archives from 2004


# posted @ 4:48 PM
Organization
There has been whispering at work of a reorganization on either a national or regional level. I'm pretty far down the food chain, so I doubt it would impact me, but if there are changes at a higher level, it will make work interesting.

I witnessed the landing of Air Force 1 today. It came so close, I felt like I could reach out and touch it. In the past I have seen the C-130 transports before that carry his motorcade, but they were either already on the ground today, or he has a motorcade available for use here in California, so they didn't have to fly in the motorcade.

# posted @ 11:56 AM
Buy them now, while you can.
I blew off an 8am meeting this morning. There's no excuse for 8am meetings, unless time zones are involved. I'm silently protesting 8am meetings.

One of the things I've always enjoyed about my work is the couple of times a year when a project I've worked on makes the newspaper. Unfortunately, it's usually because something has gone wrong. Not with my project, but with the underlying situation. Yesterday we were told to watch today's newspapers, and not to talk to the media. Sure enough, there it was. My specific project was even mentioned, with details. Sadly, I don't think the outcome will have a happy ending for the parties involved, and that's sad.

# posted @ 6:11 PM
Working Remotely
Working from the remote office today. Two of the managers took us out to a nice lunch - despite that being against policy. They're really trying to show their appreciation for the hours and efforts we're putting in, and I recognize and appreciate that. It does help offset the bad stuff. :)

# posted @ 10:47 PM
Trying Something New
I read a book once that suggested trying something new every now and then. Something outside your comfort zone. So at the last minute this morning, I swung the steering wheel left and tried a totally new route to work. My normal commute involves two freeways, two expressways, and one surface street. 15 miles, thirty minutes. Today's new commute involved two freeways, one surface street, 16 miles, 25 minutes. If I do it again, I think I can shave 5 more minutes off because now I know how to navigate the bottlenecks better.

# posted @ 4:55 PM
Employee Productivity
Now I know what the company is doing. At this morning's staff meeting, they said that headcount is significantly below where we were a year ago. At the same time, productivity per employee is significantly up, and that is one of the key measures of statistics around the company. Keep headcount down, amount of overall work remains the same, and per employee productivity has to go up. So does employee burnout.

# posted @ 1:34 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
One Person Short
Work has been crazy lately. We used to have five people in our dept, and now we only have four. So all of our work has increased by 25% to make up for the lost guy. We started interviewing for a replacement, but that seems to have stalled. Now I fear the management thinks they can do without a fifth body, save the money, and just make us all work harder. That's just not a good solution at all. Morale is low among the troops. I used to think management just was oblivious to that, and the effects, but now I think they consciously perpetuate the situation.

# posted @ 7:14 AM
Friday, February 13, 2004
Improving Morale

Our work mailboxes were stuffed with a bag with the following inside: Silly putty, bottle of water, can of Red Bull, Powerbar, candy bar, Frito's corn chips, Microwave popcorn (the whole building smells like popcorn right now), gum, and a lollypop. I'm on the Happiness Committee that came up with the idea of doing this to improve employee morale, but I still felt pimped out when I got it. Like they are trying to buy my happiness with silly putty and corn chips. No, employee happiness is more fundamental than corn chips. It starts at the top, and trickles down. It's a start in the right direction, with a fair amount of ground to cover.

# posted @ 9:30 PM
Dilbert, Part II
We had a 2.5 hour training at work today on how to use proper grammar in our written communications. After the training, a homework assignment was distributed in which the word "excerpt" was misspelled "exerpt". I think what we really need is a training on how to use the spellchecker.

# posted @ 5:52 PM
Dilbert
I placed an order for a USB hub through my company's IT department. You can buy them for $6 at the local electronics store. The response I got was that I had to get approval from the head of my department to order the hub. I told them to cancel the order - I would go to the electronics store myself and buy one.

# posted @ 3:44 PM
Monday, February 09, 2004
Perspectives on Impacting the Bottom Line
I told one of the three head bosses this morning that I am near a crisis point in dealing with project allocation at work. I suggested that we need project meetings between managers and staff to coordinate project allocations and deadlines. I was told the push-back from the head bosses is that the meetings take too much time and cost too much in terms of lost productivity. What a joke. What costs them the most productivity is when we lose time trying to coodinate projects ourselves, rather than having the managers do it. Another example of how out of touch this business is with reality.

"Finance companies don't appreciate their employees. They depreciate them." -- Coworker

# posted @ 9:34 AM
Sunday, February 08, 2004
Hard Line
I'm taking a hard line. My work situation must improve. I am going to insist that the managers and partners schedule me as a resource, and stop just dumping work on me with no coordination. The "no coordination" business model no longer works for me.

"I'm burning out like a Supernova here." -- JH

# posted @ 7:35 PM
Schedules and projects
My work schedule exploded into nastiness this week. We don't have a centralized resource management system, so each manager can assign tasks to any employee in the department. That often results with an employee having multiple projects for each manager. When they all have deadlines on the same week, it's a mess trying to get them all accomplished. I got fed up this week, and sent out an e-mail listing all my open projects, and when over the next two weeks I estimated I could work on them. If the managers don't like it, then they need to prioritize among themselves. That's the best I can do. I've decided I need to be more proactive about managing the expectations of my supervisors.

# posted @ 4:28 PM
Da Noise
I can't take the noise any longer. Sometimes it sounds like my cube is in the middle of Grand Central Station. Too many people, too loud, too often. I sent an e-mail to HR, and the HR representative is going to start finding a remedy.

# posted @ 5:12 PM
Happy Committee
We had our community lunch today. It's a new monthly lunch program designed to improve morale. Don't get me started on the discussion of how my industry is constantly battling low morale (and failing) - that's a whole book in itself. Nonetheless, we had a very nice lunch, and got to listen to the boss tell witty stories. I happen to like and tremendously respect this particular boss, so it was all worth it. In the end though, I asked if he thought the company was truly committed to improving the plight of the employees. He wasn't sure. But I did gleen two points from his discussion: (1) Milk the company for any benefits you can, because that will increase your job satisfaction; and (2) If you're truly unhappy, it's time to look for greener pastures.

"Loyalty is fleeting if you don't pay attention to [your employees]." -- Steve Pogorzelski, President, Monster.com


# posted @ 8:38 AM
Friday, January 30, 2004
Computer Blowups
My work laptop died yesterday, so they swapped the harddrive into a new laptop of the same model. The new one, even though it's the same model, runs lightning fast! It's so great. Smooth as butter!

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