Monday, 24 April 2006

Smells like team spirit

The more I mature as a worker doing his job, the more I learn that one of the more important things to do for the benefit of everybody is simply not to accept any shit.
The first time I seriously had to take shit from someone at work was at my first job, the airline, where my boss used to huff and puff cigarette smoke in my face all the time. And the guy used to smoke several packs a day. Eventually I begun to rebel, but at the beginning natural naive-ness and lack of familiarity caused me not to question this but rather to accept this as a part of the routine of actually working for a living.
A lot of sewer went down the Yarra since. Nowadays the thought of someone actually smoking near me just sounds ridiculous. And I also have indicators flashing all over the place when someone is trying to pass any of their shit down my direction.
The problem is, I can certainly rebel and rebel successfully when an impossible task or something that no one wants to do is handed over to me. It's not a question of having the nerves; it's a question of principles, and I like to think of myself as a man of principles (says someone who not too long ago said he's not into copying music or films).
Principles were certainly tested over the last couple of weeks. As much as I like to stick to my precious principles, I also like to make a living; I lost a job once already sticking to my guns and was rewarded with five months of unemployment in return.
So when someone tried to hand me over the impossible task of managing testing for this "huge" project we're currently working on ("huge" is a very relative word: it means 40 pages of specifications and 6 use-cases, which would be considered as a mere joke in my previous job) when I don't know any of the requirements, don't know any of the people, and I'm totally unfamiliar with the environment I protested. I explained my trouble to my boss, I explained it to the project manager, but alas - they still insisted I do this job because the project's main people went on a two week leave and someone had to follow.
Obviously they didn't read "The Mythical Man Month" article that explained why such a handover is an effort in time wasting. It also helped making me tense and uncomfortable at work and outside of work; not only did productivity suffer on this particular task, it suffered everywhere else too. Even the projects where I could actually be productive.
I did my best to be public and vocal with my misery: I let everyone who was even remotely interested learn that I can't do my work properly. I even laid down the reasons.
Anyway, today I learned that the "two weeks away" were actually only 5 business days stretched over a week and a half due to public holidays, and I cannot but think that certain people are just so bad at managing projects that their incapacity is eclipsed only by the incapacity of those who appointed them in the first place.

Anyway, this rather unclear story is all just a very bad exposition to me saying that in many respects my new job really suffers compared to the old one.
Sure, Tung was quite good at pissing me off and at quite an alarming rate, but we got along well overall. But one thing one could not take away from my previous job was the team spirit: I don't know what it is exactly that glues people who work hard together on a tough project, but it worked. And in my current job there is no such thing as proper team work: You have meetings with others, but at the end of the day it's all individuals doing their work individually.
And this is sad because I already miss the synergy effect of team work and I know I will miss it even more.
But most of all I miss my ex team members. I learned to live with most of them leaving for bigger and better jobs from time to time; I had to. But it's different when I live of my own free will.
Most of all, I really miss Martin.

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