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I got fired from Earthlink for reporting a nation wide outage

By triddle in Internet
Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:50:50 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

Up until a few weeks ago I was answering phones as tech support for Earthlink. I observed several problems in my short employment and finally pointed one out. After reporting a nation wide outage to my supervisor and receiving no response I ventured to escalate the issue to the Bridge, the tech support center for the floor, and finally the floor manager on duty.

First, it seemed no one believed there was a problem despite the fact that everyone could reproduce it. Eventually someone actually understood a real problem may exist however their method of "resolving" the problem was less then impressive. As I climbed my way up, encountering resistance each step, I actually had the feeling I may of got somewhere. After returning from a trip over my weekend I had a message on my answering machine instructing me not to return to work.

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Finding this entire situation to be completely asinine I wrote a letter to the Human Resources rep for the Pasadena, CA office. I received a rather bullshit email in response. Merrick's signature includes his email address and phone number. I have decided to include his reply to me in its entirety. As such, if you feel this is a load of crap as well you might want to drop him a line. If you are an Earthlink customer, let him know how it makes you feel as a customer to know that people who attempt to report problems are treated as such. Following is the entire correspondence, original typos and everything:

Hello Merrick,

Up until last Thursday, Feb 21, I was a temporary employee working as a Tech Support Rep in the New York building. On that day my assignment was ended because of an incident that occurred on the Sunday before, Feb 17. This incident has been filed with the TAC staffing Reps and is available if you contact Veronica in the TAC office in the New York building.

I encourage you to read the incident report yourself but I will attempt to recap it here. I did ask Veronica for a copy of the report but she said she was unable to provide it to me.

The incident occurred when I received a phone call from a customer informing me that Google was broken. After speaking with the customer for a while I found out the customer was in fact referring to the Google branded search that had recently been implemented on the PSP. I tested this on my PSP and had a co-worker verify he could also reproduce the problem on his PSP. In fact, through out this entire ordeal, everyone who I asked could reproduce the problem.

When I informed my supervisor of this severe outage on the PSP he told me to file a bad PSP form. This is the form that would be filled out if a customer was unable to login to his PSP or his PSP had been corrupted. This did not seem like a logical place to report a nation wide outage, especially because there is a 24 hour turn around on bad PSP reports. I did not find it reasonable that the Google branded search would stay down for up to 24 hours for no reason other then the correct department did not know about it. To add to this, in a later conversation with the floor manager, I was informed the team at the NOC that deals with the bad PSP is not even open on the weekends. This would add even more time before NOC would even become aware that such a problem existed.

I told my supervisor I felt this particular problem demanded a non-standard solution because of its caliber. At this point I was told "We are grateful for your enthusiasm, but at this point we have done all we can do. Continue to submit bad PSP forms." I returned to my desk and continued taking phone calls.

Later, I returned to my supervisor and asked his permission to report this problem to the bridge. I was granted permission to speak to the bridge on this issue. I informed the bridge of the outage and they checked the NOC status page to discover this issue had not been reported yet. I was told by the bridge that the only available recourse was to submit hundreds upon hundreds of bad PSP forms, in effect swamping the NOC and then someone might do something about it. Again, I felt this to be a rather bad solution to this problem. I asked the bridge if it would be possible for me to directly contact the NOC and inform them of this problem and I was told it was forbidden. I again returned to my desk and continued taking phone calls.

After taking a few phone calls I returned to my supervisor and informed him I felt portions of the CV&B, the 14 Deadly Sins, and the Call Center Tenets were being broken. At this point my supervisor pulled me into a meeting and informed me I was making a big deal out of nothing and that I should return to my desk and continue taking phone calls. I continued to state that I felt the CV&Bs had been violated and something should be done to correct this situation as quickly as possible. My supervisor then informed me the meeting was over and left the room.

I returned to my desk and continued taking phone calls. The very first phone call I received was from a customer who was very close to irate. He told me his computer was broken and he thought he had broken it. After speaking with the customer for around 5 minutes I was able to figure out he was indeed referring to the Google branded search on the PSP. This customer was not very good with computers and only understood how to get around the Internet by using the search on the PSP. I informed the customer we were having a temporary problem and we would get it fixed ASAP. This customer was frustrated because he believed now there would be no way for him to use the Internet. As a work around, I set this customer's home page to www.yahoo.com so he would be able to search and use functions similar to the PSP.

I continued taking more phone calls until my next scheduled break. When my break time came around I visited the office of the floor manager so I could tell him what was going on. I told him what was going on and this is when I was informed the NOC team that deals with the PSP was not available on the weekends. We discussed the mater for around 20 to 30 minutes and I attempted to inform the floor manager of why I thought this was so important, which I will outline below.

After the meeting I returned to the phones where I finished off the rest of the day and returned to work on Monday and did not hear one word about the incident. Fortunately, the search on the PSP was working again and I hope I had at least some part in getting it repaired.

Then on Thursday I spoke with Veronica and she told me my assignment was over and I was not to return to work. This left me slightly confused. I completely understand that my actions led to my being the equivalent of fired but I am not completely sure why. Here is my reasoning in this ordeal.

First, the Core Values and Beliefs that I felt had been broken:

  • We are frugal. We guard and conserve the company's resources with at least the same vigilance that we would use to guard and conserve our own personal resources.
    The broken PSP was going to result in many customer's calling into the Technical Support numbers only to waste the valuable Technical Support time. Not only do we have the time of the employees that would otherwise be spent helping customers with problems that exist on their computer we have to also look at the money that would be spent on these customers calling into the 1-800 numbers. Also, advertising on the PSP is a leading source of revenue for Earthlink. How many customers are going to have their home page changed to something else leading to even more lost revenue?
  • We feel a sense of urgency on any matters related to our customers. We own problems and we are always responsive. We are customer-driven.
    This was my attempt to own this problem and provide the customers excellent service. The Google branded search was just recently launched and also happened to be very high profile. I felt this function being broken not only provided the customers with bad service but also reflected very badly on Earthlink as a whole.
Now I will discuss which of the 14 deadly sins I feel were broken:

  • Give lousy service--busy signals, disconnects, downtime, and ring-no-answers.
    Obviously having the search that many customers reley on being broken is not excellent service, it is beyond poor service, and more like lousy service.
  • Make internal procedures easy on us, even if it means negatively affecting or inconveniencing the customer.
    I believe this entire situation could of been solved in less than an hour once the correct department had been notified. The disconnection between the NOC and Tech Support lead to many customers receiving lousy service when they should of been receiving excellent service.
  • Poor coordination across departments.
    This is an example of the poorest coordination I have ever seen. Again, one phone call should of been able to clear this problem up very quickly.
  • Rely on dissatisfied customers to be your service monitors.
    The NOC page had not been updated with the outage at any of the times I had checked it or even when the bridge checked it. I doubt the NOC even knew the problem existed until the next day and even then I doubt it came from the bad PSP reports.
And finally the Call Center Tenet I attempted to follow:

  • Creativity - I know I must abide by the rules, but not die by them. Each interaction is unique and may require a unique resolution.

I am sure many people wonder why I would of gone through all this trouble. The answer is I am committed to customer satisfaction and experience. As you can ask any member of my team (Power Shift 1 in Pasadena, Supervisor George Ito), and especially Tony and Anthony who have personally reviewed my progress, I always try to give the customer the best I can. It also bothered me to watch the resources of the company get wasted on a problem that could be easily resolved. I believe in Earthlink and want to help it as much as possible. As the company continues its search for profitability I believe each and every aspect that can save the company should be researched.

In closing, I regret that I will not be able to provide the Earthlink customers excellent Technical Support anymore. I would very much enjoy getting my job back so I can continue my quest to not only make Earthlink better but so I can better myself and grow with the company. I started Earthlink so I could make a difference. I intentionally took the job with Technical Support so I could learn about the company from the very bottom. Attached you will find my resume which will demonstrate that I have many years of experience not only as a salesman, but also as Technical Support, as well as Network Operations and designing and programming large scale information systems. I wish Earthlink the best of luck and I hope it pulls through.

Tyler Riddle

Here is Merrick's wonderful response:

Tyler, I appreciate the time & effort you put into this document. I researched the circumstances surrounding the end of your assignment. Though unfortunate, EarthLink HR is comfortable with the decision.

However, I have forwarded your customer service concerns to TS Management. I want to make sure they are aware of your observations.

Thank you again.
Merrick P. Dresnin
HR Generalist
EarthLink, Inc.
(626) 345-2677

Unsatisfied with this response, I crafted another:


I appreciate your response :) I still do not understand, entirely, what I have done wrong in this situation. While I understand Earthlink does not have to accept me back as an employee, no one has taken the time to explain (or even mention) what I have done wrong. I am a young man and this was my first job in a large corporation. I attempt to learn from each and every situation, however, so far, I have not been able to learn much from this experience.

Was it wrong to voice my concerns to my supervisor, the bridge, and then the floor manager? Was it wrong to contact the floor manager directly? Perhaps I rubbed someone the wrong way when I said I felt the CV&B had been violated? Are there some circumstances

Can you please take just a few minutes and explain where exactly I have gone wrong. It will help this young man in the future.

Thank you,
Tyler Riddle

This is the last e-mail I have received:

Tyler, Since you were a TAC employee, it would not be appropriate for me to discuss such issues. As their former employee, it is for them to address (or not address) your situation. I have cc'd Veronica on this e-mail.


About 4 hours later I got a call from Veronica. I again asked her for a copy of the incident report. She told me she was going to check with her boss and see if she would be able to give me a copy of it. I still have not received an answer on that issue. I also asked Veronica what I did wrong. She informed me she did not have any idea.

I am sure most of you will suggest I contact an attorney and file a wrongful termination suit. Unfortunately, I was never a full employee of Earthlink. Officially, I was an employee of TAC working on contract with Earthlink to provide temporary services. Earthlink terminated my assignment and I am left with out a job.

I am actually not bitter or mad at this entire debacle. I actually find it rather entertaining. However, Earthlink does generally want to know why it is doing so badly and it's customers are unhappy over all. Hopefully, if this situation can be made public some one at Earthlink may catch wind of it and they might begin to understand what is going wrong.


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I got fired from Earthlink for reporting a nation wide outage | 234 comments (214 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
suit? (3.46 / 13) (#4)
by delmoi on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 07:49:13 AM EST

I am sure most of you will suggest I contact an attorney and file a wrongful termination suit.

Hah! I'd say look for another job. How on earth could you enjoy working tech support!?
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
More to the point... (3.50 / 2) (#17)
by UncleMikey on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:12:02 AM EST

...if I understand correctly, the author was employed in New York (or is 'the New York building' just the name of the building for some reason?). If so, he has almost no ground for a suit whatsoever, as New York is, as I recall, a hire-at-will state.
[ Uncle Mikey | Radio Free Tomorrow ]
[ Parent ]
That... (none / 0) (#37)
by jayhawk88 on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 11:34:22 AM EST

...and he was apparently a temp employee, with (presumably) no contract or anything, so they have the right to let him go at any time, for any reason.

There's little doubt in my mind that the author was let go for being a "squeeky wheel", but these are the risks you run with temp employment.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
[ Parent ]
New York Building (none / 0) (#100)
by danb35 on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:33:34 PM EST

...is actually in Pasadena, CA, named for the street that it's on.

Of course, California is also an at-will state.

[ Parent ]

Contacted the wrong people (4.16 / 12) (#8)
by farmgeek on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 08:28:45 AM EST

While it was nice to write that letter to Earthlink (your former employer's customer), you should have written to your employer instead.

Still, it's interesting and all too typical of the experiences one has as a tech support slave.

On the bright side, almost any other work environment is more sane than working first line tech support.

Also, as a practical note, keep this and any other correspondence on file so that you can produce it when you're up for the next job and are asked why you "left" the tech support position.

Finally, as an Eartlink customer, via a long and confusing chain of aquired ISPs, I'll write a letter (well email) myself. It'll just be another drop in the bucket, but what the hell. It's not like they provide a great service for the $22 per month they charge(at least not in my area).

Unexplained Acronyms (4.29 / 17) (#10)
by czth on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 08:40:25 AM EST

There are a lot of TLAs (Three-Letter Acronyms) in your post that I don't understand, I searched around it a bit to see if I could find them explained and didn't find too much; it would be nice to have the following explained, usually in the form of writing them out in your first use as I did above for "TLA":

TAC - ?
NOC - Network Operations Centre?
PSP - I always thought this was the Program Segment Prefix, but that's oldschool DOS ;)
CV&B - you do get to explaining this but not until after you've used it a few times; also a brief description of it and the 14 sins would be nice

Also: what is the "bridge"? Like Star Trek? And, if customers can still get to Yahoo, how is not being able to reach Google a national outage?

Generally, though, a good article exposing the crap that goes on at these big ISPs. Good luck finding better work elsewhere.


Google (3.75 / 4) (#24)
by hardburn on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:02:33 AM EST

I think he means the Google-driven search engine on Earthlink's site. If you ask how Google actualy makes money with so little advertising on their site, this is the answer you'll get: They license the search engine technology to other companies.

So I assume Earthlink bought one of these licenses, started advertising it, and the author got fired for reporting that it wasn't working.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

[ Parent ]
As a former Earthlink support goon, (5.00 / 2) (#43)
by terpy on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:15:08 PM EST

(while they were outsourcing support here in Portland) I picked up a few things, and saw many very similar situations ;)

PSP? - Personal Start Page, its this homepgae that you are allowed to customize - kind of like adding slashboxes chosen for you by a corporation.

-- Please defer all questions to MisterQueue, my mortal disciple and spokesmode
Parent ]
This goes to the heart of big business worldwide (4.39 / 28) (#11)
by farrago on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 08:46:21 AM EST

I am voting this +1FP because I really believe this goes to the heart of big business worldwide.

Every consumer orientated business regularly trots out the same key phrases: "responsive to customers", "customer focused", "flexible", etc. Most also have a similar set of "values" to those described here: "make extra effort for the customer", "go that extra mile", "cut out the red tape", etc.

Yet time and again the people at the bottom who try to implement these values are frustrated and blocked by the procedures they have to follow. If you do not follow those procedures you suddenly become a 'problem employee' for the company. From that point there are two paths - out the door, or giving up and no longer going that extra mile for a customer. Either way it is the customer who loses out.

It is my firm belief that companies do not really care about any one customer. Yhey care about heirarchies, job descriptions, procedures, marketing sound-bites, revenue forcasts, etc.

To them "we go the extra mile for our customers" is nothing more than an advertising gimmick that is too difficult and expensive to actually put into practice.

I agree wholeheartedly (4.16 / 6) (#13)
by eyeflare on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 08:55:19 AM EST

I was going to write essentially the same comment, but you beat me to it. The main problem is a disconnect in the lower levels of mgmt. The top marketing people usually care a great deal about the customers, as they have the overview. Floor managers though are more interested in having an easy job, therefore rejecting responsibility anytime they can. I've worked in a center like this, and the same problem showed up once in a while regarding the supervisors / managers.
"There is no way to peace; peace is the way." -A. J. Muste
[ Parent ]
Motivation (none / 0) (#137)
by svampa on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 07:48:29 PM EST

If you are financial staff, they say "you have to reduce financial costs", then they do a stupid thing with money. Perhaps they have another reasons you don't know, perhaps deals with other companies that are more important than that operation, or perhaps they are watching taxes, or perhaps they are stupid. It doesn't matter, your job is to reduce costs.

All those messages "responsive to customers", "customer focused", etc are just advertising and for moviting staff

It's not important if they do things absolutly contrary to your job, you have to do your job as they ask you, you are just a small piece of the machine.

If you don't like, don't work for a big company

To them "we go the extra mile for our customers" is nothing more than an advertising gimmick that is too difficult and expensive to actually put into practice.

You can bet your life, they don't care customes, they care money.

If one hundred angry customer, that if they leave cost $10K , but keep them satisfied costs $100K. Do I have to tell where the customers will go?

Money makes the world go round

[ Parent ]
So the answer is, just cave? (none / 0) (#223)
by trane on Sun Mar 10, 2002 at 05:56:45 PM EST

If you don't like, don't work for a big company

What's wrong with doing what he's doing? Letting the public know that the advertising slogans about being "customer-driven" etc. are lies, thereby giving those customers who do not want to give their money to such a company the opportunity to take their business elsewhere?

Perhaps in some small way he can contribute to changing the present conditions.

Money makes the world go round

Personally I wouldn't want to spend my money with this company. You may say, no other company is any better. However the theory of capitalism, I think, is that some company will figure out it can make more money by not lying to their customers (perhaps if more people like the poster of this story make customers aware of the lies told them by companies), and the companies that continue to lie and provide bad customer service will fail.

[ Parent ]
customers are not so important (none / 0) (#225)
by svampa on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 06:46:43 PM EST

What's wrong with doing what he's doing? Letting the public know that the advertising slogans about being "customer-driven" etc. are lies

They are not lies, they are advertising. When you hear "Buy X!! the best pize/quality rate of the market!!" do you believe it?. This is the same, but in the services market.

Did he do a wrong thing? No, he did a banal thing, and the issue was obvious. People with this attitude don't work for a big company, and if they do, they do it for a short time. Or perhaps they change the attitude.

I'm not doing any moral judgment, I'm just telling how things work. Take a look at this page. It's a letter of Jamie Zawinski, ex-leader of mozilla, exposing opinions about his resign and AOL, it's very interesting.

Personally I wouldn't want to spend my money with this company

I'm sorry but every company lies, and you spend your money with them, you just look you are satisfied, and it's quite probable you get it. But if you are among the small percentage of unsatisfied customers, take it, you'll be pissed.

However the theory of capitalism, I think, is that some company will figure out it can make more money by not lying to their customers (perhaps if more people like the poster of this story make customers aware of the lies told them by companies), and the companies that continue to lie and provide bad customer service will fail.

That's not the whole true, customers are a part of bussiness (incomes), there are other things like costs. It looks like the winer strategy is to sell a lot of cheap product. That is, it's better 70% satisfied customers from 1000 than 99% satisfied customers from 20.

And there are other things... alliances, share holders, dominant market position... that turn customers even less important

By the way I don't work for a big company, I don't like working for them. The sad question is , will I survive?

[ Parent ]
it's still up to the consumer (none / 0) (#234)
by trane on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 09:58:39 PM EST

if a company loses the confidence of the consumer, they will fail. companies can lie, but they run the risk of being exposed and losing their market because their customers become so pissed off they don't spend their money with the company anymore. so all I was trying to say (I think, it's been a while since I last posted to this story...) was, the real power rests with the customer. If enough customers (I am one, and I guess I'm trying to awaken others!) are dissatisfied with the company, the company will begin to feel it financially; then they may see that it is in their best interests not to lie, and perhaps to listen to employees like the original story poster who are really trying to help.

So, capitalism is (I think) eventually supposed to result in a better world for the customer.

[ Parent ]

young man :) (4.00 / 9) (#21)
by fhotg on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:33:04 AM EST

Can you please take just a few minutes and explain where exactly I have gone wrong. It will help this young man in the future.
Keeping those jobs (in big hierarchical organized companies) and getting promoted does not, in no way, ever have anything to do with doing something useful, intelligent or applying common sense to problems.

It's all about the hierarchy that wants to be kept stable and in place. This, among other things, requires that never ever a subserf proves he's more capable than the next higher serf. Why would your superserf give a flying fuck about how the customers feel ? There is only one reason: When _his superserf gives him trouble about the issue. That's what has to be avoided at all costs, and booting out a subserf is comparatively cheap. Your 'rules' (deadly sins and stuff) are there to make it easier for superserfs to harrass subserfs, not the other way round. You comitted the deadly sin of shortcutting the official channel and even doing it openly !

Driving a cab is a good choice.

Hope it helps.

-1 diary (2.92 / 13) (#22)
by bsmfh on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:54:13 AM EST

Yup it sucks to get terminated. I still don't understand why you post all these details about people(HR letters, etc) if you are surprised at the behavior of the company.

If you want to tell us the secret behavior of the company, you could omit some of these details and focus on the things you observed while there. If you are trying to make us upset that you were terminated unfairly, there's more details that you could have included.

just my 0.02 -- bsmfh

Wrongful termination (4.12 / 8) (#23)
by hardburn on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:55:46 AM EST

I doubt you'd have a case in a wrongful termination suit. You know those contracts they make you sign before you take the job? I have never seen one that didn't have a clause that said something to the effect of:

Either the employee or the company may terminate employment at any time, for any reason . . . a reason may or may not be given at the time of termination.

There are limits to this clause that aren't directly stated. You can't fire someone because of racisim/sexism/ageism. Beyond that, the company can fire you at any time they feel like and no, they are not required to give a reason (though they'll usually give you one if you ask nicely).

