Friday, February 13, 2009

Old me

I had an assignment for class which was for me to describe a significant event in my life.

Here is what I came up with:

The Day the Old Me Died

We had spent the last 8 months going to Stanford University hospital, to see the specialist that my wife needed. After what had happened 2 years prior, we were both more than willing to make the almost weekly trips there. We were both fresh into our 20’s.

It was on a visit to see the specialist on the 8th month that we received the news, the baby might be in trouble, all I could think was not again, I couldn’t go through all of that again, I couldn’t sit by helplessly while we lost another baby so close to full term. We lost Samantha on the 9th month, what they called a still birth. We sat in the labor room for over 36 hours, listening to her heartbeat slow, then eventually stop within the first hour. My wife’s diabetes kept the doctors from performing a Cesarean section on her to save our little girl. Helpless, that’s the only way to describe how I felt that entire time.

This was our second chance to start a family, we were so close and that awful night 2 years prior came rushing back all at once. My mind went numb as the doctors at the Stanford hospital rushed her into an emergency labor ward. They had the ultrasound technician there in the room every hour, to make sure that there was movement, and a nurse to check the baby’s and my wife’s vital signs.

The doctor came in and reassured us that everything that could be done, was being done. We would get the best care in the entire Bay Area and we would be bringing our baby home. They must have said that a few times, but I never really understood what they were saying at the time. My mind playing over and over again the events of Samantha’s delivery, praying that I wouldn’t have to go through that all over again.

The time that it took to go from the day’s scheduled appointment to the doctors giving us the news to my wife being admitted felt like it took a lifetime, but the time was actually less than an hour and it was still in the early afternoon, just the beginning of our long night. We looked at each

other and both started to cry, we were both a couple of kids who were looking at dealing with a very unpleasant event that no parent should have to deal with, for a second time in the same number of years.

As the afternoon slowly turned into evening, we were visited by the doctors and nurses in what would soon turn into a parade of optimism. With the ultrasounds starting to show promise, and the baby’s heart beat continuing to beat strong, our emotions and hopes started to rise. The parade continued on through the night, and around 4 o’clock in the morning I realized that the doctor that admitted my wife, had been there to check on us the entire night, he told us he wasn’t going to go home until our baby was born and in our arms.

I stayed next to my wife the entire time, My brother-in-law showed up and told me that I looked like junk. Then my wife told me that I should go get something to eat in the cafeteria, just to get out of the room and stretch my legs. I protested, I didn’t want to miss anything or go any where. The more I protested, the more she insisted until I finally relented. I stood and I could tell that my body was sore from atrophy, but my mind was still numb.

As I walked out of the maternity ward, I noticed a yellow line painted on the floor. I followed the line, whether out of boredom or out of sleep deprivation. I followed it down the long hallway, to an elevator, down 2 floors and then back out into the hallway. I followed that line for almost 10 minutes and realized that I was in the basement of the hospital. I turned around and noticed a robot coming towards me, following the yellow line. That was me too, a robot on auto pilot following a yellow line painted on the floor.

I had to get some food and try to get myself back. I stood to the side and let the robot pass, then followed the yellow line back up out of the basement to the main floor. I wandered around the main floor until I finally followed my nose to the cafeteria. I ordered a sandwich and something that looked like a pudding, found a table away from other people so that I could try to clear my head a little. I failed miserably, I didn’t see the neurosurgeons on the other side of a low wall, they were deep in conversation about the infected brain that they had just operated on. The pudding suddenly took on a rather unappetizing pall. My brother-in-law saved me from having to listen to the rest of the conversation.

He came into tell me that my wife was going into “hard labor” and that I had better get back up to her room. I don’t think that I touched the ground at all the entire time as I made my way back up the 2 floors to the maternity ward. As I entered my wife’s

room, it seemed that every nurse and every doctor in the ward was in her room. My heart skipped a beat, but I was whisked to the bed side and was told to help with the birth.

It took a little over an hour, but our daughter was born, we started to cry again, but this time we were crying because our daughter was born. She was alive and crying, that was the most beautiful sound that I had ever heard. She was born with a few problems, and was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but we were able to bring her home after a weeks stay.

