|Think about Loose Coupling|
(OT) my first fired experienceby leocharre (Priest)
|on Jun 12, 2010 at 08:37 UTC||Need Help??|
I've been working at a small financial firm for about 5 years, here in the state of Maryland. I do development, unix, perl. The man that owns the firm is an accountant. My boss is the I.T. manager here- he asked me to come work with him five years ago. It's great working with him- he knows hardware and network very well- I do software and development for the firm and various clients.
In late May, I was called in by the firm owner for a meeting one on one. I thought it was odd, we never meet without my boss to discuss work- he's the glue between my nerd language and the language of users, god bless them. I just can't help myself from explaining things to clients and the firm owner without getting excited about the details- I try to explain and show much more than these people have interest in- it's fair. I sat down- I was asked about this project- I was told it wasn't going well- and that we should part ways. Today would be the last day- as is company policy (they do something with payroll to pay two weeks ahead or back so they can lay people off without giving notice- it's gruesome, I've seent it happen to a lot of people here- it hurts to "watch").
I basically said that it was fine and I had no grudge or ill feelings. After all, a job is a contract by and employee and an employer- and at any moment either party can terminate the relationship at will- more or less. But- I kind of felt something the matter about what was going on in this room- aside from what would happen after I stood up and walked outside it. I tried talking a little bit about the work itself, the poject mentioned- how I've been waiting for feedback on some of this for days- how I maintain many projects- about how my superior is actually up to date on all of these matters- But to no avail- he was not interested in discussing any of this, and simply left it at 'we dissagree'. I also suggested that maybe he should consider letting me work there for a couple more weeks, to finish up some projects (I maintain a lot of software- some of it is pretty important to the firm and some clients). I mentioned this is probably not the best way to go about getting rid of someone in I.T- that it may not be good for the company- that usually you want someone in my position to close up loose ends- leave things as clean and documented as possible for any potential people who have to deal with what you left. Thankfully- I am always thinking of those things when I deploy. I document, leave trails, comment, make sure variables are named simply, etc etc. I've maintained code left by chimps before, I don't ever want to do that to someone else. Again, no interest in any of this.
I looked at the piece of paper titled 'termination notice'- it said I was being terminated because I had not completed this project to satisfaction/on time etc.
I looked at the company owner and said "This is embarrassing.. I've worked here five years, I've done a lot of work here- How am I going to go find another job with this?" He looked back at me without change of expression and said "Nah... I'll write you a reference letter, it won't say that."
My boss, the man who asked me to come work with him here 5 years ago- was about as surprised as I was. He helped me gather my things in some boxes- drove me home. He said he was feeling ill from this and didn't go back to work- he went home for the rest of the day.
The next day mostly I just scratched my head. After that- I thought about the project discussed in the 'layoff meeting'. This was a website redesign and seo backend check- two projects really- but only the website front end was mentioned. I was actually really looking forward to deploying this- and I was kind of proud of it, I made it to build from simple text source, ran through filters it would output html, etc- nice unixy stuff. I'd also done a bit of research on all company terms and the usage of such against google terms data, etc- a bunch of fun stuff. The website was basically done- we had met weeks earlier- I was asked what else was needed- what we do from there. I said, I need you to basically look at this layout, tell me if there's anything you want to change, different colors, home page, etc, and we can make it live- I'd write a follow up email on this to remind the firm owner and my supervisor of what we had done in this meeting and what I needed feedback on to go live. It seems the firm owner thought it was my responsibility to- after sending out the email- check back with him to (maybe remind him?) revise. I can accept that maybe some people expect that from their employees- that's fine- it's not my style- if I've not been asked to explicitly do that- and we have many many things to work on already. But- still- if, say- my employer thinks part of my job as a software developer is to help scan in documents or answer the phones- and I don't do this or do it poorly and therefore they want to get rid of me- ok- so be it. But telling me I didn't complete the work when I'm waiting for your approval? Strange. (That may be some venting, excuse me.) So- I'm thinking about that project. I thought it was a pity to leave it like that. The current site for the firm was horrible- terrible code- missing titles, alt tags- etc- I'd been asking to be allowed to set time to redesign that site since I began work there five years ago- and here it was- only needing a final approval for- presentation, of all things! Ha! It's like working as a master cheff and getting fired because you misplaced a fork! (Ah.. venting.)
So I resolved to offer something. I talked to my supervisor, and told him to run something by the firm owner. I would offer to finish the project- that is, make it live- close up and loose ends- links- whatever- and that I would offer to do this without any compesation, even. That I just wanted to see the work used- My boss knows me- he understood where I'm coming from- the type of creative passion I have for good work.
I was hoping I would at least part from this place that I had invested so much time and energy into- leaving behind one last "something nice and useful" for the company.
The firm owner had no interest in this.
Days passed- had the first few beers I'd had in maybe a year- smoking up, to two packs a day now. I figured out to file for unemployment- talk to my landlord and mention I don't have any income anymore- contact my ex about how this child support payment is going to be the last of this ammount until I had more information.. Planned out some other worst case scenario stuff- such as having to move out at the turn of a dime- maybe ending up putting most of everything I own but clothes in the trash- including all my art- which I did once, ten years ago.
Today I received a notice from the state of Maryland unemployment office, that my former employee has a 'claimant dispute'- and we will settle this over the phone on Wednesday.
Any suggestions, comments- on.. (?)