Monday, September 1, 2003

I Hate My Job II

(This follows up on an earlier item.  Read it here.)

Well, I hate my job less these days.  We finally got to the stage where the software was actually working well enough to test (after they dropped a bunch of features), which means my ratings look a lot better because I can actually do something.  I’m also getting a lot less flak from my manager.

But I also got crappy results from my review.  The review was good — not stellar, but above average.  But when I got transferred to this project, the company apparently downgraded my job classification without telling me (or my new manager).  The result being that for my pretty good review, my raise was going to be a pay cut.  They apparently had to push it all the way up to the CEO, saying “You don’t do this to someone with ten years seniority” in order to make my raise be absolutely nothing instead.  Which means I’ve now had a 2% raise in the space of two years.  (Which isn’t great for retaining employees.)

I’ve been pretty scared for my job for a couple months, though.  Our company has gotten in the habit (if twice can be considered such) of doing layoffs in Q4.  It’s a great way to shore up the bottom line at the end of the year, by taking 10% of the people off the books.  That’s how I got on this project, by being “reallocated” rather than being “reduced”.  The last project concluded at the start of Q4 and then got the runaround about when we could start on the next release, until they ended up moving the project to India and laying off 85% of the team.

So you can imagine my trepidation with this project slated to be done in Q4, this and several others at the company.  Do I smell a 15% layoff in the air, despite the stock price being 50% higher than it was a year ago?  Fortunately (I think), they’ve decided that our project needs more time, so they pushed out the schedule by three weeks or so, and then after that, we’ve got perhaps another two months of localization releases to push out: Spanish, Finnish, Simplified Chinese.  This is a great relief; maybe I won’t have to go job hunting again this year.

The project has been plagued by communication issues.  It’s bad enough that we have to deal with (coordinate with) several other teams, each with their own agendas and demands.  But our own team seems to have no sense of process and communication within the team.  A couple weeks ago, there was discussion of a late-coming feature change which I had heard nothing about.  I asked when it would be available for review, and I was told in a day or two, after it had been approved.  In other words, only after they had decided to make the changes would those of us who would have to test it get a chance to know just what it would do (by which point our input would not be usable).  After I complained about this in that meeting, they sent out a copy of the text of the change by e-mail, and after I commented heavily on it — including that I didn’t think it was needed at all — then other people (in management) also spoke up against doing it, and the change turned into a “guidance” document.  (That is, here’s some desirable behaviors and workflows, but we’re not changing how things actually work.)  In other words, none of the people who were supposed to be steering the ship were paying attention, so that a few people were running roughshod over the process and bypassing the safety checks of a proper review.

Click here for part 3.

Updated on September 7, 2010
Clarified the process fuck-up mentioned in that last paragraph.

The previous project was AWS (Adobe Workgroup Server), which then became Version Cue.  We then got dumped onto what became Adobe Bridge.  So far as I know, Version Cue was never touched after that, although it was part of Adobe Creative Suite through CS4.  I doubt very many people ever used it.

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