shirenomad: (frustrated)
Okay, another note to self: never sign a contract that includes a non-compete clause... for 24 months after leaving the company. *headslap*

Decisions.

Oct. 1st, 2004 10:41 am
shirenomad: (mixed)
I should have seen this coming. This is the same disorganized boss who doesn't seem to know the meaning of the phrase "has to be done by" and who has never, ever been able to keep his priorities the same for more than 24 hours. I'd spent a good chunk of the past month getting instructions that changed by the day, and a lot of it regarding things that he could have handled himself or were largely irrelevant to the smooth operation of the company come my departure.

End result: At 5:30pm (my "official" checkout time), we hadn't finished with everything he wanted finished, and more to the point, we weren't going to for at least another eight hours. I gave him until 6:45 (no, I don't get overtime) to be nice and to accomplish a particular project, but by the end, he was asking me about sticking around for three more days. At the same wages. I said I already had plans for Friday (and I do: I promised my parents I'd clean the house today), but I'd think about Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday. And warned him that it would NOT at the same wages.

He seemed to think that was unwarranted. And granted, he did give me a 50% raise to keep me a month instead of two weeks, but that's just my point: we agreed yesterday was the LAST DAY. When we were talking back at the start of the month, I even offered to give him October 1st for free, but he wanted to keep it simple. So that's his problem. Plus, given his track record, I wouldn't be surprised if he came up with enough random stuff to do that we STILL weren't done at the end of next Wednesday.

At the same time, I'm now without income and he knows it. So it's very hard just to tell him that "I'm not interested" when I don't know where my next paycheck is coming from. I told him I'd have an answer by Saturday.

After discussing things with a few other sources, I think I'm going to tell him right out: he wants me there Monday, he's paying me at contract wages. $200 a day. (I might go down to $175.) He also, if he wants to bring me in at future dates, has to inform me by no later than noon the previous day, and I have the right to refuse. He doesn't have to give me benefits (not that he ever did) and he doesn't have to worry about my taxes.

But before I tell him that, I just wanted everyone's opinions, especially those who also do tech work: does anyone here have a better idea for how to make the offer, or for what might be an offer I'm more likely to succeed with, period?
shirenomad: (mixed)
Haven't made an entry for a bit, so I'll catch up.

My parents have been on the East Coast since last Thursday, visiting with my little brother for Firstie Parent's Weekend (for those who don't speak Academy lingo, "firstie" = "fourth year Academy student"). This has left me to fend for myself. Pluses: No one to care what I do, so long as the house is still intact when they return; I get to use Dad's car so long as I keep it fueled (instead of my piece of junk). Minuses: No home-cooked meals. Oh well. One batch of pasta is enough to last me for days, so between that, soup, and sandwiches, I'm in good shape. Anyway, they'll be back Sunday night, so party at my place Saturday! You're all invited! ^^

Used part of this time to catch up on some Naruto. They just finished the second chuunin test. Yes, I'm THAT far behind.

This girl is a genius.

By this time tomorrow I will be a free man. I gave my boss nearly a month to get things in order and/or find a replacement, and true to form, he dragged his knuckles and assigned me a lot of pointless stuff, and is now paying the price: the big stuff isn't finished and won't be by the time I walk out the office door at 6pm tomorrow. Which is to my benefit, because he's brought up the idea of almost-rehiring me as a contractor. The idea has appeal. I'd have a lot more control over when I came in (assuming I have to at all; a lot of the big stuff can be done from home), and I could probably get $20 an hour out of him. Still probably won't earn as much overall, but I'll be working a LOT less, which will give me time to hunt for a more permanent job in the meantime. (Yes, I still haven't found a new job. Another good reason to accept.) And no benefits, of course, but I didn't have those to begin with, so...

Okay, opinions for those in the know about the tech market: here's my intended offer to him. Let me know if you think it's reasonable.
- I can refuse any assignment when it is offered. I cannot be told I must come to the office at a given time unless I have already agreed to.
- Web design projects: He gives me a deadline and the project requirements. I estimate how long it will take and base my fee off $25 an hour, more if it will require more than six hours a day to meet the deadline.
- Writing projects: He gives me a deadline and the project requirements. I estimate how long it will take to write three drafts and base my fee off $20 an hour, notifying him that each draft he asks for beyond the third will lead to a re-estimation of time, cost, deadline, and whether I'm willing to do it. (I know too much about how he works.)
- Showing up at the office for tech support/explaining something: $20 an hour, rounded to the nearest half-hour. Plus $20 just for showing up (hey, it'll take a hour just to get to the office and back!) so make it good.
- Answering questions over the phone about where file X is: no charge. However, if this is while I have an outstanding project, repeat or long calls will lead to re-estimates of the deadline.
- Per the agreement made as part of my resignation, he will get eight hours from me on a single day (Saturday, if I already have a new job at this point) to help train a replacement when he finds one. No charge.
shirenomad: (angry)
I need to get out of this job NOW.

