shittest week at work this week.
Company has a cash flow problem. I have a killer product to release to production which will apparently save the company. Design problems. Which, once fixed, produce further problems. Which, once fixed, produce further problems.
And then two people got laid off because of Cash Flow Problem. One guy came in and said "Oh, I just realised. This is my 32nd anniversary working at this company." By midday that day he'd lost his job a couple of years from retirement.
The next day we finally got verbal signoff on the design. hooray. Lowercase hooray. No exclamation mark. I feel so guilty. I feel like I limped across the finishing line of the marathon 42 hours after they pulled all the bunting down.
My boss is telling me to look for work. Hard. He says he doesn't trust the place, that I shouldn't trust the place. He'll give me time off for interviews and stuff. I reckon at least 80% of the office workers are seriously looking for jobs, if not everyone.
And then, as if the week wasn't FUN (hooray) enough, a laptop got stolen last night. Some fucker has walked the full length of the factory to go in through the back door of the office building, then walked the full length of the office, put the National Sales Manager's laptop into its bag, taken the keyboard and mouse, and the power supply, and walked out without stealing anything else. Including the vastly more expensive personal laptop sitting right next to it.
And, unhappily, I was one of the last three to leave.
The owner did some detective work and thought she'd figured out that all the doors had been locked and that the laptop was therefore taken by one of the three last people to leave the office.
She sat me down in her office, along with the single remaining member of her senior management team, the Financial Controller, and explained the situation. She grilled me on which doors I'd closed, and opened. I'd gone to the toilet and left the factory door unlocked behind me, but Seth and Luke were in their office hard at work, so I left the door unlocked, as is the custom, went back to my half of the office, turned off all those lights, and locked my doors behind me.
I've been here for 6 years. I KNOW to lock before I leave if I'm last, and I KNOW to not lock if I'm not.
So she repeats over and over again what a serious CRIME this is, how it is clear that someone from within the building has taken the computer, and that they will be able to identify the thief by examining the fingerprints on the power board. Fine. Then she repeats to me what a CRIME it is. She repeats about the fingerprints. She threatens me with calling in the police. Because it's a CRIME. And there'll be fingerprints. Then she gives me a chance to confess, and I'll be able to just resign and slip away without them laying charges or getting the police involved. Because it's a CRIME. And if the PERSON who DID it COMES FORWARD and ADMITS it we won't lay CHARGES.
If you've got ANYTHING TO SAY, Brent, say it NOW. Because it's a CRIME.
You know what? The last dregs of good will I had for the company just evaporated. Pooof.
I didn't take the fucking laptop and I don't know who did. For all I know the daft old bugger just left it at home, or it got stolen from his car and he's too dipshit to admit it. What? She thinks I carried a stolen laptop home on my bike, past Luke and Seth, who vouch that I wasn't carrying a laptop bag, to see my children with my stolen laptop?!?
The thing is, I understand her situation. SOMEONE she has to trust has betrayed that trust. It's clearly someone who knows the office, who knows exactly which door to come through and when, who doesn't mind walking the full length of the factory, who doesn't mind being seen wandering through the office. And she's had theft before - the old warehouse forklift driver had been with us for 20 years and she fired him the day she found that he was coming in on the weekends and making off with thousands of dollars of recyclable scrap metal.
I understand that she has to get the police involved. That's fine.
There's a right way and a wrong way to go about it. The right way is something like "Brent. We don't want to suggest that you're involved with this, but the fact is we have a situation here. A laptop was stolen by someone who had access to the building, and you were one of the last three to leave. We're going to have to ask the police to fingerprint the computer, and we're going to have to ask you to provide us with fingerprints. Also, I hate to say this, because I don't believe you're a thief, we do have to say this one more thing: we're going to give the culprit a chance to come clean so we can avoid calling the police."
She all but accused me of it. That's the wrong way.
Fuck her. And the horse she rode in on.
There is no WAY that I'm going to be here in 3 months time - unless the job market is really that dry. Last year I honestly stayed in part because I felt loyal. I really did have a job offer for more money at a better company, but I stayed because this place is close to my home which I value as a family man and because I had unfinished business here. They matched the money (kinda, depends how you look at the bonus situation, which is going poorly) and promised me training, which never eventuated.
Well I've still got unfinished business here, and I'd walk away from it today at this stage if I had the chance. I'd just down my tools and walk away, let her deal with the fucking mess. I'm supposed to give her 8 weeks notice, but frankly I'd be almost happy for her to keep my fucking sick leave money. It's company policy to pay out sick leave so I'd have about $4k of sick leave coming my way. At this stage if I got a job offer I'd start in 2 weeks. What I'd probably _really_ do, bravado aside, is tell the new employer of the condition and that I'd try to negotiate a shorter notice period. If she insisted on making my life hell I can't see that I'd be better off hanging around for that sick leave money rather than just moving the fuck on with my life.
I certainly couldn't see myself being a good employee for that period.
So that's where I am tonight. Stressed. Tired. Grumpy. Shouting at my kids when they don't deserve it. Completely unimpressed with my job. Hating the place. Avoiding people. Self destructive behaviour (ok, staying up late to play Halo on a work night isn't as bad as it gets... but still...). I honestly think that for the first time in my life my job is impacting on my general health and well being. It's reducing my self esteem. I feel insecure about my future, about my ability to provide for my family, about my skills as an engineer. I don't feel any job security.
It's clear that everyone knows the company, and the management, is in a tail-spin. Everyone knows that she's in way too deep, too much debt at the wrong time. Everyone knows she's had a string of just abysmal decisions, that she's taken her father's company and in 3 or 4 years wiped 50% of it's value and potential just in reputation and internal knowledge alone.
For instance, one of the products that I designed (a HUGE flop, spent about 2 years of my life on that, and it's sold about 15 units) was DOOMED to failure from the start. Too gimmicky. Too flimsy. Too unworkable. Too ridiculous. But they paid the patent holder $250,000 _upfront_ (it's a $20mill revenue company, so that's like 1/4 of a year's capital expenditure) plus promised him $1 per castor. This agreement was made BEFORE they'd designed the thing, BEFORE they'd tested it, and BEFORE they'd had any idea of what the cost would be. This was the family's first big spending decision after the patriarch died, and they fucked it up to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars, plus wasted engineering time, plus wasted tooling costs, plus wasted stockup costs. MY design now, my design was shit hot. My design actually worked. It was actually cheaper than anyone elses. Mine actually went together and functioned and passed all the tests because I'm fucking awesome. But that's not the point, they don't really need fucking awesome innovation - what they need is good solid investment in the stuff they're GOOD at.
The one product I've made that's been a good idea has been this industrial castor. It was just a castor. It was a big fat meaty castor that came in 4 sizes, three types, and a bomb going off wouldn't dint it. Fine. I can do that. I did that. Brilliant result. It's obvious, sorta, what to do. It's obvious what they wanted, why they wanted it, and why doing that would bring in money.
All this other stuff has just been flapping about spending money. Honestly, I'm the development engineer, if they could go back in time by 3 years and just lose the engineering department I almost think they'd be better off.
Ok. I've wasted enough of my unpaid life getting myself worked up over my paid life.