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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Quit

7:45 this morning I get a voice mail from one of my managers. "XXX's quit." No notice, nothing. Just "I'm done." I've been in this business for over 20 years and I've never just had someone up and quit. I've heard about professionally challenged individuals who sabotage their careers by doing something this stupid, but I've never actually seen it happen. This reminds me of the scene in Temple of Doom where Indy cuts the rope bridge in half, while he is still on the bridge. Although he survived it, it wasn't without a lot of pain and bleeding. My biggest question is "who the hell is so stupid that they would burn a bridge in this economy?"

I don't have the answer. XXX was a direct report to me, but he has yet to answer his phone. I don't know why he up and quit. I don't know why he just committed career suicide. As a friend I have to question his sanity. As an employer I'm pissed as hell. I don't care what market you are in; San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, Austin, something like this is bound to follow you. I know he isn't financially secure so I just don't get it. Have any of you just up and quit? Why? Did you pay for it later?

I remember a conversation I had with a friend from a networking group. He had a very elaborate plan for quitting that entailed him telling several people to fuck off. Several of us warned him to not go to such extremes, but he was convinced that it wouldn't follow him. His arguement was that the next job wouldn't know about it and by the time he left there that it would be completely forgotten. We called him Angry Frank after that. I don't know what happened to him after that, but he hasn't been invited back to the networking group. At the very least, his peers didn't think that they wanted to be associated with him.

Personally, I've wanted to set the fire. I've hated jobs so much that I would have loved to see someone pay. But then again I was 24 at the time. I wasn't blond, but I wasn't that bright either. I fantasized about how I would say it, how I would do it, and how remorseful that my employer would be to see me walk out so. Fortunately, I was brighter than I let on and I left such fantasies to my imagination. At my level, any stupid act such as just up and quitting would make sure that the only job I would ever get again would be coding tourist websites for some forgotten condo on the Gulf Coast. Short of moving to a new time zone, you don't survive something like this. I'm still perplexed.

So as I sit, sipping on my wine trying to understand the mind of the confused, I wonder how this will play out for him. I'm sure it won't be pretty, and I'm sure that I'll contribute to his pain, especially if asked for references (which will be hard not to do). Why? Can someone please answer that?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Growing Up Redneck

By the age of 12 I already knew that I was the smartest person in my family. My Uncle Ronnie sat across the table from me with a perplexed look on his face. I had just bet him $20 that I could get 2 sides of a Rubix cube completed before he completed one side. But only 62 seconds into the contest I had all six completed. He had maybe 4 of the blocks of one side in line and was struggling trying to figure out how to get a fifth to fall into place. I eagerly waited a few minutes, hoping to make the contest a little closer when my other noticed that I was finished.

Ronnie was a long time con artist and I was pretty sure that he would make me pay dearly for the beating that I had just given him. I should have realized then that he wasn't smart enough to actually plan revenge. Redneck con artists are at best reactionary, and then only with the one or two skills that they know. His was pool, not brains. Suddenly I felt very powerful. At 12, I knew that no one from my family could ever touch me.

I was somewhat wrong, but not in the way that I expected. Ronnie did get his revenge, but not on me directly. Twenty years later as my mother lay on her apparent death bed Ronnie struck back. It was ugly and I fell into the trap and tapped into my inner Redneck. There was a lot of yelling and swearing (in a southern drawl) and in the end I came close to slugging him. The sad thing is that it would have been no contest. He was a fifty something has been that looked like he was 75. He hadn't lived well and he used his one opportunity to get back at me. If I had done something, I would have been no better than him. In the end I walked away, disappointed at myself and pitying him. Since that time I've made it a point to never visit. Other than our shared heritage I've nothing in common with him.

That's enough for now, but I have plenty more stories concerning my family. Next time, I'll talk about something else.

And so the adventure begins

Ok, so I'm a bit late to this party. I've been working in the "Internet" business since 1992, back when the only websites were coded for Mosaic. My living has always been about computers and the nerd culture that surrounds it. But blogging past me right by. Maybe I was too busy with my career, or maybe I just thought that it would never take off. Regardless I'm here now. I'm the guest that shows up late, but already drunk and ready to party.

Everyone I know suggested that I get a niche and talk about that. How boring. I'm not that guy. I like way too much to settle on a single topic. I'm a Geek, a Nerd, an Atheist, a Libertarian, a Guildmate, a Gamer, a Father, a Husband, a Son, a Craftsman, a Woodworker, a Landscaper, a Gardner, an Electrician, a Builder, an Archeologist, a Den Leader, a Neighbor, and a host of other things. I grew up in conservative Southern America and somehow wonder if I was switched at birth. Regardless, I have way too many ideas to be pinned down to a single niche. Either you like what I write and come back or you don't. Ultimately this isn't written for you, but for me! I guess part of this is therapy as well. If I don't start writing down what I think then it may just drive me crazy.

So hopefully you've found this and are intrigued. I'll continue to write here as much as possible, about all sorts of subjects. Let me know what you are interested in and if I have an opinion on it, i'll give you my two cents worth. Ok, I'm off to write my second post as I have a topic that I've been thinking about for a while. I'm sure it will piss someone off (most likely my family), but I've been dying to talk about it. See you there!