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08/24/2005: "deadline attitude"

For over seven weeks now I've kept a little scorecard with the number of days I had left to work at this company. Slowly, slowly, the days whittled themselves down, and now I'm into single digits. Unfortunately, the countdown is really only meaningful if I have something to go to for September 12th, after I return from my vacation. As the possibility of not having alternate employment is becoming increasingly likely, my attitude is becoming increasingly dark. I'm frustrated, annoyed by the petty crap that happens, and just generally in a negative, sour mood. That sucks.

When I first got here I was quite happy. I had a job that I landed all by myself, I was at a well-established local company that designs and produces and interesting product, and to cap it all off I was close enough to home that I could walk or rollerblade in to work. What more could I want?

Then answer turns out to be "a company that works well". Between the ineffective (if not outright incompetent) engineering manager that does nothing but snipe at petty stuff to the 3rd generation president that inherited his grandfather's company and manages it just enough to keep it steady, there is very little that makes me want to stay. My co-workers are nice enough (save for the profanity), the computers we have are quite capable... and that's all that I can think of right now.

I used to keep a log file containing all the ideas I had pertaining to my work. Quite frequently something new would reveal itself to me, and I'd write it down and examine it to see if it warranted detailed examination. A couple of the better ideas that I developed I sent directly to upper management (being the president and his vice-president brother). Either my ideas were ignored, or they were dismissed with varying degress of vehemence. I still have that file, but I haven't added to it in a long time. I have no incentive to anymore, as it's become paintfully obvious that this company doens't want to innovate at all. In fact, it seems that they are not only content with the status quo, but that they don't wish to build either capacity or sales, and that they will simply follow trends instead of trying to predict or even set them.

In short, the only way this company would be a suitable place for me to work would be if the family sold the company, and the new owner came in and did the housecleaning that is so sorely needed here. That's just not going to happen.

In any case, this place doesn't match my new company profile. Thanks to my good friend Rob for the recommendation to read the book What To Do With The Rest Of Your Life, which has provided me with some much-needed additional focus with which to approach my newly revived career search. The books makes you go through some exercises to help you determine what kind of positions you really want, and what you're good at.

Based on your skills, values, and interests you develop an ideal job description and ideal company profile. From this I have taken the company profile and started searching out candidate firms. From there I'll whittle the list down to the top 20 or so, and start my networking from there. This place is nowhere on the list. In fact, it's permanently blackmarked until there is an ownership change.

So, the good news is that I now have a tightly-focused career search underway. I will spend a few more days gathering raw data on companies that might fit my profile, and then start culling. Now that my laptop is up and running (thanks again to Rob for loaning me the required Firewire cable, allowing me to transfer all my files) I can start writing cover letters and keeping track of all this data I'm compiling.

The bad news is that I'm still at this company, my long-awaited deadline may come and go without any change, and my attitude is starting to seriously degrade because of it. I'm still hopeful that there will be a turn for the better, but I'm less optimistic that said turn will come in time for me to keep my self-imposed deadline alive.

Boy, I'm going to have character out the wazoo once this whole series of events blissfully comes to a close.

Replies: 2 Comments

on Thursday, August 25th, Robert Hahn said

If at first you can't make the deadline, change the deadline.

The obvious alternative is to change scope, but that's non-negotiable here. :)

PS if you got that book from the KPL, and still have it, return it. I'm going to need it Real Soon Now.

on Sunday, August 28th, Jerry Han said

Good luck with that Andrew! Hope something works out there...


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