

The answer to your problem is the neglect of one of the most powerful words in the English language: "no".

Ex: "Bob, will you work 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday to fix the bugs that I wrote all last week?"  Ans: "No".

Ex: "Bob, I'd like for you to write a paper on Application Architecture".  Ans: "No".

Ex: "Bob, will the googlefrotz project be done by Friday?"  Ans: "No".

What are they going to do?  Fire you?  Then they'll never get any of that shit done.

And remember ... it's only a job.  Don't take it so seriously.

Alyosha`
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Years ago, my aunt developed the habit of asking "which part of my current job would you like me not to do so that I can do this new thing you've just asked me for?"  Memorize that question.  Print it on a sign and put it on the outside of your cubicle.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Yo! I am smiling loud and with pith. You guys are so tickling. Thanks so much. I am already feeling much better. So much better.

A regular poster to this forum
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Dude, don't get *too* pithed off...

Sam Livingston-Gray
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

yeah mother fucker! get the fuck out. let the TRUE VB GODZZ have the $20/hour jobs! I'll fight if I have to!

IT TOUGH MOTHER FUCKERS UNITE!!!!


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

SMF:
  Maybe your "command" of the english language is part of your problem in getting a job.

sgf
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Everybody is a moron, that's why everybody thinks everybody else is a moron.

catch 22
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Vacation won't fix shit.
Stupidest, most short-sighted fucking advice ever.
Why not just tell him to get drunk?
Same thing. 
Just 2 weeks instead of 2 hours

Bella
Wednesday, January 14, 2004


My prediction :

The strength with which you feel this way will ebb and flow, but basically it will never go away.

The _only_ solution is to work for yourself.

Working for small companies wont help, working for well known multi-nationals wont help.  Finding that one company that really treats its people well and respects you wont help.

People who know what they are doing are that way because they care about what they do, have passion and are prepared to make decisions.

By definition this means they end up feeling frustrated and put-upon because they never have enough control and other people never live up to their standards.

I have come to the ultimate conclusion that if you are ambitious (in a 'I want to do a good job' way), smart and interested you cannot be happy with your job unless you are the boss.

What's the bet that secretly the top people working for Joel are thinking... 'If I can just get my first product developed in my spare time at home.....  I can kick this knucklehead blogger to the curb and....

braid_ged
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

There is some truth to what braid_ged says, but keep in mind that going it alone is not a panacea.  In many cases you are only exchanging a knucklehead boss for a knucklehead client.

Truth be told, everyone is their own boss ... no matter who they work for.  Everyone has the power to say no.  Everyone has the power to quit and find a better job / client.  Entrepreneurs only have slightly more pratice in saying "no" to people and slightly more expectation that any business relationship can evaporate in an instant.  But even if you work nine to five for the Man, you can still take a lesson from that sort of mentality.

Alyosha`
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

==>In many cases you are only exchanging a knucklehead boss for a knucklehead client.

My experience: You're trading *one* bonehead boss for *twenty* bonhead clients. It's no fun from that perspective.

Sgt. Sausage
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

It looks to me like they totally depend on you there.

Alex.ro
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Regular Poster,

It looks like your boss needs you. Be polite and firm with him. Dont worry too much about losing your job. Maybe the thought will be with him that if he lets you go, then the new guy may not do what he expects.

And do read a couple of books on how to communicate with such people. It always shows things in a new perspective

Best of luck.

Kar
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Call in sick for about three days!

Let them see firsthand what life would be without you!

I'd do it. Drink some stale milk or something, so you don't have  to lie.

Alex.ro
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Bella, did I forget my little sarcasm emoticon? :}

m
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

"which part of my current job would you like me not to do so that I can do this new thing you've just asked me for?"

Sam hit the nail on the head with that one.  There's only so much that one person can do and it is entirely unreasonable to work overtime all the time.  Some projects have to have higher priority than others and if your bosses don't agree with the priorities you've assigned to various tasks then it's their job to reassign priorities to those tasks.

Suppose your project list is like the following:

1) Add feature X to project A
2) Investigate and fix bug Y in program B
3) Write documentation for project C
...

