Wednesday, April 11, 2007

HappyTech comes through

Everyone at HappyTech is concerned about our dwindling customer base. Up to now there has been a lot of hand-wringing and very little action. Management finally did a little cheerleading and announced they're going to do something about it. We're launching a sales program that will scare up some desperately needed new business. This has been talked up before but now there's actual money and effort behind it. It might be too little too late, but at least some steps are being taken to save our business. I feel marginally more secure about my job.

Gordon, our boss, says he is optimistic about the company's future, but what else is he going to say? Selling our software is an uphill battle. Our fledgling product is competing with many older, well-established ones, and those companies have a large chunk of the market locked into exclusive contracts. We rolled out our software with nearly twice the customers we have now, but scheduled enhancements to our software were delayed again and again. The word spread that our product is crap and scores of subscribers bailed. Gordon feels that we can lure many of them back with ongoing improvements to the product and aggressive sales. I call that cockeyed optimism, and not just because of his lazy eye. If I bought software that was integral to running my business and found it sorely lacking, it seems unlikely I'd want to try it out again in six months. Our end users are too busy to be beta testers, let alone on their own dime, when they already have another solution that works better. I think our best bet is to go after new customers who didn't see the older, worse editions of our software and hope they haven't heard any of the negative buzz. Since I'm part of the sales force maybe I can push things in that direction.

Annual reviews were yesterday. One by one, my coworkers marched into the conference room with the solemnity of the condemned. They all came out looking sheepish and stung, then spent the rest of the day grumbling about their small raises. I, on the other hand, practically skipped into my meeting and came out with a big shit-eating grin. It speaks volumes about this office full of fuck-ups that I can goof off as much as I do and still be considered the star performer.

I got a 25% raise (half now, half in October), even more than I hoped for. The little bug I put in Dawn's ear helped my case. Gordon said he fought to get me an even higher increase than originally planned in hopes I would stop looking for another job.

The boss also officially relaxed the restriction on web surfing. It was almost more good news than I could handle in one day.