I can't see that you have any case in a wrongful termination suit, unless you have cause for complaint of racism/sexism/ageism (which does not appear to be the case).

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

Earthlink doesn't owe you anything.... (4.28 / 25) (#25)
by Elkor on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:19:36 AM EST

If I read this correctly, you were a temporary employee placed with Earthlink through a temp agency, right?

If that is the case, you were never an Earthlink employee, you were an emplyee of TS Management.

Earthlink didn't fire you. They terminated the service agreement they had with TS Management for your services. You are/were still an employee of TS Management. As such, it is their job to find you employment.

What you probably should have done is fill out the Bad PSP form and turn it in. Then quietly pull out the company directory and call someone over at NOC and say "Hey, I just filled out a bad PSP because <fill in blank>. Just thought you would want to know."

This does many things. First, you are following the rules. Second, you are getting the problem solved. Third, you make the NOC guys look good by giving them the warning on the QT, so when the paperwork shows up they can say "Yeah, we got that taken care of." Fourth, if the NOC folks care, you score brownie points with them. If they don't, you don't hurt your cause as much as fighting through your chain of command.

If you had just called NOC, the problem might have gotten fixed faster, but there is no paper trail. Or, if the NOC were in the middle of something else, they would say "Yeah, we'll get to it" and then forget about it because they don't have any documentation.

Often, paperwork like that is required by QS9000 certification. If they aren't set up properly they can be overly restrictive and cause problems. But, when implemented properly, they don't impede efficiency and provide valuable documentation of issues.


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
Mostly agree but... (3.00 / 4) (#52)
by Woundweavr on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:00:43 PM EST

I mostly agree but a few points. a) It was against policy for him to go over everyone's head and call directly and b) no one was there to answer his call.

[ Parent ]
TS == "tough shit"? (3.00 / 1) (#54)
by Sir Rastus Bear on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:03:15 PM EST

Excellent post, but ...

You are/were still an employee of TS Management. As such, it is their job to find you employment.

More realistically, it's their job to lay his ass off because there's no one paying them for his services.

That's assuming he's an employee of TS. He might well be a contractor to TS, in which case they don't even have to lay him off.

"It's the dog's fault, but she irrationally yells at me that I shouldn't use the wood chipper when I'm drunk."
[ Parent ]

Hypothetical Q (4.00 / 1) (#55)
by marco on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:06:00 PM EST

So what if he was a permanent employee? What would be his options and of those which is the best one?

[ Parent ]
Options.... (none / 0) (#56)
by Elkor on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:14:55 PM EST

If he had been a direct employee, the HR manager would be responsible for providing him with an explaination of why he was let go instead of saying "Go talk to your employer."


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
The reality of temp work (none / 0) (#173)
by andrewhy on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 06:36:16 AM EST

While i wholeheartedly sympathise with the author's situation, the fact is that being employed through a temp agency basically makes you disposable labor.

As a temp employee, the company you are on assignment for (in this case Earthlink) can let you go for any reason they feel like, without any ramifications. You can bet that it is rather unlikely they would have fired this guy for such a trivial matter had he been employed by Earthlink directly. I know, because it has happened to me before. Step out of line just a little bit, and you can be easily replaced.

If "Noise" means uncomfortable sound, then pop music is noise to me -- Masami Akita, aka "Merzbow"
[ Parent ]

Welcome to the real world (3.29 / 17) (#26)
by Oblomov on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:21:24 AM EST

This is pretty much a perfect example of how mid-side and larger companies work. By contacting other people than your direct supervisor, he branded you a trouble maker. Customers are completely irrelevant in all this.

Stuff like "Core Values and Beliefs", "Deadly Sins" and other mission statments all sound very nice but no-one actually lives by them. They are just very convenient to give you a negative performance review or to screw you out of a bonus/raise. (They are also great excuses to have group meetings)

Here are my golden rules:

  • It does not have to make sense.
  • Make your boss look good, all the time.
  • Hope he gets promoted and takes you along.
  • Dilbert is your diary.
Sounds sad, but it is the way it works. Not just at the bottom of an organisation, but all the way to the top.

More on the Real World (4.00 / 1) (#125)
by imadork on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 06:26:16 PM EST

Stuff like "Core Values and Beliefs", "Deadly Sins" and other mission statments all sound very nice but no-one actually lives by them. They are just very convenient to give you a negative performance review or to screw you out of a bonus/raise. (They are also great excuses to have group meetings)

I disagree with you, but agree with the more general point you are trying to make.

Although I'm not in management, I've been to a few Management and Leadership Seminar/Wank-fests. I think that things like "core values and beliefs" are important. Values and Beliefs in general guide all decisions, even the bad ones. It's just that the bad decisons are based by the wrong values. There's nothing wrong with corporations trying to instill the right values in management, so that they consistently make the right decisions. After all, they usually do it in off-site seminars, with lunch included!

But while these values can be applied to every day-to-day decision, they're really the most effective when thought about in moderation. And they're better when you're analying a decision after the fact, not necessarily while you're making the decision. In my experience in the Corporate world, anyone who talked our "values" while making a decision doesn't give a damn about them, and is just looking for a way to justify the wrong decision they've already made.

There was a process in place that the Poster feels was inadequate. Maybe the poster could have brought up his concerns after the fact, but he started directly challenging his supervisor's thinking from within the process. this supervisor saw the situation as a subordinate who did not want to listen and would not take no for an answer. It can make him (the poster) seem rather arrogant and irresponsible.

And to be quite frank, the fact that he posted full letters regarding his situation without even taking the time to obfuscate the names of the people involved makes him seem even more arrogant and irresponsible. I wouldn't want my mistakes at work published on the Internet, and the poster probably doesn't, either. I don't understand why he feels it's OK to do that to his supervisors, even if he did feel he was shafted.

I won't join in with some of the more cynical responses and say that you should never challenge a process by citing the "corporate values" that people are supposedto adhere to. But there are good times and bad times to do so, because youre message will be better recieved at some times than others. If the Poster can learn this out of the situation, perhaps it isn't all bad!

Approximately 50% of us are below average..
[ Parent ]

Tech Support Hierarchy (3.85 / 14) (#30)
by CheSera on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:37:56 AM EST

First of all, to all the voters out there, realize that we're getting one side of a layoff. These are NEVER fun, and the unemployed is certain to harbor some element of regret or anger over the situation.

Second, From what is described here, a problem arose, you brought it to your supervisor, who gave your an avanue to persue it. Perhaps a slow one, perhaps the wrong one. But you were given it. Afterwords you took it upon yourself to go futher. This is admirable, but you must understand that even IF you had talked to the NOC what good would it have done? As far as they're concerned you're just a phone-monkey. They would look at the issue, smile, and say "submit a PSP form". Because that's the process, and that's how they do it.

So all you acomplished in your crusade was to piss off your boss because you didn't drop it when you were told to. As slimy as it sounds, if your boss says "do this stupid procedural thing because that's the way it is", you can't expect to keep pushing it just because you think its wrong. Its not your place. Your job is to answer calls, and not fix network issues.

The engineers are doing that. So when you were told to drop it and get back on the phones, you should have. I'm sorry you got fired. But if you had done what your super told you to, you wouldn't have been.

-1, confidential correspondance published w/o permission, one sided, personal story. Diary entry at best.


OK, but (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:51:50 PM EST

I see what you're saying, but consider this: he wasn't trying to fix a network issue; he was trying to shorten the length of time it took the appropriate people to notice a network issue. That's manifestly his job; as a support person you both represent the company to the customer and represent the customer to the company. The customers, in this case, were being ignored; it was entirely appropriate of the author of the article to try to rectify that.

if your boss says "do this stupid procedural thing because that's the way it is", you can't expect to keep pushing it just because you think its wrong. Its not your place.

Whose place is it? I believe everyone in an organization should work to meet the goals of that organization; it's absolutely pointless to hire people as grunts and then not give them the power to do their job.

[ Parent ]

PSP and Places (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by CheSera on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:15:50 PM EST

He fulfilled his role as earthlink sees it when he told his super and put in the form. The form may or may not have actually fixed anything, but that's what his bosses came up with. Moreso, if the only thing that was broken was the google search on the earthlink page, then it wasn't an enourmous issue, and I doubt it would warrent a full scale esclation.

Much more likely that by sending the form it would have been fixed eventually. And who cares if it wasn't that weekend? Want to search from google? go to google. easy work around.


[ Parent ]

Level of knowledge ... (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:40:46 PM EST

Want to search from google? go to google. easy work around.

Sure, assuming you know anything about the internet. But imagine you *don't* --- and a fair share of customers of services like @home and ELN don't, as my friend who used to work at @home would tell me during his days in support. To them, they connect to the internet, go to their home page (eg., to where the connection takes them) and, BOOM, it doesn't work.

As far as they can tell, the "internet is broken".

[ Parent ]

Why I hate Hell Desk (5.00 / 2) (#119)
by spaceghoti on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:50:25 PM EST

This is at the core of why I hate Help Desk environments. It isn't about whether or not you solved the problem and kept the customer happy. It's about whether or not you made management happy.

As a full employee and as a contracted agent, I have stood my ground and argued against bullshit procedures when I felt it necessary. I've been directed to place network issues (the same problem experienced by multiple users in multiple sites) in the desktop queue because someone in the line of escalation didn't feel like dealing. I've been asked to take on additional work for no renumeration because it would save somebody some money and trouble. Each time I have stood my ground and said "no." It has not made me very popular, but that's the way I am. I'd rather do it right. I'm peculiar that way.

The last Hell Desk I worked had one of its agents get promoted to supervisor. He has an excellent way of getting back at management. If a tech screws up outside of procedure, he won't do anything. However, if something goes wrong that management complains about and the tech followed proper procedure, this guy will refuse to allow the tech to take the fall. Procedure gets changed on a regular basis because he helps point out exactly how screwed up their procedures can be.

Unfortunately, computers and the Internet are far too complex to allow for rigid procedure. There are too many problems that require non-standard solutions. However, in the front lines the techs aren't allowed that sort of leeway, so they're stuck in a thankless, joyless job. It is the spot between the hammer and the anvil.

"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
In my opinion (3.40 / 10) (#31)
by Hopfrog on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:45:58 AM EST

There is always the good and correct thing to do. And then there is what you should do.

It is nice being a man of principle, but you have to learn to not bother people. If I were a boss, and somebody came up to me constantly bothering me about trivial issues, I would be annoyed. That wouldn't be a reason to fire him, but if my opinion of him was negative in the first place, and he was on a trial period there, I could very well give him the boot.

If you deal with people, you have to learn how to manipulate them. Somehow, this story reminds me of that fat guy who kept getting his desk moved in "Office Space"


Sad but true. (3.00 / 2) (#35)
by Wiccabilly on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 11:24:12 AM EST

Indeed, often the best course to take for your own good, is the one that causes no waves and asks nothing of anybody. There's something to be said for those rare people willing to crusade for what they think is right though.

I seriously doubt Earthlink will rectify their actions; they seem committed to about the same level of service as the Baby Bells and regional energy monopolies. But unlike them, Earthlink actually has competitors and the customer will certainly have his say.

[ Parent ]
Principles are bigger than that (4.25 / 8) (#42)
by Jel on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:12:45 PM EST

There is always the good and correct thing to do. And then there is what you should do.

It is nice being a man of principle, but you have to learn to not bother people.

Disagree completely. Principles are called principles because nothing overrides them. People have died for their belief in principles. You should not use the word when you mean something lesser... I would probably suggest using the term "ideals" here. Anyway, here's why I disagree...

I was in a similar situation last year, although it was much more complex and prolonged. Basically, my collegue, higher up the chain of command from me, but in a different department, was making technical decisions which were not within her domain of expertise. The result of those decisions would severly hinder my work, and the work of everyone below me. I resisted this person's actions on the matter at every step, whilst being sure to avoid letting that resistance spread further than the issue at hand. I could have been more explicit about her failings, and produced documentary evidence about why she was wrong, but that would have put her job at risk. Essentially, though, she had more sway with bosses than I did, and a little more animosity than I imagined, and I was eventually fired.

At the time, everyone was convinced that I was wrong, and that the person in question was not only right, but was making her best effort to handle a difficult situation, which I had caused. Granted, some did not believe it at first, and took some strong one-sided persuasion whilst I was on holiday.

I, on the other hand, knew I was right, and was able to face temporary unemployment with dignity, and to honestly say to potential employers, "Yes, I was fired from that position, but I was fired for being the kind of employee you need", and explain why.

More recently, the person in question, with no one left to blame, has been exposed for what she is, and is no longer working there. Friends of hers who worked there are now enemies -- and yes, I considered her a friend once too -- still do in some smaller way. Moreover, I have received belated apologies on the whole matter. That is one advantage over a large corporation, which might forget your existence in a few weeks.

So what is the lesson here? Well, apologies or not, I was right to resist such things. If I hadn't, the entire staff might be out of a job now, including myself.

On top of that, it felt right, even during the odd bad patch of unemployment -- which is NOT to be underestimated. I would rather be right and starving than accepting money for work I was knowingly doing in an unacceptable way. Unacceptable to my own standards, that is.

And remember... If you don't live by what you believe in, then you don't believe in your life


[ Parent ]
Call me what you want (none / 0) (#78)
by Hopfrog on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:28:32 PM EST

But I'd rather whore myself to the top, and be able to change the world to a better place than stay at the bottom, and be able to change only my life to a better one.


[ Parent ]

Just remember.... (none / 0) (#97)
by unDees on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:22:54 PM EST

Just remember, once you get to the top, to make all those changes you swore you'd make one day....

Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
[ Parent ]
The system will chew you up and spit you back out. (none / 0) (#115)
by juju2112 on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:22:05 PM EST

I think what you'll find, is that while you thought that you could use the system, it is in fact the system that uses you.

[ Parent ]
The top? Not for me, thanks. (5.00 / 1) (#120)
by Jel on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:56:38 PM EST

I didn't call you anything, nor would I.

To answer your point, though... by getting to the top, all you will get is "to the top". If you intend to get to the top in order to achieve happiness, self-worth, or "a better life", then you will be very disappointed.

Personally, I think that human desire is limitless, and is relative to our environment. That is, desires to be "at the top" are actually desires to be "higher than at the minute". When you get to the top, you'll just look around, and think... "Hmm.. I own this company now (or whatever). But hold on... this isn't a very big company. I'm still nothing. How can I get to the top?"

By contrast, if you are happy in and of yourself... sure of who you are, and sure that no one can ever take that away from you, even if you end up eating scraps in a gutter, then you will always be happy.

What's more, you can look at others, even if they are crawling in a gutter, and respect them as valuable people. That's because you can respect yourself regardless of your image, position, or anything else. You start to notice what's really important more and more, and it's easy to recognise the same qualities in others. I'm not sure I could do that if I spent the majority of my life striving to be above everyone else. With the former option, you can really make a difference to everyone you meet. Maybe it is possible with the later option, too, but I can't imagine it personally.

Perhaps I just don't cut it, but to get "to the top", I would have to spend my life rushing around, without time for anyone who couldn't help me get there. I've known people who do this, and it's not an endearing quality -- in fact, I find it not endearing. Given that I'd still be looking for another "top" when I found one, I can't imagine ever really making a difference that way. If nothing else, I think buying into the business mindset so completely would have changed me too much by the time I got there.

[ Parent ]
Tolstoy (none / 0) (#123)
by Bobby Orr on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 06:21:36 PM EST

That was a great story. Wasn't it Tolstoy that said, (something like) "Everyone wants to change the world, but no one thinks about changing themself?"

"The moment a person forms a theory his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory." -- Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]
ah, the sordid truth of TS and middle management (4.50 / 18) (#32)
by mattw on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:46:22 AM EST

This very much mirrors the level of apathy and disdain for talent you find in TS, from my own experience.

First, Tyler, if you're any good, get out of TS. Get out now. Your biggest risk in TS isn't getting fired, its getting promoted, because then you might learn to like your job. I was in TS for 9 months as my first job -- at Netcom, the now defunct original unlimited-access-dialup provider. They had a great deal less in the way of mission satements and a great deal more in the way of problem solving, but that's aside from the point. I left, was a little confused about what to do, as I'd really been in line to be promoted to an open supervisor slot, and I was the unanimous choice of the 13 existing supervisors, but was "Shot down" by a department director who only knew me from a 45 minute interview.

In retrospect, the idea that I may have actually been promoted is terrifying. It might have been the worst thing that could have happened. TS is a big dead end. Your only career path is to transfer over to the NOC or be stuck in middle management for eternity. Both choices stink. And doing end-user dialup support will advance your skills exactly nowhere. I still remember a lot of AT commandset commands (s11=60 for fast dialing on USR modems!), but they're of no use.

Anyhow, TS is a savage jungle where even your immedaite supervisors are likely to view you as fuel for their fire. I came up with several innovations to reduce callbacks from our customers to us, and a supervisor I gave them to just claimed them as his own. Riiight.

The only thing that working in TS in a place like Earthlink will give you is some customer service skills. I don't know how it was there, but in our bad times at Netcom, I'd have to fix people's problems after they were calling back for the 3rd time and had been on hold an hour (this call). Talk about frustration!

You know, somewhere up the line, however, someone making those mission statements often does care. There's a lot of obfuscation that goes on in corporate america. I've always sworn that if I ever have more than one layer of management below me that I'll occasionally go around them in a blatant way and solicit opinions to remain anonymous. I'd bet if your nearest VP, or certainly your CEO, had any reason to talk to you, they'd find what happened rather shocking, too. Somewhere up the line, someone is probably protecting their job.

The good news is that a few years from now, you'll want to thank them for firing you. I wasn't fired from my job, but I'd thank them for not promoting me, certainly. I did see your comments to them about your past experiences -- starting in TS is not a path up while you learn, its a pit from which you do not escape. Actually, if your supervisors saw that note, they'd probably completely resent it, because they are undoubtedly not there because they're overqualified but want to start at the bottom. But you will learn this, if you haven't: no matter how talented an engineer you are of any sort, your manager will not realize your talents unless he or she is an equally talented manager. At my last employment, before I started working on my own ventures, I had maybe 5-6 direct reports over 5 years, and only one of them understood the caliber of engineers he had working for him, and he ended up quitting because the strategy he was being told he must execute wouldn't sit well with his integrity, and that sort of manager is worth 10x his weight in gold.

Good luck!

[Scrapbooking Supplies]
your manager will not realize your talents unless (5.00 / 1) (#150)
by sgp on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:29:03 PM EST

your manager will not realize your talents unless he or she is an equally talented manager.

This cannot be repeated enough ... as far as I can tell, there are two classes of Good Manager for technical positions:

  • Good technical understanding, plus a listened-to voice higher up
  • Good understanding of people, plus a listened-to voice higher up
For any management position, being respected and heard by the next-level-up is a prerequisite; if your manager's managers don't listen to him/her, you don't stand a chance.

Otherwise, there are two options. Many techies seem to believe that if their manager doesn't understand their problems fully, they cannot convey them upwards. This is not true. The second option simply means that the engineer must supply the non-technical interpretation, instead of depending on their manager to do that interpretation.

Of course, if your manager is a mere jobsworth, not interested in the wellbeing of the company which pays both your bills, then you're stuck too.

What seems very common, though, is not listening to staff - whether or not the higher-level management listen to your manager, if s/he won't listen to you, s/he has nothing to say.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

I enjoyed it, but -1 (3.33 / 15) (#36)
by wiggin on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 11:33:03 AM EST

I enjoyed reading this, but I have to give it a -1 for most of the reasons everyone else outlined.

You may have gotten yourself into more trouble than you realize with this, though. Even though I admire the initiative you displayed in the situation, I would never, ever hire you or want you to work with me. Why? You have just posted internal, probably confidential corporate communications to a public site. You also included personal information of other employees, and a number of other things you shouldn't do. If Earthlink hadn't ended your contract over the other issues, they would certainly be justified in doing it over this little rant.

Nonsense (1.00 / 1) (#46)
by Perianwyr on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:38:00 PM EST

Let the thing go to hell in a handbasket. Is it your responsibility? Heck no, you're a temp, you'll be moving on anyway.

Let the people with the careers at this company on the line make these decisions, and burn with them.

If it was your job to be concerned, you'd be making more money. Don't stress.

[ Parent ]
how did that comment end up there? (none / 0) (#48)
by Perianwyr on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:50:18 PM EST

Odd. Oh well.

[ Parent ]
Hah! (none / 0) (#62)
by wiggin on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:24:27 PM EST

Hehe... that confused me for a second or two, too. Don't do that to me... I haven't had enough coffee yet this morning.

