Friday, March 30, 2007

HappyTech? Ha!

When I first bestowed my employer with that pseudonym on my blog the sentiment was sincere. Now it's purely sarcastic. It's hard to believe how much the atmosphere has changed. It's partly owing to a call volume at its lowest ever but chiefly because all recreational web surfing was banned. There's lots of small talk and forced joviality but it's more annoying than entertaining. These are people who have rarely gotten along so the sudden sociableness reeks of desperation. Anything to fill the deafening silence and pass the interminable hours until quitting time.

In an email about my upcoming review, the boss hinted he may relax the restriction but that could be wishful thinking. I have done a bit of emailing since no web monitoring is in place yet. Our network equipment is the oldest and cheapest crap imaginable so they don't even have the capability to track internet traffic. The solution from HQ was to send monitoring software that can be installed invisibly on our PCs. Knowing the boss, he'll probably never get around to it. It's a pointless exercise anyway. The guilty party is not dumb enough to look at porn here again. Even if he did there probably wouldn't be any consequences. So the no-surfing policy did nothing but destroy morale.

The ban has also made me chafe more at minor annoyances. You'd never know we're a division of a large company from the way our office is run. I have to bring in dish sponges for our kitchen because the boss is too cheap to buy them. We're often out of paper towels for the same reason. Broken equipment doesn't get repaired or replaced. Recently we sat in a dim office for a couple of weeks because the boss was too busy/lazy/cheap to replace some burned out fluorescent tubes. Our building is in an isolated area where office and vehicle break-ins are not uncommon. The property is poorly maintained and you have to duck and dodge around overgrown trees to get up the walk to our door. My desk is twenty feet from the men's room.

Our business has fallen off considerably. The air is thick with tension. It felt the same way when I worked here several years ago in the months before the big layoff. People have been talking about looking for other jobs for a while now, but much more since the new rule. I updated my resume yesterday and started sending out applications.

I used to go out for lunch now and then but usually ate at my desk and web surfed. Since I can't do that anymore, I relish the chance to get away for an hour and decompress. Fortunately I have just the place for it only a couple of minutes away from the office. It's a three mile stretch of road dotted with ten or so parks, many of them overlooking a lake. Today I went to my favorite spot to eat lunch, enjoy the scenery and put things into perspective.