Anyone ever feel like the world is conspiring against you all at once? Just having little things go wrong to start that annoy you, then gradually building and building until something major happens that you never saw coming?
I tend to go through these phases 2 or 3 times a year and just went through one. I normally don't try to look at phases like these as signs of worse things to come, but sometimes, I just have to scratch my head at how events play out over a short period of time.
Where it starts is back on March 9th shortly after I placed Disc 1 of FF13 into my XBox360.
Actually, let me create the list just so you can skip to the good parts...
- MyBrute (http://qtipus.mybrute.com)
- Bank forcing me to manually reconcile my old bank account.
- Intuit's End-of-Life structure
- Struggles with LSI Lease Source.
- RMT Spam
- Trial of the Magians: Relic Quests
- Windows Update f***ing up one of my computers.
- Fired from job.
So yeah, this was where my annoyances started. Most know what my issues with this game are from previous posts. While it doesn't annoy me as much now, it sure as hell pissed me off early on. I haven't beaten it yet, but SE sure knows how to design a system to piss off a completionist like me.
About Nov. of last year, I closed the original bank account for my business. This was mostly due to a number of companies I had blocks on continually trying to get money out of it and screwing up my "Available Balance". In the process, it caused the QuickBooks WebConnect files I normally use to become unavailable. This means that in order to reconcile my bank accounts, I needed to have them print off the statements (since I had gone paperless) and manually do it against what I had records of. This cost me a couple of days.
For you accountants out there, no I don't reconcile my bank account each month. :)
However, two months of my new account were available for me to download as a Quickbooks Webconnect file. Sadly, Quickbooks only verifies bank information if you're using versions of their software that are less than 3 years old.
And naturally, I'm using Quickbooks 2006.
Which is perfectly fine for my business, but apparently, supporting their products for a long while affects their copious bottom line drastically, so they like to extort money out of everyone by trying to force an upgrade every 3 years. Even hardware vendors support their shit longer than that.
So now I get to do the entire year manually.
LSI Lease Source
These people are a bunch of fuckwads. That whole Northern Leasing outfit is a sham and a half.
They decided it was time to ding my credit over my past due balance.
The kicker is the past due balance was inflated to dumb proportions.
Literally, last bill says: "Amount due immediately: $172".
Credit statement says: "Charge off: $580".
Guess who's attorney is researching how to shove a sandpaper covered silo up that company's anus?
If you said me, you'd be correct.
It took all of about 10 hours after Odin opened back up for RMT to find their way into my tell log and I get an average of 5-8/day.
Yes I have the spam filter on and no it's a piece of shit that doesn't work most of the time. What SE needs to do is ban /tells from being sent by people under level 20 unless said tell is to someone who is on your friend list.
I will say this:
If I ever find the people who run "br8sale.c8m _8 is o_" or "OOSALE.com", I will beat them senseless.
Seriously, GTFO OF OUR GAME AND FIND REAL JOBS YOU DICKWADS.
Trial of the Magians: Relic Quest
I have a separate post for this, but I'll sum this up.
SE can suck my c0ck. I just went through hell for 2 years to make Gungnir, now I have to go use a WS with shitty ACC 1500 times on amorphs, then I have to go use a WS with shitty ACC to get the killshot on lizards.
I'll do it, but if this is what they're going to force us to jump through to make these weapons better, I can't wait to see what's in store for the next stages.
"Use Geirskogul 1500 times to land the kill shot on Absolute Virtue during wind weather."
I have my computers set to automatically download and install critical updates. Apparently one from the last batch didn't get along with Zone Alarm or my NIC Drivers too well.
I didn't have to reformat the hard drive, but I had to spend about 3 hours trying to figure out what was going on.
Fired From Job
Many of you have seen me discuss the "work" thing. These guys chased after me for years before I finally relented and came to work here.
New accountant was brought on shortly before me and he's apparently been fucking with a lot of long time employees and their pay/benefits. Said accountant is good friends with the owner.
The characters you need to know for this story:
Owner: Self explanatory.
Accountant: Self explanatory.
Boss: My direct boss, answers to the owner.
My boss comes in last Thursday to tell me that I had been fired. It's April Fool's Day, so I naturally don't believe him. This holds especially true since I had just pulled the same damn joke on one of the other employees a couple hours earlier. After spending a few minutes trying to convince me, I see some tears well up in his eyes. I still didn't believe him entirely, but the thought of "this is either real or this guy is a great actor" was rattling around in my head.
As the day wore on, that thought started taking up more of my brain space. Once it got closer to closing time, I went to talk to one of the VPs (there's something like 4 of them here) and while he was only made aware of it when my boss had gone to speak with him earlier, he was pretty convinced it was real. My boss and said VP thought it was a dumb move and both gave me the advice of coming in on Monday to talk to the owner (who was the one that hired me to begin with).
I wasn't really content with that answer. I didn't want to spend the entire weekend stewing over this. I've effectively dismantled my business because they wanted me to come here full time sending about half of my customer base to competitors I felt would fit their needs best. On top of that, Girlfriend is moving down here sometime soonish.
Don't get me wrong, I've been in the owner's position long enough that if you make a decision that's best for your business, you have to be able to make it from a pure business standpoint and not let the personal aspects of it get in the way of the business aspects. From all accounts though, this was something that was handled in a completely different manner from the other firings that normally happen.
So I called the owner. I asked him if this was some sort of elaborate joke. His response was "There's been some sort of miscommunication, but we do need to talk about your salary and contract, so come up and see me on Monday." He was naturally in a rush and didn't want to discuss it any further than that at the time. This left me with the impression that I still had a job, they just wanted to cut my pay.