[ Parent ]
Its not internal!!! (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by gte910h on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:21:34 PM EST

Since he no longer works there, its not an internal document. Unless he isn't allowed to talk about the 14 commitments and 17 commandments and 8 condiments, he didn't post anything internal at all.

[ Parent ]
Isn't it? (3.00 / 1) (#81)
by wiggin on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:40:56 PM EST

I'm pretty sure this could be considered a priviliged business communication, and certainly wasn't meant for wide dissemination. It is a discussion of internal policies, employment practices, and personnel issues. I'm fairly confident that at some point he signed something commiting to keep these types of things confidential.

Whether it is actually contractually legal or not, it would certainly make me think twice about hiring him. Imagine if a future employer does a web search on his name (this does happen), & runs across this little article where he takes his HR dispute to the general public. Do you think they will be more or less inclined to hire him?

[ Parent ]

how is it internal... (1.00 / 1) (#84)
by bani on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:56:35 PM EST

...if he received it AFTER he was fired?

[ Parent ]
Priviliged? Confidential? (none / 0) (#89)
by wiggin on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 03:16:28 PM EST

Do either of these words fit the situation better? Maybe I should have chosen one of them instead of 'internal.' Either way, my main point here is that publishing internal policies and disputes in a public forum is a good to lose a job if you have one, or ensure that you have difficulty finding another.

[ Parent ]
Why is it ... (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by pyramid termite on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 03:24:41 PM EST

... that corporations can delve into people's private lives, make decisions that deeply affect them without giving them any voice, meet with our governmental officials in private, blacklist so called-troublemakers, etc. etc. etc. but when we should dare to tell something they don't want the public to know, we're in the wrong?

No. People need to know what the corporate morons who run our country are up to. The more people that do what triddle did today, the better off we'll be in the long run.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
New Feudalism (5.00 / 1) (#110)
by juju2112 on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:06:09 PM EST

Because, corporations are our aristocracy. They are a higher class than us, and are totally unaccountable for their actions. It could be argued that corporations aren't really a government. However, I feel that since they make and enforce a great number of rules that a vast majority of people must abide by, that they are at least some form of government.

To quote Jello Biafra, "We are their serfs."

[ Parent ]

Little secret. (5.00 / 1) (#94)
by Count Zero on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 03:54:36 PM EST

See, there's this neat thing about the Internet. Anything you send to someone else, can (and most likely will) be copied and reposted *somewhere*.

If you send someone an email, and act surprised when they show it to someone else, *especially* after you just fired them, *you* are the idiot. You'd think an ISP, of all companies, would understand this.

Assume any email you send is being posted on a billboard in Times Square, and you'll never have a problem.

[ Parent ]
Is "business as usual" good enough? (4.07 / 13) (#38)
by Wiccabilly on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 11:36:30 AM EST

Most of the posts here are saying something to the effect of: "You shouldn't have rocked the boat." "That's the way things are." "Success and promotion have nothing at all to do with doing anything useful." And all of this is true and valuable lessons to keep in mind.

But perhaps the fact that business is run this way is a big part of a larger range of issues that impact us all. Such as the fact that we foot the bill when entire industries go under due to poor management and the government bails them out. Or even if there's no bailout, we pay the bill for unemployment benefits, defaults on loans, and so on. It also pisses on the very notion that this is a country in which hard work and merit are rewarded, a little myth that's been thrown in my face a lot in responses to my article about police harassment of the poor.

So while all these comments to the effect of "That's just the way things are" may be quite true, perhaps we shouldn't be satisfied with that answer.

Well, I have a quandry about that... (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by katie on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:00:41 PM EST

I work (at the moment) for a logistics company. They're doing some REALLY boneheaded normal corporate stuff: I keep hearing the cost control people having these long debates with people about "no, you're going for three nights - if it's over two nights you can't claim for breakfasts, only for the rooms". That sort of thing.

They have to be on a PITFUL payrate if it's worth their time to argue about those. {Hotel breakfasts are in the region of 1 hours minimum wage.}

Then there's the people with personal agendas who're having them spill over into company policy and decided that (for example): They don't like Linux, Linux *will* fail its evaluation as an approved OS, so we won't be supporting it, so we will be spending some number of man-years porting this Linux app that that other team wrote to Windows...

Now comes the quandry. I'm only a temp here. I'm here to code C++ and my business analysis skills come merely from watching tons of companies doing boneheaded money wasting things like this.

However, in this case, I just happen to know the finance director. So how do I do this? Grab him at the next family get together and yell "do you have ANY idea how much your cost control schemes are actually costing you by the time the implementation hits floor level?"

Or what?

[ Parent ]
The difference is... (3.75 / 4) (#44)
by Khedak on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:21:41 PM EST

However, in this case, I just happen to know the finance director. So how do I do this? Grab him at the next family get together and yell "do you have ANY idea how much your cost control schemes are actually costing you by the time the implementation hits floor level?"

The difference here is that you are not being asked to do anything related to cost control policy in your line of work. Therefore, speaking to your finance director, especially if you are related to him, would probably be inappropriate.

The author of this article was actually being paid to do the job he was attempting to do, he was simply being instructed to do it in an asinine fashion that, as a professional, he could not tolerate. If you actually worked with your company's cost control policy, then the situation would be analogous and you could bring this to the attention of your superiors in a professional manner.

Many people here seem to forget that to some of us, professionalism and competence mean more than the ability do what you're told.

[ Parent ]
Re:Linux (2.20 / 5) (#57)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:15:50 PM EST

Sounds like this company has half a clue, if they're abandoning Linux.

You can't give that shit away.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
Anti-troll missile away (4.00 / 1) (#156)
by carbon on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:27:20 PM EST

>You can't give that shit away. Hate to anti-troll, but I just had to point out the irony of this : Actually, they've been giving Linux away for years now. The closed ones are the ones you can't (legally) give away.

Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Light Touch (3.00 / 2) (#61)
by Bear Cub on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:17:39 PM EST

I would not bring this up. No way no how. As a temp you have exactly 0 importance to the company, and they really just don't want to hear it. The golden rule is "Don't rock the boat." Bosses (especially pinheaded managers) are like Bill Cosby's caricature of parents: they're not interested in Justice, they just want it quiet.

As a temp, your value to the company is not measured by your ability or the quality of your work. It is measured by how completely your boss is able to ignore your existence.

------------------------------------- Bear Cub now posts as Christopher.
[ Parent ]

pick your battles (4.00 / 3) (#45)
by millman on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:24:34 PM EST

I agree with comments on not rocking the boat. This isn't a battle you can win. Fight for your ability to do what makes sense at your job, but don't do it at your job. You will be the first to be laid off are are more prone to be fired as this guy found out. If the situation at your current job is that stifiling, you need to get a new job anyway.

Both of my roommates used to work for the same company. One of them knows how to kiss ass. The other guy doesn't understand why people don't always do what makes sense, and he points it out. They are both good at what they do and very hard workers. But guess which one got laid off. I don't have to tell you.

Now, the roommate who got laid off could have lowered his odds of losing his job if he didn't break this rule: you don't walk into any social group or organization and tell them the way things are. That requires trust and respect, which he hadn't yet earned. You need to know how to balance what you "know" is right with what other people want and the level of respect that you have from your peers and superiors. I know the corporate world is much worse. But in all social groups/arrangements/etc., this rule is true. People who don't learn it don't succeed in the long run. In the corporate world, unfortunatly, respect comes with your title. The key in the corporate world is to find companies that keep this to a minimum.

In a world full of thieves, the only crime is getting caught.
[ Parent ]

You have to find someone who gives a damn. (none / 0) (#75)
by gte910h on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:19:16 PM EST

In any given company, there are people who give a damn about the company, and those that don't. There are also those who work through the rules and those who make the rules work. You have to ally yourself with those who care and make the rules work.

You have people who function through the rules managing a call center. Same for a chain grocery store or any big company. There are a couple people who make policy; they are the ones who can improve this type of problem.

If you are in a position that its appropriate to try to talk with the policy maker, then you have a chance pointing out changes that will cost signifigantly less to implement then the benifit that will be gained by implementing them and that will interest the policy maker. Those are the only sorts of change that you can get accomplished often. Remember that benefit is NOT just $$$. It can be ease of mind, less paperwork, prestege(sp?), or anything else perceived as a gain on the part of the policy maker.

Trying to change through the wrong people is the sure way to get dropped like a rock. Remember that and you will go far. Also check out "Talking the Winner's Way" for more tips when talking to powerful people.

[ Parent ]
on the other hand (3.00 / 1) (#107)
by Delirium on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:02:25 PM EST

It's a bit presumptious of a temp. employee (who's not even an Earthlink employee) to think that he has the answers to fix Earthlink's problems, and everything they've set up is crap and his way of solving problems is better...

[ Parent ]
Doing good Vs being employed (3.00 / 1) (#128)
by seeS on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 06:39:04 PM EST

I don't think everyone is saying just "you shouldn't rock the boat" but they are saying "if you want to work in a place like that (and there are a lot of them like that) don't rock the boat".

There are two options, you cannot have both at places like that.

It's not right, but is for a lot of people reality. The bosses would (correctly in their world) marked you as a troublemaker and terminated your employment.

The poster who said they were after "trained monkeys" is spot on; your job was to answer the phone and get the customer the hell off it as quickly as possible.

I'd suggest you go work for a smaller organisation, they are more likely to care. I did that and its much better.

Yes, this isn't the way things should be and we do pay for it. I'd be horrified to see how much we pay for non-productivity due to inept management. On the other hand, does the customer really want (and will pay for) superior service?
Where's a policeman when you need one to blame the World Wide Web?
[ Parent ]

Good Show (3.76 / 13) (#40)
by bayankaran on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:06:04 PM EST

What you did throughout was the right thing to do. Most people wont have the courage to speak the truth or listen to the truth.

This is what I want to read in this 'website'.

Good Deeds (3.66 / 3) (#49)
by Boronx on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:51:41 PM EST

No good deed goes unpunished.
[ Parent ]
What you did wrong (3.85 / 27) (#41)
by mjs on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:08:15 PM EST

First, you have to understand what the real world is like. Businesses do not exist to service their customers: they exist to make money. If servicing the customer helps to make money then that's what they'll do, but they'll expend the least resources possible to achieve the optimum level of customer service; that is, what brings in the most money at the least cost. Second, you assume that the company actually believes in the bullshit they fed you: the 14 deadly sins and so forth. They don't. That stuff is just window dressing for public and employee relations. The company uses them or disregards them as it sees fit; it has no moral or ethical interest in them aside from not spending any resources (money) on them if it can be at all helped.

I know that I sound sarcastic, but I'm really not: that's the way capitalism works. There are obviously exceptions, but by and large what I've said above is true.

What did you do wrong? You irritated someone who had the authority to fire you. Perhaps he or she had a bad day. Maybe you interrupted their web surfing or nap once too often. Or maybe they just didn't like you going over their heads. It makes no difference, the outcome is usually the same. The issue is one of priorities: your priority was obviously to provide better service to your customers than Earthlink was interested in providing. They told you to stop bothering them but you, under the misimpression that they didn't understand your position, kept pushing. So they got rid of you. Of course HR is "comfortable" with the situation: from their perspective you, like most of the rest of us, are simply another warm body, a monkey with particular training or talent they find useful. You are not unique and can be replaced from a ready and willing pool at a moment's notice (which is exactly what you got.) We all maintain a polite fiction about process and abstract concepts of "right" and "wrong" but they are really just intellectual mirages, games we play to make ourselves feel better. I'm guessing that you are rather new at this, perhaps only a few years in the work force. Consider this a learning experience.

What it boils down to is that you weren't a 'good fit' for Earthlink: they're obviously just a little more mercenary than you are. I'd like to say that you should find yourself a position with a company which operates more in line with your beliefs but in today's economic market that's just a little more sarcastic than I am comfortable with. I hope that you find another (better) position soon but consider that you may need to find another agency to work with, preferably one which has no connection whatsoever with the one you are using now. Remember, your agency is a business, too, and they don't have any greater interest in your or your welfare than Earthlink did.

Best of luck!


I think its an incompetent company (4.42 / 7) (#68)
by squigly on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:54:48 PM EST

Did you know it costs 5 times as much to find a new customer as it does to keep an existing one? This means that it is in the company's interest to have good helplines. Solving the problem with the gateway will prevent several more complaints.

The purpose of the business is of course - as you say - to make money. But that is the purpose of the entire business, not the individual departments. The call centre exists to solve customer problems. They are judged on measurable targets. Cost is one of them, but customer problems solved should also be important.

The "bullshit" should be important to someone on the ground level. Management make those rules because they think it encourages their employees to work better. I would have expected the manager to approve of people following those rules to the letter.

What it boils down to is that you weren't a 'good fit' for Earthlink: they're obviously just a little more mercenary than you are.
I think this is obviously the problem, but I disagree with your conclusions. It seems that Earthlink is an old company with a rigid heirarchy and empire builders. you were right in the previous paragraph. That he trod on someone's toes., or made it seems like he was cleverer than his boss, or found some way of annoying the rong people.

The thing is, there are companies that will appreciate this sort of behaviour. Someone who is willing to go to those lengths is clearly very committed. If they go about it in the wrong way, then they should be told, and someone should give them a correct procedure. If this procodure is clearly stupid, a good company will have people to complain to to consider employee input. The manager should also allow employees to go over his head if they feel he isn't listening.

[ Parent ]

Like I said, there are exceptions (none / 0) (#196)
by mjs on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 03:33:23 PM EST

But I'll bet real money that none of them are as large as Earthlink. I decided a long time ago that I was through working for or with large companies: if they're on the Fortune 500, or even want to be, then I'm not interested. Small companies at least have some incentive to pay attention to their customers: they don't have as many and therefor can't afford to examine customer profit/loss concepts too closely. But large companies? Top executives at companies like Microsoft, GE, or GM probably don't even know the names of more than two or three dozen of their tip-top customers, at the most, out of many tens of thousands of customers in all. How can anyone expect them to care about all of those tens of thousands of people they'll never ever meet?

So they set policies which hopefully guide how others within the organization deal with them, policies which are crafted in interlocking reward/punishment systems designed to enforce a standard of behavior which maximized revenue first and makes customers happy second. Look at a call center, for example, of the kind which started this discussion. They have standards, policies and metrics about how soon to answer and resolve calls. They also have standards about how long a service representative can stay on the line with a customer, on how long a problem stays open before someone gets into trouble. One way to look at this is as a way to make sure that the customer's problem is handled quickly because you want to make the customer happy. A cynic would say that this is because you don't want to spend any more money on any given customer than you absolutely have to. You can tell which one is more accurate by examining the organization's behavior when service reps spend more time with customers than policy permits. If they get fired then the cynics win.

[ Parent ]

Deceptive advertising? (none / 0) (#93)
by pyramid termite on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 03:29:26 PM EST

First, you have to understand what the real world is like. Businesses do not exist to service their customers: they exist to make money.

It's funny how you never see an ad campaign telling people that, though. (I know, you're right, but I had to point that out ...)
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
jesus chill out (none / 0) (#185)
by turmeric on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 10:31:48 AM EST

its fine to think that when you are low on the pole, but if you actually ran some business or something, this is no way to think!

[ Parent ]
No way to think (none / 0) (#195)
by mjs on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 03:18:36 PM EST

In the kind of world many of us would like to live in, you are right.

This isn't that world.

[ Parent ]

Hit Earthlink where it hurts... (3.72 / 11) (#47)
by SPYvSPY on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:49:36 PM EST

You might consider sharing your experience with people at Apple Computer and Google and other companies that partner with Earthlink. They might take this anecdote and factor it into other problems they're having with Earthlink. It's worth a try.

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.

You take it too personal. (2.88 / 18) (#51)
by Anonymous American on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 12:59:17 PM EST

Why make a little broken search form into a big issue? Your job is to answer phones. I would have fired you too. It sounds like you can't take directions. Your boss made a call, and you couldn't abide by it. Right or wrong you should have listened to your boss. It's called chain of command. Why didn't you just do your job?

You were brainwashed by a simple two week training session into thinking your job was really, really important. Surprise, you are just a simple phone tech temp. No 13 tenets of tech support honor will help you put food on your table.

PSP (3.50 / 4) (#53)
by Rainy on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:02:35 PM EST

What exactly does this have to do with Paint Shop Pro? That's the only match for me on this term. Maybe that's why you got fired - HR didn't know what PSP is? (just kidding.. or am I? Should they have known?)
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
Um, yeah, um... (3.75 / 8) (#59)
by bakuretsu on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:16:42 PM EST

Hi Tyler. Um, we have to have a talk about your TPS reports. There is a new cover sheet that you should be using for all TPS reports... Did you get that memo?

This whole scenario sounds vaguely familiar. Speaking from personal experience, however, I have had many such encounters with office politics myself, and that's why I will never work anywhere that doesn't let me wear sneakers.

-- Airborne
    aka Bakuretsu
    The Bailiwick -- DESIGNHUB 2004
TPS report covers (5.00 / 1) (#118)
by triddle on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:36:08 PM EST

Yea, I realized I forgot about the TPS report cover. It was just a mistake and it will never happen again.

[ Parent ]
Yeah... (5.00 / 1) (#130)
by strlen on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 06:46:13 PM EST

Now, I'm going to ask you to come in to work on Saturdays. If you could please come in to work at 10 on Saturday, that'd be just great.. Yeah..

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Hmm, yeah, (5.00 / 1) (#153)
by sgp on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:03:26 PM EST

I'm just gonna have to kinda ask you to do that, hmm okay?

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

But.. but.. (5.00 / 1) (#166)
by strlen on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 12:58:47 AM EST

If you take my stapler.. my stttappler.. I'm going to set the building on fire.

[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
Hmm, well, (5.00 / 1) (#187)
by sgp on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 11:03:33 AM EST

I'm just going to have to ask you to move your desk into the basement, hmm, okay?

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

What you did wrong ... (4.00 / 15) (#60)
by pgrote on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:16:56 PM EST

As many have already said you pushed an issue when people didn't want you to. How old are you? Early twenties? I am 34 and work for a large corporation. When I was in my early twenties I worked for a large corporation and it drove me nuts. I would literally beat my head against the wall in staff meetings. I'd berate my boss and show him how things weren't making sense, etc. I got so angry I left and worked in consulting for 7 years. During that time I learned an important concept that makes success in large companies. ACCEPTANCE. You have to simply accept that you're limited in what you can do. Try to make the best of a situation and move on. Pick your battles. You lost this battle by doing the number one thing you were hired to do ... provide good technical support to your customers. Unlike other people who have responded, I'd hire you as a tech in any of the six call centers I support. In a heartbeat I would. We see ourselves as the advocate for our internal customers, which means pushing issues until they are resolved. Do you have a case? Absolutley not. In the world we find ourselves in today you have no rights as a contractor. The Earthlink HR guy should be fired for responding to you. Period. What he did implied coemployment, which is illegal in the US. If you have any kind of case it would be on that. All your issues should be pushed up the contracting company side. What I can leave you with is: 1) Hang in there. You did what was right and learned that creeds, goals, etc. don't mean anything in a company. They simply exist to use against you when management wants to use them against you. They do not work up the chain only down. 2) You were right. But being right isn't what the company was paying you to do. 3) Learn to accept things that you cannot change. There will asinine things that happen in a large company that will drive you nuts. Let it go. 4) Never ever, under any circumstances, make your boss look bad or undercut him/her. If you want to chat more hit me up on email. I truly feel for you, but I think you learned a great lesson that will make you a better person.

Ah, but what if... (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by baka_boy on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 03:09:10 PM EST

Note: to be fair, I should admit that I, too, am a young, recent refugee from corporate America. However, my arguments here are drawn from not only my own "youthful inexperience" of working since I was 14, but from the lives and advice of my family, friends, and even employers or managers. My experience in traditional, corporate employment was different, but the end result was that I quickly became fed-up with the internal politics and BS of each company I worked for. As a young employee with more ideas than qualifications, I found two reactions to be predominant: first, the kind of cold shoulder described by the original post, and second, an eager grab by some departmental manager of executive to turn any advantageous idea into personal glory.

Personally, I'm done with corporate whoring. I refuse to accept that learning your four points will "make me a better person". Certainly, they make you more employable, but that has no real bearing on my quality as a human being. Now, I'm happily tucked away at a non-profit, doing technical work that's actually innovative and reasearch-driven, with only the occasional exposure to government funding beurocracy to ruin the party.

What you seem to be suggesting is that the best way to be a moral, happy person is to be successfully rising through the ranks of the business world. For some people, I think that does work. For others, though, especially those for whom quality is more important than acceptance, or who prefer honesty to pleasantness, that doesn't work quite so well.

