Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Still Thinking About Up in the Air...part 7.5

The final three weeks at the shady tech reseller couldn't go by fast enough.  I definitely had a spring in my step knowing that I was on my way out the door, and I was very ready to shut and lock it behind me on the way out.  The foolish and still naive part of me expected to at least receive a heartless email saying, "we appreciate your years of service and wish you the best in all of your endeavors," but I did not receive any such response.  No thank you's, no goodbyes, not even a "don't let the door hit your ass on the way out, Chump."  Practically three years of my life were committed to the job that I was told would never move away and after two years they were off to join the dregs of the O.C. and they were mad that they did not get to fire me before I had quit.  The O.C.?  Seriously?  For all I know, part of their new benefits include a boob job and collagen implants for those who want them.  Oh well, stay shady and best of luck to you.

I began my first day at the apparel company excited and nervous, but happy for the fresh new start at a company that I had heard actually cared for their employees.  One of the first things I noticed as I began my tour of the building was that about 85%, possibly more, of the people working at the job were attractive with about 65% of those people being beautiful.  For the record, I am not being ageist in my statement, as there were plenty of people working for the company with many more years on me, and who would be considered "hot" by those who saw them.  That was a bit intimidating, but as long as the company stayed in Santa Barbara and it cared for me--just a little bit--I would be fine as one of the 15%.  Focus on nice Donist, focus on nice.

I immediately met some incredibly kind and sweet people who I still love dearly to this day, and despite everything that was to come from this upstart company's fiery demise, I will always be thankful for having the opportunity to meet them.  There was a steep learning curve for the job and the MRP system was fairly atrocious, which is odd seeing that it is from a company talked about often in the business and tech world, but I was able to learn things quick enough and I was assigned the international side of the company's biggest brand.

Being the stereotypical Donist that I am, and not being one for doing repetitive and mindless tasks over and over again, I began to find ways to trim down the processing time of tasks and to share that efficiency with some of my coworkers.  This was well received by those, who like me, would rather work on more important business tasks and to have more time to get coffee or baked goods from the bakery a few miles up the road.   There was one person, however, who did not appreciate change or taking a few minutes to install a simple macro, or to learn the appropriate steps that would make their life easier, but you can't please everyone.

Life was pretty good for those first few months, and I was...dare I say it...happy.  I had many friends, I was quickly learning many new things, I was appreciated by my bosses, the bosses were approachable and they actually bought donuts or bagels at times.  This is not to say that I did not work and that things were not expected of me, quite the opposite, but for once I felt like I was making a difference and the key phrase was appreciated.  Speaking of the word "appreciate", I quickly learned to appreciate the fact that the head of the purchasing department served as a buffer between the employees and the owner of the company.

I mentioned in the previous installment about this job how the owner of the apparel company has a loud, booming speaking voice, which could rattle the very foundation of the two story office building.  When he was upset or angry, however, that was a different matter entirely.  Months into the job, I was doing that thing I do at my desk, which sits directly outside of my director's office when the owner came stomping over and into the office.  He shut the door and proceeded to scream and yell at my boss's boss for around 25 to 30 minutes straight.  Now, this may not seem like that much time, but imagine screaming at someone for five minutes.  Okay, now imagine three minutes and then multiply that by 10.  If was fucking brutal.  I wanted to climb under my desk, curl up into fetal position and click my heels whispering, "There's no place like home."  Despite the door being closed, the owner's voice was so loud and clear that I could hear everything, although I cannot remember what the hell the problem actually had been.  About the midway point of the belittling of the director, I stood to look at some of my coworkers, who were only slightly shaken and they explained that I had nothing to worry about, and that the owner only verbally annihilated the higher ups, not the commoners.

The odd thing was that people were used to this type of behavior.  The screaming did not happen often, but it happened enough that everyone had heard it before.  When the owner had finished and stormed off from the director's office, I half expected to see him claw his bloodied carcass from out of the office and ask me to tell his wife that he loved her, but instead he calmly strolled out and asked me if I knew how to pull a couple of reports and if I could combine them all into some information for him, which I agreed to do if it meant it would save his life.  I was completely nonplused, he was his normal calm and cheerful self.  With trembling hands I quickly created the report which would become a staple in the company and prayed that I would not have to hear the director get yelled at so viciously ever again.  As it turned out, I never would, because he quit to go to a better job months later.

More to come....

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