Danger Strikes at 2AM

Last night we hit up happy hour in downtown Orlando, a pretty common event within our circle of friends.  Angel and I were totally spent by 12:30AM, but neither one of us were in any position to drive just yet.  So, we went back to my truck, cranked up the A.C., and passed out for a couple hours.  I was awakened around 2:30AM by numerous parties of belligerently drunk twenty-something’s heading back to their vehicles following the typical 2AM liquor cutoff in all Central Florida nightclubs.  Angel was lying across the front bench seat with her head resting in my lap, and I was slouching down in the driver seat. 

When I opened my eyes the first thing I saw was a girl dry heaving behind her car, which was located almost directly in front of my truck.  After about five minutes of nastiness, she got in the driver seat, turned the ignition and drove off.  Then two vehicles parked across from each other on opposite sides on the same parking row backed out simultaneously and bumped each other.  Both drivers pulled back into their space… then one left following the other without ever checking to see if their vehicles were damaged. 

Just then a BMW 3 Series barrel-assed around the corner and was forced to come to a skidding and screeching halt to avoid running over two girls who were attempting to make it back to their car.  They were parked about five vehicles down from the space in front of me.  When they made it back to their car a sudden commotion erupted and both girls started screaming at someone.  I poked by head out the window only to catch site what appeared to be a drunken guy urinating on her car’s front driver side tire.  After startling him, he jumped and started pissing on the hood of the car in front of hers.  Then he staggered away mumbling back at the angry ladies.  He got in a Blazer with one of his buddies that could barely stand up straight, and they both drove off as well.

This was just ten minutes of observation in one parking garage on one side of town.  Let’s just say, I was a slightly blown away.  The roads in downtown Orlando must be five times more dangerous after 2AM than they are at midnight.  I guess we sort of knew it all along.  But witnessing it firsthand broadens your perception.

Improve Yourself: A Quick Me, Myself, and I Grammar Hack

Since my current job entails a great deal of technical writing, I constantly find myself struggling over the proper construction of certain grammatical statements.  Believe it or not, the basic English words “Me”, “Myself”, and “I” can become quite a challenge to incorporate properly.  Although these grammar errors are easily overlooked, I discover them in my own writing on a regular basis.

How many times have you made a statement constructed in the form of “Angel and me”, only to have some smarty pants correct you by explaining that it should be set up as “Angel and I”?  The bottom line is that they may be wrong, but they could be right.  The bitch of it is… it can go either way.  It depends on whether you are the subject or the object of the statement.   

So did “Angel and I go to the concert” or was it “Angel and me”?  Just remove Angel from the equation.  I wouldn’t say “Me went to the concert”.  I would say “I went to the concert”.  So, it was in fact “Angel and I” who attended the concert.  But what if Angel handed out the concert tickets?  Did “Angel hand Sam and I the concert tickets”?  Or did “Angel hand Sam and me the concert tickets”?   Well, Angel wouldn’t hand “I” a ticket, she would hand “me” a ticket.  So under this circumstance, it is correct to say “Angel handed Sam and me the concert tickets”.

If you want to step it up a notch by using the word “Myself”, you could use it to emphasize your point of view.  But, it should be neither the subject nor the object (unless the object is the subject… example in a sec), and it is certainly not a substitute for “Me” or “I”.  You could say “Wow! I loved the concert, myself.” or “As the owner, I (the subject) am giving myself (the object) a large bonus.”  But you would be incorrect in saying “I have concert tickets for you and myself”.  The previous sentence should read “You and me”.

Sorry for boring you.  I only wrote this out as a personal reminder to myself.  If it helps someone else, fantastic.