I think that it takes both types of personalities to keep society going: the stable, agreeable ones to form the foundation, keep the system running, etc., and the focused, pro-active insurgents to keep things from getting stale. (Of course, I'm notably leaving out the selfish, middle-management types so effectively thrashed in other posts already.)

So please, don't assume that an unwillingness to simply accept "the way things are" is simply the product of youthful exhuberance, and should be soothed away whenever it shows itself in an otherwise intelligent or capable specimen. That kind of drive is an equally important component in any successful social structure, be it a corporation, nation, or family.

[ Parent ]

Ah, but I didn't mean that at all ... (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by pgrote on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:35:48 PM EST

I was in the large corporate world in my early twenties. Spent 6 years there from 18 to 24. Got fed up and left. When back 7 years later and had much more success.

It isn't because I rolled over and died or didn't do a good job. The key, for me and I suspect most people, is acceptance. In a large company you don't have the kind of control you have in a smaller company or a consulting company.

I don't think it's as much as there are two types of people as it is a maturation process where you understand how organizations work.

Does that make more sense?

[ Parent ]
That makes sense, but I disagree (none / 0) (#135)
by baka_boy on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 07:22:41 PM EST

My whole point is that it's not neccessarily a "maturation" process. I understand how to get things done within a larger corporation; in fact, I did very well in those environments. Strangely enough, though, the more successful I was in "accepting" and "working with the system, not against it," the worse I felt personally about the quality of my work, and the ethical compromises necessary to get ahead.

My solution was to voluntarily turned away from the traditional, large-scale corporate workplace despite my sucesses, in order to maintain my self-respect and sense of empowerment at work. I've since spent time in school (never graduating, of course ;), travelled abroad, and worked for several startups (and more recently a non-profit) in two states.

Has this situation been less stable and "safe" than your typical 9-5, button-down-and-cubible office job? Not really, unless you ignore the rampant lay-offs and firings for reasons totally unrelated to how well you do your job. Has it been as lucrative? Pretty close, since I've been able to move up from minimum-wage-slave service work to contract programming in less than three years. Has the process been enjoyable, and educational, and much more within my control than the typical "ooze to the top" methods of a career corporate? Absolutely.

I think the area in which we may disagree most fundamentally is that you seem to be assuming that the large-scale organization is inherently the right place to be. Perhaps I'm simply reading that into your arguments, without any grounding in fact; regardless, I'm trying to offer an alternative to the original poster, or anyone else who finds themselves at odds with the established business world.

My point is that some people, especially those with a natural skill or interest in the technical realm, do not fit in with that environment, and should not attempt to change themselves to fix that.

[ Parent ]

maturity (none / 0) (#175)
by kubalaa on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 07:42:47 AM EST

This is a very loaded word. You don't "mature", which implies something unequivically positive, you simply get older. You become more conservative and less idealistic. Naturally you always believe your current philosophy to be the best one; but apply some general reasoning and recognize that if this is true, you are no more or less "right" now than you were a decade ago. Just different. You were one kind of person, now you're another. Just like the parent post said, it takes all kinds.

[ Parent ]
Disturbing trend (4.18 / 11) (#63)
by Nicator on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:25:19 PM EST

Most of the K5 community appear to have taken a pragmatic approach to this situation, basically saying that if you do not want to be sacked, sit down and shut up. I would say, however, that this is not right. Businesses should not be able to terminate someone without good reason. They should not be sacking people just for trying to improve service. I find it quite disturbing that so many people seem to think it almost reasonable that he was sacked. We should not accept that this sort of thing is right (or even, as is the case with most people, merely state 'It sucks, but what are you going to do about it?'). I can only praise this young man for taking a stand, and not backing down from his principles. How can we accept that employees are taught one thing for public consumption, and yet actually expected to do something else? Only by taking a stand can we hope to improve this dire situation. It's a pity more people do not have as much courage as he does, and are content merely to snipe at him from the sidelines. I realise that this comment is somewhat idealistic, but without working towards ideals, how can we hope to improve any situation?

Termination (3.00 / 2) (#70)
by Lord of the Wasteland on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:02:31 PM EST

Businesses should not be able to terminate someone without good reason.

They had "good" reason. He was disruptive to their operations. Now, you, he, and many people may feel that what he did was right. However, termination isn't something where the manager is forced to prove he is right. How could you run a buisness like that? Does anybody who gets fired think: "Hey, I really deserved that"?

[ Parent ]

Um, there was cause ... (none / 0) (#105)
by pgrote on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:44:49 PM EST

He didn't follow proper procedures.

Also, keep in mind that he wasn't an Earthlink employee. All they have to do is tell the contracting company they no longer want him. The contracting company then can terminate him or have him sit in the corner stuffing envelopes. Doesn't matter.

In almost all cases a contractor is let go because the client doesn't need/want him any more. You don't have due process as a contractor.

[ Parent ]
good reason (none / 0) (#106)
by Delirium on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:59:10 PM EST

Terminating people with "good reason" is up to the business. If part of your job description is "escalate problems through the appropriate channels" and you fail to do so, then they have perfectly good reason to terminate you -- you explicitly did not follow your job description.

[ Parent ]
In justification.... (5.00 / 1) (#171)
by Nicator on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 05:40:20 AM EST

In reply to all the replies....It seems to me that he did actually follow his training to provide better service for the customer. You and I may realise that the 'Deadly sins' etc are a load of rubbish, but what I am asking is whether it is right that people should be trained to do one thing and then expected to do another. Also, I don't believe that anybody should be terminated without good reason. I hardly believe that it would cause management structure to break down if it had to justify terminating a contract, unless it found that in many cases it was unable to do so without the reason being 'to cover my back'. I realise that many businesses have a somewhat distorted sense of right and wrong, and are unable to see this. What I am saying is that instead of just accepting this as the case, we should be trying to change this, as it is clearly not right.

[ Parent ]
You got better than you deserved (2.87 / 24) (#64)
by epepke on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:28:03 PM EST

After reading this and the responses several times, I have come to the conclusion that not only was Earthlink justified, they treated you far better than you deserved.

I'm not a manager. I'm one of the guys who has to fix problems when something goes wrong. Amongst other things, I'm responsible for making sure that 6000 employees get paid on time. I take this very seriously, especially as a couple of years ago I was unemployed and living in a shack in the woods. I identify directly with the people I serve. The phrase "solemn duty" would not be out of place here. When something breaks and I know about it, I go into what is almost a furious trance, trying to fix it.

When there is a problem, I want people to 1) report it, and 2) stay out of my way. That means shut up. Don't make me stop working on the problem so that I can listen to a little rant about how important it is to solve the problem, and don't pressure my managers to do it by proxy. If you can't handle this, become a cab driver or a barber: they always seem to know what is wrong with everything and how to fix it.

I would guess in an educated way that your little show made the problem last longer than it would have normally been addressed. Although I'm sure you were able to impress yourself with your display of "principles," the technical reality (totally unrelated to business) is that problems need to be addressed in a certain way. You probably don't understand this, but the fact that you can't even acknowledge that there are things you can't understand strongly indicates you should not be in that position.

When the organization of a business prevents you from doing too much damage by grandstanding, it has nothing to do with the business being wrong or not caring about the customers. It has everything to do with the business being right and making sure that problems are fixed as soon as possible.

As I said, I'm not a manger, and I'm not going to defend managers. Often they're incompetent. But, entirely apart from business, procedures have a purpose. Any large system is always running at a rate so close to chaos that the people who have to run it must be extremely careful. It may very well have been that this problem of yours was the result of a patch that could not be undone without breaking something else more severely or must be methodically researched before putting into production. I have no personal knowledge that this was what happened, but this kind of thing happens constantly. yes, it sucks that it takes time, but attempting to make it go faster with emotionalism makes it go more slowly. When managers act with an understanding of this, it means they're doing their jobs. Yes, you can get frustrated, and so can the customers, but the goal is to minimize frustration. You can't just insist that a particular problem all of a sudden take precedence without the nearly certain risk of increasing frustration.

Others have pointed out that it is unconscionable to post information like you did to a public forum. You seem to be oblivious to a lot of things. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is the reason that you were in a low-paying crap job in the first place. Now you're not any more. If you want to know what to do right, get some knowledge, maturity, and understanding.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

Maybe you...but others? (4.00 / 2) (#65)
by Nicator on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:37:39 PM EST

Have you ever /really/ been on the end of the 'procedure' at many large companies? Sure,when /you/ get a problem you try to fix it. However the purpose of the procedure at many large companies has become to make people feel like they are getting through to people who can make a difference, while this never actually happens. I think you'll find that most people who get the jobs out of the procedure are a lost less hard working than you claim to be, and a lot less caring.

[ Parent ]
Case-by-case (4.40 / 5) (#67)
by hardburn on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:38:47 PM EST

While you may personally be doing a good job and just want to be left alone to get the work done, there are lots of people who aren't so motivated as you. The author did try to go through proper channels (getting permission to talk to "the bridge", for example). The higher-ups told him to swamp the repair people with reports. Exact quote:

I was told by the bridge that the only available recourse was to submit hundreds upon hundreds of bad PSP forms, in effect swamping the NOC and then someone might do something about it.

I think this clearly shows that Earthlink has major adminstrative problems.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

[ Parent ]
Quoting... (4.50 / 2) (#71)
by Elkor on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:02:56 PM EST

Unless he had a tape recording he can put in a midi/avi file or received a written memo that he can scan in, I wouldn't take his quote as the verbatim answer on management.

What they said and what he heard can be completely different things. Just as in the game "telegraph" where a message gets garbled before it comed out the other end because people cannot preserve the original content of the message.


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Verbatim? (none / 0) (#108)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:05:16 PM EST

Who cares if it's verbatim? It wasn't in quotes, so it almost certainly wasn't. However, if it is even close to approximating what he was actually told by the "Bridge", that shows a severe procedure problem.
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
You've bought too far into the machine (4.00 / 3) (#72)
by synaesthesia on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:14:43 PM EST

It has everything to do with the business being right and making sure that problems are fixed as soon as possible.

What a load of rubbish. It has everything to do with someone getting terminated for rocking the boat, and nothing to do with solving problems ASAP.

When there is a problem, I want people to 1) report it

And here we have the crux of the issue. Go and re-read the article.

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
With all due respect, sir (4.40 / 5) (#77)
by lazerus on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:25:44 PM EST

After reading this and the responses several times, I have come to the conclusion that not only was Earthlink justified, they treated you far better than you deserved.

Pardon me? You are talking about someone who had the guts to take action against something that he knew was wrong. You might be in a superior position to this man, but you are not a better man.

I'm not a manager. I'm one of the guys who has to fix problems when something goes wrong. Amongst other things, I'm responsible for making sure that 6000 employees get paid on time.

That's a very responsible position for you to be in, and I congratulate you for being counted a person who is trusted with such a task. But the way you have disrespected the author in your post is not acceptable. If something happened to the payroll system and you could fix it, but there was some obscure loop of a bureaucratic pseduo-policy in place which prevented you from fixing it, 1 day before payday, would you just sit back and accept the fact that everything was falling apart, or would you point out that there was a problem to one of your superiors?

That means shut up. Don't make me stop working on the problem so that I can listen to a little rant about how important it is to solve the problem

Re-read the article. The author was not in a similar position to this. He saw something wrong, he noted that nothing substantial was being done about it, and he acted in what he thought was the best interest of the company. He had the guts to point out that the procedures in place were not optimal.

When the organization of a business prevents you from doing too much damage by grandstanding, it has nothing to do with the business being wrong or not caring about the customers

You keep saying this, but it's actually not what happened. Try reading the article.

It may very well have been that this problem of yours was the result of a patch that could not be undone without breaking something else more severely or must be methodically researched before putting into production

If that was the case, that should have been documented. I am sure that the author was aware of the procedural documentation that the company had in place, and if something like that was in place, I think you are quite rude to assume that the author would not be intelligent enough to be cognisant of it. If it was the case, but undocumented, that is, again, a problem with the competency of management, and therefore not the author's fault, either.

Others have pointed out that it is unconscionable to post information like you did to a public forum. You seem to be oblivious to a lot of things

No, I'd say that you are oblivious to more than he is. You are oblivious to the fact that integrity and the guts to stand up and point out when there is a flaw in the system is not a bad thing at all, in fact, if it happened more often, the industry would probably be in a much better position than it is now. overbearing Corporate drudgery (note, I'm not implying that procedures are a bad thing in themselves, just that the kind of bureaucracy described in the author's article is far, far, far from ideal) might well work in some cases, where there are no chances of something slipping the system, but I.T is not one of them.

Now you're not any more. If you want to know what to do right, get some knowledge, maturity, and understanding.

So that he can be one of the people, proponents of the current ordering of the tech sector, which has proven conclusively that incompetent management and lack of understanding on the part of management, not technical, is a major problem? Incompetence on the part of management and general drudgery on the part of proponents of the corporate workplace. That's what it boils down to. People in positions of power who may have business skills, but do not understand the very service or product their company is developing and selling. I've already described this in more detail in another post, so I won't go over it again, but I will tell you this: Soon there will be a revolution in the field. This situation can't go on, and more and more people are starting to realize it. Tyler Riddle probably will not be the one who pushes this revolution into full swing, but once it happens, and the tech sector bounces to a new high, he might well be remembered as an everyman hero who started the ball rolling, and led to a revolution which changed the modern technical economy, and perhaps even impacted outside of the technical sector. You might have more experience, maturity, and have a higher position than Tyler Riddle, but you certainly could learn a few things from him. Dignity. Honour. Integrity. If you see something is wrong and there is a way to fix it, say something. There is no "but" or excuse not to do that. Have the guts to stand up and tell your superiors what you think should be done.

This man has guts, and this will certainly not be the last you hear from him, of that I'm certain.

[ Parent ]
hero? (4.00 / 2) (#88)
by eudas on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 03:16:10 PM EST

Ok man, I was with you up to the point where you started saying things like 'everyman hero' and 'led to a revolution'. At that point, I think you went a wee bit over the top. The rest of it was good though.

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]
Consider more deeply (4.00 / 1) (#79)
by blues is dead on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:34:17 PM EST

I agree in that he was being useless, and doesn't know what goes on behind the scenes. Sort of like a 1st time poster who writes Meta articles.

What you miss though, is that the people on the frontlines have to touch the customer. They are what the customer sees. I know when I'm in such a situation where I have to fix things quick, I make sure people are told.

A smart learning organization has a status page for their 1st line techsupport, with any information on workarounds and snappy responses.

A dumb one keeps people in the dark and promotes chaos.

If I were your customer of 1, I think you would at least be kind enough to tell me you know about the problem, and here's a nice workaround.

Now, in this case it was a fucking Google link. Anyone who thinks this is important, especially when there are simple workarounds, is totally nuts. Still, his experience points to a clear problem in many call centers -- bad communication.

[ Parent ]
The problem wasn't reported (none / 0) (#126)
by jakennedy on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 06:30:04 PM EST

I too am one of the grunts that fixes the fires as they occur and will have to agree that one of the most annoying things in the world is to be interrupted by a phone call to report the problem I am already working on. Usually I am interrupted by the same person that originally reported the problem, knows I'm working on the problem, and must think that I spend half of my day surfing the web and need badgering to quickly fix the problem.

However, in this particular example, I don't think that the grunts ever knew of the problem. I could be misunderstanding the circumstances, but what I gathered from this story is that the procedures were preventing the NOC team from even finding out that there was a production problem. In which case he was acting in the companies best interest to open the lines of communicating so the needed people could be alerted in a timely fashion.

[ Parent ]
How to be a Temp (3.78 / 19) (#66)
by opendna on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:38:15 PM EST

Every summer from the age of 16 to 21 I was a temp. I was placed with dozens of S.F. Bay Area companies to do a range of Obedient Monkey tasks. Among these were a few call centers. Some pieces of advice:

1. Never, EVER fix anything
Once upon a time I had a job typing up checks for truck drivers. The company used to print out the checks but some tech had done some work on the computer and the printer didn't work anymore. After a week I got tired of the gig and fixed their printer. Oops! No more job. Don't do that unless you WANT to look for something new.

2. Think about the REAL motives.
If you'd looked past Earthlink's customer/employee relations and the Profits Are King mantras you'll see that every manager is acting in their OWN self-interest, not the company's. When search engine was broken the call center got more calls. The call center got more calls to the managers will get more grunts to work the phones. More grunts to supervise is good. That's the way government works, and that's the way big business works. I once had a job for a tech company copy-pasting orders from a web-page into a database. There were 14 of us double-clicking, CTRL-Cing, ALT-TABing and CTRL-Ving away, sixteen times per order hour after hour day after day. Why didn't they hire a coder to integrate their online purchasing database with their proprietary credit-card verification/inventory database? Because as long as the two were seperate there were more grunts, more managers and more money for the department. Someone up the line was being kept in the dark, but the guy one down was pleased as punch.

3. Find a better way? Keep it to yourself.
If you find a process that can increase efficiency, keep it to yourself. Your productivity will increase and make you look good. By sharing it around you only decrease the number of people needed to do the job. Incidentally, my co-workers in #2 didn't know about hot-keys before I showed up. I introduced this process and promptly started kicking myself. Thankfully a manager came along later and told us to stop using the hot-keys.

As the manager in your story I'd have fired you. You thought you were doing the right thing, but you were a threat to my interests.

In contrast to some of the other responses, I *would* hire you as a business owner. Anyone who takes goes out of their way to decrease costs and increase profits is valuable to the company.

undertow (none / 0) (#206)
by MicroBerto on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 01:10:46 AM EST

So... 20 years from now, are you going to proud of the fact that you were tooled around your whole life?

I know I sure as hell wouldn't if I had a complacent attitude like that.

Kids, rock the boat. Rock it hard and rock it often. Eventually, when you're at the right place, you'll know it. Something good WILL happen.

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

Congratulations, I salute you. (4.61 / 21) (#69)
by lazerus on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 01:56:56 PM EST

There are a lot of naysayers who have posted to this forum with sentiments along the lines of: "That's just the way things work", "Don't rock the boat", "Keep out of your superiors' way", etc. I say that those sentiments are loads of garbage.

There has been a collapse in the tech economy, and most of the reason is incompetence on the part of management and general drudgery on the part of proponents of the corporate workplace. People who can take a stand and tell these individuals when something is wrong is labelled a "problem" employee, but I don't think this is an accurate statement. I think that the problem lies with the management and the bureacrats that continuously prove that they have no idea what is actually going on in the company that they are supposedly running.

High percentages of valuable worktime are spent trying to explain to these individuals what is happening, so that they can "resolve" the problem between members of Sales/Accounting/Etc and Technical/Marketing/Etc. The bottom line is this: If they have no clue about the industry that the business in question is involved with (this usually is true of Sales, Marketing and Management departments in particular), they should not be in a position of authority in such a company.

This is the reason that companies are going under. Listen - incompetent, stupid, and ignorant management. Repeat that. Repeat it again. It isn't going to change. Until these people realize that they can't rely on their "business smarts" (or should that be business stupids?) alone, and they do in fact need to have a clue about the internal workings of the products and services their technically based companies are producing, these companies will keep failing and pressure will be put on ordinary people who are paying taxes, while more and more competent people are put out of work because of the idiocy of these "highly educated business" people.

"Don't rock the boat" ? "Stay out of the boss's way"? No - take a stand. This kind of thing is ruining the tech economy which is affecting the overall economy. This has to stop.

I don't care what the naysayers say, Tyler, you have proven that you are a man of principles and values - and you kept your integrity. You have proven that values, principles and integrity are more important to you than what other people think of you stating when there are problems and suggesting resolutions. If there is a problem, and nothing is being done about it, why is that "acceptable"? No - you did the right thing. You are an honourable person.

I salute you.

I salute him too ... (none / 0) (#104)
by pgrote on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:42:30 PM EST

but if you rock the boat at a company whose culture doesn't support or accept it you'll find yourself looking for another job.

I think we all agree he had his eye on the right thing ... good, solid customer service. What he failed to do was take the proper steps to making it happen and accepting he couldn't make it happen.

[ Parent ]
a bit presumptious (none / 0) (#109)
by Delirium on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:05:50 PM EST

Taking a stand at a company you're not even an employee of (he was a temp. placed there by an agency), deciding unilaterally that the way they do business is wrong, and you who has worked there for maybe a few months knows the Right Way To Do It(tm), is rather arrogant and presumptuous. While it's certainly likely that not everything they do is perfect, it's also likely that there are reasons for some of the "stupid" things they do, and you simply haven't worked there long enough to figure out why.

[ Parent ]
By their standards (5.00 / 2) (#144)
by sgp on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:04:07 PM EST

What makes his email stand out to me, is the fact that he has quoted their own business standards. I've not checked that he's quoted them accurately, but (since you've not checked either) let's assume that he has.

