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Quitting Job Soapbox

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supermike's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-17

I've had it. I'm going to resign my IT server room operations job (with Linux and Linux scripting) tomorrow. I am older and more experienced than my supervisor, with 15 years in this industry, and I'm tired of being belittled by him. He's a mean individual. He asks for my advice and then makes decisions completely opposite of mine, no longer taking my input. Most of his solutions use Windows, but the whole company is going Linux on the backend and this makes no sense to go with Windows. He's saying "left" when I say "right", just to spite me. And when I say I have evidence for why we should go a certain way on a strategy, he doesn't have any evidence for himself and just says, "Well, I'm going left." But when he says "left" that means "Windows" and that means more headache for me because I can't automate the monitoring and patching of it as well, or secure it as well.

He forgets to tell me stuff and then gets upset and thinks I've forgotten that he told me. He won't define my role properly and tells me to do something unusual with it one day, but then reverses the course on that later and scolds me for going outside my role. He is a control freak who won't let me breathe. He asks me to be his supervisor of 3 guys who report to me, but then goes around me and directs my staff without telling me. He leaves the server room a mess by his decisions on how things are deployed, and when I ask to improve it, he tells me it was my job all along and I'm the reason it's a mess. I then counter that I never saw the server purchase orders come across my desk, or the choice of colored cabling, or the diagrams on where the servers would go, or how the cable would be run. And when I teach (and then have come to scold) one of my guys for deploying the cabling not so neatly (such that our customers may be offended on a tour of our facility), I'm told to cool it on him and just let him be him. I'm also told that I am to control my guys, but don't discipline them because they might quit. And I'm told to cool it on cleaning the server room, but I have word through the grapevine that the server room being unclean is a classic example of why management above my boss thinks he's incompetent. (Yet, they're not doing anything about it.)

We're heavily underpaid for what work we do, and especially my direct reports to me. The only reason we stick around is because (a) we're too busy in our day jobs to even consider doing something differently, and (b) because of family obligations that keep us living here, we're stuck in this town with extremely high unemployment for IT jobs.

Meanwhile, I'm not really a good fit for this job. I mean, I can do it, and do it conscientiously, but it's not what I want to be doing. I did it because I do know how to do it well and have experience with it, and because my PHP/PostgreSQL web development job was outsourced to Brazil and I either was told to be laid off or to take this IT server room operations job. Luckily it involved Linux and some PHP tasks, so I held on. Now, don't get me wrong. I like working with the Brazil guys, and I have learned a lot from them, but I didn't like losing my web development job and want it back.

But then the IT server operations job got extremely tough. First, they added security audit standards and lots of paperwork for that. I almost can't lift my arm in the office without documenting why. Not a big deal if you have the staff for that, but we didn't. Second, my boss took everything hard that he was doing and pushed it all to me. Then, my guys beneath me can only handle so much because they're still fairly green, and so much of that work ended up in my lap. My guys are overtaxed in work, and so am I, and it's not fair that my boss isn't doing his fair share and gets to sleep on weekends while we're working. Third, my hours are insane. Many weekends and evenings I'm still working in order to avert crises or meet deadlines. Fourth, every other department in my company division has increased staff and practically tripled in size, but not my department, and our workload is unbearable. Fifth, we used to have 30 servers in our server room, and now we have over 70. In a few months it may go to 100. Sixth, we were forced to install BMC Patrol and we pull our hair out with this product. That product is flaky, sucks up our time, and is the culprit on why some of our servers crash, oddly enough. Seventh, most of my efforts to try and bring improvements have been getting nowhere. About the only thing I could get introduced was an on-call rotation (so that all the afterhours work doesn't always fall on me) and a work tracking system.

So, anyway, pray for me. I'm basically quitting tomorrow without having a landing pad to jump onto. I'm quitting to send a message that I am important, that I can't live like this and keep my marriage, health, and family, and that I feel so strongly for my cause that I'm going to do it whether the company wants to help me or not. I'm posting a 60 day notice in hopes that I can find a job in that timeframe within the existing company, or freelance, or get hired on somewhere else.

My wife thinks I'm nuts about this. She thinks I should just put up with it. She thinks I should find opportunities first and then go to them. Typically in my past I would do that, but this time I'm so fed up that I cannot wait. I am hoping that I can find bounty project type sites for PHP/MySQL/PostgreSQL/Linux work on the web and live off that, working from my home. I'm writing some software products that I plan to opensource and I hope that someday I'll be as financially successful, for instance, as JBoss. I would go the telecommute route with another salaried position with another company, but no matter how hard I try I cannot find any opportunities.

Several people in my office who are also doing IT (in a separate function) and who are sort of lateral in position to my boss are fed up with him too, and secretly they have spoken to me and are encouraging me to do what I think is right. Unfortunately there jobs kind of suck too, so I can't move into their departments.