Keep a written list of what you're working on and the order of importance.  When manager Bob calls you in and tells you that we absolutely have to have an automated XML reporting widget in the RDQMMI system and we need it right away, you show him your prioritized project list and ask him to tell you where to insert it in your project list.  When manager Dave, who wanted you to write the documentation for project C, comes around to bug you about why it isn't done yet, you show him your project list and tell them that Bob indicated that the RDQMMI reporting widget is The Most Important Thing(tm), but maybe Bob wasn't aware of the ongoing problems in department XYZ that makes the documentation for project C so critically important and surely if we take a quick trip down the hall to Bob's office to discuss this issue we can get this thing sorted out.  Then they can sort it out and when Bob's boss asks about the RDQMMI reporting widget Bob can explain that he had a meeting with Dave and they came to the conclusion that it was critically important to get the documentation project done ASAP so that department XYZ can get their work done, so they've postponed the RDQMMI reporting widget project.

anon
Wednesday, January 14, 2004

There, there.

What Kar said.

If you are getting the work done, all they will see is the end result. All they will know is that when they make request X of you, they get Y result. And they are not going to say "wow, he did what I wanted last time, so I'd better not ever ask him to do that again!"

Also, if your back and neck are hurting, go home at <GASP> <SHOCK> five-thirty and do some yoga. Yoga actually does make you feel better, even though everyone says so. And this is your *skeleton* we're talking about. You only have the one, you know. No point wrecking it for a bunch of pointy-haired bosses.

Fernanda Stickpot
Thursday, January 15, 2004

I actually fell sick last night when I wrote this post. I was probably feeling sick since a long long time. Yesterday, I vomitted and spent time crying in the cold of the night in the office.

Today, I haven't gone for work. When I rang up the boss and told him I won't be coming for another 4 days because I had jaundice, he started stammering. He said I *had* to come. "Take some juice, hog like a horse, listen to some good music and definetely come tomorrow."

I said, I'd written five odd pages till now for the architecture thingy and I could have it mailed to him so he could add on to it. He was startled. He said, "no, no. It won't do. I can wait, but it has to be good. You come tomorrow and finish it."

I think I am really sick now.  I wouldn't go for another 3 days or so. Besides the doc, he's got an application development work hung in the limbo till I return and the client is chewing his ass. I feel sorry but I guess I'll think about myself first and go. More than half my hair has turned grey and I fear a nervous breakdown or something.

Thanks to all of you guys for your wonderful posts. And SMF, I was actually sick yesterday I realized later. I don't crib like that everyday. I guess the extreme edges on both the sides of the fence are a bit too harsh to take in - you don't have a job for long, it hurts and if you do have a job where you get screwed everyday for a long long time, that too hurts.

A regular poster to this forum
Thursday, January 15, 2004

The Occidental belief in and inclination towards Yoga also comes as a pleasant surprise.

A regular poster to this forum
Thursday, January 15, 2004

"Yesterday, I vomitted and spent time crying in the cold of the night in the office."

LOL!!!!

(seriously dude, what is your problem?)

INCOHERENT ABBREVIATOR!
Thursday, January 15, 2004

It's called stress and if you haven't been there then STFU you UBOMW.


Thursday, January 15, 2004

Dude, Alex was JOKING when he was talking about drinking the stale milk ...

Alyosha`
Thursday, January 15, 2004

I've been in this position before too.  I took a week and caught the walleye opener (that's a religious event that involves fishing, for you non-fishermen in the audience).  The effect was magical.  My stress related illnesses went away, and I didn't feel the need to kill anybody when I came back.

Clay Dowling
Thursday, January 15, 2004

By the way, Joel already wrote your Architecture document for you.  Xerox a couple copies of this off and enjoy your nap:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000018.html

Alyosha`
Thursday, January 15, 2004

What does 'UBOMW' stand for? I am most confounded.

Effendi
Thursday, January 15, 2004

I found something via Google groups (from 1993!) that expanded it to "Ugly Bag of Mostly Water," which would seem to fit in context.

Sam Livingston-Gray
Friday, January 16, 2004

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