He's not "decided unilaterally" - he's simply stated that he was unable to do his job as he was employed to do.

If a shopkeeper's job description included "ensuring customers can get through the door", that shopkeeper would be most correct to point out to management that a shop-owned juggernaught was parked outside the front door and blocking access to customers. That's neither arrogant nor presumptuous; it's common sense.

Okay, it seems odd to me that a temp would care so much, but it's certainly not a bad thing; if only all employees (temp or perm) were so consciencious , the whole economy would be far better - worldwide.

There are 10 types of people in the world:
Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

[ Parent ]

I was a temp once (3.00 / 2) (#73)
by /dev/trash on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:15:07 PM EST

I was left go because I didn't get a long with the other employees. Something I find hard to believe but hey, I guess when you are on the floor and the decibel level requires earplugs, I should stop and just chit chat. Did I get mad? Sure, but I was a TEMP. there's a reason temps are hired. They're cheaper and they're easier to get rid of.

Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
Your situation. (2.21 / 14) (#74)
by Alarmist on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:19:02 PM EST

You did what you believed was right. You are also an idealist. There's nothing wrong with being an idealist, but you were not a particularly smart idealist, and so you are now an unemployed idealist.

Idealists who aren't smart get beaten up every day in the real world. The point is not to sacrifice yourself for your principles, though there is nothing wrong with this and I can see how you thought this was the only way out at the time.

The point is to put yourself in a position where your idealism will do the most good. Nobody cares when you bust your ass and you're a temp. Everybody will care when you bust your ass and you're management.

Do as you're told. Rise through the ranks. When you get to a place where your principles (undoubtedly good) can do the most good, act.

Oh, and never, EVER pull a stunt like this article again. Depending on the way Earthlink views internal communications, you could be sued totally blind for revealing internal documents, and K5 could be held liable for allowing you to post what is, essentially, libel.

Editors: I strongly encourage you to remove this article.

As has been pointed out by someone else (4.25 / 4) (#85)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 03:00:34 PM EST

once he was fired, his subsequent communications with ELN are no longer internal in any reasonably meaningful definition of the word.

[ Parent ]
Good point. (4.00 / 2) (#87)
by Alarmist on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 03:14:44 PM EST

That didn't really cross my mind and I didn't realize it had been covered elsewhere. Thanks.

[ Parent ]
Bull! (4.66 / 3) (#90)
by www.sorehands.com on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 03:16:59 PM EST

For this to be libel, you must show that the statements were not only false, but he knew or should have known that they were false.

It might violate contract, if this was held to be trade secret, but Kuro5hin.org is not a party to the contract. In addition, there may be an exceeption to contract issue, if this was said to counter the consumer fraud of great customer service.

Third, the COPA (or is it CIPA) imunizes an ISP for the postings of a user. This has been held to apply to chat boards.

If you would like a better understanding for the requirements for a finding of libel, read my summary judgment motion.

Mattel, SLAPP terrorists intent on destroying free speech.
[ Parent ]

Perhaps I should have expressed my point... (2.00 / 2) (#92)
by Alarmist on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 03:27:20 PM EST

a little less harshly.

We have no idea what Earthlink's side of the story is. We don't know what his now ex-employer's side is either. All we have at this point is hearsay.

It could be that he's telling the unvarnished truth. However, it is also possible that he has distorted the facts. If he did so intentionally and did so with the intent to harm the company (which may have already happened - at least one and possibly more comments from others indicated that Earthlink would lose customers over this), there may be grounds to consider this to be libel.

I'm advocating that we err on the side of caution.

[ Parent ]

We do know however: (none / 0) (#154)
by tonedevil05 on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:09:54 PM EST

You truly live up to your, alarming, nick.

[ Parent ]
Good god, man (3.87 / 8) (#82)
by blues is dead on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:46:18 PM EST

  • A google link was broken on peoples' personal pages.
  • It was fixed over the weekend.
  • It was a new feature.

    The only thing on your side is that communication in that organization is terrible. There should have been some status page detailing responses and workarounds.

    But other than that, HAND. Next time, post your own phone # and you'll get some respect.

  • One person's feature... (4.75 / 4) (#167)
    by Go5 on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 01:46:13 AM EST

    This "feature" was broken, over the weekend, for many people whose only ability to use the web was via that particular page. Of course this would not be an issue to any of us here, but it would be a big deal to lots of entry-level web-surfers.

    None of us at K5 think twice at typing in a URL, but a lot of clueless EarthLink users would freeze up. To many of them (just like AOLers), that home page IS the Internet. EarthLink surely likes it that way, too.

    But please recognize that Tyler was talking to people who were calling in because a "feature" they paid for was not working. To them the web was broken. We can denigrate "lusers" for their lack of knowledge or ability (not that you're doing that, Blues_is_dead), but let's face it -- that's how things are.

    Tyler and his coworkers were the ones dealing with the frustrated callers. No doubt it was super-busy. Tyler saw a way to cut down call volume by addressing a (probably simple) problem. But hey, the supervisors might like heavy volume if their company is contracted by the call.

    Sure, Tyler didn't handle the situation as well as he might have. What's more, posting personal info was definitely a bad move in my book. Maybe he got too righteous about the "deadly sins." Hell he could be a troll, but let's recognize that these tech support workers are the grunts of the wired world and this guy was trying to help people who were calling him for, well, help.

    And now for something completely off-topic:
    EarthLink has "deadly sins." This is hilarious! Is a 50-minute hold time deadly? Is telling a user to reinstall a NIC driver as a solution to the mailservers being down a sin?

    [ Parent ]

    Yes it is (5.00 / 1) (#199)
    by triddle on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 04:19:01 PM EST

    The Core Values and Beliefs, the Call Center Tenets, and the 14 deadly sins are availble on the web:


    The deadly sins were adopted by Earthlink with the merger with Mindspring. Suposedly, some people actualy do care once you go high enough. However, it is either extremly hard to get ahold of them or they really don't care.

    [ Parent ]
    Competence is a virtue. (4.70 / 31) (#83)
    by Manax on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 02:56:06 PM EST

    I am ASTOUNDED by the general tone of comments on here. I am amazed by the number of drones. "If I were the manager I would have fired you too." Screw that. If I had been the manager, I would have taken on the problem myself and dealt with it, communicating to the people that can solve it.

    I am so nausiated by the apathy, the willingness to give-in, toe the line, the willingness to accept this sort of counter-productive response, that I am having a difficult time believing that these are people's real opinions.

    When I am in an upper management position, if I EVER find a manager under me fire someone for honestly trying to solve a problem, I'll severly repremand them, demand they rehire the worker, apologize to the worker, and if they do it a second time, fire them. No problem.

    Managers who would rather have more drones, and less skilled workers are clearly bad for whatever business they touch, and need some re-education.

    To those who say "he learned a valuable lesson", I say, yeah, I hope he did. That there are certain places (or people to work under) that are healthy to work at, where creativity and responsibility and hardwork are rewarded, and places (or people to work under) that aren't.

    Sorry that this is mostly a rant... To be fair, I also need to say, that this all only really counts if the article is accurately portraying the situation... certainly hard to guarantee on the net.

    "Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master." - SMAC

    Bingo ... (4.00 / 2) (#103)
    by pgrote on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:40:26 PM EST

    and that is an important point. Some places have better managers and some places have a better, customer driven attitude.

    It shouldn't surprise you that many people have said they would fire him. We're still transitioning from a large, corporate based employment society to a smaller, more diverse company based society.

    In this particular case a point you're missing is that he wasn't an employee ... he was a contractor. I am responsible for the technical and systems support of six call centers. We use contractors. His manager was more than likely a contractor as well. At that point the game is over as the contractor manager really isn't there to manage the folks underneath her, but more likely keeping their eye on meeting the contractual obligations. Those contractual obligation almost never have language written into them concerning customer satisfaction. They are almost exclusively built on average handling time, calls per hour, etc.

    [ Parent ]
    Patience and corporations (4.50 / 2) (#122)
    by Znork on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 06:16:08 PM EST

    I think you'll find that a lot of people are working at large corporations. It's good to rant about, but that apathy, the well-developed willingness to give in, etc, are adaptations that people do because otherwise they're heading straight into the wall with burnout, depression and/or other reactions that people get to stress in an environment they feel powerless to affect. Like Wally, 'They cant break you if you have no spine'.

    It is possible to change how things work in a corporation, but it requires a network of friends and aquaintances, respect for your competence from management, a deep and through understanding of how policies are made, who makes them and when they are made. And above all, it requires years of patience and persistence. A temp worker has none of the requisites. And in that position... well, without any of the things you need you're setting yourself up for pain if you try to do anything outside procedure. Most corporations dont have quite as defective procedures as this one appears to have tho.

    [ Parent ]
    Here's what you may have done wrong. (4.66 / 18) (#95)
    by glassware on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:10:43 PM EST

    As a technology manager who has been on both sides of similar issues in the past, I recognized your situation immediately. I know that one of the key elements of any disagreement like this is that most people are not aware of how other people see the problem. Maybe this will shed some light on the discussions without throwing blame around.

    At the beginning of the day, you found a problem and reported it. However, it was a problem that was easily repeatable and you could demonstrate that it was happening to everyone. So, you brought it to your supervisor and asked for an expedited solution.

    Supervisor's Mind: Hmm, it's a problem. I wonder if the PSP is on these list of things that are mission critical enough to call in the NOC... No, it just got released last friday, so it's not yet on the critical list. I had better just follow the rulebook.

    Next you got more complaints about the bug and asked your supervisor for permission to call the bridge.

    Supervisor's Mind: Well, I'm busy, if he can work this out with the bridge that would be fine.

    You explained the problem to the bridge and they said that your supervisor's response was correct; just keep submitting PSP bugs.

    Bridge's Mind: Okay, I'll note the bug. Why is this tech support guy bothering me? Shouldn't his supervisor be handling this?

    You continued to keep getting customer complaints, so you mentioned that you felt the call center ethos was being broken.

    Supervisor's Mind: Wow, we're getting tremendous call volume, everyone's busy as heck, and I'm taking crap about the call center ethos? I know it's a bug; I've reported it through all the standard channels; I don't have permission to call in programmers on the weekend; the only thing we can do is keep calming the customers down and answering their calls on time. I'll ask him to keep on doing that.

    So, since you don't get any satisfaction, you escalate to the floor manager.

    Floor Manager's Mind: I'm still trying to work on budgets for this quarter. I can at least hear him out. Okay, okay; it sounds like there's a bug, you've already reported it to the supervisor and the bridge, they decided not to escalate it. I'm going to respect my staff's decisions. Wow, why is this guy lecturing me about call center ethos?

    So then you finish out the day. But, at the staff meeting next week, the bridge and the floor manager will both ask your supervisor, "Hey, why was Tyler running around the office reporting your problems? Didn't you report the PSP bug?"

    And your supervisor replies, "Of course I reported the PSP bug. I did X and Y and Z - which all match our corporate policies, as close as I could. Then I asked him to go back to answering calls so that we could keep on answering phones on time - there's nothing that makes a problem worse than when customers can't get help."

    So the bridge and the floor manager reply, "Well, you need to keep your people answering the phones, not running around reporting the same bug twenty times. That's your job to escalate the bugs properly."

    So your supervisor ends up taking crap for not managing you properly, which usually leads to a decision to replace you. The supervisor definitely made some errors; so did the bridge manager and the floor manager. But it sounds to me like everyone was respecting everyone else; getting terminated is just the natural consequence of causing a hiccup in the food chain of management.

    Suggestion for Learning: The best way to accelerate a problem such as this is to keep your supervisor directly updated of how many calls you're getting about the PSP problem, and let him/her make the decision when it gets escalated. It's really hard to get respect from people two levels above you unless you have the support of the person above you.

    yes, be a good little robot (1.40 / 5) (#101)
    by synic on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:34:30 PM EST

    <sarcasm> make sure to kiss some ass along the way too...

    [ Parent ]
    This is bullshit. (4.00 / 3) (#114)
    by notafurry on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:20:47 PM EST

    And I say this as an experienced technology manager, who's been on both sides of this issue. I didn't get fired, though, because I didn't have a chickenshit boss at the time.

    [ Parent ]
    everyone was in the wrong, even the CEO (3.50 / 2) (#116)
    by Skapare on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:29:06 PM EST

    So your supervisor ends up taking crap for not managing you properly, which usually leads to a decision to replace you. The supervisor definitely made some errors; so did the bridge manager and the floor manager. But it sounds to me like everyone was respecting everyone else; getting terminated is just the natural consequence of causing a hiccup in the food chain of management.

    IMHO, this is more than just some errors. For the errors alone I would not fire the manager. But for firing the guy he mismanaged, that would be enough for me to fire the manager.

    Further, the procedures themselves are screwed up. I can tell that even Tyler's manager knew this. Unfortunately, the manager seemed to prefer to keep his nose in dark places and simply "let" someone else take the heat to get a problem solved. The problem with the procedures is that someone has to take heat to correct problems, whether those problems are technical, procedural, or staffing. Complicating this is the outsourcing arrangement. And such outsourcing is the clue to me that a business has reached the peak in quality and is going down the other side.

    I really suspect that the conversation was more like "You probably need to let him go or it could be your job on the line. We don't need to have people like that upsetting our operation."

    [ Parent ]
    It could have all been avoided... (5.00 / 4) (#138)
    by baka_boy on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 07:53:33 PM EST

    ...if the supervisor had deigned to share any of his musings on why the issue shouldn't be escalated beyond the normal case-by-base priority with a lowly temp. This (often repeated) scenario irritates me to no end: information that could have explained the whole decision, would have taken no more than 30 seconds to share, and thereby possibly prevented a whole lot of frustration on all sides, was kept private simply out of the assumption that the recipient wouldn't get it, or didn't deserve the brain cycles necessary to communicate with them like a rational adult.

    It's the same attitute that results in things like "call center commandments," when what's really needed in a customer support setting is a relatively minor amount of common sense and reasonable communication skills. Neither employees nor customers are mindless automata, despite the unwillingness of so many employers and managers to accept that they may have to think outside the box on occasion, or treat their own subordinates as something other than a cog in large aseembly line.

    Unfortunately, there are very few options available to the average entry-level hire who is having any sort of trouble with their immediate supervisor. If your boss is good at their job, and treats you with an appropriate amount of respect and support, then they can be a joy to work for; otherwise, they can make your working hours hell.

    [ Parent ]

    Great analysis of the situation (3.50 / 4) (#181)
    by fajoli on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 09:47:15 AM EST

    There are so few rays of hope among the comments posted to this article. Many of the postings are like the "union brothers and sisters" cheering on their own in the face of "management".

    The reality of the situation is this one issue is not indicative of the evil of the corporate management. Being human beings, management often has to make decisions about allocating their limited resources for the best of their customers today and tomorrow.

    At some point, it appears the company made a decision that there needed to be a process to manage the glut of customer concerns so that they are handled efficiently now and in the future. Now this new employee, fresh to the job, starts complaining about a process that he has little experience with.

    Instead of displaying thoughtful reflection on how there may be issues with the process that he has noticed over the course of a couple of months, he goes off like a rocket on one particular problem.

    As a an employee, from the text of the notes, I would surmise that this person probably lacks trust in his coworkers, including the supervisor. He probably have little respect for the work that others have done. He probably would be difficult to work with, and he apparently refuses coaching from his supervisor.

    I don't blame Earthlink from getting rid of this person when they had the chance.

    [ Parent ]

    Merrick Dresnin called me back ! (4.42 / 7) (#96)
    by Maserati on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:20:51 PM EST

    As an Earthlink customer I was concerned with this. As a technical support expert (Level I-III), I was professionally offended by the attitude of the supervisor. So I called Mr. Dresnin and left him a voicemail (it's not worth using his Nextel to pester him in realtime). I just got off the phone with him.

    As expected, Mr. Dresnin wouldn't really comment on an internal matter. I expressed my concerns and opined that the supervisor should have been the one terminated. He suggested I speak with someone authorized to make a statement and after further discussion agreed to have the appropriate person contact me by phone.

    I urge all Earthlink customers reading this to make the same call. If I were an Earthlink stockholder I would be on the line to investor relations, who'd HATE to hear about this. As it is, let's contact whoever we can at Earthlink for the following reason:

    Better tech support is good, not fixing problems is bad.

    When I hear back from Earthlink, I will provide contact info so poor Mr. Dresnin doesn't get bombarded.


    For the wise a hint, for the fool a stick.

    Buy some stock (4.00 / 1) (#112)
    by Skapare on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:10:22 PM EST

    Buy some Earthlink stock, then make that call. You can always sell it later. And if you do sell it at a loss, that's just further ammunition you can fire their way for poor business practices.

    [ Parent ]
    Heh (3.66 / 6) (#98)
    by trhurler on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:23:10 PM EST

    Get some skills. Get hired someplace too small to have idiots on staff. This means fewer than 25 employees. Otherwise, it never ends.

    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    He's got the qualifications already. (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by Skapare on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:07:02 PM EST

    Tyler RIddle clearly has the skills to recognize and diagnose problems. I don't know how much training they get for that job, but from what I see from the posting, he did an excellent technical job (of course I am seeing this from one side right now). The problem is that with these kinds of outsource relationships, the boat is very fragile, and even the slightest rocking motions can sink it. Support staff can come and go, but the managers see this as a career path, so they obviously are doing things to cover their asses, including firing someone who is simply good enough to eventually show how badly the management sucks.

    A friend of mine used to work at another outsourced support company which did tech support for a major PC manufacturer. In his few month stint at the company, he found that people who were better than average were typically let go even if they never caused any waves. There were some people who had been there a long time. They were actually not smart enough to move up to things like system administration or programming, but could handle tech support. Management likes people like that because they aren't going to end up leaving all that soon (saves on training costs). Such people actually see the tech support job as a career path (might move into managing it at some point) and are less likely to leave or rock the boat or make any waves. It's the smart people that managers there fear the most since if they don't end up leaving, they end up causing "problems". Either way, it costs the outsourcing company money because they are generally paid by calls and have to eat the training costs.

    It's clear to me that Tyler RIddle is the kind of person who would end up leaving tech support as soon as he can get his hands on a decent operations, administration or even programming job, depending on his skills, aptitutde, or preferences. If it weren't for the fact that my new business is not yet ramped up to the point of being able to hire someone, this is the kind of person I would want on support staff. Had I had an opening, I'd be trying to call this guy now for an interview w/o even seeing his resume. Attitude is a big factor, and he's got the "let's all team up to make everything work right" attitude I like.

    I think Tyler Riddle will end up looking at this in the long run as a minor setback, and perhaps simply a funny incident that let him see for real just how middle managers tend to work. He should move on, but not because he has to due to this problem, but because he can and there are better things for him (or will be as soon as the economy finally recovers enough for the people in oxygen choking suits to realize its time to start hiring again).

    [ Parent ]
    A contradiction (none / 0) (#210)
    by minra on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 06:30:21 AM EST

    Management likes [mediochre] people like that because they aren't going to end up leaving all that soon (saves on training costs).

    So you're saying that one reason that management fires smart people (thus incurring hiring and training costs) is because they might leave (thus incurring hiring and training costs)?

    And that seems logical to you... Tell me something. Are you in management?

    [ Parent ]

    $cientologi$t$ (1.66 / 3) (#99)
    by zephc on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 04:25:00 PM EST

    Earthlink is run by $cientologi$t$, and indeed the only way to advance in that corporation is to be a $cientologi$t.

    (a sample) source:

    Scientologists are people, too. (none / 0) (#197)
    by Scandal on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 03:49:31 PM EST


    Really, if they're Scientologists, they're blowing it big time. Hubbard wrote tons on Public Relations, and, so far, everything I've seen Earthlink do violates Hubbard's directives in a big fscking way.


    [ Parent ]
    blah (none / 0) (#204)
    by magney on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 09:18:09 PM EST

    so far, everything I've seen Earthlink do violates Hubbard's directives in a big fscking way.
    Sounds par for the course for a Scientologist organization, then. :)

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    Does anybody *understand* how businesses WORK?! (4.40 / 5) (#113)
    by Skywise on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:20:06 PM EST

    Ok, you got fired because you were trying to be helpful. Been there. It sucks.

    However, there are MANY things that you are not privy to at that level, and even many MORE things because you're a temp.

    It's possible that customer service gets their budget charged for weekend repair calls to IT. The manager made a personal decision that a handful of trouble calls about a bad google link was not worth calling in the IT department on an emergency basis.

    Or maybe the manager knew the IT department would sit on their hands until Monday morning anyway when they'd read the PSP trouble report.

