The hidden messages under our desks.

My cubemate has been sitting at the same desk for the past 4 years. Today while reaching for something under his desk his hand brushed up against a flat magnet adhered to the side up near the center drawer. It’s been there the entire time and he had no idea. It’s one of those magnets that usually contain some form of uplifting message that you slap on a fridge or a filing cabinet.

The message written on this one is… interesting.


For the record, he says that if that’s what it takes then knock yourself out.

Adventures in charity fund raising in the IT department.

Here at “The Automotive Supplier™” where I work there are several charity events put on by various departments throughout the year. The next one takes place on February 29th and is being set up and run by the IT department in my building (a whole whopping three people including myself). My pseudo-boss — in that he’s technically not my boss but he keeps an eye on me — is a golfer and he’s leading the charge on the event so he went with what he knows. Thus we are doing a mini-golf event with “holes” laid out throughout the cubicals and hallways of the building to raise funds for the Michigan Humane Society.

Of course we can’t dig actual holes into the floor for this event so we had to come up with some clever way of providing a target that would determine a successful putt. Being IT we of course had to come up with the most overtly geeky targets we could manage. Thus I give to you The Mouse Holes:

The paw flags read: Help us help them.

Yes, 18 crappy old mice have sacrificed their tails in order to provide a suitable way to determine a successful putt. They’ll be sitting on a sheet of paper with a circle on it so that if the ball hits the “hole” hard enough to knock it out of the circle it’ll be considered to have “popped” out of the hole putting a bit of finesse back into the game.

Now I’m a pretty big geek, but it would never have occurred to me to turn old mice into “holes” for a mini-golf game. Looking at the end result I feel a little more normal than usual. That’s some damned geeky shit.

The most awesome error message ever.

One of the challenges of working at a company that has locations around the world, and that deals with suppliers similarly spread out, is the one of communicating with people who literally speak a different language. Trying to communicate back and forth can be a real trial as idioms that all people tend to use without thinking about it rarely translate intact.

Occasionally, though, in trying to bridge the communication gap using whatever technology is at hand (in this case Google Translate) you get moments of pure awesome such as the following error message translated from Polish:

Pic of Evil eRequest.

Click to embiggen!

This problem occurs much more often than you’d think. Which is why many IT departments have a resident Priest on hand for just such an emergency.

Sometimes I really hate it when I’m right.

I am, once again, among the ranks of Michigan’s unemployed and will be filing for unemployment and then taking up the job hunt in earnest once again. Walked into the meeting this morning to a very haggard looking manager and boss sitting next to my rep from the contract house. That’s a pretty big clue right there. Seems the order came down to get rid of three heads and I was the last one to join the team so I ended up being one of the first let go. Which is pretty much what I would’ve expected. Once again I was told that it wasn’t anything to do with my productivity or professionalism and that I was a very good employee which is why the boss had agonized over it for the past couple of days. Both my manager and my boss offered to write me letters of recommendation to help and they put the word out to other departments on the off-chance someone else might have something I could take on.

I think I handled things pretty well, but then it helped that I realized before taking the job on that I was taking a risk in going back to Ford Motor Company at a time when they were talking about cutting jobs. I had hoped to get more than the two and a half months I did get out of it before being let go, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to. My only real concern is that it took me 10 months the last time I was laid off to find something else to do and I really don’t want it to take that long again. My contract rep says our company just got in with Toyota so there may be some possibilities there and Google is still building up in Ann Arbor so I’m going to try sending a resume in to them as well.

Wish me luck.

It’s almost as bad as hearing your wife/girlfriend/s.o. say: “We need to talk.”

The dreaded: “The boss wants a 1×1 meeting with you tomorrow before the staff meeting.”

That’s it. Not a word on what the meeting is supposed to be about or anything and my attempt to find out by sending back a “just out of curiosity, can you fill me in on what this is about” went unanswered. I hate that. Hate it, hate it, hate it. It doesn’t help that the company you just hired back in with is in the middle of trying to unload 38,000+ employees via buyouts and early retirements and, eventually, just outright layoffs.

As Han would say, I have a bad feeling about this.

The curse of the blue ink stain!

Somehow something blue got into the laundry the other day and made a bit of a mess, much to Mrs. SEB’s consternation, and she ended up having to rewash quite a few items to try and remove the resulting stains. We have no idea what it was or how it got in there, but for the most part she was successful in cleaning up the damage done.

Yesterday I pulled out my tan slacks and got dressed for work without really thinking about it because it was 6AM and I wasn’t awake. On the way into work I happened to notice that there was a bit of a blue stain on back of the cuff of the right pant leg. Not a big deal and hardly worth turning around to go home and change. I got to work and made it through most of the morning before I had to visit the men’s room to get rid of the coffee I had consumed earlier to try and wake up. Finishing up I turned around to walk to the sink and wash my hands. It was then that I noticed it.

