Friday, September 22, 2006

Two Bad Effing Days

I was probably going to blog about my lack luster poker play, or how we finally have DSL and I'm jacked into the collective, but I've had two REALLY bad days at work.

I nearly got shitcanned.

And I have poker blogs to blame for it. Well, I have myself to blame: blogs were only what I used to get myself in trouble.

But, I should start at the beginning. About a week ago, I started getting "You are not permitted to view this site-contact your web administrator" messages. Not being totally stupid, I realized that anything with "poker" in it was verboten.

So, I just needed to avoid urls with poker in them, right? Easy enough. Or, is it? (cue scary music)

I forgot that some blogs have "poker" in the URL, even if the name of the blog doesn't. And, I didn't know that, if you click on the comments link to a post with "poker" in the title, then you're going to have it in that url and it's going to get blocked to.

Or, I should say, blocked and reported. I got this ominous e-mail from my supervisor:

Chris, can you meet with me and __________ tomorrow at 2:30.

_______ is our agency's hammer. She's a very genteel fifty-something African American woman who speaks like a Harvard professor and weighs probably about a buck ten. But, the thought of meeting with her without a reason given beforehand strikes fear into any sane social worker. People who 'meet' with her tend to be announced as 'no longer working for the agency' at the next staff meeting. People joke about it and giggle nervously.

Of course! I respond. By the way, what's the meeting about?

No answer. Not a good sign.

I ask some discreet, probing questions of my co-workers and find out that someone else has a meeting beforehand. We confer, and try to figure out what might be going on. Promotion? Not likely. Special project? Possibly. I've recently had a goodly portion of my clients reassigned so I can focus on agencywide assignments.

But I have a sneaking suspicion this meeting won't be good.

My suspicions are confirmed within seconds of the meeting starting.

"We've been told by the IT department that you are playing poker online at work."

"Wha? Absolutely not! I've been reading blogs about poker, and I know that's wrong but-"

"What's a blog?" the Hammer asks.

Oh jeez, this can't be happening. I spend a surreal five minutes explaining how you can't play poker without downloading a ton of software and how that's impossible to do at work, what a blog is, and how I kept running into blocked sites. I wasn't shocked that the Hammer didn't know about this stuff, but the IT department surely should, especially if they're going to have people fired for it.

Clearly, the Hammer doesn't understand blogs, but she did seem to grasp that there was no way I could have played poker. She says that she needs to take the matter to the executive director and she'll 'be in touch' tomorrow.

That was Thursday. Friday is not a good day to be 'touched' by the Hammer- most people find themselves 'no longer working with the agency' on Fridays.

So, on Friday I sit at my desk and wait. And wait. I eat lunch. Then I wait some more. I can't concentrate on my work- I'm not inclined to do any if I'm going to get fired anyway. I go through phases of heart straining anxiety and nihilistic defiance. I compose a farewell e-mail to my co-workers and a letter to the executive director asking a chance to explain myself to him and the IT dept (neither sent.) I think about what I'm going to say if I'm fired. I wonder how I'm going to pay the mortgage and if we'll have to pull the Big Monkey out of pre-school.

In general, I'm in hell.

As the day goes on, I'm sure the Hammer's going to show up at the end of the day and can me. That would make sense- fewer people in the office and still get a full day's work out of me.

Finally, five o'clock comes. I go to my supervisor and ask what's going on. She calls the Hammer who tells her "Oh, we haven't come to a decision yet, we may have to wait until Monday."

"Screw this," I say. "This isn't how you treat people. I'm going home." I stomp out and drive home. I check the answering machine and find this message on it:

"Chris, this is Janet." my supervisor "Call me at home when you get in."

I take a breath and dial the number. "Hey, just wanted to let you know," Janet said. "The Hammer called me right after you left. You're not going to be fired, no repercussions, no written warnings- this ends here."

Ahh. Dodged a bullet. And learned a lesson- no more reading your degenerate blog entries at work. No way.

Learned something else as well- I'm done with this job. I have a lead on something new. This experience has left a bad taste in my mouth. Not to mention I've probably scuttled any chance I have at getting promoted.

I was supposed to have my homegame this weekend, but I'm exhausted from all this. I'm not up for anything today. I just want to forget about all this crap.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy fukin shit dude.

That crap is the MAIN reason I fled York, PA.

Peoples' lack of inteligence.

But what do you expect from the majority who work blue collar most of thier lives.

No offence to them, but its basic logic that you and I, (and the rest of the civilized world) have more access to information than the majority of York general population besides some church, or the lunchroom bulliten board at BMY, United Defense, or the papermill next to the Inky Stinky Codorus Creek, lol...

Yeah, I remember that freaking smell, lol.

Here in Minnesota back in 99', that EXACT kind of crap netted me a serious chunk of cash from a settlement against my former employer (now out of business) from a class action suit myself and others filed for creating an "Uncomfortable Working Environment".

Uncomfortable was an understatement.
We couldn't even browse CNN at lunch as they had it banned for litteraly being to liberal. lol..
The funny thing was we were an ad agency! lol....
As liberal a business as it can get next to pr0n, hehe...

Anyway man, good luck with the next job.

Power to the people, and check-raise the man. hehe...

1:55 PM  
Blogger C.L. Russo said...

Thanks rage. I didn't go into the vindictiveness of getting reported about a site that is BLOCKED and that I'm unable to access.

Big brother is everywhere.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Mattastic said...

Hey, over 90% of normal websites are blocked for me at work but there is a great site you can go to that re-routes you so you can get past the corporate firewall etc, I regulary use it at work to browse forums. If you want to use it for free there are some minor adverts and limited features but enough to allow you to browse at will etc.

Try there is also a which seems less busy than the .com and more reliable.

6:24 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Holy crap, indeed, CL.

I agree with you that you don't allow people to twist in the wind like that. That is often the sign of a bigger issue and an employer that you don't want to work for.

Glad you didn't get canned. Whether or not you move on, there's nothing good that comes of getting fired.

Good luck on your lead and hopefully it will bear fruit soon.

10:18 AM  
Blogger cc said...

Maybe I should start a poker blog clipping service, cut and paste all blogs into a Word document and email them to the IT mafia protected folks...

10:50 AM  

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