    Maybe the manager got his butt chewed out for making too many IT emergency calls last month and wasn't going to repeat the scenario.

    And yes, maybe the manager was lazy.

    In any event, it wasn't your call to make. You notified your supervisor, then you notified the bridge, good moves here. But when the bridge people told you to send hundreds of PSP requests to get them to notice, that should've been your clue right there. However you pushed your supervisor to acquiesce to your demands in such a gentle way that he called you into a side office for a private meeting and told you to back off... THEN you overrode his authority and took it to his boss, where I'm sure you didn't point out the supervisor's faults... right?

    You didn't do anything "wrong". But you dinged the supervisor by going over his head. And he exercised his authority and exorcised you. And no one in management is going to slap down the supervisor that they promoted there just to save a "temp".

    What can you do? Work hard. Get into a supervisory position. And then remember this posting you made when some upstart gets on your nerves...

    Standard business practice isn't always right (2.50 / 2) (#124)
    by Jel on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 06:25:57 PM EST

    Just because everyone in a corporation follows a certain policy, doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Morally right is morally right -- every company is part of a larger society, and is therefore accountable to it, just as citizens are. That's why we fine them when they damage the larger community through pollution, etc.

    Aside from wider moral issues, though, there are other issues of direct interest to the company, which are valid reasons for complaining as someone who is employed for the benefit of that company.

    Public corporations, for example, are responsible to their shareholders. The people "at the top" do not have the right to say that something which will benefit the company should not be done -- they are not truly in charge.

    More generally, almost everyone in a company fills some specific role, and has a unique knowledge suited to that role. If a manager, for example, says that something should be done, but it is technically infeasible or damaging, then it is up to the technical experts to say "No, that's not an option. What? Extra $0.01 be damned. I said NO - our products would fall apart on the shelves!".

    Classic case... Commodore-Amiga, company responsible for the Amiga. Amazing product, fifteen years ahead of it's time in some respects, in a computer industry where a few months of lead time can make or break a technology. Yet it didn't succeed.. why? It was a public company. They had an obligation to do things right. Many industry experts knew it could take off, all of it's user base sure as hell knew it. The video industry sure as hell knew it, too. Even NASA liked the things, using them here and there for projects.

    So what was the problem? To quote a phrase I'll never forget, from a magazine article, when Commodore-Amiga's demise was finally becoming evident, "namby-pamby yes-men" who didn't have the guts to stand up tell the boss he was wrong.

    Yes, same old story... people too busy safeguarding their jobs to actually do their jobs. Well, now they don't have jobs, and all their expertise is probably of much less use on other technologies. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if their ability to proudly cite their career-path was greatly reduced.

    Now, call me old-fashioned, but I'd say that someone was just plain wrong there. I think someone shirked their responsibilities. Bringing this short trek back to the point in question, I would think that someone who stood up in that dying company and pointed out exactly what was wrong, bosses be damned, would have been one worth promoting, worth re-hiring, and just worth knowing, regardless of their current job.

    [ Parent ]
    True... but... (3.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Skywise on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:06:07 PM EST

    Anyone can stand up to the captain of the Titanic and say the ship is sinking. So just pointing out flaws doesn't = automatic promotion for being a "no" man.

    Leadership and company direction isn't a science. There's much gambling involved, and a company is ALWAYS GOING to make mistakes. So what management really likes is somebody who not only notices the flaw that the 50+ peons around him notice, but has the fix for it. That'll score you brownie points like nothing else in the world...

    But that's just one half the problem. The other problem is that if management isn't receptive to the problem. You can toot your horn as much as you want, but you're deprived of your power to effect change.

    Commodore-Amiga didn't fail because "nobody had the guts to tell him no." That's a sound bite to make the guy feel better about himself. Trust me, everybody in managment told him no, and everybody in management had a solution to the problem. What killed Commodore was that their ideas didn't take into consideration a hundred different variables that even Solomon would have had a hard time following. You can have the best solutions at the right times and your company can still fail.

    But in THIS example, we're not dealing with that. We're dealing with a temp with attitude, and a manager that was going to put him in his place. (at least so far as the presented evidence goes). There's nothing he could've done to get around it except to escalate it all the way up the chain. (And I'd recommend doing that... He might get himself on the "real" ground floor... and he has nothing to lose.)

    [ Parent ]
    A smart product in a sea of dumb customers. (2.00 / 1) (#209)
    by minra on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 06:21:32 AM EST

    (disclaimer - this may seem offtopic but I'll bend it aright at the end - watch)

    In the late 80s/early 90s a big portion of the home-computer market (in the US) was .. yup, clueless manager types who wanted something to run Lotus 123 and WordStar/WordPerfect.

    They knew the name IBM from their companies. They knew the name Atari from the video game consoles. Apple - well, that was kind of a hippie thing. And they didn't know the name 'Amiga' at all.

    IBM won because of A) brand recognition among these manager-types, B) consumer ignorance of technical merits of the products. The PC was ABYSMAL (Segmented memory model? 4-color 320x200 graphics?!?! No hardware GFX acceleration? NO DSP/Synth SOUND?)

    As you say, the Amiga was mind-boggingly ahead of IBM at the time in everything but - admittedly - the open-standard hardware specs which allowed cheap clone mfgrs in.

    IBM at the time was doing a lot of classic "we don't want these PCs to threaten our more expensive products" think. Proof? IBM PCjr.

    The moral of the story? Big companies (like IBM) do apparently brain-damaged things for reasons that aren't immediately apparent to the consumer.

    Told ya I'd make it topical. :-)

    [ Parent ]
    the supvisor does not have staffing authority (none / 0) (#136)
    by triddle on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 07:27:25 PM EST

    From what I was told (after my employment had ended) the supervisor is not able to make staffing decisions. Only the floor manager can decide when to take someone on full time and when to let them go. Despite the fact that I made my boss angry by going over his head, he alone would not be able to fire me.

    He could of course tell the floor manager I was abusive with the customers and gave out incorrect information. However, a quick check of the recorded phone calls would quickly demonstrate that I was allways kind to the customers and did a damn fine job as a tech. This is not only my opinion as I was told by the senior techs on the team, that personaly reviewed me, I was light years beyond the other newbies and had the customer service skills of a tech who had been there for years.

    [ Parent ]
    Irony... (none / 0) (#147)
    by Skywise on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:15:16 PM EST

    Geez, that's ironic... I was just reading somewhere on the web (Slashdot maybe?) that management will lay off smart and intelligent workers in favor of "good enough" workers because the good enough ones will:

    a> Not threaten management with their job.
    b> Not leave anytime soon for a better paying job.

    Also, just because the FM is the only one with power to fire you doesn't mean it was the FM's decision. The supervisor might have alot of political pull, or be best buddies, or maybe the FM just prefers a content supervisor and if firing a few temps makes him happy.. then what's the loss?

    (BTW if you wanna see a movie that you will immediately identify with, I'd recommend renting "The Pentagon Wars" this weekend!)

    [ Parent ]
    Ironic is a rather soft description of... (none / 0) (#211)
    by minra on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 06:35:18 AM EST

    This claim that managers fire people because they might leave.

    But the fact that people here find that a plausible is proof that some people are dumb enough to use that as an argument!

    Lord, please free me from this broken plane; I think I'm going fscking insane.

    [ Parent ]

    That's easy... (none / 0) (#213)
    by Skywise on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 12:36:39 PM EST

    You don't fire people *pre-emptively* because you think they'll leave.

    But you when you get the order to reduce head count by one person, and you're down to 3 people, 2 of whom have good response times, and one guy who's got great response times but you've heard through the grapevine that he's interviewing...

    Whom do you let go?

    (Actually, the first axiom isn't true either... I've seen managers who think that if you're interviewing you're obviously not dedicating yourself to your current work and will let you go on that principle...)

    [ Parent ]
    All you say is true....but (none / 0) (#152)
    by tonedevil05 on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:59:14 PM EST

    To me the major point of this article is, here's why you get crap service from large companies. This is the second reply that takes the attitude that the author didn't do what he was told and needs to learn his place. What you say may lead to advancement but that is exactly what is so sad about this situation. If you let the crap flow you will be rewarded if you try to do something that might actualy help the situation, well the old saying "No good deed goes unpunished" seems to fit. I do regret that I can't stop my Earthlink account, because I wouldn't use them if they were the sole ISP on the planet, but then it seems from another comment and people I have known as well that it would take me months to shed myself of them. Final point in a pointless rant, the author may have made some gaff in his aproach but Earthlink sucked before he went to work for them and now that he has been removed they suck just a little more.

    [ Parent ]
    Not missing the point... (4.50 / 2) (#170)
    by Skywise on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 03:20:53 AM EST

    "This is the second reply that takes the attitude that the author didn't do what he was told and needs to learn his place."

    And that's about the umpteenth reply that implies this guy is a labor hero up there with Karen Silkwood.

    Very Chic.

    You already realize that Earthlink, as a company, sucks at customer service. Now we have the story of a guy... on the inside... who tried to effect change and got shot down... even got fired for it. Now, either this floor manager is the entire reason Earthlink's CS sucks, or this kind of management attitude goes higher up...

    Sound's like the problem is company wide.

    I applaud his efforts. Every business management text book written says that the customer should come first, and ideas should be listened to from the lowest individual on the corporate ladder. And yet, these facts fly in the face of corporate reality where politics rule.

    He wanted to know what he did wrong. He got shafted in the game of politics. And that game is always set in motion by the actions of upper management.

    Ever wonder why AOL is #1? Here's a hint... somebody at their CS dept. stayed on the line with my grandmother for 3 hours walking her through the process of getting connected when she moved her computer to Florida... I'd like to get her onto a "real" internet connection, but she won't budge now... she loves these guys... So if Earthlink had listened to this guy, they'd be far better off... But they're not going to.

    [ Parent ]
    Great! Longer on-hold times! Thanks Earthlink! (3.25 / 4) (#117)
    by AgentGray on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 05:31:28 PM EST


    EVERY time I called Earthlink, I'm on hold for an hour or two.

    It only took six months, four letters (one a legal letter), and about 10+ hours of phone time just to cancel their service.

    I kept getting a bill like clockwork during that time, though. Even though I had not dialed up for six months.

    New accounts department was always prompt to answer the phone right away. Weird. I guess nobody calls there.

    They got a lawyer to try to get $60 out of me. (5.00 / 3) (#132)
    by Scandal on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 07:00:12 PM EST

    I had an account with the local Alternate Access (Seattle area), who decided to "transfer" their dial-up accounts to Earthlink. I called to cancel my account during this transfer period (as I have DSL now) and was told that I couldn't do so. I called Earthlink and tried to cancel, but they didn't yet have the information on file.

    Not long after that, I moved, and forgot all about it.

    A few months later, I received a notice indicating that I owed Earthlink $59.85. I wrote a letter to the collection agency informing them precisely what happened, and suggested that, because I had never used their service (and I challenged them to show that I had), and had never signed any document authorizing them to create an account in my name, that I owed Earthlink nothing.

    After the 30-day "waiting" period (i.e. the legal "we are trying to collect a debt" crap), I received another form letter, which basically stated that the collection agency's client, Earthlink, confirmed that the account was valid and that I owed the $59.85. No other communication was offered.

    A couple months later, I received a notice from an attorney -- In Georgia or some such -- on behalf of Earthlink to attempt to collect the $59.85.

    Earthlink must be REALLY hurting. Obviously, Earthlink learned nothing from Netscape's customer service stupidity, and I can't wait for the larger ISP's to finally shut Earthlink down.


    [ Parent ]
    Dresnin's responses (3.66 / 3) (#121)
    by PlanetJIM on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 06:00:25 PM EST

    ...don't seem that bullshit to me. They sound like perfectly professional responses to a contract worker's anger. I mean, Tyler raised good points about the many-headed hydra that is Earthlink's beauracracy, but I think Dresnin could have responded with more bullshit than he did.

    I am dismayed. (1.71 / 7) (#129)
    by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 06:39:47 PM EST

    Contrary to the most basic common sense while dealing with anonymous claims, the article was accepted as something factual and splattered proudly in the front page, when as far as we know it could be somebody trolling.

    One thing is to be a newbie, another one is to be so careless.

    Somebody comming here to air his personal disputes citing names without any kind of corroborating evidence (he could have posted a link at least to a copy of the termination document), that has not posted before must have been met with extreme suspicion.

    How do we know that this "article" is not posted by somebody trying to hurt reputations for his or her own purposes?

    "At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look;
    at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." F. Scott Fitzgerald.
    I am not a troll (4.00 / 2) (#134)
    by triddle on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 07:20:24 PM EST

    You are right - You do not have a real way of knowing. I would of provided the incident report by Earthlink will not release it to me. AFAIK, there is also no website I could hyper-link into that would contain it for you all to see. If you are really interested in finding out if this is bull shit or not contact Merick. Unless, of course, you just want to make me look like a troll because I am new.

    In any case, before you go rattling off your big mouth, you should do your own research - just as you recomend to everyone else.

    [ Parent ]
    AARRRGH! (none / 0) (#208)
    by minra on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 06:01:52 AM EST

    WRONG: I should of eaten a banana.
    RIGHT: I should have eaten a banana.

    WRONG: I of eaten a banana.
    RIGHT: I have eaten a banana.

    WRONG: I of a banana.
    RIGHT: I have a banana.

    [painful grimace]

    [ Parent ]
    English loon (none / 0) (#219)
    by saphire on Sun Mar 10, 2002 at 04:06:07 AM EST

    Alright, enough with correcting someone's english. As anyone can see, he is writing as he is talking. You obviously get the point because you are correcting him. Now, go crawl underneath a rock and correct some lizards grammar. (This argument has been a blatant Ad Hominem (attacking someone for something they said to "show" that they are wrong)).

    [ Parent ]
    Follow up, including my home phone number (4.80 / 15) (#131)
    by triddle on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 06:47:30 PM EST

    I really appreciate everyone's response to my article. I especially like the post by glassware, as it very clearly explains the thinking of each person above me. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you =)

    As I wrote that letter to Merrick I intentionally put a bit of ignorance into it. After all, if I sent him an email saying "I got fired because Earthlink is full of corporate bull shit", which is essentially true, I would definitely not get a favorable response. I was attempting to get Merrick to explain to me Earthlink's reasons for firing me. As such, many people here seem to think I am completely ignorant. I am a 21 year old man and definitely have my share of ignorance. However, I know damn well why I got fired: I rocked the boat.

    I also wish I could post a copy of the incident report for all of you to see. It is truly amazing. I'll paraphrase the best I can (and expect it to be in my favor, after all, I am writing it from memory).

    Tyler noticed a problem with the PSP. Tyler informed his supervisor who told him to submit a bad PSP form. Tyler returned to taking calls and submitted the form. Later, Tyler returned to his supervisor and asked for permission to speak to the bridge. Tyler was granted permision. Tyler spoke to the bridge and was informed to continue to submit bad PSP forms. At this point, Tyler raised his voice. Tyler returned to taking calls and later spoke to his supervisor informing him he thought the CV&Bs were being broken. Tyler was taken into a meeting with his supervisor and was again informed to continue to submit bad PSP forms. Tyler returned to his desk and continued taking phone calls. Tyler later then contacted the floor manager.

    Now, the only negative thing I can recall in the report that was read to me over the phone by Veronica was the 'Tyler raised his voice' part. I tried to stay very calm through out this entire situation and I do not remember raising my voice. I understand it is possible and I do not remember it but I feel it was thrown in there to kind of lubricate the whole firing process.

    Many people also said I should of checked the known outages and see if it was reported. You are correct, I should of, and I did. Through out the entire ordeal, I checked it, my supervisor checked it, and the bridge checked it. The entire time I was pushing this, the NOC did not know about it. If the problem had been on the known outages page I would of stopped immediately. My entire point was the NOC was not able to solve this problem because they did not know about it. This is why I personally volunteered to contact the NOC by phone.

    I am also catching flack about posting the phone number of an Earthlink employee. Personally, its not his home phone number so I do not see the problem. However, just so you guys don't think I am some kind of double sided bastard, call me at my home: (626) 398-8796. I would LOVE to discuss this matter with you. The reason the number appears at all is because it was in the signature on his email. If he puts the number in his sig clearly he is not trying to hide it.

    Many of you also wonder why I never submitted the bad PSP report. Each time I spoke with a customer I submitted the report. I should of made that clearer in my email. Rest assured, I did exactly what I was told. I even went so far as to use my personal break time while escalating the issue.

    I was informed that the only person who was capable of firing me would be the floor manager. My supervisor and the bridge do not have the authority to make staffing decisions. I find this fact interesting, it means I really really must of pissed him off. I would give the contact information for the floor manager but I do not have it. I also will not contact any former Earthlink employees and ask they furnish it to me.

    I also come off as quite the peon. Many people have told me to get some skills and find a real job. In my letter, I stated I have previous experience with sales, technical support, system administration, and designing and implementing large scale Internet Information Systems. I'm not kidding. At my last job my co-worker and I prototyped and built, in 6 weeks, the entire opt-in email system for a startup company. This included handling subscribes and unsubscribes, removing accounts that bounce, formatting plain text and HTML emails, tracking click-throughs on hyper links in the mail, and sending out the emails themselves. The system routinely sent out over 150 emails a second on a single dual CPU intel machine running Slackware. We picked OO PERL for its rapid development time. It is also worth noting the entire system never once failed a software failure in its entire year of operation.

    I started my job at Earthlink to climb the corporate ladder, pure and simple. I intentionally rattled cages but was very carefull to not break any posted rules. Earthlink has an open door policy and everyone is told they may speak to who ever they please. I was easy to fire because of my contract status. If I had been a regular employee this would not of happened. You can also read that as "If I had done this in another month I would still be employeed." Oh well =)

    Also, to understand exactly why this is a big deal you have to understand what the PSP is and why its important. The PSP is a customer's "Personal Start Page". You can see this for yourself if you go to http://start.earthlink.net. If you have an Earthlink account, you will notice after you login that it is loaded with advertising. This is important and, as you can guess, advertising pays good money. Each customer who does not use the PSP is causing Earthlink to miss out on revenue. The PSP is the default home page for any customer who installs the Earthlink software and many Earthlink subscribers do not know enough about the internet to know how to change their own home page. In fact, some of the customers I spoke to actually thought there was a problem with THEIR computer when they encountered this broken search. They simply do not understand the technology.

    If you have any more questions or would like to tell me how stupid I am for trying to take a problem by the horns and wrestle it to the ground, call me. Again, my home number is (626) 398-8796.

    Good troll-prank idea (OT). (4.00 / 1) (#142)
    by demi on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:02:01 PM EST

    This comment gave me a good idea for a future prank.

    Post a controversial troll article on k5, get everyone riled up over something, and then use another troll account to 'reveal' my personal information over the net, which of course would be someone else's phone number and email. Maybe it would be a little too transparent though. Have to think about that one a little more.

    [ Parent ]

    The thing that's wrong with you (3.00 / 2) (#155)
    by hymie on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:12:24 PM EST

    Since no one has pointed this out yet, it's "should have" and "could have", not "should of" and "could of".

    [ Parent ]
    Thank you (none / 0) (#157)
    by emmons on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:32:35 PM EST

    That has really been bothering me. Seems to me someone didn't pay attention during freshman english. Or 8th grade. Or 7th grade. Or 6th grade.

    Was it just me, or did everyone learn English grammar rules in school 3-4 times?

    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]
    me too (none / 0) (#164)
    by fishgran on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 12:05:36 AM EST

    language changes. Certain errors in grammar were rare 40 years ago & now are so common that I sometimes have to pause in order to remind myself what is grammatical & what isn't. perhaps that is how a language evolves. Only a nesting fowl will lay down; everyone else will lie down, if you get my drift. & so on, & so forth.

    [ Parent ]
    well yeah.... (none / 0) (#168)
    by emmons on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 02:50:03 AM EST

    But I'm bothered by "should of," and I'm a younin' at 19.

    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]
    younin' (none / 0) (#169)
    by emmons on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 02:50:41 AM EST

    *younGin' that is. :)

    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]
    Could of been, would of been, should of been... (none / 0) (#178)
    by truth versus death on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 09:20:11 AM EST

    Clearly you mean younging. Oh, wait, the rules aren't always hard and fast. Well, shucks. Intolerance is.

    "any erection implies consent"-fae
    [ Trim your Bush ]
    [ Parent ]
    Fools! (none / 0) (#179)
    by synaesthesia on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 09:24:44 AM EST

    It's "Young'un" (short for "Young One").

