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December 28, 2005

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The interesting situation arises when there is difference of opinion or data, and the need to win support from others for a more impactful discussion arises. It is difficult to maintain professionalism and not let the side conversations worsen from fact-finding and coalition building to boss bashing.

Yes, and this is exactly what I mean about the power of conversations. If conversations slide into bashing, now there are at least two people, and soon more, who will be bashing the boss. This negative talk will change behavior (the talkers', mostly) and create a self-fulfilling prophecy and make the "reality" of the complaints stronger.

Conversely, a group of people can change the reality of the situation for the better by having positive and constructive conversations that lead to helpful and constructive actions.

Beat this story!!
In my first 31years working in IT Operations at a fortune 500 company I held seven technical and three supervisory positions, I/O supervisor, Processing Supervisor, and Product Software Support Supervisor. Received two IT quality awards and a thank you letter from a Staff VP CL for a suggestion I made that was implemented. Worked for about 11 different supervisors and many managers. Created tasks, worked on projects, and led people in work that paid dividends to the company by improving batch processing and automating tasks. I have been a consultant to programmers, DBAS, Tech Support, Application Service Reps, and anyone else that gets my phone number. In fact I believe I have done more to improve mainframe processing than anyone that has ever worked in IT Operations and I’m willing to list those contributions from my reviews if necessary.

In October of 1997, I met with SJ (manager) and SA (supervisor) and was told that I would be changing jobs and moving to the newly created position VM Automation, and I would have to learn REXX programming on my own and support VM. I knew nothing about VM and the REXX programming language and after the meeting I met with RH and DS because they both work on MVS automation they told me we don't have software in this company to code rules for VM. Then I met with CW (VM tech support) I told the manager SJ that I talked to RH, DS, and CW and we don't have any software to code REXX with on VM and the manager SJ said,” get your stuff moved and code rules for VM", RH and DS informed management of that years ago and what I said did not matter.

SJ (manager) and SA (supervisor) knew they were putting me in a job with nothing to do. I came in for two days and didn’t know what to do so I signed up for the REXX programming self-study course and informed SA even though there was nothing I could code. I got the CD-ROM containing VM documentation and began reading about VM and asked for objectives because I had nothing to do. I read 15 VM manuals on the CD-ROM. Then I asked for objectives received eight did one myself and sent CW (VM tech support) the others and he replied about them. I completed all of them in about a week, and I handed in a report. After having the objectives for a week SJ came to my cube and rudely said, "I want a written report on everything you have done on those objectives so far." I told him the report has been on your desk for the last three hours. In reading the documentation on VM I got an understanding of the messages and met with the VM operators and asked them which ones they wanted deleted. I submitted the messages to CW (VM tech support) and he got them suppressed. The operators could have done those themselves. I asked for more objectives and SA met with KS (manager of the VM area), and MS (VM Supervisor), and could not get me more objectives. BL (operations VM support) said to me that she told SJ and SA before I was put into the job there was not enough work for a full time position. SJs qualifications for being a manager in IT were 12 years as a public school teacher, a few years as a facilitator, supervisor of a helpdesk, department head, and manager. If that is the qualifications to be a manager in IT Operations I should be qualified to be the CEO, or at least on the board.


Then, I was told to learn OPSCENTER from LD and he didn't know what to show me so I got the manual spent an hour and a half coping it, had LD install OPSCENTER on my PC, and began reading the five hundred and seventy three page manual. When I got done I was told the product is being eliminated and at this point I'm pretty frustrated. I met with SJ and SA and was told I would be sent to a class in UNIX commands in Chicago. At the class I went through hundreds of commands in three days and I spent many hours studying this large manual. After I came back I received no assignment for four months and sent a letter to SJ’s manager explaining the situation because SJ and SA knew I had nothing to do. Then I met with both of them again and was told I would be learning Tivoli and I would be sent to a class on it. I thought it was to be an administrator because I indicated an interest in it on my previous review.

I went to the class in Chicago and studied two more manuals then I met with SJ and SA again they told me I would be coding rules for Tivoli and I said, "I'm not interested in coding rules I'm not good at coding" and SA said, "don't worry we will get you a class in coding and someone to work with you" and I said that I want someone here everyday as GB does so I can move along quickly." and they both just looked at each other. When I got on the project DS was my backup and we met with TW (Tivoli tech support) and he gave us a very technical explanation of Tivoli. Then when he was at work he was busy and he came in at 10:00 AM and about two days a week. CN the project coordinator got me signed up for the self-study class on the VI Editor and I took that on a Friday and on the following Monday I was in a class on the PERL programming language. The instructor told me I should have three to six month hands on experience with the editor before taking the class but he would try and teach me the language. Because I was slow with the editor he stopped the class after six hours and told me to practice and take the class at a later date. When I got back to work the next day I looked at some old Tivoli coding and the language was not the same as PERL. I told CN (project leader) and he checked with TW (Tivoli support) and TW said,” the language is Prolog and it is an old language and there is no class on it.” He said that I didn’t need to know the VI editor either. He suggested that we send for two books to teach me how to write the code and when they arrived they had nothing to do with writing code. I showed them to TK and he can verify that they had nothing to do with any programming language. I think the code is a Unix boric language and it is not on the Internet either.

