Tuesday, September 14, 2004

It's Me Against Corporate America
I am definitely in the wrong place. I put on a tie this morning. Not because I like ties. In fact, when I was a bit younger and maybe a little naive I often made the statement that I would never take a job that required me to wear a tie. Now, I slap one on several times a week. My wife generally wraps them around shirts that I own so that they match a little bit. I have no desire to look fashionable, and if I pick out my own clothing, it definitely shows.

I only wore a tie this morning so that I could come to the weekly staff meeting and show my support for the company. I was the only instructor there. The others were either teaching, or just not showing up (which was a respectable decision). I shouldn't have gone. It has driven my negativity toward this company to an all time high. The topic of this meeting was "serving the customer", I think. I wasn't paying all that much attention. Our sales manager raised a concern that "people shouldn't hang out in the kitchen of the training area". He feels that if a group of employees are standing around a public area drinking their coffee, that a student might feel left out, ignored, or intimidated. The "concerns" that are raised just infuriate me. So a coffee pot was brought upstairs. Now, we can get the coffee from the "office kitchen" and we won't have to worry about accidentally socializing with our clients.

The owner of the company chimed in with feelings, agreeing with the drone. His "real life experience" came from getting his hair cut over the weekend. He tells us that he went to "Charles Panzone" on Sunday, because they were open on Sunday. This is not a place where normal people get haircuts. It's a salon. It's where wealthy people spend all day hanging out, wasting money, and talking about politics. But that's beside the point. In his story, he tells us that the atmosphere was great, and the haircut was wonderful. But while waiting to be "seated" and later while waiting to pay, he was put on hold by the person at the counter so that they could answer the phone.

It seems that having to wait on the receptionist (or whatever you call that person) left a bad taste in his mouth which brought a point to this story. Ignoring customers is bad. Gee. Thanks for the tip? I'm sure the receptionist who is probably paid $8.00 an hour has a big heart for all of the overpaid corporate clients she deals with.

I try to imagine what it must be like getting a bad haircut in a salon. But then, I have never been in a salon. For the past 10 years, my wife has been cutting my hair, as well as our children (and herself for that matter) with clippers that like to jam up. I want to feel the pain of getting bad service in a classy resteraunt, but the best I can do is talk about how bad the fries usually are at McDonalds. Or perhaps I can use Ramen noodles as my example. It's what I usually have for lunch, because I don't have the free flowing cash to head out to lunch everyday like the majority of the schmucks here. "Would anyone like to add anything?" he asked. Sure! How would this work as an example? "Last week I went to eat my Ramen noodles only to find that there was no flavor pack in the bag. The fools at the Ramen noodle factory must have forgot to put it in there. So, I went into the fridge and looked for remnants of other peoples old lunches to eat".

My story doesn't seem to have a moral. But it does! It's a hidden lesson. See if you can find it.

And while I have passed another exam, and gotten another pat on the back, I see no signs of ever making more money. Ever. I spoke with one of the other instructors yesterday. He just passed an XML exam, and is one exam away from completing his MCDBA. It's a valuable certification, especiially when you combine it with an MCSE and an MCT (and a couple of other certifications he has picked up). But has he been rewarded? No. Has our third wheel been rewarded for her exam triump for new Netware products? No. Will I be rewarded for obtaining my MCSE and MCT? I'm venturing a "no" answer here.

I have revised my plan for my employment here. When I first came here, my plan was to grow my skills, and grow my paycheck to cover my increased cost of living expenses. Needless to say it's been a few years since I recieved a raise of any kind. Now, a couple of years later, I am growing my skills, but not my wallet. It seems I should continue to take my low pay in exchange for free training, and study time (lots of it). But in the end, they will have raised the perfect employee for someone else to hire. In fact, I see that they have raised four instructors whose only stipulation in new employment (referring to a signed non-compete contract) is that they cannot teach in their new position.

I think I will lean back toward what I actually enjoy doing. As much as I have danced around the issue, I love network security (or lack thereof). I need to focus on finishing my MCSE, adding one more exam to become an MCSE+Security, and then push toward my CISSP. And then of course, I will move onto a job that pays me what I am worth on the market. According to CertMag.com and their salary calculator, that is about $24,000 more than I make now.

Current Mood: Uninspired
Musical Inspiration: Instead of listening to music today, I am picking up conversations around the office over the cubical walls.

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