Then, there's the reality that will hit my supervisor in the face when he realizes I'm giving him 60 day notice. All of a sudden all this work will come back on his face and he won't be able to sleep. Moreover, the talent pool is not very good where I live and so he'll have a hard time replacing me. I also think I do the work of like 3 normal people in an office, so if he only has dollars for one, he'll have projects get really far behind. And there are so many things that I do in the office with skill, and do so well, that he'll be up the creek when I leave. I'm 100% certain tomorrow this will all dawn on him when he sees my resignation letter. He'll be mad at first, and arrogant, but then will come back and be practically on his knees with repentance for his actions over this. It will be too little and too late.

Oddly enough, I'm scheduled for a pretty good raise in January, and I don't want it. I want my life and my web development career back. I want less stress. I want my regular hours. I want to be appreciated for what I am capable of doing best. I am tired of being upstaged by an overpaid, pompous, control-freak, penny-pinching, incompetent freshman wanna-be.

The best thing that could happen to me is that I quit and 60 days later I get my life back. And I hope that when I get my life back, that I'm working 50 hour work weeks again and doing what I love, which is web development with PHP. I'm hoping it's enough gigs that I can survive off of it. I have some side money that I've already established that is encouraging me, making me feel like I can make this a reality.

It's a bit of Russian Roulette. If I can't make a new career for myself in 90 to 100 days, I'm going to have to take a drastic measure and go take one of these 6 month PHP contracts in a distant city kind of gigs until I can think of a way out of this rut. And I'll hate being so far away from my family. Been there, done that.

Sorry to sound so mean -- I'm really a nice guy. I'm too nice. I get walked upon sometimes because I don't stand up enough to my bosses. It's just my boss drives me nuts and I've got a really bad one.

I also want to state that in my resignation letter it's going to be short and sweet. I'm not going to burn this bridge. I'm simply asking to get reassigned to PHP web development or let me resign in 60 days. That way, I can perhaps come back and do contract consulting for bootstrap income here or there as necessary.

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
wow

So that's why we haven't seen you in so long. Hope your PHB (Pointy Haired Boss) gets a nice, hard slap from the hand of reality.

Good luck.

dylunio's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
Wow your gig sounds rough,

Wow your gig sounds rough, I wish you the best of luck with your future supermike!

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Gee how lucky I am I never

Gee how lucky I am I never had bosses like this (not for long anyway). Best thing is to be your own boss, no doubt, then you can only hate yourself when something goes wrong. Sticking out tongue

Let's hope you get that PHP position. It seems that would be the best short term solution so that you don't lose anything for these month or two that you might be jobless otherwise..

But long term it's probably best to go on your own, build your own business. It seems you've got the skills then it should only take some time, effort, a business plan of some sort etc.

Best of luck!

supermike's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-17
Today I decided to hold

Today I decided to hold back a little. The boss is out sick. I can't plop that resignation letter on his desk just yet. If I don't have something else lined up, perhaps I should hold off. But the problem is that this job is going nowhere but bad, and that can hurt a resume. 'Better to leave now before I am fired (for something unreasonable, of course). I have typed up the resignation letter, and filed it in my cube, and I'm borderline oh so close to letting him p-ss me off to where I show him that I have the cards and drop this down on his desk.

Tonight I received a tech recruiter call. I get a lot of these now, along with tech recruiter emails. They all have $70K to $150K (depending on experience) gigs that sound like they would be perfect for me....if only I would relocate there. And most are far, far away. The one yesterday was for Vegas (probably a porn project built with PHP, right?). The one tonight was for Needham, Massachusetts. Unfortunately I'm just not at a situation where I can move. The house won't sell well, my wife's career is here, my wife's relatives are here and she's the type that desperately needs them, and my children love it here.

So my eyes lurk over at the project sites. When I check out the PHP project sites, I get nothing but ridiculously priced bids for enormous projects. $900 for a Google Maps + Reddit-style mashup but with a sensational look? I mean, c'mon! And I'm outbid easily.

Ever since I was a little kid when home computers first came out in the mid to late 70s, I was programming. My parents were still going to college when I was in high school, and so they couldn't afford even one of the more cheaper ones. My friends would get one and want to play games, and all I could think about was getting one to write software and become a millionaire. So without a computer, I would get any book or magazine article on programming, and start writing software for fun, out on paper. I moved from BASIC to C to Pascal to C to VB to ASP to C# to Java to PHP in all that time. When I have spare time even today, my mind thinks in visions of software. I have this little voice inside that says, "Wouldn't it be neat if we could write some software that...." And it goes on and on from there.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Wow, you were really

Wow, you were really motivated when you programmed even without a computer. That's genuine enthusiasm rarely found I believe.

I imagine most people get into programming and discover the fun of it *after* they are introduced to computers and when they are able to actually compile the code and see the results.

I was personally always (for a while now that is) kind of a wannabe software programming "learner". I keep talking how I should learn some programming language, but my other projects and interests just keep clouding that and I never actually get around to that, only learning a bit here and there where I actually *need* it for something specific.