The pay portion of this works out a little weird. When I was brought in here at the beginning of 2009, I was told to just bill the hours through my company the same way I normally would any customer. Pretty easy to see this is simply a move to avoid paying payroll taxes. For those of you that don't understand, most companies are required to match what you pay in social security and medicare. You add in benefits and what not and this effectively makes a guy who's on payroll for $10/hour approx a $15-20/hour employee.
I didn't have an issue with this. Small business owners often times don't give themselves a paycheck, but will just pay the taxes portion of it the same way as if they did then just use company funds for whatever.
Anyway, back to the stewing. I spoke with my boss the next day about it. He gave me a couple more details that didn't sit too well with me. The first was that it seemed like most of this stemmed from the accountant. The second was that they thought I made too much money and compared what I'm capable of doing to what someone straight out of college who'd work for minimum wage can do.
The small business owner side of me understood the second part. You're always looking for ways to make your bottom line better. However, there's usually method to that line of thinking.
1. Thought enters brain.
2. Discuss it with employee.
3. Research it a bit further.
4. Make decision.
It appeared, to me, in this case the accountant decided to skip steps 2 and 3. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Or, do not think, go straight to firing. That, my friends, is not a way to do business.
While I understood the business rationale of the second part, comparing the number of years of experience that I have to that of a college kid who'd work for peanuts is offensive. It's a constant war with me. In my efforts to make my business a success, I've just become wired for defending what I'm capable of due to the sheer number of competitors that are in this market. "Why choose me? Here's why..." is a conversation I have with a number of people on a monthly basis.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the guys out of college aren't talented. They likely know a few things that I don't know and there are likely a small handful who would be considered prodigies. That doesn't mean that they'll A) work for minimum wage or B) work for less than I do.
Here's what I know so far. The accountant is apparently not very rational and thinks he could get the same production out of a college kid. The accountant thinks I make too much money. The Owner and Accountant both really have no clue what it is I do all day and stated as much.
The figure I have listed for my hourly rate wasn't something I just came up with willy-nilly off the top of my head. Back at the beginning of 2009, I did some research on average salaries across KY and the nation for my position. You could utilize several job titles for what I do. Right now, "Help Desk Technician" or "Level I/II Technical Support" or "Level I/II Networking Support" would probably sum it up the best. Average salaries for those positions across the nation were $35,000-$55,000/year. Average salaries across the state of KY had a smaller range, but still in the same area coming in at $35,000-$45,000/year. I picked $40,000/year and have been billing them for that over the past year and a half without a single complaint about it. Why would they look at it now and say "ZOMG THAT'S TOO MUCH MONEY!"
There were a couple of scenarios that played out in my head based on the conversations thus far.
Accountant finds a way to pinch some pennies, goes to tell the Owner, Owner says something, Accountant misunderstands and passes the word along to my boss to fire me.
Accountant has always resented what I make, finally found an excuse to can me, tells the Owner, Owner approves, Accountant tells my boss.
This is still one big fucking joke.
In either case, the protocol for firing an employee wasn't followed here. Normally, the guy that makes the decision on firing someone does the deed. It doesn't get delegated to someone else.
Ok, so it's clear I still have a job and they don't know exactly what it is I do. I decided because of this, I would make a presentation to illustrate exactly how things are set up and why I more than pay for myself. The primary focus of the presentation is down time, the things that cause it and how I've responded to it.
You see, the network here is operated by a bunch of bored babies. They spend tons of time on the phones calling people and while they're talking, they're surfing around on the net. Any of you in the I.T. field know what sort of silliness that can bring. As a result, I've taken what was here from a network structure standpoint, modified it a bit, and have made it so that if a machine goes down for any reason, I can spend 15-20 minutes hooking a new one up for them to work on while I fix the old one. That's just one facet, but that facet alone has a seven-figure side effect.
Monday rolls around and I'm probably more motivated than I've been in a very long time. Anger does that. About halfway to work, I get a call from my boss. He apparently went to bat for me earlier in the morning and had a conversation with the Owner. Instead of meeting with the Owner and his team, I get to meet with my boss.
I was a lot more comfortable with that, but disappointed that I wasn't going to get to take this rage out on the people that caused it.
Disappointment is the anti-rage by the way.
I'm beginning to think these guys know that.
Anyway, I ended up having about a 45 min "meeting" with my boss on the whole ordeal.
Yes, the idea to fire me came from the accountant.
No, there wasn't a misunderstanding between the owner and the accountant.
Yes, it was the Owner's decision to fire me.
Yes, I had a job if I'd accept a 25% pay cut and no benefits for a while longer.
No, I wasn't happy about it, but really had no other choice for now.
Since half of my customer base was essentially gone, I couldn't just give them the finger and go back to doing what I was before. The new rate is still good. After I thought about it a bit more, I came to the conclusion that I'm not really pissed about the money. I was pissed at how it was handled. Everything works out for the best no matter what, but that was a damned inconvenient time for that to show up.
Now the game plan has changed.
The plan originally was to try to make a career here.
Now the plan is to get Girlfriend moved down here, settled into a job and then go find a new one myself unless things change drastically here between now and then. There's still opportunity for financial growth once my boss retires in 5-ish years, but I'm not going to toil around in financial obscurity because a penny pinching accountant thinks some dude right out of college is just as effective as the guy who's been dealing with this company for 10+ years. He won't keep people very long at the rate he wants to pay (he wanted to drop me to $10/hour). He'll drop all this work back on my boss' shoulders. Once my boss retires, there's no replacement. What he's built here isn't something you hire someone off the street and expect them to pick up instantly.
Hopefully they understand this now. If they don't, they're going to be in for a very rude awakening 5 years down the road.