A semi-hard landing....

Subject: A semi-hard landing....
From: "Frank Ellifsen" <frank -dot- ellifsen -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 13:31:45 -0600

It's Friday, and thank heavens!!!

I find myself sitting here at my desk for what may be the last time. My
employer (let's call him Bob) is contemplating my future. Why? Well, that's
a bit of a long story, but let's see if I can shorten it somewhat....

I work for a start-up. The pay is great, the benefits are better, and I'm
okay with the workload. The problem is that funding keeps coming and going.
That and Bob seems to think that word count is the most effective form of
quantifying my labor.

Since this is a start-up, there is plenty to do, but yet nothing at all. I
do plenty, but much of my work is analytical, testing, research, and so on.
Basically, the word count isn't very high, and I'll often go home at the end
of the day with my fingers hitting my keyboard only a few times. Much of my
time is spent evaluating tools and preparing the documentation for a single
sourcing environment. In many ways, that makes the job easy since there is
literally no legacy docs to review. It's also hard because there is a lot of
trial and error. In my mind, we've come a long way and are right on the cusp
of blowing this open.

In my bosses mind, however, nothing is happening.

I had an impromptu meeting yesterday were I was lambasted for the quantity
of work. Though I tried again and again to defend my position, the general
take away from the meeting was that "the engineers have written 400,000
lines of code since January. Can't you write at least one word for each of
their lines of code?" Hmmmm.... 400,000 words of documentation. By my count,
that's somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000+ printed pages. Sure, I suppose
I could have, but why?

So the ultimatum came down that I had better deliver today at 3:00 or

I wrote until late last night, have written all day today, my current total
stands at about 8,500 words of solid documentation, and the meeting is
coming up soon. Do you think he'll except .02% of his expectations? I
thought not. But then again, that kind of ultimatum seems to be more of a
formality than a threat.

Whether or not I end up having the carpet ripped out from underneath me,
this is going to be a wee bit of fall I'm afraid. No matter what, I plan on
leaving. No job is worth having a threat hanging over your head. No job is
worth this much stress. No job is worth counting words to measure quality.
It's somewhat akin to judging an artist by how much red paint is used.

Oh well. It's a good market where I'm at, I've already got an interview
lined up, and my old boss is drooling to get me back. With resignation
letter in hand... "it's off to see the Wizard!"


p.s. Please don't bother with the normal "your posts are searchable" speech.
I would never write something like this using my real name in a public

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