    Sausages or cheese?
    [ Parent ]
    Thanks! (none / 0) (#192)
    by emmons on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 02:27:51 PM EST

    Now I won't make a fool of myself while correcting someone else's grammar. :)

    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]
    Should of used young one (none / 0) (#202)
    by truth versus death on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 07:07:06 PM EST

    Now I won't make a fool of myself while correcting someone else's grammar. :)

    Ah, but you already did. ;-)

    "any erection implies consent"-fae
    [ Trim your Bush ]
    [ Parent ]
    obvious (none / 0) (#207)
    by minra on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 05:57:30 AM EST

    WRONG: I should of eaten a banana.
    RIGHT: I should have eaten a banana.

    WRONG: I of eaten the banana.
    RIGHT: I have eaten the banana.

    WRONG: I of a banana.
    RIGHT: I have a banana.


    To your issue. That kind of structural problem is TYPICAL of large companies.

    A hierarchy is created. It is enforced. People are dis-empowered to 'own a problem' and take efficient action.

    You probably did the right thing by going through your superiors and letting them quash your initiative. Solving the problem in this case, after trying to go through your superiors, would entail deciding to 'fuck the rules, I'm calling the NOC'.

    Depending on your company and environment, you'll either be recognized as someone who gets things done and get promoted, or fired.

    I suggest you get used to the structural idiocy of large organizations and pray to your Gawd you don't ever have to work for government.

    [ Parent ]
    oblivious (none / 0) (#214)
    by truth versus death on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 01:57:51 PM EST

    You are correct that it is not proper English usage. But neither is the colloquialism used in the correction.

    "any erection implies consent"-fae
    [ Trim your Bush ]
    [ Parent ]
    true (none / 0) (#215)
    by emmons on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 04:53:05 PM EST

    That, my friend, was dry humor.

    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]
    dry humor (none / 0) (#216)
    by truth versus death on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 07:19:51 PM EST

    ...which made me laugh. Thank you for that.

    "any erection implies consent"-fae
    [ Trim your Bush ]
    [ Parent ]
    programming (3.50 / 2) (#159)
    by emmons on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 11:06:34 PM EST

    "At my last job my co-worker and I prototyped and built, in 6 weeks, the entire opt-in email system for a startup company. This included handling subscribes and unsubscribes, removing accounts that bounce, formatting plain text and HTML emails, tracking click-throughs on hyper links in the mail, and sending out the emails themselves."

    That's nice. However, it's not at all relevant to the discussion at hand. I hate to burst your bubble, but it's not terribly impressive either. If you had done it alone in 6 weeks, that would HAVE (yes, 'have', not 'of') been a bit more normal. 3-4 weeks working alone would be somewhat impressive.

    "I started my job at Earthlink to climb the corporate ladder, pure and simple."

    I hate to break it to you, but these days very few people climb the ladder starting at telephone tech support for a company. Go to college, start in low-mid level managment. Climb from there, you'll have much better luck.

    Oh, and one last thing: the next time that you're employed as a peon (guy at the bottem of the ladder) don't try to rock the boat until you're under a normal employee contract. Otherwise, this will happen to you again.

    In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
    -Douglas Adams

    [ Parent ]
    I can reproduce it I think (none / 0) (#172)
    by Nafai on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 06:33:07 AM EST

    I use earthlink and start.earthlink.net doesn't work for for me from within the earthlink browser--I get a DNS error then it tells me the page cannot be displayed. The start page DOES work from within Mozilla however.

    It does strike me as rather poor form to have "This page cannot be displayed" as Earthlink's default home page. Ugh. I never brought up the problem with earthlink though.

    [ Parent ]
    "Open Door policy" (4.00 / 1) (#201)
    by bolthole on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 06:09:03 PM EST

    In my limited experience, any company that actually states "We have an Open Door policy", is in reality far from that concept. Therefore, if you ever join a company that states up front, "We have an open door policy", be really sure to only do anything through your direct manager.

    [ Parent ]
    You didn't do the right job (3.00 / 7) (#133)
    by President Steve Elvis America on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 07:01:04 PM EST

    Many people make false assumptions that your job is to do what is best. But that is not correct. Your job is to do what your management tells you. It is ok to offer a suggestion to them, but when you constantly bother them and act in an insubordinate manner like this, you will lose your job or at least be reprimanded. You also said you were a temporary worker. Maybe they just didn't want you around anymore because of your bad attitude. Whatever the reason, you have to learn to do what you are told by your bosses. They have a bigger view of what is going on in the company than you do, especially as a temp worker. What seemed wrong to you was probably due to his experience, something you lack. I hope your next job turns out better, but remember to follow the rules next time.


    Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America

    The better view? (5.00 / 1) (#186)
    by elgardo on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 11:02:04 AM EST

    It is my experience that the many managers DON'T have the same overview as a the caring employee. In fact, managers have often denied me the right to do things the right way, and thereby doubled my work load, but making it important to complete the doubled work load in half the time.

    Thus, when you find out that you work for a company that DOESN'T care about its customers, I'd get the hell out of there anyway. Better yet, start my own company. Oh wait... I already did.

    [ Parent ]
    Sounds Like (4.25 / 8) (#139)
    by n8f8 on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 08:20:34 PM EST

    A smart guy like you shouldn't be working a punch-the-clock job for a lame company in the first place.

    Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
    Unemployment (2.66 / 9) (#140)
    by flikx on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 08:51:04 PM EST

    Sounds like you need a job. Writing extensive oratories and blatant ranting diatribes is no healthy way to live one's life.

    You need a job, and fast. This site simply cannot store the lavish scale of your writs. So many novels and trolls remain unwritten. Rise up sir, and seize the moment! Write something productive.

    And PS: Your job sucked anyways. You should send your former boss a gift basket for freeing you from that awful burden.

    One future, two choices. Oppose them or let them destroy us.
    What an experience (5.00 / 2) (#141)
    by triddle on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 08:58:26 PM EST

    To tell the truth, this entire situation has been more interesting after I got fired. It was not untill I got the axe that I started to completly understand corporate politics. To spice things up no one else seems to have the guts to stand up and say "Tyler was let go while trying to do the company some good."

    The job at Earthlink was an experiment of sorts. While it was fun to speak with such a diverse ammount of people for 10-30 minutes at a time and the job required next to nothing for brain power it was, overall, a waste of time.

    I am going to happily continue on my way and attack greater challanges. Finding a job now a days seems to be a chore but its a good experience. Also, when I write my novel I'll be the first to let you know ;)

    [ Parent ]
    Real Corporations (4.50 / 6) (#143)
    by obsidian head on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:03:29 PM EST

    This is a very useful article. Who knows who really was in the wrong? But more importantly, we are in a recession, and now a good business can take its pick of good employees, stealing the disaffected ones who suffered though bad companies.

    Were his intentions good? Clearly. If Tyler trusted trusted his managers, would he have stopped complaining when asked? Probably.

    I hope Tyler answers this question in a response, actually. I think if he got the sense that his managers and company were committed to quality, he would have accepted it and stopped pushing the complaints.

    Quality never happens when you shuffle people in and out of employment so you get drones. People need to care about their job, and need to gain experience. Errors happen, I grant that, but high-quality companies always seem to have less errors, and don't have to fire people to stop them from making more.

    Very honorable (4.75 / 4) (#149)
    by triddle on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:23:30 PM EST

    If you had taken the phone calls I had to take and cared about how the customers viewed the company, it was the only logical action. The Earthlink customers that call into tech support and not very tech-savy. As such, they don't understand where problems happen and why.

    My example of this is the customer who called in and thought his anti-virus software was causing him to see the '500 internal server error' when he was actualy getting it because of the broken search. This particular customer was also only able to use the internet by conducting searches. He did not understand, nor want to understand, how to directly input a URL into the browser.

    In any case, I recieved that phone call right after my boss pulled me into a meeting to explain to me that 'He knew how Earthlink worked'. He told me over and over again I was making a big deal out of nothing and did not understand why I felt the CV&Bs had been broken.

    My entire point was that the NOC was not even aware of the problem. I did not place blame that they were unable to fix it or that they did not want to fix it. Just that if they don't know about it they won't know to fix it.

    I really felt for my customers. Each time I got a customer who had been treated badly by technical support in the past I felt it was unfair to them. The particular customer who thought his computer was broken had called into tech support before and in the middle of explaining his problem was hung up on. Now this customer did not do a very good job of explaning his problem and he was yelling and screaming but by the end of the call he was quite happy to hear that the problem was not with his computer and that he would be able to use the internet again.

    Many people take the attitude that I should of just treated the customers like everyone else hoping that they would quit and move to another ISP. Personaly, I don't believe in throwing the game. I gave Earthlink my best and tried my hardest to make sure each customer got amazing tech support. Oh well =)

    [ Parent ]
    Contracting VS employment (4.00 / 3) (#146)
    by coredumped on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:11:22 PM EST

    I understand your situation. I acted as a consultant for several years and after 20 or so contracts like yours have been 'terminated' on 2 of them. 1) Company A was owned by Company B. CEO of Company A asks me to create a mail list for Company A without members of Company B on it. Director of IT for Company B calls me and explains that I went against their policy and the CEO didnt actually have any authority to make that request (although I had been told the CEO was to direct my duties), and not to return. Oh Well never mind. 2) Company C was a small office and only needed server admin/tech support two or three days a week, however they were long term deal and I enjoyed the company. After 6 months the technically knowledgable Director left and was replaced by a nontechnical manager. After recieving a lecture on the dangers of email viruses (which I'd already secured against) I was railed with horror stories of what the last infection her computer recieved had done to her, the kinds of things you read in the fake virus alerts that people send out (you know, delete files, rewire your telephone and eat your cat). After I politely explaining that she was mistaken I was called by the President of the company and let go as she refused to work with me anymore. The story here is that as a contractor you are not under the same rules as an employee. You can be let go at any time for any reason. You cannot collect $200 or pass go. You're a gun for hire and thats the way it works, its why they use consultants. I was annoyed by story 1, but unsurprised by 2, as I knew that the woman was looking for any excuse to remove me from the company. Not rocking the boat, while it sucks and I've had to walk away from a contract because of it, is the only way to survive while consulting. Often you know that the decisions being made are bad or dangerous but you cannot step on peoples toes to say that. I respect the actions that you took but unfortunately as a contractor it wasn't a good idea for you to do so. If you were employed by Earthlink you might have a case, but you weren't (unfortunately). I realize the job situation sucks right now which is why I'm not surprised you were doing support (I wish I could land any job right now), but they've probably done you a big favor. Good luck with the new job, and remember if you're contracting you are lower than their janitor, disliked by regular staff (because you're getting a better hourly rate), and used as landfill by the managers (Because you are replacable whenver they say), but thats how it goes. Hopefully I didnt ramble too much and made some sense there. :)

    I'm glad (4.20 / 5) (#148)
    by DanMcKinnon on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:21:59 PM EST

    I'm glad that there are people out there who are willing to take a stand for the better good. Good show.

    Do your job, but not the spirit of your job (4.20 / 5) (#151)
    by duxup on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 09:31:31 PM EST

    While I think your description of climbing your way up the chain needs more description (undoubtedly something in there was why you were fired), it doesn't seem you've done anything blatantly wrong. Here's my experienced advice for those in any kind of support situation.

    Do your job, but not the spirit of your job. riddle obviously found a big problem and should have reported it. He should have reported it to his supervisor(s) as he is required. After that he should have done no more than to be sure his supervisor(s) understand what he is communicating.

    Do not be concerned with your supervisors actions or inaction. Unless your supervisor asks your opinion, whatever he does should be left to him/her. They may decide to do the best thing possible, they might start ingesting drug filled condoms in various ways. Accept it and move on. Tech support organizations are organized for you to do only exactly what your instructed to do. Doing more will only confuse and frighten those in charge.

    If you are going to go out on a limb be sure you know the people involved and make it clear that your only informing them of a possible problem and not instructing them to fix it. Also do NOT criticize (directly or indirectly) those you are bypassing (unfortunately by bypassing them you probably have already done so).

    In support do your job to the letter as best you can, but nothing more. If your job was climb the ladder of management and alarm them, you'd be told to do so.

    A couple things (4.58 / 12) (#158)
    by 0xA on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 10:55:20 PM EST

    First my own experience with a situation like this in a large corp. I was about 20 at the time.

    Friday, 4:45pm the international consulting group of the company is on a big push to get something done, I am the tech support contact for the group. I'm walking around the floor checking things out as we had just moved them from one building to another the previous week. Everyone starts comming out of thier offices like lemmings, "My computer is broken!". I look around, figure out it's the network, open the wiring closet and see that the switch is dead, no lights, funny burnt electronics smell.

    Telecom was not my job, I was supposed to figure out what was wrong and get the telecom guys on the phone. I page telecom and get called back:

    "Well Joe is on vacation and I left early do there's nothing we can do until Monday"

    "This is pretty important you know, these guys were going to be working all weekend"

    "I'll have it fixed by 8:00 on Monday morning, all I have to do is plug in spare switch sitting in the rack and move all the cables over"

    "Well I could do that"

    "No you can't, leave it"

    So I turn to the Managing Director of the consulting group who was standing about two feet away from me and say, "it will be fixed Monday morning". He heard the whole conversation, all he said was "Fix it, now". So I did.

    Come Monday of course there is a hurricane force shitstorm in the IT dept. Telecom guy's boss and my boss are locked up in a meeting room, Telecom guy is giving me the icy stare every time he sees me in the hall. In the end, I got thanked for my effort, Telecom guy got told to shut his hole and the Director of the consulting group was my new buddy. Probably didn't hurt that I went for beer with my boss and Telecom guy's boss pretty regularly but I was still right. Turns out Telecom guy told everyone I had been messing around with the switch and broke it. Seriously.

    What you did was in the correct spirit, as a manager now you are the type of person I look for when hiring but you made some mistakes in your approach. This is proabably why you got canned. Things like CV&B, Mission Statements and lists of sins are crap if nobody belives them and almost nobody does. Your supervisor and the floor manager obviously didn't, even mentioning the things in thier presence was a mistake. Taking the time to explain why you thought they weren't measuring up to them was a massive no no.

    In order for someone to take ownership of a problem they have to be willing to be accountable for the outcome. Things like escalation procedures too often change from being a way to manage workflow into a way to assign blame and avoid accountability.

    As your career progresses you will learn to spot this, often there is no way to affect change by yourself, especially when you are at the peon level. Any time you go for an interview and ask questions about the job which are answered by, "whe follow such and such procedure" or "there is a process flow to handle that, here is a 14 page flow chart", RUN don't walk. You have entered the wienie zone and you will not escape with your sanity.

    YMMV with that, I have friends who still work places I needed to get out of because of these situations. I ended up working for smaller companies mostly, I look for culture more than duties in a job because I need to, I just can't handle places like that. You may find yourself able to adapt to this, it would make your life easier but don't kill yourself trying. It is possible to have a career without it.

    employee rights & the power of complaint (4.50 / 4) (#160)
    by inspire22 on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 11:07:04 PM EST

    An issue here that stands out to me, is that you did exactly what you should have done, but didn't have the rights to get away with it. The growth of 'temporary employees' with no rights is something corporations do to avoid lawsuits, but I think that negative publicity over stories like this will have an increasing effect as more people turn to online news for entertainment (rather than media giants).

    us v. them (none / 0) (#233)
    by Josh A on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 01:49:10 AM EST

    I think that negative publicity over stories like this will have an increasing effect as more people turn to online news

    Yes! All the more reason for him to have posted this story, and to go to a lawyer to see if he has a case, and to keep on fighting.

    I have to wonder about all the people here who have said things along the lines of "You got what you deserved." and "Don't rock the boat." and "Get used to it."

    You may be used to it, but don't expect others to roll over and join you on their backs. Maybe you should get up.

    Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney

    [ Parent ]
    You got fired for showing up your boss (3.66 / 6) (#161)
    by skim123 on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 11:26:34 PM EST

    Just like you are trying to show up Merrick. You're young and likely a bit arrogant (comes with the age). You rocked the boat and got fired. I hope the one thing you learn from this is that it isn't worth the time to bother over crap like this. You are far too smart and capable to be working a job like this and to be taking crap for trying to do your job. Move up, take a job where they want your honest input, and get on with your professional life.

    While you may enjoy the feeling of being better than your coworkers and bosses, I'll wager you'd enjoy it more if you worked with peers. When working with equals (or those smarter than you) you may be wrong at times, you may come up with, what you think, a brilliant idea and have your coworker debunk your idea effortlessly, but in the end you'll grow more both intellectually and emotionally, and you'll make a hell of a lot more of a difference than filing PSP forms to never, never land.

    That's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
    PT Barnum

    Rock the boat where you can't get fired. (5.00 / 1) (#163)
    by mattmcp on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 11:53:30 PM EST

    I'm still at school and have to deal with administration. They are complete twits and if they act like retards and slow down my group's research, then I make it a little project to make them hear it from their boss. It's sad really. I've had my Dean in tears. If he wasn't such a slimey weasel I would feel bad about it but as it is, he's not even coming close to following the ethical guidelines that he agreed to when he became a professional engineer. But what are they going to do? They can't kick me out of school because they're lazy.

    [ Parent ]
    Better yet, start your own company (none / 0) (#227)
    by Jave27 on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 04:52:47 PM EST

    Financial Security will never be attained by having a "job". If you truly want to be free from the will of employers, BE AN EMPLOYER, not an employee. I work full time for now, but I have started 3 companies, and I'm only 21. It's really not as hard as people think it is. At the current rate, I'll be able to retire in 5 years, and never have to work again.

    "Beating up the homeless. It's cruel, but it's a good clean work-out and leaves you feeling winded and superior." - CheeseburgerBrown
    [ Parent ]

    Dont loose sleep over it.. (5.00 / 1) (#174)
    by hebertrich on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 07:26:22 AM EST

    Simple.. they are not worth it. Really.. first like pointed out , you were not directly their employee.This makes the other real employees look bad..i dont see anywhere that any of them had moved or noticed before you.. You make them look bad.This is a no no. Might have been a good reason to HIRE you to replace some lazy ass BIll but he.. this has to do with what they look like, not the fact they had an outage. Second thing.. Dont loose sleep over it.There's jobs out there for willing to help people. Seems like before you know it you will be off and about at another job.Just keep going. Cheers

    [ Parent ]
    You should still see an attorney. (3.20 / 5) (#162)
    by haflinger on Thu Mar 07, 2002 at 11:40:09 PM EST

    You don't have wrongful termination. You weren't an employee. But you may still have a breach of contract. Talk to a lawyer. Any decent lawyer will talk to you for free; bring all your documents along, and be nice to the lawyer. He/she/it should tell you whether you've got a case.

    Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey

    No, don't (3.66 / 3) (#176)
    by bosk on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 08:58:50 AM EST

    Don't talk to a lawyer and don't dwell on this. Talking to a lawyer will, at best, get you absolutely nowhere in addition to just fueling the sue-first, ask questions later mentality prevailent is the US. At worst your agency will tell other agencies about this incident (those people do talk to each other you know) and you'll need to look for a new line of work.

    [ Parent ]
    are you near houston? (4.40 / 5) (#165)
    by el_guapo on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 12:09:09 AM EST

    post your email, we're BIG and i have some stroke with some nationwide ISPs (sprint, genuity, internap, uunet/wcomm, that would KILL for you and US (if you lived near houston, taylor or cupertino). lemme know and i'll try and pull the strings at my disposal...
    mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
    Rule #1: always make your boss look good (1.50 / 4) (#177)
    by bosk on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 09:16:55 AM EST

    Rule #2: do a good job.

    You simply switched the order of the two rules and got what you deserved. If you're going to be working in temp agencies then you need to get the boss at your gig to give great feedback to your agency so you can move up. Think of it from your boss' view. He's got a boss to please as well. If you both work together then everyone wins. Nobody changes the world or their company in a day, not even the baby boomers, even though they would like to have everyone believe that.

    I'm starting to think a great deal of K5ers are just out-of-work whiners. If I had a nickel for every sob story from some new economy reject...

    You creep! (5.00 / 4) (#180)
    by dash2 on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 09:30:55 AM EST

    You'll never get fired, will you - you'll be too busy kissing your boss' ass and "making him look good". And you just despise those losers who get fired for trying to do the right thing. The story poster was naive and silly in trying to do the best for a company who didn't give a toss about him, but in his way he had ideals. Here's a slap.
    If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.
    [ Parent ]
    so very noble (1.50 / 2) (#182)
    by bosk on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 09:48:10 AM EST

    I'm sure it's easy to be noble when you don't have any mouths to feed. Get practical. As other posters have also concluded, don't rock they boat until they can't fire you. A temp worker trying to make waves at Earthlink is just short-sighted. That is better left to higher-level managers that have capital to expend. In the end, Earthlink will just go bottom-up as customers go elsewhere. Happens every day.

