Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Don't go to work

I've always believed that the work you do should matter to you.  If you're just plodding along day after day counting the hours till the weekend then frankly you're just wasting your and everyone else's time.

I know it's not always possible to "follow your bliss" but life's too short to only enjoy the weekends.

After over 20 years in the field I've come to the realization that the closest I can come to cubicle dwelling bliss is to either run the IT department or just blithely take my marching orders at its lowest rung.

Anything else just has me spinning my wheels.

So while my credentials include jobs in system administration, support and  project management not to mention creating a successful IT consulting business, my dreams of sitting in the big chair are about as likely as a winning lottery ticket.

So as I scan the job boards and the occasional craigslist posting I keep a vigilant eye open for positions that match the other end of my proposed  bliss...

I had thought I found one the other day.  It was a support job that was described as being part roving admin and part helpdesk.  The nice part was that if I had to go  anywhere the company provided the transportation. 

It seemed perfect.  The pay rate was a little low but if I wasn't shouldering the cost of transportation that was a leg up on anything else I'd seen. 

My application had apparently impressed the hiring manager enough for him to schedule a short phone screen.

In the course of the subsequent conversation the manager told me that the job would involve around 80 hours per week at all hours.  The prospective employee was expected to be available round the clock 24/7/365 and work from the office, home and wherever else he/she was required.

Believe it or not I was still considering the position even after I did the math and figured out that I would be making $9.61 per hour before taxes.

But that wasn't what really turned me off to the job. 

It was the realization during the Q & A part of the interview that this company, like many others, was built on making bad decisions.

Decisions like:

  • Attempted "Cleaning" of rootkit, malware and virus infections off of PC's instead of reloading from a backup image. 
  • Not providing adequate training to your technicians
  • Not staying current with technical advances
  • Supporting 20 year old servers with no hope of replacement parts
  • Installing software that was no longer being supported by the manufacturer
  • Not informing the client as to best practices or upgrade options
  • Accepting liability for an SLA at a client where meeting that SLA is impossible due to the previously mentioned reasons.

It all amounts to billing for work that isn't really being done and I have a problem with that. 

IT is an uphill battle and if you're not moving forward it won't be long till you're moving the other direction.  It seems that most of the major players disagree, however, as they've built their IT support businesses off of doing what amounts to little more than "busywork"

It's one of the reasons I don't make the money in consulting that many think I should be.  I like to fix the problem once and move on from there.  I'm not one to keep beating a dead horse.  

The client is the boss but I'm being paid to know things they don't.  That's a level of trust that I refuse to betray.  That means that sometimes you have to have an uncomfortable conversation but I'd rather lose a client that wants me to do shoddy work than continue on and sacrifice my own integrity.

We're getting back to my original assertion that your work life should be meaningful and anything less is just a waste of time.

Making money off not doing the job your clients are trusting you to do is the ultimate expression of that and I can't stomach it.