Print Story Why is the paperboy suddenly talking to me again?
By nightflameblue (Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 06:12:22 AM EST) (all tags)
A tale of office politics and ass kissing.

Sometime middle of last week, the paperboy started talking to me again. For those that don't remember, the paperboy is our marketing director. The guy who, long ago, used to be in charge of IT. Please don't ask how that happened, as we in IT are still trying to run the simulations to see how it's even possible for a wood working company to believe IT should fall under marketing.

Now, the reason this was startling to me is the paperboy hasn't so much as acknowledged my presence in about six months outside of once when he fucked up a query so badly that it brought the iSeries system to its knees. The one thing he does outside of reading newspapers and magazines is spend lots of time writing queries that would make the world's best thinkers ponder for months to understand what purpose they serve.

So, my gears are turning trying to figure out which of the following were true:

  • He chatted with dad and found out about the bike. He rides bike, and wanted to chum it up about it. (Least likely.)
  • He suddenly realized he's come across like a sullen little bitch to me over the past few months when I'd either wave or say hi to him and he didn't respond. (Almost as unlikely as above.)
  • He wanted something from me and was working up the sack to just ask for it. (Most likely.)

So, the weekly IT staff meeting, which tends to only take place about once a month these days, happened yesterday. Destro, the boss, says, "heads up NFB. Paperboy came to my office a few days ago holding your FunhousePRO website proposal and saying, 'we need to do something about FunhousePRO, and this may be it.'"

I held up my hands, said, "wait, give me a minute." And sat there, silently allowing the processors to whir.

Let's back the truck up a bit.

Approximately four years ago, the problems with the FunhousePRO website became so epic, so astronomical, that the IT manager (Destro before he became Destro) and I decided something drastic needed to be done. I spent two weeks going over it with a fine tooth comb, researching, drafting, and putting together a proposal for what kind of time it would take, and how much extra cash money dollars it would take to get me to rewrite it in my free time.

When I turned the proposal in to the paperboy, it was summarily discarded, right in front of me, and put in the "never to be seen again" pile on the corner of his desk.

The fact that he could even find that proposal again was a little mind blowing. The fact that he thinks, four years later, I'm going to jump at the chance to do the same thing for the same price quoted four years ago? Um, no. First off, I'm not in the same place I was then. I don't even know if I could find the time to do it now. Second, if I did do it, it wouldn't be for the peanuts I quoted then. Third, if they wanted me to do it during the work day, there'd be some changes to consider first. I won't do my full time job now, PLUS this development job. Fourth, my hackles raised at the mere thought of it.

So, finally, in our meeting, I said, "fair warning, boss. I won't be doing it for that price outside of work hours right now. I'm not even sure I'd have the time to do it right now."

The boss, to be fair, responded, "I honestly figured you'd come unglued, run down the hall, and hand paperboy his ass for even thinking it."

"OK, then. You understand what I'm thinking close enough."

"I just thought I'd warn you. Upper management is discussing its options right now. I just wanted you to know you're being considered one of those options."

Fair enough.

Hey, I'm not saying it ain't gonna happen. I'm just saying if they bring that proposal to me, after four years, and think I'll just agree to do it at the same price, there's gonna be some serious giggles at their expense. If they come to me as a human being and say they'd like to discuss it, I'm game.

I won't give up my free time for peanuts now though. I'm a different guy than I was four years ago, and I have a lot more to give up during free time than I did then. Things that might be boring to the rest of the world, but make life worth living for myself.

Dad says the email chain has been hot and heavy over this for several days as upper management tries to decide how best to approach this. It should be interesting to watch how this one falls apart.

Please note at no point was either Destro, nor myself, surprised that it took paperboy four years to realize that the website blows donkeys, and the developer couldn't program his way out of a wet paper bag. The paperboy is pretty oblivious to most anything until it hits him square in the nuts. Then, it's a long, slow, carefully plotted reaction.

Management. Can anyone make sense of them?

< A Day in the Life | The Blinds Never Change >
Why is the paperboy suddenly talking to me again? | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)
Your dad by marvin (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 06:34:48 AM EST
I had no idea, until the last few stories of yours at least, that your Dad was also involved with the Funhouse in some way. Poor guy. What is he, upper management?

based on by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 07:01:41 AM EST
(reading between the lines) where the money for the bike came from, owner/principle/shareholder. Though I thought earlier diaries indicated dad was in some kind of insurance business. Might be confused with step-dad there.

[ Parent ]
Mr. Mom = insurance salesman. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 07:03:27 AM EST
Dad = original partial owner of Funhouse + CFO.

And just so there's no confusion, I was requested to be the original IT guy here by several of the other original owners, not by my father.

[ Parent ]
No accusations by marvin (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 07:37:38 AM EST don't worry. My current workplace has serious nepotism issues, and I'm not in any way trying to open that topic. I worked for my Dad for a month or so in 1996 as a lease hand / roughneck on a drilling rig, and worked my ass off to avoid even the perception of differential treatment. I figured that any slacking on my part would reflect badly on my Dad. The other guys couldn't understand why I worked that hard, since my Dad was the relief toolpusher.

What I find interesting is the number of issues that you have with entire departments, and key staff members. Do you ever discuss the gross incompetence of some of your co-workers with your Dad? I'd be tempted to ask him to fire all of the idiots - how do you deal with that? Is that ever a temptation for you? Do you guys ever talk shop, or do you manage to isolate work from family?

[ Parent ]
Oh, we talk shop. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 07:50:22 AM EST
Probably more than we should. But we have the ability to talk shop in a separated way so that it doesn't become an issue of me going to dad everytime someone does something stupid. Typically, even if I do, he just says, "yeah, I know. We're aware of it." And that's that.

The real problem is the worst offenders on the list are special children with the focus of the president behind them. Paperboy = the golden child. Paperboy also = the biggest black hole in the entire company, and everyone outside of the president knows it. But, he was sort of like a son to the president, so he gets a lot of preference on certain things. Which is weird, because there are a lot of parent/offspring relationships in this place outside of me that don't get NEAR as much preference as the paperboy gets from the president.

It's a really strange situation at times. But dad and I typically have several laughs about it over meals out or family gatherings to help keep our sanity. It's sort of nice to talk with someone who gets it every once in a while without having to explain why, specifically, you don't just walk out.

There's a lot of good here too. But the bad eggs are REALLY bad eggs.

[ Parent ]
Management. Can anyone make sense of them? by jayhawk88 (4.00 / 4) #3 Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 07:02:08 AM EST
It helps if you think of them in more simplistic, programming terms. Sort of like some fucked up version of Asimov's Three Laws:
  1. How can I avoid having to make any decisions today that will make me look bad?
  2. If I have to make a decision that can make me look bad, how can I setup someone else to take the blame if the decision turns out to be bad?
  3. If I have to make a decision that can make me look bad and I cannot setup anyone else to take the blame, how can I make the decision in such a way that it will have as little impact on me as possible?

Wow. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 07:05:00 AM EST
Now the paperboy almost makes sense to me. I think I'm gonna keep this "laws of management" list around a while.

[ Parent ]
my boss's boss by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Aug 27, 2008 at 04:56:20 PM EST
has on numerous occassions taken paper with said proposals on them and put them right in the garbage can, right after being handed said proposals.

Gives you a warm fuzzy doesn't it? by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 02:34:13 AM EST
 Especially when you spend some serious time putting them together.  Though I gotta say the straight to the trashcan guys at least have given a response.  A bad one, but a response.

[ Parent ]
Why is the paperboy suddenly talking to me again? | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 hidden)