Tuesday, March 11, 2008


There are a couple of conflicting forces both pushing me away from my current company and keeping me in. I wish it were as simple as working for a crappy company that I don't like. Lately I've gone through a range of positions from wanting to leave at the earliest opportunity and wanting to stick it out. Both sides have valid points.
Should I stay?
  • My job security is good.
  • My benefits are adequate.
  • I am happy with what they pay me.
  • The work experience is excellent.
  • I like the view from my office.
  • I enjoy the company of my coworkers, however I don't get the opportunity to spend much time with them.
  • The managers in my area are excellent.
Or should I go?
  • As a group, we're overworked. There is far more to do than we have the people or the hours.
  • My company is complicit to wasting our time. This is one of the most ironic aspects of my job at this company, they will spend $20 to avoid wasting $10, but they don't seem to mind that having us wait on resources and not be able to do our jobs also costs the company.
  • The hardware my company provides is weak--this is an extension of the previous point. There are a few low cost things the company could do to improve productivity and people's experience at work.
  • Departments make decisions that affect everyone without thinking it through. Take facilities and security for example. They recently created a policy that changed the time that the front door to the building is locked, from 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM. They posted this notice outside the door while the temperature was below 0. To enter the building before 7:00, the guard would need to let you in. This usually works fine, but what about the time he's in the restroom? Did I mention the temperature at that hour can be very low, we're in Minnesota. Also, what value does keeping the door locked early have? It only inconveniences those of us who get to the building early and gives the guard one more thing to do.
  • Here's another one, they put speed bumps in the parking ramp in the worst possible places, right below the massive concrete beams. The beams are the lowest points in the ramp, so those who are unfortunate enough to drive high clearance trucks get to scrape their roofs on the beams when they didn't before.
  • They write us parking tickets, no fee, when our cars aren't parked to their satisfaction. There are compact spaces, that seem to be randomly placed throughout the ramp. They are about a foot shorter than the regular ones, that is, they have a line painted a foot in from the end of the side lines. Many of these spaces also have a big standpipe or pillar that effectively cut a good foot and a half from the other side too. Ok, here's the kicker, you not only need to keep the tires within the compact box, you need to make sure that the entire car is within the box. Otherwise, you have a sticky nastygram attached to your vehicle.
  • Another thing, they put these signs for the compact parking spaces up in one of the worst ways I've ever seen. They secured metal signs from the roof. The bottom of these signs ar about an inch or two shy of six feet off the ground. They are also painted a dull taupe color. I've heard stories of people banging their heads on these signs. When people complained, the people responsible for them, in so many words, said tough.
  • Ok, one more gripe about security. We have badges that expire every year. They won't let us in, if our badges are expired. I learned this when I came in at 6:30 AM on my one year anniversary. I had to either wait for my manager or see if my director or VP were in so they could wave me through. My manager couldn't ok me over the phone. What you need to do is find a form out on a shared drive and have it filled out each year. Did they hire me to write software or did they hire me to fill out forms?
  • Forms, forms, forms! This company operates under the paradigm of an old insurance company or accounting firm. There are forms for everything. The forms are Word documents with a bunch of fields and check boxes. A form must be attached to a ticket to get accounts on applications and computers, to get software installed(it is forbidden to install anything yourself), or to make a change request. The forms are written so that auditors can trace everything. A form must be filled out for just about everything, then the necessary approvals are needed for them--good luck if someone's on vacation. If you miss a checkbox or field in the form, your request will be denied. If you fill out an extra value in your form, your request will be denied. If you fill everything out correctly, you form can still be denied. And by denied, you get an automated email that says your request was rejected. There's little or no information who to get in touch with. It also takes about two to four weeks to get a request through. All of the information that is captured in the form could be put on a form based web application. The web application could perform validation of the input and avoid that wasted 2 week reject cycle. The web application could also print out a MS Word document that contains all the request information and put it in the same place the current form goes.
Ok, I could go on, there are plenty of other things that annoy me. I think the repulsion is winning right now. My plan is to still wait it out until the summer.
It's odd though, it's not like it's all bad. I am pretty happy for the most part. Given enough time, I think that things will improve, but not fast enough. I think that I can do better.

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