Monday, July 07, 2008

Being a short-timer at work is great.

If the oppressively boring nature of the business process management software industry by itself wasn't enough to make me not give a crap, being a short timer sealed the deal.

Last week Ralph and I reviewed all the open issues for the upcoming release of the software we work on.

Ralph: What did you think of issue #1, where the system apparently loses important data when the server crashes?
Me: Huh.
Ralph: That's it? Just "huh"?
Me: Hey, sounds like a real issue, but not one I can add value to with the little time I have left. Good luck though.
Ralph: Alright, alright. How about #2? Looks like they set up 3 servers in a cluster and then unplugged the network cable on one of them and lost some data. Any thoughts?
Me: Huh.

I think you can sense the pattern here. When you work on a really crappy and boring piece of software, it's tremendously liberating to be able to walk away from it and the imminent flood of critical issues that will soon crash down on its ancient and creaky architecture.

But, good luck, Ralph.

Today I filled out my online exit survey. It was a little anti-climactic to have a decade of job frustration and then be asked to express my thoughts in a multiple choice format. There were a lot of choices, and I picked the ones that seemed to most closely represent my feelings of "dead end job, but I was still left wanting...

There was no check-box for "ennui"!

Which option would I select for "soul crushingly boring job"?

"Mid-life crisis" ? Nope, not available either.

How about "What the hell is wrong with you people?!?!?!"? Astonishingly, not to be found.

There wasn't even a box that let me express the fear I felt when they started laying off experienced engineers in order to move jobs to India. Instead, there was a small text box at the bottom of the electronic form where I could list my "other" thoughts. It was, of course, a tiny little box that seemed best suited for text messages, or maybe a Twitter tweet.

Thankfully it had a scroll bar on it, so I crammed about a page of text in there. It was my magnum opus of quitting. I led them through the time-line of atrocities they had committed that finally drove me from my job. It was a masterful explanation of the frustration I felt, accompanied by sincere wishes for the well-being of the coworkers I had left behind. I hit the "Submit" button satisfied that I had said my piece.

I'm sure that somewhere in Germany an HR person will dutifully record that Engineer X left the company in July of 2008 for reason: Other.


Avery Gray said...

Yeah, they don't care why you leave. I'm sure they assume it's not because you were so deliriously happy with your job that you felt bad for anyone who hadn't had the opportunity to experience it for themselves. You weren't a bikini inspector.

Lola said...

Bikini inspector is a job????

Neel Mehta said...

I'm sure that somewhere in Germany an HR person will dutifully record that Engineer X left the company in July of 2008 for reason: Other.

Damn, that's deep.

And yes, there are such things as bikini inspectors, but it's probably not that exciting -- just feeling and stretching out fabric in the abstract.

No, in the bikini factory business, you want to be in quality control, or hands-on customer support.

Sue said...

But how liberating! Hooray for you. Soak it in baby - these moments don't come too often in life. Who knows your next job might be your last...

Mike said...

Avery, they SHOULD care why I leave. Not because I'm important, but because this is a valuable way of getting information about changes that might help prevent someone else from leaving.

Oh, god, I sound so naive.

Lola, it's more of a joke found on t-shirts worn by U.S. teenagers than a job.

Neel, what about the bikini removal department?

Sue, that sounds so ominous! Am I dying? Unemployable? Aaaaaaaaah!!

carey said...

and don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out...and, sorry for my ignorance, but what's a twitter tweet?

Mike said...

Twitter is an online service that is like a cross between a blog and text-messaging. You can send little 140-character messages to a whole bunch of people at once, basically all the people who subscribe to your feed. It's micro-blogging. All the kids are doing it.

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