Dear Boss,

I’ve started sending out job applications. You know something? The market is really good right now. Looks like lots of companies are hiring, and they are willing to pay very competitive salaries.

Maybe you should start thinking about why you are losing staff left, right, and center.

Maybe you should think about why you have positions open you have been unable to fill for over a year.

And perhaps it’s also time to ponder why none of your employees cares enough to make an effort. Could this, perhaps, also be a reason for delayed projects and the quality issues we’ve been having? Can’t possibly be, right?

But hey. You do you.

Love,

Secretgeek

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I had quite a number of different jobs over the past five-or-so years. Getting fired, getting re-hired, resigning, starting a new job, I’d have to actually look at my CV to actually count them. Things have finally calmed down a bit, but that doesn’t mean I am happy with where I am. So I took things into my own hands.

Essentially I told my manager I want a promotion. Didn’t use that word, but I told him I want a better job title, more responsibilities, more money, and certifications. I expect to get none of this. Maybe the title.

My employer is fairly well known in the industry and they think this gives them the freedom to underpay their employees. I could, essentially, earn 15-25% more by signing with another company, but I figured it makes sense to raise the topic with my current employer first.

My manager listened patiently and then told me that “any decision won’t happen before June the earliest”. I didn’t ask him if that’s their way to buy time to hire a potential replacement. Seeing it took them a year to find a bozo I doubt they’d do much better finding a second one.

I am not sure he realizes that “June” gives me plenty of time to find a “plan B” job offer. Then if I don’t like their answer, I can just tell them where to shove it. That’s the tradition, isn’t it?

Went to the movies with a friend yesterday.

Meeting in front of the cinema, she said: “I saw you from the bus, but I told myself ‘That guy’s way too slim to be Secretgeek.'”

What can I say, it was dark outside.

 

As of today, this blog is 12 years old. Four more and it’ll be allowed alcohol. Cheers.

We have a new co-worker. As expected, our HR department and management have done an excellent job selecting the best possible candidate. In his first month, he has:

  • Suggested we breach contracts with suppliers in order to increase our revenue
  • Lie to our customers for the same purpose
  • Back-stabbed three colleagues in order to suck up to his team lead
  • Directly ignored pretty much every process and procedure I taught him, because he “knows how to do this stuff right”
  • Repeatedly gone home at 2 pm – on days his boss wasn’t around
  • Parked in the disabled spot

He also has absolutely no experience for the position he was hired for, and very little IT experience in general.

Mind you, this is a new hire. Someone you’d expect to be on their best behavior. A scary notion; it means it could get much, much worse.

So I’ve done what I felt had to be done, I’ve escalated the matter up the chain of command. Via two managers.

I fully expect nothing to happen. – No, that’s not quite right. I expect management to label me a “complainer” or “difficult employee” for flagging this risk. But so be it. “Like it, leave it, or change it”, and I am getting way too old to put up with sociopaths.

As you may recall, I took an  IQ test a few years ago. While talking to my mother about random things, I mentioned this as an aside.

Secret Mom: “Oh, yeah, I know. That’s in line with how you’ve always scored. Maybe a bit too low, even.”

Me: “…say what?”

Secret Mom: “As a kid, you always had the best test results in the family.”

I do remember we were made to take IQ tests as kids about every year or so. When my buddies and I were old enough to develop an actual free will, we went to the school’s counselor and asked to see our results. We were told those had not been kept.

Me: “Not to retroactively criticize your parenting, but why didn’t you ever mention this, or, I don’t know, send me to a decent school, or encouraged me to do something useful or challenging?”

Secret Mom: “We decided it would be bad for you if you suspected you might be smarter than others.”

Me: “Brilliant plan.”

Even though I didn’t realize it at the time – lack of comparisons – I went to a really bad high school. And I did extremely poorly. Not because I couldn’t handle the subjects, or because I didn’t enjoy learning – but because I realized that it wasn’t academic performance that got you good grades, it was being obedient, in the center of attention, and – especially in the case of girls – being cute.

