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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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So our group now has new regional managers. This is part posturing for promotion, part of our global strategy, and part of what will be necessary to shape and leverage a larger global group. I was not offered this opportunity in Stamford, nor was I given any opportunity to consider the role in London (this was assigned to a contractor that had been at the firm less than a year). The person that was appointed regional lead in Stamford was responsible for a system that is based out of London, whereas I was responsible for a system that is based out of Stamford. Both did roughly the same thing, though I managed to improve, support, and run mine by myself, through a tremendous amount of effort and impact to my personal life, consisting of constant struggles with the development team to improve software, as well as developing numerous solutions to accommodate and recover from failures in our applications and in up/downstream systems. At the end of the day, I took a complete disaster and made it a supportable and reliable system. It was not a single-handed effort, but it was single-handed from the support side of things.

On the other hand, their team of five struggled to hold down and stabilize their system. I know that the details are different, and I know it’s not a fair comparison, but it’s starting to eat at me. At first I thought I wasn’t upset about being passed over for this opportunity, as the golden “you’ll make associate director next year” carrot was held out to me, despite that my “technical lead” position doesn’t seem to have me in much of a leadership role, which I think would be a prerequisite for any sort of rank change.

All of this said, I know I’ve also influenced things by saying that I’m not interested in being a trained support monkey forever, and that I’ve mused about going business/quantitative/development-side on several occasions. Ergo, I may have hammered the nails into my own coffin.

So, if you want to ignore the last three paragraphs and read between the whines, what I’m saying is “I resent the choice that was made for regional management, even though I thought I would be able to accept it.” I realize that my RM (Regional Manager) has been with the firm longer, and that counts for something, but if we were talking about a meritocracy here, and an opportunity to confront my only weakness on my performance appraisal (all of it related to “not transferring competency” — which was specifically mentioned as being management’s fault for not providing me with resources to which I can transfer competency — even though I transferred competency to resources outside of my group, such as teaching the developers how to engineer software, because they were receiving no direction from their own managers, and instructing developers through the performance appraisal, training, and career guidance process … because of th…

Fuck this, I’m whining too much, and that’s not what I was trying to get at with this entry. Like I say, I didn’t realize I was so pissed about this until I started writing about it. Strange things you discover when you start picking at what is in your brain. There really is a humorous aspect to it, once I get past all of the context.

So here’s the story. I get a call from my RM. Keep in mind that she sits less than 20 feet from me, but 95% of our conversation that she initiates is via chat or phone.

“Aaron, I need a favor from you.”

“Ok.”

“I get a lot of email from you every day — can you put stars in the subject lines of the messages that are really important?”

uncomfortable silence

“Uhh.”

uncomfortable silence

“Ok.”

“You know, it’s just that there is a lot for me to read, and if I should read it, and that it’s like, actually for me or important, then you can star it.”

“Sure thing.”

“Great, thanks!”

Yes, dear reader, I’m living the nightmare — I am a character from Office Space and I did not get the memo. This comes after the weekend where I sent three documents out detailing how to do things, and said RM had to call another employee, to have them forward them to her again, because she could not find them. Perhaps I’m too verbose. Perhaps I am trying too hard to transfer knowledge as I try to get the fuck out of front-line support for my system (which is supposedly my regional manager’s bailiwick now). Perhaps I am gifted with the superhuman powers necessary to read 10-15 emails a day from one person, and to skim 500 to 1000 emails a week, and figure out for myself what is relevant, all without significant impact to my productivity. Perhaps I am going insane and I am imagining these conversations.

To reassure me that this is not the case, the following conversation came at me today from a coworker.

Coworker: “morning Aaron when u have a chance today can u tell me if u have a uat / prod release doc somewhere on clearcase this is not refering to add new deal or portfolio in application doc? thx”

This guy speaks fine English, I’ve never understood when that doesn’t transfer to written English. I’m going to have to administer a written English test to new hires.

Me: “No such document exists.”

Coworker: “Is it possible then I can set a time for u to generate a doc for this RM and I wanted to document as much as possible on this and put into Clearcase she has asked me to be the lead on this pls let me know thx again Aaron”

Me: “I do not have time to generate any documentation for this. You have done this before, perhaps you could start a document to get things rolling?”

Coworker: “Does the email from LRM for LondonApplication 5.9 release is going to happen today at 1pm Stamford time?”

Me: “I don’t know anything about LondonApplication.”

Coworker: “k then just Application or what u can inform me would be gr8. Just email me the basic specs and I will gather what I can from it and chat u if any qs.Thx”

banging head against LCD screens for several minutes

Coworker: “Aaron disregard this the email from LRM for LondonApplication 5.9 release is going to happen today at 1pm Stamford time? wrong chat.”

(no kidding)