My marriage to my daughter’s mom didn’t last, but we did create one of the most beautiful things in our lives. Our daughter stays with me, she’s a teenager now, and I couldn’t imagine life without her. She was there the night the Old me died, and was replaced with something better.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'm Lazy

I was talking to a friend of mine from Chicago, he and I use to work together and we got to talking about the company we worked for. Apparently my ex-boss told him on more than one occasion that I was the laziest person she's worked with. A little taken aback, I asked him if she explained how she came to this conclusion. This is when it got a little interesting.

We would have a weekly conference call with all of the call centers across the country, Medford OR, Tulsa OK, Cedar Rapids IA, Madison and Waukesha WI, Knoxville TN, and Chicago IL. We would get on the phone and talk about anything that would directly affect the group that I worked in, most of the time it was no. So apparently that meant that I wasn't doing anything during my tenure at the company. Never mind that I was working with 3 other people from my call center, Medford OR, to create a model for the I.T. department which would aleviate 1 person carrying a pager for 5 years solid without relief (that would be me). We introduced a new model where we went from having 1 person who knew how to do a job to 1 primary person and 2 alternates who could do the job. This allowed for each person in the I.T. department to be able to take a vacation without worrying about their systems back in the call center. This model is still successfully in use today at the company in the other call centers, some 4 years after I left.

I guess I'm lazy because I had 1 person named Jerry who was afraid I could do his job better than he could (which I was very much able to do, even his manager said this) and I would make him obsolete, a scary prospect for a man in his 60's in an economically depressed area. I recognized that fact and would help him where I could, but he in turn would call my ex-boss and tell her all the projects that he had and she would in turn call me and ask why I didn't know about these projects? I let her know that, even when I would sit with Jerry for the 1/2 hour in the morning letting him know about all of the stuff that I was working on that would affect his systems, he wouldn't respond in kind, instead he called her to give updates. She didn't take the time to contact his boss and find out that Jerry was screwing things up and he was trying to make himself look better to management outside of his department. Go figure...

I'm apparently also lazy because when asked to write programs, I would, then submit them to the senior programmer out in Chicago, who would give them to my ex-boss and neglect to tell her that I wrote them. Vince is a good guy, but very aloof, when asked he would eventually admit that I wrote them, but ex-boss never asked, she just assumed that they came from Vince and I was slacking.

On top of every thing else, we had meetings... every day... at least 5 - 1 hour meetings. So I'd be away from my desk or on the phone with Chicago or a Vendor for that 5 hours a day, most of these meetings were just rehashed garbage from the previous meetings. We would have pre-meeting meetings to discuss what would be discussed in the "meeting", then we would have the "meeting", then we would get together to discuss what was discussed in the "meeting". Most of the time, I would be involved with the conference call meetings, and doing work that I could to catch up from the face-to-face meetings. I was also helping the other call centers implement software that was what they call "beta" (basically software that was tested in vendor labs, but not out in the real world. Management apparently thought that it would be a good idea to buy this software at a lower price and then double the price of the implementation by throwing all their resources at it to get it to work, only to abandon the project all together about 6 months after the implementation)

And on top of having at least 7 major projects going, I also found time to lead a 2 day training class every 5 weeks for the new customer service reps, introducing the tech team, teaching them how to use the technologies we provided them and when to call the help desk to open tickets. Plus walking through the call center daily to make sure there was no trouble out on the floor.

I have to admit though, when I got 1 bad yearly review after 3 years of stellar reviews, I asked "Why?" and the only answer that the ex-boss could give me was "because someone has to get it" Excuse me? This is the woman who I literally had seen in person, face to face maybe a total of 5 hours. She would come out to my call center, but she would take off with her friends and the 2 guys she was seeing from my call center and use the trip out to Medford as a vacation, just stopping long enough to do a quick walk through of the center. This review would not stand, I contacted HR in the call center, but guess what? The HR manager was ex-bosses good friend, so ex-boss was defended and later called to tell her about my confidental conversation with the local HR manager. Good thing I have friends in higher places than ex-boss or HR manager.... needless to say, after I complained and some amount of time and enough rope, these 2 hung themselves and were told that it might be in their best interest to find other employment.

I was told I'm lazy... I don't really see it. :)