    [ Parent ]
    yes, noble (none / 0) (#232)
    by Josh A on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 01:42:06 AM EST

    Earthlink will just go bottom-up as customers go elsewhere.

    It helps speed things up if any decent employee goes elsewhere, too. In this case, he did.

    Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney

    [ Parent ]
    You cared too much. (3.75 / 4) (#183)
    by driftingwalrus on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 09:52:10 AM EST

    You cared too much about the problem. If you want to care about fixing the problem, become a sysadmin. If you're doing tech support it's your job to not care, run through the script, and get them out of the way as fast as possible.

    What happened was they fed you a load of corporate drivel("Core Values And Beleifs", "14 Deadly Sins", "Call Centre Tenets"), and you bought into it. You have to realize, nobody actually _beleives_ that garbage. They use that stuff as a mantra to sooth their quite numb consciences about being inept. Their goal is to get the most money while having to do least amount of work. You don't need to worry about Earthlink - it's their problem, not yours. Honestly, any outfit that has garbage like what you where told circulating is very frightening indeed.

    If I where you, I'd move on. Chock it up to being naive, and remember to be more cynical at your next place of employment.

    "I drank WHAT?!" -- Socrates
    why they wont tell you 'why you were fired' (3.33 / 3) (#184)
    by turmeric on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 09:54:50 AM EST

    because it leaves them open to you suing their ass off. these 'wrongful termination suits' depend on figuring out the motive of the employer, and if they tell you why they fired you, it is like giving you ammunition in court to blow them away with.

    On the other hand, american labor law is based on the 'at will' principle, where employees can come and go as they please from jobs (otherwise it would be slavery). but the flipside is that employers can fire people for no reason whenver they want. this second part has been challenged by things like the civil rights movement etc. but there is a long way to go.

    disclaimer: i dont know dick about this stuff.

    If you're telling the truth, I empathize. (4.00 / 4) (#188)
    by brainwane on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 11:09:24 AM EST

    If you're telling the truth, then you did the right thing, fighting for the customer when no one else would, I think.
    Your chicken, your egg, your problem.
    Former Technical Manger doesnt get it (2.33 / 3) (#189)
    by cione on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 12:28:39 PM EST

    You say there was a national outage. Could people get on the net? Was it one sight that was down or just one service? How many calls came in for this issue? You forget we all have jobs to do. If it was a national outage and you cared about the customer then you would have answered the phone instead of making customers wait on hold while you save the day. The manager asked you to do your job. His judgment was to let you go. Now if you would have reported the incident and he knew and didn't take action then he would be posting his thoughts on this site. I ran a call center for a national ISP bought by Earthlink. We all want to be special and save the day but stepping on my toes in the same situation might have brought the same action. Posting your name and thoughts on this site isn't going to exactly get you hired as a team player at your next job. Repeat after me "Would you like fry's with that"


    The crazy people really have it all together

    Short sided (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by triddle on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 04:07:17 PM EST

    With all due respect that is a very short sided, solve the problem now forget about the future, attack. To demonstrate that fact compare these 2 solutions:

    1) The phones ring all day long and techs answer them. People are upset. Call volume is, say, 100 calls an hour on this particular problem. Over 18 hours 180 calls have been fielded. Of course the numbers would be higher in the situation so feel free to adjust the math by a factor of 10 or 100.

    2) The problem is solved quickly. The problem exists for only 1 hour. Now you have much less people calling in.

    Please tell me you would rather lower total incomming call volume rather then let the techs handle the 'its a live site down issue, sir' phone calls. Sure the techs are happy for a day because their call time is reduced as they can handle those calls quickly. Sure, as a manager you look good because over all for that day the call center has a lower handle time on the calls. But in reality, your not doing the company one bit of good.

    [ Parent ]
    Non-manager does (none / 0) (#231)
    by Josh A on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 01:38:25 AM EST

    You sound fairly cynical to me. "Trying to save the day" seems like an unfairly pejorative way to describe triddle's actions. Nothing about his post made me think he was looking for an ego stroke. As others have pointed out he wanted his manager to actually do his job, not make him "feel special".

    Oh, one more thing. You used the magic "team player" words. :) Which, of course, mean to NOT do what triddle did. Do NOT exercise your own judgement. Do NOT expect an explanation for why you are "wrong" (just accept it). Do NOT do your job as described or expect others to do theirs.

    Quite frankly, from triddle's description it was his manager who failed to be a team player (in a common sense, not corporate, sense of the phrase).

    Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney

    [ Parent ]
    Another you were fired because... (3.50 / 2) (#190)
    by m0j0j0j0 on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 01:00:17 PM EST

    You were fired because you wanted your manager to do his job. As other readers have pointed out, you went above your manager's head and made him/her look bad.

    People who are criticizing you (telling you to "keep your head down" and "don't rock the boat") are merely the same people who are stuck in middle management with your supervisor. They got there by kissing ass and stepping on other people, not by excelling at their job. Sadly corporate America doesn't seem to be the place where hard work is rewarded. Too many incompetent, lazy people hiring similar people to make themselves look good, I guess.

    I'm happy to see that there are still a few people left with good attitudes and work ethics. When people do the right thing instead of the easy thing everyone benefits. Just don't ever lose sight of that.

    Corps (3.50 / 2) (#191)
    by Legion303 on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 01:24:04 PM EST

    As others have mentioned, companies honestly don't give a shit about "vision statements," "core principals," or "customer service." They want you to get the customer off the phone as quickly as possible, because those 800 numbers are costing the business money.

    Start listening to what the higer-ups *aren't* telling you instead of what they're repeating from rote learning. Read between the lines. The other day an assistant manager told our call center group how exciting it was that we had a brand new call center in [3rd-world country]. She wanted everyone to tell her how great that was, because the people in [3rd-world country] needed jobs. What everyone in the room mentally added to that was: "...and the company needed people who were willing to work for $1.50/hour." Well, we cynical folks added that, anyway.

    In a nutshell, you got fired for trying to follow the pretend rules.


    jobs, bosses (3.33 / 3) (#193)
    by mpalczew on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 02:30:36 PM EST

    When you have a boss. Your job discription is simple, do what your boss says. You may think your boss is dumb, arrogant, ignorant, etc... It doesn't matter. You are getting money for doing what your boss says. You didn't do what your boss said so no more money for you. Simple as that.

    Obviously you didn't like your job. Go find another, if you can. It's a free market.

    Life is blatantly and purposefully not fair, get over it.

    -- Death to all Fanatics!
    I prefer the alternative approach... (5.00 / 3) (#194)
    by Jel on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 03:04:40 PM EST

    When you have a job, you've agreed to provide your services in return for payment. That is NOT the same as doing whatever the boss says. No more, at least, than it would be if you owned your own company, and another company wanted to employ your services.

    In such a case, you might bend over a little to help, but if a client tells his senior network security consultant to take some dictation, you can guess what his consultant's answer would be. Equally, a typist should not be expected to say "sure, boss" when asked to clean the toilets.

    It means nothing to your status as a person that you are employed by another. We all have basic human rights. The only new things are that you are now responsible for a certain subset of functions within an organisation.

    So, do you suddenly become entirely subhuman, or in any way inferior to your boss when you work for him? No, not if you've any self-respect. You'll do the things you agreed to do, and try to help out in general as part of a team that needs to get somewhere.

    That doesn't mean that this additional help above and beyond the call of duty (ie, your contractual obligations) should be any more than what other employees give. Neither does it mean that if you feel crap, and want to go home at the actual end of working hours, that you should feel compelled to stay on because it's become expected of you.

    For god's sake, show some backbone, man. Slavery and class distinction both died a long time ago, except for those who willingly let it persist in their lives.

    [ Parent ]
    service industry (none / 0) (#222)
    by mpalczew on Sun Mar 10, 2002 at 05:47:22 PM EST

    When you have a job, you've agreed to provide your services in return for payment. That is NOT the same as doing whatever the boss says. No more, at least, than it would be if you owned your own company, and another company wanted to employ your services.

    This story doesn't deal with things like slavery or doing stuff outside your job description. The boss wanted things to work one way and the employee thought he was much smarter and better than the boss. He got canned. I've said that if you don't like your boss than quit, at the very least you shouldn't be surprised when your fired for not doing things the way you were told to do them.

    Back to the service analogy. If I ask my mechanic to replace the cracked muffler on my car with a quiet muffler, and he goes and installs a very loud high performance muffler because he thinks its better, I still have the right not to pay him. I contracted him to do one thing and he did another. It doesn't matter that he thinks its better than what I asked for. Also if I asked my mechanic to paint and detail my car he wouldn't do it, because it's not what he does.
    -- Death to all Fanatics!
    [ Parent ]

    Eh? (none / 0) (#224)
    by Jel on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 04:26:03 AM EST

    This story doesn't deal with things like slavery or doing stuff outside your job description.

    I was replying to your comment, not to the story. Your comment sounds like you not only advocate these things, but think they are unavoidable.

    I've said that if you don't like your boss than quit (sic)

    When did you say that? I might have agreed with you more if you did, but your original comment only says:

    Obviously you didn't like your job. Go find another, if you can. It's a free market.

    Taken in context, this is dealing with how to recover after being "canned", not with quiting as a way to safeguard your rights.

    If I ask my mechanic to replace the cracked muffler on my car with a quiet muffler, and he goes and installs a very loud high performance muffler because he thinks its better, I still have the right not to pay him. I contracted him to do one thing and he did another.

    That's exactly what I said. I'm glad we're agreed on that, it just didn't sound like it from your original post.

    [ Parent ]
    To address the continued analogy (none / 0) (#230)
    by Josh A on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 01:30:32 AM EST

    I contracted him to do one thing and he did another. It doesn't matter that he thinks its better than what I asked for.

    Well, it sounded to me like he was trying to do what he was contracted to do and was fired for that. An accurate analogy for the story would be if you told your mechanic to install one thing, but really wanted another, and then refused to pay when you got what you asked for.

    Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney

    [ Parent ]
    Several points. (2.75 / 4) (#200)
    by mindstrm on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 05:58:17 PM EST

    Don't rock the boat.
    Know your place.

    Regardless of your personal experience, or what you may or may not know about what is going on, it sounds like you basically pissed people off.
    You had NOTHING TO LOSE by simply shutting up and doing the job you were being paid to do.

    This holds especially true of a large organisation with a huge beurocracy.

    It sounds like, regardless of how right you were, you annoyed a few poeple. What did you expect? A medal?

    Que fumas? (none / 0) (#217)
    by locke baron on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 08:01:13 PM EST

    If everyone had your attitude, we'd still be stuck in caves, pointing and grunting while skinning deer with stone knives. Ok, that example's a bit extreme, but you see my point... Know your place, and don't rock the boat is a good way to never get noticed, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your outlook, but will not ever really accomplish anything. Grow a spine, and quit asking people to destroy theirs.
    Micro$oft uses Quake clannies to wage war on Iraq! - explodingheadboy
    [ Parent ]
    Disagree (none / 0) (#229)
    by Josh A on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 01:23:39 AM EST

    The writer had plenty to lose. Nothing useful of course, just integrity, self-esteem, etc. In the end, those things were preserved and the crappy job was lost. Seems like a win situation to me.

    Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney

    [ Parent ]
    Stay away from tech support (4.50 / 2) (#203)
    by thanos on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 07:43:06 PM EST

    The goal of every tech support manager is to build as much decision-making, personal initiative, judgement, independent thought, etc. *out* of the call-handling process. Extensive personal experience tells me that a large percentage of the drones in a tech support organization are not even qualified to be working in any field that could be described as even remotely technical. If you want to have a job that allows you to be creative and flexible, don't work in tech support.

    I also agree with the poster who noted that you are destined to encounter sloth and ignorance in any reasonably sized company. If you want to be able to do it the right way, get a job at a company with under 25 people in it. Otherwise learn to suffer through the inefficiency and wrong-headedness that invariably insinuate themselves into organizations as they grow in size. There simply are not that many capable people in the world.

    Of course everyone has heard the addage "20% of the people do 80% of the work." In a way though, the fact that a bunch of slugs can maintain good-paying jobs, put food on the table, and enjoy the fruits of their (non-)labor is a stabilizing influence on society and an affirmation of the success of capitalism (please no flames on this--I am well aware of the many shortcomings of capitalism.) But the basic idea is that you don't really have to work all that hard to get by and have all the shiny new toys you want. And since, IMHO, a large percentage of people fit the description of an indolent do-nothing, the institutions that created the conditions of their enjoyment are reinforced by their support. How are you going to get a majority of society together to vote down a system that appeals to the do-nothing impulse? Of course, what I am saying here on its face contradicts many of the basic tenets of capitalism; i.e. hard work is rewarded and rewarded self-interest motivates and leads to progress. I do agree with these statements, but look around at work one day and ask yourself how many of the people around you really care about how hard they are working. Do they really care about getting ahead or do they just want a paycheck for as little bitch as possible (do we all?) As long as we are fat, dumb and happy who cares about contributing at work? Well some of us do, and yes I count myself among them. We 20%'ers are stupid... The other 80% learned the lesson that they can sit on their asses and watch us do all the work and receive all the benefits of that work and suffer no ill.

    ok, sorry this turned into a misdirected rant. man, I'm bitter. And sorry if I offended any of the slugs out there...
    Savinelli testified that Pickard said on two occasions that he had accidentally spilled LSD on himself, dosing himself with the drug. Pickard acted "giddy" and was less focused and organized for about a month after the second dosing.

    Have you ever watched "Office Space"??? (none / 0) (#218)
    by erotus on Sun Mar 10, 2002 at 03:55:33 AM EST

    "(please no flames on this--I am well aware of the many shortcomings of capitalism.)"

    OMG...ROFLMAO.. I nearly pissed my pants reading your rant. Don't worry, I'm not here to flame. What you wrote is too true. In fact, it's so true it's down right funny as hell. I've been in similar situations where the PHBs made all the wrong decisions and I had to suffer as a result. Before their stupid decisions I was one of the 20% who worked his ass off. After their stupid decisions, I gave up fighting and did just enough not to get fired. I recommend you watch the movie "Office Space" as it deals with exactly what I'm talking about. The movie is hilarious and I think most of us who have done IT/MIS jobs could identify with the main character.


    [ Parent ]
    Two things, wait -- three (2.50 / 6) (#205)
    by toganet on Fri Mar 08, 2002 at 11:10:57 PM EST

    You were a temporary employee -- they could fire you for needing a haircut, much less copping attitude and wasting people's time.

    The "Google branded search" on the PSP (does that mean "Personal Start Page"?) being broken does not a "national outage" make. Earthlink customers were inconvenienced, not the Entire Internet. Google still worked -- and the customer's internet connection still worked, or they would not have been able to tell that the "Google Branded Search" was broken.
    Your workaround was the appropriate response. Notifying management of the problem was also appropriate. Call volume (and resultant irate customers) could have been reduced with a simple hold-time "intrusive" message stating that the problem had been identified and was being addressed. If management didn't authorize that, they screwed up -- but get used to them doing that, for that is the way of those who wear the pointy hair.

    People -- how did this get on the front page? I know many of us freaks & geeks have worked tech support, and we sympathize. But this is not the kind of stuff we need to waste our time on, when there is plenty of other crap to waste time on.


    Johnson's law: Systems resemble the organizations that create them.

    eh? (none / 0) (#228)
    by Josh A on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 01:19:56 AM EST

    Copping attitude? Wasting people's time?

    How do you see that? Do you work management somewhere? :)

    Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney

    [ Parent ]
    Earthlink and the British Navy (4.16 / 6) (#212)
    by hucke on Sat Mar 09, 2002 at 09:03:18 AM EST

    A similar incident occurred in 1707, described in the book "Longitude" by Dava Sobel.

    A fleet of five ships sailed for home under the command of Admiral Shovell. At the time of the incident, the longitude (east-west location) could be determined only by difficult and tedious astronomical calculations; an incorrect determination could mean disaster.

    A seaman approached the Admiral, saying that he had made some calculations showing that the position of the fleet was different from what the navigators were claiming, and that the ships were dangerously close to a chain of rocky islands. He knew that he was not authorized to chart the ship's position, but felt the situation was dangerous enough that he had to act.

    The Admiral had that seaman hanged for mutiny.

    Continuing on their incorrect course, the ships hit the rocks, and four of the five were sunk; hundreds drowned. The Admiral himself was washed ashore, barely alive, but as he lay on the beach he was murdered by a thief.

    The only difference between your firing and the hanging of that seaman was the severity of the punishment.

    It is my fervent hope that large companies with similar policies will suffer the Admiral's well-deserved fate.

    matt hucke * graveyards of chicago - http://graveyards.com/

    To add to the mess (5.00 / 2) (#220)
    by saphire on Sun Mar 10, 2002 at 04:43:35 AM EST

    I certainly feel for Tyler. I am one who shakes the social order and the rules of others. Mind now, I do follow the rules. The boss says jump; I do it. However, the moment he turns his back, I forget about jumping, and I actually do something. I read from Abc news a little while back that a large percentage of managers do nothing. It makes sense. My past managers have all been the same (excepting a few of course). Management is about leading and doing something to take a company to new heights. It is not about saving face and reading the latest junk mail. People who do lead and take initiative run successful companies. They make money and keep good employees due to trust and loyalty.

    I learned from working at an Office supply store that you never know what you can get away with until you try. Trust me, I tried. I was simply too good an employee for them to fire. I know they would have liked to fire me on several occasions. I shook things up quite a bit. Peons do have a voice when used correctly. And yes I took initiative and simply said, "screw it" to the chain of command and made decisions. I saved the customer and made money for the company. I never did anything to get me fired that they could put their finger on. I finally left to go to school.

    Shaking things up, taking initiative, and living by principles are good things. Simply doing what someone else says without thinking is pure nonsense and will get you nowhere (I should know, as I said earlier, I would do what a manager would say only as long as they looked and I did that to keep my job). When you can rock the boat, do it. But do it so that you stay gainfully employed. Take the initiative. Your manager doesn't care about that guy opening up his pocket book. But you should. Build a reputation to precede you. People know me and what I do and do not do. Rumors, lies, and gossip die quickly that way. In short, I have heard what many negative posters have said and many times at that. They couldn't be more wrong. If they choose to stay that way, let them so choose. However, the consequence to doing that is never being able to stand on your own to say I stand up for what is right. They will always be the butt kissing, slime wheeling, dishonest, backgrounded, pessimistic people who go nowhere and are always forgotten and never loved or liked. They are the people you would not trust a quarter to.

    Sometimes you have to stand up for what is right. I own my own business. I'm an engineer. I treat my people right and work with honesty and intregity in ALL my business dealings. I work to better the work environments in which I find myself and carry with me the most positive aspects of my life and leave the negative ones at the office door. I am not bragging, but this is where Mr. Tyler should set his sights. And when you die, you will be remembered for the character that you had. Friends will come from far and wide to remember you. That is far better than being buried by your lawyer or even no one at all like other people at the ends of their lives. Life is never lived to the fullest until you choose how to lead your own life. And I must say that Mr. Tyler will have other opportunities in his life. Some people out there are looking for that kind of character who cares for other people and shoots for the stars with every intention on getting there.

    I think that is the gist of what everyone has been saying: the good with the bad; bad manager, good tyler, rocking the boat, management, character, life in general. I add my own thoughts and the ideas and ideals of the individuals I have learned from to the salad bowl of this article. I know that some out there will appreciate what I have to say and that some person will be able to use it. No flamers please. I always welcome good arguments. But I almost never respond to silly flames.


    First cardinal rule of the employee (3.00 / 1) (#221)
    by Pig Hogger on Sun Mar 10, 2002 at 02:20:54 PM EST

    Make sure your boss is happy to see your face.

    This applies above all other company rules/regulations/mantras/slogans.


    Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing it's idiot

    I don't think this is something many people (4.00 / 1) (#226)
    by Vicegrip on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 01:57:43 AM EST

    get very good at: "knowing when to speak out and knowing when to shut up".

    It's a difficult lesson to learn, but enthusiam is quickly viewed as impertinent or even arrogant by those who feel it makes their own efforts look lacking.

    You told your boss. He told what to do. That should have been the end of it. For the benefits of personally trying to set 'right' a matter in a large corporation are usually far outwheighed by the personal costs. Managers 'say' they want to hear what you think. What they really mean is "don't let me screw up and do what I say".

    Put them behind. Forget about them. Move on and take your lesson to heart: "next time, save your efforts for a boss who will appreciate it".... and don't work for temp agencies if you can avoid it. Temps are little more than dogfood in most organizations.

    I got fired from Earthlink for reporting a nation wide outage | 234 comments (214 topical, 20 editorial, 0 hidden)
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