I suppose enough time has now passed for me to talk about it, while I can still do so and have all the details fresh in my mind. I got laid off of work last Friday. I still have no real idea why, which is the really annoying part. I could handle the situation better, I think, if I had some clear understanding of what I did to warrant being terminated from my position, but as of yet nothing really adds up to a logical answer. They said it was for generating low-quality work and not performing according to task, but something about that doesn't jive with the rest of the facts at hand:
- They're giving me a severance package.
- People who get fired for incompetence don't get severance packages, unless they're CxOs of some sort. They're giving me through the end of the last pay period, plus another paycheck after that, without me having to do any work for them in return, while they're in the middle of a financial crisis because they've just moved into a new office and can't really afford a lot right now. This is not the behavior I would expect of a company firing someone for negligence or the level of mistakes I'm being accused of making.
- They're giving me unemployment.
- This is the single-biggest factor belying their statement that I did poor work. Companies don't pay their screw-ups unemployment, normally. If you botch something bad enough to get fired, that's it, you're history. Unless, of course, my understanding of unemployment policies is wrong, which I concede is possible. However, they told me to list "LACK OF WORK" as my reason for being terminated, and that they would back that up when the Department of Labor and Industry came asking about my application. I want to say that this isn't how they treated the other people I know who got fired, but I can't say that for sure.
- They never gave me a warning.
- My previous manager insists that I had three months of warnings and suggestions that my work was unsatisfactory and needed to be corrected, but as far as I understand employee-manager communication—admittedly not as far as I'd like, or these things wouldn't keep happening—a warning consists of a one-on-one meeting between manager and employee, or perhaps a three-way with an HR representative, in which the manager says "your work is unsatisfactory," and then either the manager or the HR rep presents a form for the employee to sign that goes in the employee's file. I know Beth got that kind of warning before she got fired, but I never did. The first I directly got any sort indication that I wasn't doing good enough work was the morning I got let go from the company. My manager insisted four times that the quality meetings and statements about "we all have to do good work all the time" and "we have to implement these quality metrics" were my warnings. That, pardon my French, is bullshit.
- The other responsible parties didn't get the axe as well
- This is the one that really burns me. If there were mistakes made, and I won't lie here in bed and say there weren't, 'cause there were, I know for certain I wasn't the only one making them, but apparently I was the only one who got hit. The database from which my department worked was riddled with errors generated by both the group responsible for getting data and the group responsible for creating the database, many of which we had no way of catching unless we knew to look for them, and how to identify them when they happened. The people who created those sorts of errors still have their jobs, probably because they were under different managers.
I hate to sound tinfoily, but I suspect ultimately what happened is that I did a sample project for a company that got used in a head-to-head comparison of our products against other companies', and because of a recent reranking of our address space—something done by another department—our results came in dead-last in the comparison. This cost the company marketplace credibility and probably a fair bit of money, and somebody at the sufficiently-elevated-as-to-not-directly-have-all-the-information level made the decision that somebody's head had to roll, and mine was the most easily accessible. They did some digging, found enough reason to make the charge of "poor quality work" stick, and stuck it hard and fast so they could say to whomever needed to hear it, "the problem has been solved."
Of course, the problem hasn't been solved, but they've bought themselves some breathing room to solve it, maybe.
I don't really want to see them burn in flames, 'cause my friend Bennie is still working there, and the last thing I want to have happen is to see him get caught in the crossfire simply because I think someone in upper management made a poor decision, but I really would like to know who decided what and why. Not that knowing would do me any good, mind you. If anything, it would make things harder. When I got fired from CRS, knowing that one person was ultimately responsible for the decision made the desire to act against that person quite strong. Not really having a target here keeps the anger from boiling up and out of control. There's nobody to be angry at. Not even me.
I can at best be angry with the circumstances that have brought me to this point, and hope that they don't happen again.
On the upside, Saturday I sent out several copies of my résumé, and Monday morning I had a voice mail at the new place waiting for me telling me that someone had seen my application for a position with a financial services company and was interested in talking with me more in-depth. I've called and the recruiter sounds quite positive, but is currently waiting for a more detailed job-description from the hiring company. Apparently they've had trouble filling this particular job because the data people complain about too much programming and the programmers complain about too much data management, meaning it's almost exactly what I was doing at HMS.
It would be exceptionally boss if I got a new job before the severance package for the last one vanished.
In the meantime, I'm working more on my novel and other short stories. I've got two more erotic pieces conceived that I need to write, and I need to work up the gumption to replace the chapter of Child of Man that I deleted by accident. Important note: the commands "vi" and "ci" are very close to each other on the keyboard. Further, "ci" doesn't make a copy when it puts it under revision control; it just sticks the file into revision control. Deleting the revision-controlled copy deletes the original file.
Further note: Recovering deleted files in linux should be attempted immediately after deleting, not half an hour later. This is especially true on a server system with multiple processes all running at once.
Thankfully it's nothing I can't recover by rewriting it, and doing so will let me clean the prose somewhat. I wasn't entirely happy with the segment, but I do know where I'm going and how I want to get there. I just have to put
all the ideas down onto actual hardcopy now.
I'll also have lots of time to handle moving into the house. We still have a lot of crap in the apartment that needs to be shunted over to the house, and we still haven't fleshed out the plan to do that. I'm still shuttling boxes over in the Volvo as I get time, then coming back after dumping stuff up in the attic.
It seems I have a lot of time, now, so at least the house should be easier to move.