Friday, September 9, 2022


I probably won't talk a lot about COVID here, but it's been such a huge influence over our lives for the past two plus years that it's hard to stray too far from it. One of the weird things about COVID was how it impacted my work. We were completely remote for over a year. In the middle of last year (maybe it was longer) our company sent us an email saying that HR wanted to chat with us all about how 'return to work' would look. Or at least that's what I thought it was going to be about. I think I sort of glossed over it in my rush to be outraged that the company was going to force us to go back into the office setting when we'd proven we could work productively from home. And that's not what they did. They basically said..."We don't know what the return to work will look like, so we want to solicit your feedback and see what you all want to do." They then gave us a lengthy presentation that more or less said what we all knew: We have proven we can work from home. Here are a list of the benfits we as a company have seen over the past year of working remotely...less polution, lower insurance rates, less wear and tear on the car, less gas used, happier workers, and on and on. I was pretty surprised. I was also surprised how many people actually wanted to return to work, for at least some of the time. In the end, about 6 months later, they laid out a plan to return to work for one day a week for the first couple months, followed by two days a week moving forward. And that's where we're at. And I, no shit, totally forgot where I was going with this BUT...I rambled on enough that I remembered. So anyway, one of the weird things about coming back from COVID was...everyone started retiring. All at once. I suspect there were a few people who got used to being at home full time and were nearing retirement and, when faced with the return thought, nah...fuck that, and retired. The Engineering Manager who I worked with daily was one. Also the guy that ran the shop that I worked with weekly. And the sales manager that I worked with daily. Then my boss, and then his boss (both retired on the same day) as well as one of our applications engineers, and others rumored to be done by the end of the year. And what ended up happening was...I got promoted to my boss's old position and assumed his responsibilities as well as my own until I could bring someone in to relieve me of them. But then also my boss's boss thought it probably wasn't fair to dump all the stuff she was doing on HER replacement, so she decided to have me do some of that stuff as well. And then, because it seemed to make sense and because the guy who was doing it was sort of half-assing it and hated it...I also assumed the responsibilities of the service product manager. So...I'm sort of treading water in a way that I have never had to before. And I'm slowly recovering. I promoted someone to manage the Project Managers (something I had been handling), and I promoted someone to help me with Product Management and Service Product Management, and she's been helping with that. And I hired a new project manager to replace the one that was promoted and things are starting to get back to manageable...but it's not there yet. The promotion is nice. But there's always that feeling that you need to prove you deserved it, so I've been reluctant to say, HEY...enough already. You want me to handle that too, I'll handle it, but pay me more, or get me some more help. Something along those lines. OH! I wanted to mention something about quiet quitting. I don't like the term, but I 100% agree with the philosophy. I used to work another place where they quite openly and proudly told everyone, "We know that a work week is 40 hours, but we expect 45 minimum. If you're not working 45 hours then you're not busy enough." Very proud of that mantra. I always worked exactly 45 hours every week too. At least...that's what I put on my timesheet. I managed to work 8 hours a day for five weeks and every week my timesheet said 45. Because...that's what they wanted to see. And it's bullshit. I'll work 45 hours. I'll work 60 if I need to get something done that is my responsibility and I'm behind, or it's an emergency or whatever. But that's not the gig permanently. It's a salaried position and that means 40 hours a week, and sometimes it's 45, but you know what? Sometimes it's 35. And that's okay. Just get your shit done. Anyway, I don't like that it's in any way considered "quitting" to leave work on time and have a healthy home life with your family and friends because working until you're 65 in order to finally be able to "rest" and do all the things you've always wanted to do but never had time to do...but now can't do anyway because your knees are shot to shit and you have chronic back pain is bullllllshit. Quick sidebar and then I'll wrap up. I worked at another company (not 45 hours a week company, much more forgiving) where I had an engineer reporting to me. We worked together for 7 years. Great guy. He'd been with the company for 50 years. He was the proverbial "started in the mail room at 18 guy", went to Vietnam for 3 years and the company held his spot, then he worked 50 plus years for them. He liked to golf and hang out with his kids and grandkids and I quit that job and went to work for the place I am now and he retired maybe a year later. And died a month after that. Fuuuuuuuck that noise. I do not want to work all my life in order to build a savings that I need to finally be able to relax and then...die. So balance your work life and home life. Realize what's important. And quiet quit all you want as long as you get your work done. Okay, end sidebar. So I'm busy. And this week was really busy, but I thought about writing two or three times during that time and just couldn't quite carve out enough time to do it. But even thinking about it as an option makes me feel good. I think it's a good sign. Making it more of a habit is something I want again. And because I need to start telling you about Eli. And of course catch you up on the rest of the gang: Angie, Emma, and Lily.

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