… it can be hard to take it seriously.
The contract house that employs me to work at Big Dot Com company also employs the 250 or so operators who work the the stations I support. Once a month they hold a meeting for both shifts of operators wherein they make announcements, give attaboys to the 10 most productive individuals, awards for perfect attendance, and announce folks who have reached the end of their contact and will be leaving. Small prizes are handed out to the folks being recognized, usually in the form of promotional swag with the contract house’s name printed all over it, but they also hand out gas cards good for $10 worth of gas. It has all the familiar airs of any high school football pep rally, but by and large we techs manage to avoid participating in it which is just fine with me.
This has started to change lately. The contract house has been making more of an effort to make sure the techs are included whether we really want to be or not. They made a point of asking us to attend this month’s meeting (which reviews last month’s efforts) because they wanted to give us a special recognition. We were clueless as to what they could be recognizing us for, but we dutifully attended just the same. When the time came the Big Boss lady says: “I think Jennifer Granholm (our State’s governor) should come talk to our techs, because they did more last month to get 250 people back to work than anyone in Lansing has done so far!” My first thought was “whaa?”
Turns out she was referring to the power brownout that lasted all of a second yet halted all operations here for over a week. We techs were responsible for getting the workstations back up and running and we had all but three up within 20 minutes of the brownout. The reason we were down for week, however, had to due with the databases that manage and store all the data on the servers. They were corrupted by the brownout so badly that no one here on site could fix them and we had to wait for someone higher up the chain at corporate to get around to repairing them, which took around a week to have happen. In short, we techs did 20 or 30 minutes worth of work, total, related to the brownout and then waited on corporate to get around to fixing the problem that was keeping the operators from getting back to work. Though to hear the Big Boss lady tell it we had been busting our ass for the entire week to get things fixed. Clearly they really don’t know what we techs are responsible for. The reward for our Amazing Ball Busting Lack of Effort? A fleece throw with the company name on it.
I tell you all of this to put into context the latest couple of announcements that we techs have been made privy to. First they’re holding an essay writing contest. Let me repeat that. They’re holding an essay writing contest of 250 words or less that expresses the theme of Why I Love Working at Big Dot Com project!. Top essay wins $100. Which, admittedly, beats the hell out of a fleece throw. I’ve considering submitting the following short, but to the point essay:
Because it beats the fuck out of being unemployed and on welfare.
But somehow I don’t think it would win. The other announcement is even more Amazingly Stunningly Fabulous than an essay contest: We’re having a Spirit Day! We’re supposed to dress up in as much red clothing as possible and could win $10 gas cards for doing so. Why red? I’m not sure, but a lot of the prizes are red, such as the aforementioned fleece throw, so I’m assuming that red is somehow considered a company color.
I’m cynical in nature already and I’m not usually much for the rah-rah-team tribalism so many people seem to think is important and this situation is no different. It really does bring back memories of the pep rallies we had to attend in high school that were boring as hell, but still beat the fuck out of staying in class and doing actual work. I have this fear that they’re going to keep trying to include us techs in on this nonsense as time goes by when I’d really rather just come in and do my 40 hours and go home. They’ve apparently been doing it all along and I’ve just been blissfully ignorant of it all and, honestly, it’s a bliss I long to return to.