Will explain later when I can form coherent thoughts.

(PS: Al, Teep, sorry, but I need to cut back a bit to make room for serious job hunting. Talk to you Friday.)
shirenomad: (at work)
There's always the phone...

FlyinFish8: *collapses on his desk* That was painful...
CLCANVictoriaB: Oh yeah? What happened?
FlyinFish8: Another clear instance of Chris is from Earth, the boss is from somewhere in the Horsehead Nebula.
CLCANVictoriaB: XD Elaborate?
FlyinFish8: He thinks he's being clear on what he wants, and I think he's being clear on what he wants, but then when we actually check back with each other, we've gone completely different directions.
CLCANVictoriaB: O-o
FlyinFish8: Doesn't help that he wants me to "think for myself" (which means "think like I would").
CLCANVictoriaB: >_<
FlyinFish8: (He's "grooming me", see. He wants to be able to act on my own initiative and so forth, but only if I do it like he would. I'd much prefer it if he just gave me straight instructions.)
CLCANVictoriaB: *head desk* Gotta love people like that.
FlyinFish8: During our conversation, he shot down an addition to our ad I thought he wanted. Then he brings up a subject I'm far less familiar with and asks "Do you think X would make a good addition?"
FlyinFish8: And I'm thinking: "You just told me my earlier opinion is wrong; why are you asking about THIS now?"
FlyinFish8: While he's apparently thinking: "Let's see if Chris can make the right call here."
CLCANVictoriaB: *smacksmacks your boss*
FlyinFish8: Why can't he just say "Add X"?
FlyinFish8: Because he "doesn't want an automaton". Fair enough, except what he DOES want is another him.
FlyinFish8: Except one who can actually write, and understand techie things, and do all the stuff he can't.
FlyinFish8: Plus all the stuff he can.
CLCANVictoriaB: Sounds like he's SuperMegaBosOfDoom.
FlyinFish8: And the weird thing is? As far as I can tell, he has no clue how irritating or egotistical his behavior is.
FlyinFish8: He honestly means well. He's just so friggin' irritating about it!

*thinks about making this Friends Only, then decides he doesn't care if the boss finds it* *post*
shirenomad: (at work)
Boss: Okay, what I want you to do is... *trails off to think about it* *for over half a minute*
Me: *jokingly* Yeah, I can do that.
Boss: Actually, don't. Forget that.

...please don't let that mean he thinks he actually said something.
shirenomad: (at work)
Boss-Man has a look at my latest webpage work. He generally likes it but has a few changes he wants me to make. Fine, sure, except one complaint happens to be that the headline fits his screen like so:

Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah
Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah
Blah!


He doesn't like that the last word is on its own line; he thinks it'll look bad for the customers, and he wants it "fixed" so that the lines are more even.

I try to explain to him that how the text arranges itself is dependant on several factors I have no control over -- browser size, browser text settings, screen resolution, etc. -- and that if I "fix it" for him, that doesn't mean it'll be "fixed" for everyone... in fact, I'll probably just "break it" for someone in doing so. He doesn't seem to get it. So finally I decide a visual demonstration: I enlarge his browser's text size one level. His response?

"See, you could fix it! Can you make that change on the other versions?"

"No, boss, you see..." Pause, think carefully about who I'm dealing with. Also that all the versions of the page have the same headline at the same base font. "...yeah, sure, I can do that. Leave it to me."

Sometimes it's best not to bother.
shirenomad: (at work)
The knowledge that I can totally destroy the boss's life at any time. Thanks to his tendency to toss all the busy work my direction, I know two of his credit card numbers, his social security number, and his mother's maiden name. I also have more control of his PayPal account, his hosting service, his network, and his various email accounts than HE does.

I'm not actually going to snuff him, but it's nice to get the power rush from knowing I could. >:D
shirenomad: (at work)
Getting massive amounts of writing inspiration in the morning, right before you need to leave for work and be too busy to write it all down for twelve-plus hours. That's what sucks.

Speaking of work, latest sign of the company apocalypse: my boss talking about the "52 states" during a meeting. And not just talking about them; actually having "52 states" prewritten on his presentation, eliminating any possibility that it was a slip of the tongue.
shirenomad: (confused)
He flew down to the south office this morning around 7-ish. About a fifty minute flight. He intends to return on the 11am flight and be back by noon.

I have no idea what he intends to accomplish in two hours that couldn't have been done over the phone.
shirenomad: (at work)
Sunny contracted out the design of four postcards to a copywriter on Elance (handy service, btw). The person in question said she could come up with some nice copy and designs, given the parameters we had provided, within a week. She also, however, said that "the bid includes all revisions until you are 100 percent satisfied." She would learn to regret that statement.

That was two months ago. Over that period Sunny has completely thrown out his instructions and started over TWICE (despite nitpicking how I wrote them out until they were "flawless" every time). It's become clear that he doesn't have a clue what he actually wants and just intends to keep working the poor contractor until she stumbles across something he likes by dumb luck. Said contractor, meanwhile, has had to subcontract some of the work out to others when it started drifting outside her area of expertise.

