Friday, August 25, 2017

Work Life

Tonight is my last night on the job.

So, a month ago, while looking for another position, I got a number of offers.
Not all of them appealing due to travel or shift.
I had thought that I'd like to get back to engineering and leave management behind. I really enjoy programming and working with equipment improvements, designing devices, etc.
So I was interviewing (which I've come to enjoy) with a number  of entities and it came down to two positions, one an hour away and the other half an hour.
I did a phone interview with the one an hour away and the first 25 minutes of it was grilling me about my employment history.
I've been through a lot of jobs, mostly due to closures, but three times I've been terminated.
I firmly believe that as traumatic as each was, except the last, God used each to get me out of a place I wouldn't leave to bless me with a better job and more pay.
And when asked why I was terminated, I answered so that I could get a better job, and obviously my next employers were happy to have me.
Only the last five minutes were about technical questions.
I hung up thinking it was a wash, the interviewer had seemed hostile.

I had also interviewed for a position that was a second shift position, but I was assured that it would be temporary as the day shift guy was going on a long medical and would probably not return.
I interviewed well. The manager kept mentioning that he wished "Pete" could have made it. I volunteered to take a call from Pete at his convenience.
A phone interview was scheduled for the next day at 1 pm.
At 1 pm I made it a point to be in the parking lot of the company, and when Pete called I mentioned that. He met me at the door. I had an offer that afternoon for a contract at a certain hourly rate which was more than I had ever made before or heard of anyone making.
After six months though, I would go salary, direct hire. and the money would drop to a more "reasonable" rate.
Insurance was to start immediately. (Scherie's meds are expensive).
I took it.
The next day I was called about the other job and was offered it. I declined as I had already accepted this job. My word and all.

The first day on the job, I discovered that the guy on day shift was someone I had tried to hire at my last job! And he had no intention of going on medical.
This caused me some consternation.
I was then called concerning a position in Detroit, another Maintenance Manager gig with PLC and robotic responsibilities.
Sounded good to me and I interviewed.
When the recruiter sent me the job description, he sent one for a controls engineer position at the same company.
While I was interviewing, I brought that up and mentioned that if I didn't meet their criteria for one, I might for the other. I then mentioned they might want me to do both, as I have in the past.
They said they were thinking the same thing.
I was told I interviewed well, when can I start?
I said I had to give two weeks notice as it was only fair and they agreed.

It was a while before I heard back from them and I began to get concerned. Then the recruiter called and told me that they had increased the salary offer by quite a bit.
To get health insurance by October first, I would have to hire by September first.
I took a physical and drug screen and waited. When the results came in and I was approved to start (last Friday) I called the recruiter who had gotten me this current gig and told him I was quitting. I mentioned that in three weeks, I still did not have insurance.
A number of people at work were through the same recruiter, had the same problems and promises had been made that were not fulfilled.
He hung up on me.
I went in to work and was given an envelope. It was an offer to go direct immediately at $3,000 less than the recruiter had promised. The same thing had also happened to the other contract employees I was working with! Not a lot of happiness.

On the flip side, my boss said he was sorry to see me go, as were the techs I was supporting. It turns out, that they were now willing to accommodate my going day shift if I stayed.
I just discovered this on my last evening here.

So that's what's going on with me lately.
If you're even still here listening to my long boring story.

What's really funny is that my last boss, the guy who fired me before quitting himself, offered a "connection" on LinkedIn, the business equivalent of Facebook.
I accepted. Why not?
Shortly after, I got a message from him saying that he was sorry the way everything had gone down, and he had a friend who was looking for someone with my skillset and would I be interested?
Life is weird sometimes.

A couple days ago, I was at my laptop on the shop floor when the manager who originally interviewed me walked by escorting a familiar face.

It was a guy I had worked for years ago, inept at his job while at the same time pursuing an affair with another manager. Both married.
We called him Surfer Bob because of his long curly blonde hair. Also because he had a surfer attitude to his work.
I complained to the the plant manager a number of times about his lack of support for the work I was doing, never supplying technicians to assist me in rewiring cells, drilling/tapping holes etc. and I attributed it to his pursuit of the quality manager.
The situation would improve for a few days and then deteriorate.
I would be working late, thinking I was the only one in the plant, turn off the lights and then hear her giggling as he shushed her.
I had finally caught up on all the "conquest" work (80 hour weeks) we had gained from our failing competitors (this was 2009) and was scheduled for a two week rotating layoff to be shared with the other engineer.
It was then that I found out that the Plant Manager and the HR Manager were leaving the company, the same day I was going on layoff.
And Bob's lover was promoted to acting Plant Manager.
I was never called back. I wonder why.
Explain that to an interviewer when they ask why you left a company. :)

So, the next day it was remarked that I had said hello to Bob, how did I know him? What did I think of him?
I kept my lips pursed.
It was noted.

Some people think that there is a purpose for everyplace you get put and that God has His hand in it.
I think that is only true a part of the time and the rest is random.
But lately, I'm beginning to change my mind.


  1. What a life!

    Nice post, by the way. I used to do contract work, and I found it interesting and somewhat similar to my own contract life.

