Tuesday, 9 January 2007

The Inevitable Excuse. But All True, Sadly...

Okay - I departed my last workplace when my boss followed me to the shithouse to bark jobs at me, he is the first Asian person I can honestly say is a total wanker. Luckily another job was on the horizon, a short-term contract so I ended up working in Freo for a large stevedoring/shipping company while their IT person was on holidays.

Must be the time for it, a friend of mine has also been harassed by her boss, in a Justice Department no less, for "not being able to just take off whenever you feel like it" (to which she showed him her email of several days earlier, saying she had a dental appointment, and which he had not read) and then following her out to her car when she lost it and needed to get away from him, and *ripping open her car door* to keep harassing her. At which stage a Department counsellor came over just as she was phoning for Security or someone to get the asshole off her back. I'm glad to say that said boss appears to have had *his* asshole kicked in turn, but I think when a person in a position of responsibility screws up the way my boss and her boss did, it's time to put them out to pasture, because they never improve after that.

To my great amusement, my last place still doesn't have an IT person fulltime. They had a contractor who worked there a week, injured his hand, and did not come back the following week, a fulltimer whom they'd selected and who also lasted a week and was never heard from again, and now have irregular visits from an IT employment agency's various staff on call so they never know who they're getting next. Serves my boss right. Here are a few tales from the past:

  • My boss whom I'll style "TC" for reasons which will become clear as this progresses, decides to "help" me by ordering several thin clients. It is of no help at all because A) he ends up in my office two, three, four times a day for the next week asking if I have heard good things about Brand A or Brand X, and despite my saying what the hell let's get Wyse 1200LE's, he goes for some "special price" Netvistas.
  • He further decides to "help" me by ordering several PCs for staff and for a PABX application which crash/burned some weeks earlier, having been built on a superseded workstation around the Celeron era. Once again he is asking me about Manufacturer A versus Supplier Z, several times a day, for the best part of a week.
  • The Netvisasters arrive. They are second hand, have faults, and none has the claimed amount of memory in them. It takes me two days in between my other duties to establish that, and then ship them back.
  • The PCs arrive. I point out that the one for the PABX app needs a serial card as it only has one port. The supplier says no problem we'll send you one and you can just stick it in. I "stick it in" and then try to get WinXP to recognise it. Try installing the drivers off the CD - it hangs. Reboot, no extra serial ports. Uninstall them, it hangs. Etc, for about four hours.
  • After which I begin to suspect that the "special" motherboards that were so cheap might have a BIOS problem.
  • Since everything has been on the "cheap! cheap! cheap!" I nickname my boss to The Cheapness or TC for short.
  • Ring Supplier Z and ask them if they have ever installed these serial cards on these motherboards before. "Oh yeah!" comes the answer, "we do them all the time, never had a problem with one!" Ring Supplier Z's manager and his story is somewhat different: "These are new motherboards we've only just got them. And the serial cards aren't the ones we normally use, they're out of stock." Tell the manager that he has a problem with prevaricating sales staff and get them to send a technician out.
  • Meanwhile, I try to install a fairly common laser printer on the other two machines. No go, same as the serial port driver, the installation gets to a point and the machine hangs. Install another printer and that works fine. So there's a definite I/O issue. Supplier Z has meanwhile sent a tech on site to check it out, he tries and fails to install the things I am trying to install, takes the PC and serial card with him to their shop.
  • When it comes back we get a very expensive telco tech to install the PABX app, and he does so. Three days later the hard drive shits itself.
  • This has just cost me almost 30 hours of extra work, time I can't afford. But TC isn't finished yet. Because of the "new new" PCs we end up getting, one user loses her template settings in Word and complains. TC offers to "help" me by fixing the issue. I'm panicking by this stage and say I'll fix it once I've caught up but he won't hear of it. Damn...
  • He finds that the tempate system on the half PC half terminal server environment is strange indeed, and we find another little problem, half the documents have embedded links to their template files - which are on a server that was decommissioned three years earlier... Needless to say this issue alone costs me another 24 hours of my time.
That's about when he follows me into the shithouse to give me a list of jobs that he's decided are critical. Like a user not being able to access one laser printer out of a pool of 6. And similarly stupid things. What makes that fault critical? It's *his* manager that can't access the printer...

Bear in mind that I have emphysema, and stress generally makes the symptoms worse, and I have also got to take a certain amount of time off for medical appointments, and in fact took this job because we came to an agreement about flexitime and low stress due to my illness.

Okay I think that takes care of November - I was definitely in no mood to write, then I quit and organised the contract job, and then around the 27th the power bump took out my good laptop.

From then until now I've been on 24/7 call, worked mad hours, and generally also was in no mood to revive an ancient laptop so that I could blog again. And when I did, I found that the copy I took is corrupted and won't load.

So 'scuse me for not blogging but I think I have just cause.

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