A small dark spot in the lower right of my crotch that made it look like I didn’t “shake the dew off the lilly” suffeciently before stuffing said lilly back into my pants, always a danger when you’re wearing light colored pants. As most men are wont to do when confronted with the panic inducing possibility that they’ve slightly pissed themselves, I reached for my crotch to check for dampness and was surprised when my pants turned out to be quite dry. Closer examination of my crotch revealed that the dark spot was yet another of the mystery stains that was just light enough that it didn’t look so much “blue” as much as “wet tan-colored fabric” that was perfectly positioned for maximum bad impressions in others. Great.

When you really do slightly piss yourself you can at least count on it drying fairly quickly and nobody being the wiser, but when it’s really a light blue stain that suspiciously looks like wet fabric it ain’t gonna go away anytime soon. Needless to say I was very self-concious about how I walked around the building for most of the day. I think I made it through without anyone thinking I was in need of “Depends” or something similar, but it’s hard to say for sure.

Acclimation to the new job continues.

I’m actually sitting in the building I’ll be supporting for the first time. It’s pretty nice, one of the nicer buildings the company has, with a full blown cafeteria with all manner of goodies. I’m told there’s around 1,900 people total in the building and that’s a big step up from what I’m used to so I’m a tad nervous, but overall this is looking to be a good assignment. It turns out the Site Manager I’ll be with is someone that I worked somewhat closely with the last time I was at this company when they made me a planner—he was also a planner back then and we shared many a moment whining about how we didn’t want to be planners—so that’s a bonus as we had a good working relationship (misery loves company).

Expect light blogging this week as well as I’m still in training on the new job, but things should be getting back to normal soon. Gotta run. Off to meet the first level support team.

First day at the new job open thread.

Today was my first day at the new job which was a lot like the old job I got laid off from in the sense that I saw a lot of people I know who were surprised and happy to hear of my return to the company. Didn’t get a lot done today other than catching up with once-former-now-once-more coworkers as they didn’t have my badge ready or a computer setup for me as of yet. Hell, I’ve not even seen the building I’ll be supporting yet as I’m spending this week shadowing Rob as he shows me the ropes in the new department. It really felt familiar, though, because Rob is one of my best friends and the guy I used to work this job with in the past.

Needless to say I didn’t get any blogging in as I usually do on Mondays and this evening isn’t looking good either as Anne and I are going to Courtney’s high school “meet the teachers” thing they’re doing tonight. So consider this an open thread to talk about whatever you want to talk about. Hopefully I’ll be able to return to regular blogging soon.

Wrapping up the last day at my current job.

Today is my last day before making the switch to a full-time on-site employee on Monday. It’s kind of weird as I’m not really leaving the company I work for, just moving to a different location and role, but it’s still got that “last day” vibe to it. Folks are stopping by the desk to say goodbye and wish me luck, the boss is taking the team out for a going away lunch, and I’m cleaning up my cubicle and job queues. It’s bittersweet as I’ve enjoyed working here and would love to come back someday if they ever have a full time position to offer, but I’m excited about moving up to a new position in an environment I’m already somewhat familiar with working with people I used to work with in the past. Already former coworkers (who will soon once more be current coworkers) are calling me up and asking if I’m ready to start going to lunch together again (one of them, JethricOne, reads SEB regularly).

So it’s going to be a bit strange today. It’s the last day except it’s not.

I have managed to land a new job. Normalcy is near.

So let’s start things off with a bit of good news. I mentioned last month that my current position would be coming to an end within a month or two as the company I work for was gearing up to launch the co-op program which I was currently filling in for. My boss, being the cool boss that he is, has been doing his best to hold onto me for as long as he could to give me every chance to land a new position elsewhere and it has paid off as I just got an offer on Friday and confirmation of my start date this morning. I’ll still be working for my current company as I’ll once again become one of their contract workers just like I did in the past and, ironically enough, I’m headed back to The Automotive Company that laid me off over a year and a half ago.

Yes, it does appear that I’m headed back to the company that I spent four years at previously where I sat through two pay cuts and being forced into a planner job despite my objections only to be laid off because I didn’t have a college degree which they require when they want to make you a direct hire. The good news is that I’ll be working for a completely different department doing Second Level PC Support just like I did when I originally hired in and this department is growing when most others are facing yet more layoffs in the not too distant future. My pay will go back up very close to what I was making when I was laid off and I’ll once again be able to afford medical insurance for the family. In short, things are headed back to normal 18 months after I was laid off.

I’m going to miss my current job, despite the lower pay and lack of benefits, because I work with some great people and it’s been a wonderful learning opportunity, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not excited to get back to the level I was at before I was laid off. The job is actually quite a bit different as things have changed a bit since I was there, but I’ll be once again working with people I’ve enjoyed working with in the past so it evens out. Still it’s a bit odd going back to a company I thought I’d never work for again. Anyway, that’s the good news. I’m still gainfully employed.