A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

20 June 2007

Dooced, or deuced. It's an interesting word.

In the blogosphere, as no doubt all Avid Fans will know, the term "dooced" refers to getting one's ass fired for blogging.

Now quite aside from the whole question of whether blogging on work time might be a noble purpose, approved of by local authority or not, should it be a firing offence if one blogs outside of work hours and tells the strict truth about the place?

I dunno, but I'm sort of testing the principle to its legal and theoretical limits by blogging during the precious minutes of my lunch hour. About work.

I've spoken very briefly about life in my little fluorescent lit space. It's not bad. However, we work on the ground floor, and due to a flood of sewage a couple of years ago, the place stinks something nasty when it's wet outside. It was cheaper to clean the carpets than replace them.

And indeed, that is the very hub of the issue, the nub of the problem, the crotch in the mismatched halves of the worker-management tuxedo.

Thus it is in my department: We told management last year that we're tasked out to the max. We typically run at what I estimate is 90% of capacity. The discussion went like this:
We're thinking about adding a bonus structure based on the number of monetized products you're involved with.

My Boss: Well that won't work. I spend 40% of my time on (non-monetized product). Should I dump it?

Me: No good for me either. I mostly write (free electronic ephemera), which is part of the monetized package of services, but makes no money.

D: How's that going to work for me? I spend about half my time editing and rewriting for your (management's own) package. Do I get the bonus or do you?

L: I spend a lot of time assembling contributions from D, L, and My Boss for our flagship monetized product. How will we decide who gets bonuses?

My Boss: I think we'd rather just distribute the bonuses evenly.

Management: Well ... Well ... I don't see how that'd work ... anyway, we'll think about it.

My Boss: Actually, we could use that money to hire an editorial assistant instead, just to ease the work a little and maybe let us work on other moneymaking products.
Management retreats into Attention Defecit Behaviour. I feel the problem is cultural. The US side of my workplace seems to encourage their workers to cut each others' throats for bonuses. As Canadians and 'socialists' (Management actually used the word during the meeting), we're more averse to that, maybe?

No assistant was hired, although by wrestling every layer of management all the way to the board, My Boss managed to get an intern for the summer. Meanwhile, we got another two products added to the load. It affects me none, as they quite logically gave them to the two people already working at full throttle.

Then about two months ago, I asked for a 15 percent raise. It only made sense. I had started a year ago, lived through two probation periods (the mistake that threw me back onto probation was not mine, but I was too green to make an utter nuisance of myself). Having twice proven my mettle, I didn't even get the usual "Welcome to the team," raise one sees at such times.

So after a year of no raises, I carefully evaluated a) how much they were underpaying me in the current market, and b) how much they'd have to fork out to hire someone else to do the job and applied for about twenty percent less than b).

Three weeks back my boss asked me to submit in writing the reasons I felt my raise was justified. The following week she called me into her office.
My Boss: Okay, so the board wants to know if you're ambitious, like me, or just happy being where you are.

Me: Well obviously, I'd like to get ahead, take on more responsibility, blah x 3.

MB: Good. Because the board wants to know if you want to do any product development.

Me: Oh? For what product?

MB: Well that's the point--do you have any ideas for monetized products. And I think I should mention that the size of your raise may be contingent on whether you're willing to do this.

Me: Uh, well I have a couple of ideas ...

MB: Good, send them in a memo, okay. By Friday, please.
So now they want me, working at some 90% capacity, as we migrate every electronic record we have to a totally different server and data management and creation system, a task I expect to take roughly eternity, to take on the responsibility of a product developer.

£µ©λ that!

Product developers get money--much bigger money than I should properly be paid for doing my job--which was what I was trying to persuade them to do.

I wonder why my attitude sucks lately?

I wonder what would happen if I outright refused to do any product development but made it clear that I expected the full amount of my raise?

I wonder if after £µ©λing me around for two-and-a-half months, they'd get pissed if I wanted it made retroactive?

What if I applied for another raise as soon as I get the next one (because I sure as hell ain't staying here if I don't get one)? When they ask why, I need only point out how long this one is taking.

Oh--cherry on the cake: During a phone conference last week, Management told the others in the office that product development was now part of their jobs too. And they're not even applying for raises.

So now, if they're saying product development is part of my job description, I'm still underpaid--doubly so in fact.

Fortunately Mme is working, and earning twice my salary. I can put up with this sort of grasping crap for a year while we get rid of our debts. But I won't tolerate anything less than the full 15 percent raise, not as a product developer especially, for more than 12 months.

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At 3:35 p.m., Anonymous PJ said...

Although that particular company has a widespread local reputation for being a great place to work, this is bull. First they say your overdue raise is tied to new product development; then they tell everyone else to do new product development as well. It's hard to fight that kind of double-think.

At 11:34 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

I should point out that my hassle is mostly the absentee owners. My boss, and even the Management I customarily deal with aren't that bad. I actually like my boss.

At 12:40 a.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Paging Norma Rae...

At 9:02 a.m., Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

What a load of crap! And it's so effing typical, too. Always a race for the bottom line, as well as the top, always expecting more for less, always trying to squeeze a quarter out of a nickel. Grrr!

At 9:34 p.m., Anonymous raincoaster said...

Meanwhile, profit margins have never been fatter.

At 11:16 p.m., Blogger Metro said...

I've said elsewhere on this blog that it is useless to participate without resentment in a "consumer society" that conspires against people both as consumers and workers.

I'm all for the free market, but the theory falls severely and miserably short of the practice.


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