But anyway, I wont steal this thread. Smiling

The decision to hold off sounds reasonable. I guess you can't be *that* unlucky for him to fire you before you hit his desk with the letter.

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Joined: 2006-12-11
I can relate.

I suffered with an idiot boss for several years, but now that they relocated the office & I'm unemployed it doesn't seem quite so bad!
All I can offer is it's probably best to have a plan before you quit.

But regardless- have you tried Gin? It won't actually solve anything, but it does take the edge off.

Hang in there.

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
not that special

Sometimes in school I write down a litte hack that I type up later.

supermike's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-17
My boss went to the

My boss went to the hospital last night in outpatient treatment for pneumonia. He was released after a few hours of bed rest there. He's been out sick for a few days. I feel sorry for him, obviously, on this level. And I guess, besides him being mean and all, that at least he gave me a job when they outsourced my original web development job to Brazil.

I took stock of my situation and think I might hold off on the resignation for a bit. However, it was a wakeup call to myself and my wife to make a difference on our debt even more than we already have, and that I need to stay the course, building my CRM software, and release it soon so that I can focus on other projects like SAM forum sites, webhost reselling, website design, and eCommerce.

I hate to say grin and bear it. I don't think it's going to be like that. However, I'm going to see if I can find his hot buttons that get him to react bad against me, and just stay the heck away. And if he wants to recommend stupid Windows solutions in the office, I'm just going to say "No Problem" (even though it adds to my headache) and just count the days when my side projects start to take off and pull me away from the office. Or if he claims he told me something that he did not, I'm going to just let that go in one ear and out the other. Or if he says that I'm going outside my role, again, in one ear and out the other. Also, if I have an important email that I'm required to get an answer on or an approval on, and he just sits there and doesn't respond, then I'm just going to forget it too -- let the place burn down, but I can't say I didn't try to stop it.

At least when I finally arrive at my office 1 hour away, almost all of my tasks deal with Linux, and I have the opportunity to write PHP web apps and short scripts as long as it has a goal to improve our server and server room systems monitoring. I can just focus on automating things and try to make the best of it.

Right now in the office, I'm writing my own very thin portal in my own way. It's a monitoring system that will allow non-programmers to hit web apps already designed to monitor stuff, scrape parts of the screen, and redisplay it in elegant dashboards with gadgets. And these dashboards and gadgets can be moved around, published so that certain groups can see them, and so on. But that's a side thread discussion I'll start somewhere else. The concepts of this app I can rebuild at home and make as a FOSS project, and then hopefully make an income from it indirectly or through a company product spinoff or acquisition.

And at home, I'm building an object oriented, easy-to-extend CRM in PHP. The hard part about building an application such as this is that you have to think about things not just from an end-user perspective, but from a developer perspective. You have to think, "What would developers like to see under the hood so that they could extend it fast without much of a learning curve on your code and your style?" Writing very tight, clear code like that is difficult and takes time. I've done 3 rewrites of the thing and now I'm going through, finding opportunities where something should have been an object (not cut and paste) but never was, and making it into an object. And I've just got a few small features to add that unfortunately take a good bit of time to add.

Being unemployed in the winter season is not the most ideal thing. And I've kind of figured things out. You can make good money as a PHP programmer in the USA -- $60K to $150K on average is what I'm finding when I speak to recruiters -- but the gigs are miles and miles away from each other, and you have to relocate for 2-3 years and then move again when the project solidifies. That is, if you work for someone else. But if you have a side business doing PHP project sales, and then this pulls you into it full time, you could stand to do much better than as a PHP consultant working for someone else.

supermike's picture
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Joined: 2006-02-17
I've decided to blog about

I've decided to blog about removing emotion from my job. Think the strategy I specify in the blog will work? Tee hee.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
It looks more like a guide

It looks more like a guide on how to convert emotion into effective sarcasm rather than how to completely remove emotion. We're not Vulcans anyway. Best is to balance between emotion and reason rather than trying to rid yourself of either completely.

A very nice read in all. Shows some writing talent too I'd say. Smiling

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21
Showing a "I don't give a

Showing a "I don't give a damn about this job" attitude, when done in the right way, will get you less work to do and more respect. If you start abusing lower rank team members, you might even get a fat raise.

Strange but true, the most hard working employee is usually also the least respected one. Monkey politics: you get respect and payment for sitting high in the tree, doing nothing except p***ing on the heads of everyone below you.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Sounds true indeed. The

Sounds true indeed.

The situation is kind of reversed when it comes to being your own private businessman though. The more and better you do, the better you're respected. Smiling

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21
I like to believe there do

I like to believe there do exist companies where work quality is rewarded.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
There probably are some.

There probably are some. They probably have a less traditional and more open minded feel to it, the "Business 2.0" sort of companies maybe. Eye

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