One day at 02:00pm I was able to get TW (Tivoli tech support) to work with me for two and half-hours and nothing he did worked. I was taking notes and getting very frustrated and I left at 04:30 working a 10-hour day. The next day I came in and the program was in the rules base and I didn't know how he got it there. I documented in my calendar that TW was not here for a week and I complained to RM about that. TW was supporting other sites and some were in Minneapolis I continued to try and figure out the code and nothing worked and SJ (manager) stopped by and I told him that I can't figure out the code without a class and someone here to work with me and SJ said," if you can't figure out the code without help and someone to work with you your off the project."


I asked if I could stay on the project but not code rules and he said, "no you off the project." As far as I could tell my security was never setup to give me the ability to compile a program and it took me many hours of trying on my own to find that out. I was not told the process of compiling and testing a program and nothing I did on my own worked. When I was taken off the project so was SJ and replaced by DS (manager), and DS got my replacement a two-day class in writing the code and people in everyday to work with my replacement. I did meet with PV (HR manager) and PV said, “ if you can't code rules without a class and someone to help you we probably don't have a job for you." I said I would like to work here because I need the medical due to a bad car accident my wife was in 1993, and he said, "well you will probably have to live on what she got from the accident." and I said " she didn't get a million dollars and he said no probably a hundred thousand" and I said it is not that much after lawyers fees.

He denies saying part of the above but you must understand it is my job to write done what people say to me all day that is my status report and I have most of those notes going back on daily and monthly bases for about 15 years. Should I ask those people if I wrote down the wrong questions they ask me? I listen very carefully so it's who do you believe me, or PV. I said I couldn’t learn the code without someone to get me started and a class in the code, which is what I was told I would get. I was taken off the Tivoli project and demoted and later DS became my manager and I asked him how he found the class on coding for Tivoli and he said it was on the web site. I had called the company that owned the software and looked on the web site, as did CN and we couldn't find a class on coding because it was embedded in the Tech class and I believe nobody knew that. Later SJ said to me “if you would of stayed on the project you would of had the class.” I said to SJ “you told me there is no class.”

If there was then why was I sent to a class in the wrong language? RM was willing to let me stay on the project and not code rules and if I had I would of I probably would have been sent to the Tech class, but SJ would not allow that. I was offered another job by SC manager, but she said after the people soft project I could possibly move to the Data Base group and learn Sybase and I thought that was all right but later I realized that it was DS’s old job and he is now working from 02:30 PM - 02:30 AM and I have a sleeping disorder which management was informed about many years ago and I didn’t want to end up on those hours. Moreover, I have spent 8 years working straight nights and 7 years rotating shifts and I didn’t want to do that being over 50 years old. Before I was told to code rules for VM I was a Production Control Analyst and I was leading about seven client server developers through the Application Development Environment (ADE) process to get their programs into production and SJ said I wasn’t working on any but I can produce the list of applications and developers if anyone wants to see it. SJ said to me,” you only had MVS application,” Believe me he doesn’t know what he is talking about. I was the only one that was assigned the responsibilities of building client maintained jobs using JCL and improving batch performance too.


My department managers expected me to write code with no training and nobody here to show me anything, which was contrary to what I was, told when I accepted the job and when I could not do that I was demoted. They would have reduced my pay too if it wasn’t for my age.

Can you write code without a class in how to write the code, and someone here to get you started? The programmers and retires I have talked to have said; ”you needed a class in coding and someone to get you started”. This is how I was treated after 32 years of outstanding service. The Director PG called me to his office and said to me in front of the HR Manager JS "if you tell anyone how you were demoted I will kick your ass." The HR manager sat there and said nothing, and when I reported that I was told what he said was not a threat. Do you believe that? A few weeks later I sent my opinion to my upper level manager in which I was correct and he called me into his office where my manager was seated and said to me, "What the fuck is this?" Did I ever fuck you over?" My manager sat there and said nothing about that like I am supposed to take that abuse. I reported it and that manager should of been fired but wasn't I am sure I would of been if I said that to a manager. After being blackballed I decided to leave in my 39th year of service.

Forget about bashing the boss publicly. Get the book You're an Idiot, and People Talk About You Behind Your Back by Alistair Onetowne(Amazon.com). It is a short, funny, to-the-point book that doesn't mess around. Read the book, highlight or sticky note the pages that apply to your boss-many may, and send it to him or her no return address. Your boss can read the book on his or her break, and even if your boss is to stupid to get the not-so-subtle hint, you will at least have the satisfaction of letting your boss know that someone out there thinks he or she is an idiot!

You couldn't be any more right than when you say: "conversations create reality". They do. But really this is not just about keeping the micro-weather of the office in the temperature range between cheerfully competitive to sunny compliant but staving off the inevitable ice age. People are now more than ever disaffected with the momentary corporate paradigm and I can tell you one thing: they're having conversations.

If your boss is doing something illegal or immoral then you become an accessory to the crime if you do not expose your bosses behaviour. The best place to report your boss is in a public forum designed for that purpose and that permits you to remain anonymous.

very easy to say. I had a boss who didn't remember what exactly(my roles) he hired me for. Then he yelled at me for that!
He used to hallucinate that everyone stood up to wish him the moment he entered the main work area and wanted me to do the same.
He yelled at everyone(including me) and expected respect in return...totally unaware of the fact that respect is a two way street.
Finally he fired me..which was good because i know i would've left on my own otherwise!

I don't know what castle he was living in..perhaps with really thick walls and no windows but i should've known something was not right when a colleague bitched about the boss to me on the first day of work! Thereafter every subsequent day i heard not a single good whisper from others in the office about him!

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