September 1, 2017

The Paramecium

(I wrote this back in September or so before I retired from my place of employment about my boss. Wanted to keep it under wraps but now that I am relaxing in the shade every afternoon, I thought I'd let this see the light of day.)

My retirement looms and it will represent approximately 48 years in the work force -- off and on, mostly on -- from a Summer job as a Junior at UCLA and basic programmer at the Southern Counties Gas Company in Monterrey Park, California to my U. S. Air Force assignment as 5135B (senior programmer) and 5144B (systems analyst) working at the Directorate of Command Control/War Plan at Strategic Air Command HQ at Offutt AFB in Nebraska during the Viet Nam War and beyond.

(So, there it is. The reason I chose War Planner as a sobriquet and title for this blog.)

It included a quarter century of consulting and contract programming with companies like McDonnell Douglas, Hughes Aircraft, Datsun and Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Toyota, Carter, Hawley Hale, TRW, Southern California Edison, and on and on and on so far into the past that the memory dims and the mind reels.

But it's coming to an end on 10 October 2017 and, although, I will probably do pick-up work here and there (developing software the correct way as opposed to working for so many idiots with their decidedly "trailing edge" concepts and impedementia forced on me), I will largely engage in amateur radio and shooting projects and -- yes -- go back to blogging in an effort to chronicle the lunacy and sheer hypocrisy that has overtaken this nation.

The company I currently work for is a nice enough company with a great deal of very nice, well-meaning individuals and, truth be told, after enduring over forty years of slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (all accrued to the government in the form of taxes), I am glad my last days of labor at the Thracian Lead Mines will be in their company.

But the bane of my professional existence there is my immediate supervisor who shall go nameless and featureless because, while not nameless, he is profoundly featureless. It is here that I choose to offload my frustrations and vent -- in relative anonymity -- while these frustrations are still clear in my mind. I am sure I am not blameless I this relationship, but -- fuck it -- it's my blog so he can write his own blog to vent about me or others. Here goes:

His method of management is to show up in the mornings, shut himself in his office virtually all day long and practice what I like to call the "bring me a rock" style of management. (You know, where the boss tells you to bring him a rock to which you oblige and he tells you its the wrong size so, when you bring a bigger one, he tells you it's the wrong shape, and then the wrong color, etc.)

You become a modern-day Sisyphusian wage slave, trudging back and forth from the quarry in an effort to satisfy this capriciousness. Of course, the gambit here is that you are never correct in your choices and the boss enjoys the sublime luxury of fostering the myth that he is an intellectual giant ministering to uneducated proletariat.

But the fact remains, in this particular individual's case, we all see through his games and his fecklessness, his absolute inability to plan, organize, and marshal his resources and charges in a coherent effort and to engage in any sort of consistent leadership whatsoever. Efforts mounted, missions accomplished, goals achieved are despite him not because of him.

Explanations, proposals, discussions of resolutions to him meet with an initial gaze and a minute spark of intellect first evident in his eyes. But that quickly fades as his orbs grow dark and his lids visibly droop and his body English just screams of wanting me (or anyone) out of his office so he can close the door and resume the interminable telephone conferences with -- whom? -- carrier reps or other such nabobs as may stimulate the minor lobes of his brain? It is as though he literally shrinks form the light and wants to crawl into the darker corners of the pond in which he is trapped.

Consequently, I have dubbed him the "Paramecium".

It is this last point that is particularly galling to me. We are currently rolling out a rewrite of an EDI eligibility system for the company that will supersede some piece of shit that was patched and modified and maintained well beyond its useful life. It is fraught with terminal code rot as business rules have sprouted, grown, and died but are still patched in and kept on life support. During all this, I was hauled in from time to time to engineer the half-assed solutions proposed by this ninny who, as I had discovered long ago, developed relationships with our carriers and our admin departments yet either does not have the vision nor mental capability to forge all of this knowledge and any good will derived from these associations into the comprehensive "grand plan" to refactor, re-engineer, and re-write.

Instead this mirror-fogging, mouth-breather slogs along with his imperfect, non-dynamic, Rube Goldberg contraptions "from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time, it being a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing".

I could go on and describe how this dimwit laps over into a desperate effort to maintain his position and reputation by usurping others achievements, stealing the glory, and upstaging and undermining his charges. For all of his idiocy, he has developed the talent of passive-aggressivism to a moderate degree. Although, truth be told, I hold a black belt in that discipline and, should I employ it, he would be left as nothing more than a pile of bloodied pork cutlets festering and drawing flies in the noonday sun.

Anyway, since I have a little more than thirty days left to toil under his questionable authority, when I turn in my time, my role will change from that of daily laborer to transfer agent of knowledge and technique to the poor bastard who will toil on in my absence.

There, I feel so much better -- and you have come to know The Paramecium.

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