Today I got an email. In brief, it stated that she has obviously "not been able to meet your expectations" and would respectfully like to withdraw from the project. She'll be refunding her half-in-advance to do this.

She's smarter than I am...
shirenomad: (celebration)
My four successful sales (out of some sixty-odd attempts) netted me $40 in bonuses. On my budget, that tripled my disposable income for the week. *blows it at Fry's restocking his CD-R supply and replacing his dying floppy drive*
shirenomad: (relaxed)
In other words, a complete waste of my real talents.

My boss finally acknowledged that today. I'm back on computer duties as of Monday.
shirenomad: (at work)
Okay, boss? I'm your tech guy. My job is to do tech things. I handle webmaster duties. I make and edit digital art. I scan, I print, I deal with email, I tell you how to do things in Excel. I keep the files organized. (I can do that with non-computer files too; same skill set, really.) I even write your advertising copy; it's outside my original job description but I enjoy writing, so hey, why not?

What I neither signed up to do nor enjoy is SALES. I did it for two summers and I left because I realized it was NOT a field I wanted to make a career of. I don't like acting like I know better than my customers what they need, which is what any objection counter seems to involve, and I suck at improvisation, which is what a good sales rep needs when dealing directly with an unpredictable customer. So I did not appreciate being sent out today.

No, I don't care that I had the best results of the three reps sent. That just means two things: due to my efficiency I saw more potential customers than the other two combined, and you've got a potentially sucky sales force. That doesn't mean I enjoyed a moment of it, or that I'm impressed with the $10-a-sale commission. And in the meantime, at least two issues I should have been dealing with back at the office were ignored. If you want another sales rep, hire another sales rep, because if you keep throwing me out there I'm going to start looking for someone who actually wants a damn tech.
shirenomad: (at work)
But frankly, you'd find it boring. Suffice it to say, I flew down, I went to meetings, I ate, I slept, I flew back.

Three day weekend, whee!
shirenomad: (mixed)
My first business trip will be this Tuesday through Thursday. The boss is sending me to the main office in northeast LA County for some training, all expenses paid for what it's worth. May or may not have Net access during this period (none at the hotel for lack of laptop, maybe a few breaks while at the office) so don't expect to see much of me.

Also, the flight leaves at 6:45 Tuesday morning. Add in traveling to the airport and getting through security, and I'm getting up at 5. Joy.
shirenomad: (at work)
Boss studies something I've been working on, trying to decide whether he approves or disapproves. Finally he starts with "See, here's what I'm thinking..." And then he goes back to looking over the work. In silence.

See post title. *runs*
shirenomad: (at work)
"And some just have to pee on the electric fence themselves."

Officially, I'm the company web expert. Unofficially, I handle a little of everything, at least until the staff bulks up a bit more. Until recently, that included all the "copy" (text meant for advertising and promotional purposes), but the boss is testing out a new professional writer, Dyan, who will probably take over those duties and free me up for other stuff.

That doesn't mean we don't proofread her material, though. The boss asked me to check out something long Dyan had written just this Monday. I read it through, made some grammar corrections, noted where the flow could be improved, etc. I also advised her to completely rewrite one section on the grounds that it had no energy whatsoever and didn't adequately express its main point: namely, it stated that we could "do X for you because" and then rattled off a brief list of features that had no apparent connection to accomplishing X.

Fast forward to this morning. I'd gotten back Dyan's second draft. Some bits still needed work, but the section I mentioned above? Dramatic improvement. Along with making X itself sound much more desirable to have, she connected all the features in a way that clearly indicated how they accomplished X. I scribbled a big "GOOD!" on it; it was so much better.

But this being the second draft, the boss wanted a look at it himself (and I wanted him to look too, considering the exact status of our price and guarantee were in flux and up to him). ...and like a fool, I brought along the first draft as well. And I thought I'd complement Dyan by pointing out her rapid improvement on that one section. And Boss-man turns and says: "Why is it better?"

And despite my explanation about the improved energy, the better descriptions, and the way it all ties together; and finally my pleas that dammit, it's better, how can you not see it's superior in every way, like Philostrate begging Theseus to realize that "Pyramus and Thisbe" was not a "must see"... he just kept saying "we can't know for sure just yet." He wants to have two versions of this piece made, one with this particular section altered, and one with it exactly as it was in the first draft. He wants to see for himself which one gets the better response.

He was fine with all the other changes, most of which were minor, some of which probably won't make a bit of difference in terms of how many sales it draws in. He came up with several more changes on the spot and never acted like he wasn't sure they were good changes. Everything will be incorporated in both of the final drafts... except that one section change, which half our audience will now never see.

Sometimes I think he's doing this just to annoy me.
shirenomad: (at work)
Two and a half hour meeting just today. Yay.

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