    1. Thank you Jack.
      I'm not a fan of contract work.
      I'm a company man. You'd think I'd learn by now.

  2. Years ago, I worked for a boss that I can only say as unscrupulous. I eventually found a better position, and left. He knew his methods were wrong, but was too small to admit his failure.

    About two years later, he approached me for a job. I denied him a position, but was astounded by the comment of the boss I was working for.

    "I'd had hired him." was his remark.

    After a few moments of my confused expression, he went on: "I'd of hired him, just to fire him that afternoon."

    It gave me some insight of the insidious, sometimes brutal, job market that most people endure.

    1. No doubt! Looking back at my work history, it is astounding I was able to spend 31 years with the same company (though I still feel cheated by about 15 years). That is unheard of these days. In my current gig as a home mortgage underwriter, the standard definition of stable employment is 2 years or more with the same company - not that it is required, but just a determination as a risk layer. Most applications reflect less job time, and it is a rare thing for a borrower to attain 10 years or more with the same employer. Just the way it is these days. Here's to hoping for a happy run at your current, my friend!

  3. Given health issues, there's no question contracting is out for you unless you're willing to take the excess risk which could be deadly. Stick to the regular jobs, Seems like you know you have Him on your side, so there's no need to say keep your eyes open. So remember that you're not married to any job. You're doing fine. I wish you the best at snagging a near perfect boss.

  4. You're being 'guided', no question...

  5. Interesting experiences. Reinforces the idea that there is no loyalty going either direction for a long time now.

    It is kind of surprising guys with your skill set are not more valued. I can't imagine many people headed to this kind of career these days. Most want to do little for a lot and sure don't want to get their hands dirty.
    Me? I was fortunate to carve out a career in business programming. Not rich but has made for a comfortable life, let alone working environment. I see older guys on road details standing in hot asphalt smoke and whisper thank you every time.

    1. Well, there are a lot of calls for guys in my line right now.
      I run into a lot of ambitious smart guys who are building their skillset OJT (like I did).
      But it's more mercenary than I realized.
      50% jump at the next offer, while the other half stay for stability, or to learn more about a certain system. And some just don't have what they represent when interviewed.
      All the employers know that it will take months for a tech to get up to speed (or for the employer to realize that they can't).
      As for the loyalty? I work hard for guys that work hard for me. And I have experienced loyalty from employers/managers, and when not, often, it was not my manager, but his.
      Sometimes the Emperor does not want to hear the truth about that new set of clothes he bought.

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  7. Not boring at all, Ed and it's a relief to know I'm not the only one who has been dicked around (flat-out lied to) by recruiters.
    All the best and I hope you get a decent boss with a good company.

  8. Oh my.
    And "minorities" have such an advantage.
    I once saw an attractive woman with a knockout figure hired for a position. When she came to work she had no idea how to do the job she supposedly had 6 year experience doing.
    When I investigated, I found out her Lt. Col. boss was greasing the skids, making sure she stayed close, (for the reasons you stated above).
    In her work she had the lives of others in her hands.
    The Lt. Col. had had other things in his.

  9. Health coverage is mandatory -- in your case and at a particular age (my situation).

    Since Mr. AOW had brain surgery in 1993, we paid whatever the health-insurance extortion was.

    When Mr. AOW lost his job in January 2008, we had to pay $1400/month ($2500 deductible, no pharmacy coverage). But we hung on. Thank God! Mr. AOW had a stroke on September 15, 2009. Medicare disability didn't come on board for some 30 months (If I recall correctly).

    During that time, we ate high carb meals. I packed on the pounds. But Mr. AOW got the treatment and therapies he needed to get his life back insofar as was possible. And the Lord paved the way so that I had more clients than ever before.

    All this blabbing to say that we have to make the best decisions we can and always remembering that God has a plan for each of His own.

    1. I commented on-air Saturday about the effects Obamacare has had on people, and I indirectly mentioned you Nd your situation.

    2. Ed,
      I haven't yet had time to listen, but I have listening on my to-do list.

      Things will slow down here after the first few days of the classes I teach. First day is tomorrow!

  10. I tried recruiting for about a year and couldn't stand having to misrepresent stuff and I quit...went back to my career wheelhouse. I read this whole thing; are you working or AREN'T YOU?!!

    1. Yes, I am working at the new job.
      Last week was my first.
      Did not get a laptop or email until last Thursday, but still don't have the software I need.
      A lot of wandering the shop floor getting familiar with people and things.
      It'll get better.

  11. Been gone for a while from blogging, but like to come back from time to time to check on things. Been ready to make a career move for a while myself, so going back to school and hope to have a degree in accounting by next year. Hopefully it'll leverage me off of the floor and into the office where I can work in another department for better pay. Or into somewhere else.

    Anyway, good luck with your new position and hope no drama awaits you. And I do agree, God has His hand in a lot of things, but sometimes He just lets the chips fall where they may just to see how well you deal with it and keep the faith.

    1. Dave! Good to see you again.
      Good on you. May God help you in your endeavor.

  12. Good going brother, life is not easy, you know that, good things will return to you.