I had one fellow (female) student who improved her grades from straight F’s to B- by arguing and showing some leg. There were persistent rumors of teachers sleeping with students (and I have no doubt that at least certain cases were true). Essentially, I believe that Young Secretgeek just gave up on school as being pointless.

Not that it matters now, but it makes me wonder how much different – for better or perhaps worse – my life might have been had my parents sent me to a different school, shown an interest in my performance, encouraged me to challenge myself. I’ve often thought that I would’ve loved to study physics, knowing what I know now. Might a teacher that showed a passion for natural sciences have made a difference?

All I remember of my physics teacher is that he threw items at unruly students.

My chemistry teacher knocked up his intern and my biology teacher recorded a documentary over a porn movie, part of which she thus accidentally showed in class. (This was in the day and age when we used magnetic tape to store audio-visual media.)

I guess I mainly wish my parents had helped build more self-confidence in myself and my abilities. Though I assume they had their own problems and demons that prevented it – without going too much into detail.

It’s also interesting how we take things for granted simply because we know no different. When I was a kid, and for a long time after, I had always assumed that I hated my school because all kids hate their school. It wasn’t until later, when talking to others, that I realized that my high school had an actual city-wide reputation for being shit. For decades I thought my parents did an okay job raising us – now, the more I think back, the more I think they were actually pretty crappy parents.

In the end, none of that can be helped now. I am who I am, and I can’t change the past. Though I firmly believe that understanding the how and why never hurts. (Maybe unless you are the type who overthinks everything, or if you start using the past as an excuse.)

And yes – this is the kind of stuff I think about on a random Sunday. Probably says something about me, too.

Merry Christmas, guys and gals. I hope you have relaxing holidays!

 

Went to lunch with a co-worker. At the restaurant, we were talking about random things.

Me: “It’s a bit annoying there is no bank near my home.”

Co-worker: “What do you need a bank for?”

Me: “I have to walk way too far to get cash.”

Co-worker: “Seriously? You carry cash on you?”

Me: “Yeah, I go nowhere without cash.”

Co-worker: “Meh, you need to go with the times. We live in a cashless society. I pay everything with my card.”

Waiter: “…we do not accept cards.”

Co-worker (after a short pause): “Secretgeek, could I borrow ten bucks please?”

Woman: “I swiped right because you don’t want kids. You?”

Me: “I swiped right because you hack Raspberry Pi’s.”

 

“Hey Secretgeek, do you have a spare US$2000 sitting around I could borrow? I’ll pay you back by February the absolute latest. It’s for urgent bills and to get my business off the ground while I am job hunting.”

A million replies come to mind.

For example, “Why can’t your business wait until March?”

Or, “What kind of urgent bills, and why didn’t you put money aside for emergencies?”

Maybe, “If you lack two thousand dollars now, how are you going to earn that kind of surplus by February?”

There’s also “Maybe you should have dated a guy who is financially responsible instead of getting knocked up by a deadbeat.”

Or perhaps the more basic, “Oh, nice to hear from you after all these years, how’s the family doing?”

In the end I settled for a simple lie. “I don’t.”

The last time I helped someone out in “an emergency” with promises of getting paid back “really soon”, it was a family member. I’m still waiting for the first installment seven years later.

The sad part is that I almost feel bad for not helping. I do have the cash, and while 2000 bucks is a ton of money, losing it wouldn’t put me in dire straits. I grew up in a poor family and I know what it’s like to have to pay some bill and not be able to.

But then that’s precisely how I learned not to depend on others, and that living beyond your means and from paycheck to paycheck is a terrible idea. I clawed my way up and I saved money even when it was tough to do so, and I am never, ever going to risk getting into that situation again.

You plan your own finances. If you lack the foresight or the ability, please don’t expect me to drain my emergency fund for your emergencies.

My money stays where it is.

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