One year on

Like any writer, I’ve got a day-job*. It may not be as a writer, but it pays the bills in the nearly satisfying manner writing usually doesn’t. This weekend concludes a week off that day job to do a bit of parenting, spending money I haven’t got, and a little bit of recreation. It also happens to mark the 1 year anniversary of working the current job.

How was the first year?

Not great. It hasn’t been all bad, of course. I’ve learned a tremendous amount. I’ve got 2 more query languages under my belt, figured out how to use a tool called Eclipse BIRT, and have managed to become moderately proficient in reporting from a Cerner EHR database. Not to mention I picked up Tableau and aggressively honed my Java programming skills.

On Friday. The last Friday of a week of badly needed time off and the 1-year anniversary of my first full day at the current position, I got a call from work. Nobody likes a call on a day off. Especially when that person happens to be standing chest-deep in the broken floor of their father-in-law’s arctic entry way. This particular call wasn’t a pleasant, hey could you tell me where that file is? sort of call. No. This was a “I was just told someone personally complained to the CEO that you haven’t done your job and I want to know why the hell not.” sort of call.

Getting this news on it’s own isn’t really what I’d describe as world-ending. After all, I’m pretty sure folks don’t usually get fired while on vacation, so that’s a start. To rub just a little salt into that wound though, I was angling for a promotion. It was a wee-bit of a long shot, but I’ve got relevant experience and thought I had a solid work-record. After all, I have managed to do a lot over the course of just a hand-full of months with absolutely no knowledge of health-care databases or reporting. At this point, any hope of promotion is dead. What’s more, this calls into question longevity. Careers aren’t built on reports to the head-honcho that you haven’t done enough, and possibly that you haven’t done anything at all.

What’s interesting about this is that I do have a bit of management experience and have been on the other side of the table. The very same side saying, “you’re not really getting your work done here.” With that on my shoulders, the phrase “not a fit” is starting to come to mind.

I’ve only worked a hand-full of jobs. Some of those I’ve felt really out of place, only one made me really unhappy, but I’ve always left on my own terms and I’ve never been what I would call “not a fit.” In my experience with state government, not a fit, is not usually grounds for termination. It’s not at all clear that’s the case here. As the one in the household that serves as primary income earner, which I don’t particularly cherish, I can’t be in a position to be excused – so that sucks too. Aside from that, the truly hard thing to digest as being “not a fit.” is that it doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m not working my ass off or producing. Because I am. It means I’m not getting it and I don’t completely understand what it is I’m not getting. To be clear: I’m doing a bad job and have no idea how to fix the problem.

So, no. This year hasn’t gone well and I don’t see it getting better. My team never really accepted me, save perhaps one person who seems more interested in shoveling off less desirable tasks and making sure that I don’t screw things up too badly. In any case, I’ve given up trying. They don’t like me or my project and I don’t see a way to fix that. I’ve got users who aren’t satisfied and don’t even feel comfortable coming to me about it first. To top it off, my supervisor is in the process of making absolutely sure that blame is laid where it belongs and that I’m spending so much time in meetings to correct the problem, I won’t actually have time to solve it. In short, nobody has my back or seems to have an interest in helping me get to wherever the hell it is I’m supposed to be.

I know my position is funded through the calendar year, and I can probably squeeze into the end of next fiscal year, based solely on staffing levels. With this hanging over my head, though, I don’t see a particular push to ensure my position is funded going forward -something the promotion would have helped. So, the only way forward at this point is to spend a lot more time focused on the company I’m trying to help build up and seeing that into financial stability as quickly as possible, perhaps in the next couple of months. Other than that, my vacation started well. Too bad it couldn’t have stayed that way through the end.

*Day-job is being used in a broad-sense here.



6 thoughts on “One year on

  1. scribblings246 says:

    Dave, I’ve held a few supervisory positions myself over the years, and whoever did that is extremely unprofessional. That isn’t the sort of conversation one handles with a phone call, especially when the person receiving the bad news is on vacation. In short, they should have waited until Monday. I realize I’m kind of biased on this, and I know nothing about your line of work, except that Java is a thing that exists, and people program with it. But this is just a breach of common courtesy, and I’m really sorry to hear you’re being treated so badly there. You deserve better, and I hope you find it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If it isn’t too late, I think you need to make an appointment with someone in HR who is not involved in your department. I agree with Scribblings that this is not appropriate conduct for a supervisor. You deserve answers to a few pertinent questions, such as, Who made this dire complaint, Was the big boss actually called, Why weren’t you allowed to respond in a neutral setting? At this point, what do you lose by pushing back?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure going to HR is going to do more than cause me more trouble. I don’t have adequate documentation – of course, that’s part of the problem, couldn’t complete work I wasn’t asked to do, but the burden is on me because I was supposed to get all of their needs together and make reports, which I tried, but couldn’t get enough out of them to get beyond the essentials. Anyhow, the CEO was present. In fact, it was at at a meeting with most of the CEOs of the consortium (like 20 companies). I checked my inbox today and had actually gotten an e-mail from an attendee giving me a heads up that life was about to start sucking and asking why I hadn’t done the reports. All indications are that this was pretty much a career-ending move, at least with this company. Would have been nice if someone had actually reached out to me first so I could fix the problem instead of just waiting to unleash their grievances at the CEO. After all, I’m just a little guy inside of a pretty substantial project and I have no authority whatsoever. I don’t even have any resources for my part of the project.


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