Pissing Off Your Employees

I came across this blog entry that listed 50 things an employer could do to their employees that would make them want to quit.  The crazy thing is that this list hit far to close to home… not concerning to my new job, but concerning the job that I recently left behind.  I wasn’t the only one to split either.  For the most part, our entire team quit over the course of a year.  Why?  Because we put heart into every job related duty and all of our clients loved us, but when it came time for internal corporate recognition, the men upstairs gave us the cold shoulder.  Interestingly enough, two us are currently employed by the same (new) employer… and we’re both praised for our efforts, compensated respectfully, and rapidly working toward a big promotion.  Another one of our ex-colleagues just interviewed with this same employer last week.  Our boss loved him, and offered him the job almost on the spot… yet our old employer thought he was totally expendable.  They are learning their lesson though.  One of our ex-colleagues that didn’t leave recently informed us that all of their clients are in an absolute uproar over the poor quality of service produced by the team that replaced us.  Here are some of the things our old employer/bosses did to motivate our departure:

  • Assign enough projects with tight deadlines so that your team has no choice but to work a 60 hour week while you only work 30 hours. – (Follow this up by telling us that we don’t really work that hard all the time…  basically, a slap in the face.)
  • Cap overtime pay. – (What overtime pay?  We never saw a dime!)
  • Talk more than you listen. – (They loved to hear themselves talk.  But when it came time for proactive suggestions, the office was closed.)
  • Constantly underestimate the time it takes to get things done.  – (Yeah… and then force us into the meat grinder anyway.)
  • Hire someone that is very weak to take the place of a veteran and expect the same results from the team. – (They basically expected the same level of results regardless of the lack of resources… all day, every day!)
  • Consistency is good. Never ask your employees if they are challenged enough or want to take on more responsibility. – (Oh yeah, and let’s keep all the hard working guys in their current position forever because they do such a good job at it.  If an upper level position becomes available, we’ll just bring in an outsider.) 
  • Make promises to customers but have no idea on the elements involved in getting the task done. – (Yeah, or employ an entire army of sales guys that are barely capable of operating their own personal laptop, and then have them sell cutting edge client/server based digital video editing systems to multimillion dollar professional sports clients.  I mean, who cares.  If they screw it up, the IT support guys will clean up the mess.)
  • Give employees low raises because the more you save, the higher your bonus. – (All they cared about was the bottom line…  Forget about the guys on the front line that are helping the company achieve its goals.  The word “Budget” went hand in hand with the word “Raise”.  Yet, they threw thousands of wasteful dollars around when schmoozing the clients.)
  • Create a desk cleanliness policy. – (Or, just randomly piss and moan about it for no apparent reason while living by the “do what I say but not what I do” philosophy.)
  • Instead of offering to help hands-on, watch from a distance and provide support over email. – (Upper management was never actively involved in our problems… they never even showed an interest unless a significant financial loss was at risk.)
  • Never be the on-call guy to share in the team burden. – (Nuff said!)
  • Give advice on topics you are only partially educated in. – (Oh, they were pros at this!  This is what occurs when business men own a cutting edge tech company and ignore the advise of their hired IT staff.)
  • Let a couple people work from the house, but provide no reason for it or ways for others to obtain the right.  – (This seemed to be some kind of loophole we never could figure out.  Half of the company staff worked from home, but this wasn’t an option for us… even though it would have been totally feasible.)

It’s amazing that even after dealing with all this corporate crap, I actually enjoyed my job, and I took pride in my work.  I would have loved to remain onboard.  If blatant mismangement hadn’t been such a career impeding problem, I would have never looked elsewhere.  Hopefully they realize that.

A Misconception of Productivity

Sometimes I seem to struggle with the concept of productivity.  What seems productive may not actually be productive, and the flip side holds truth as well.  I’m beginning to realize that someone’s level of productivity in the corporate job market directly correlates to the outside perception of their efforts.  Is it considered productive to spend eight diligent hours completing an assigned project for your boss?  What if you finished the same project in five hours and spent the next three hours surfing the Internet?  Would you really have been any less productive by surfing the Internet if the final project under both circumstances reflected the same quality of work?  It’s a strange feeling when you recognize that it might be in your best interests to slow down the pace of your efforts.  If you look busy, you are busy, right?  It seems as though this misconception is what they want you to believe…

Passing The CISSP

I just received an e-mail with the following introduction:

Dear Marc,

Congratulations!  We are pleased to inform you that you have passed the Certified Information Systems Security Professional competency examination…

To which Angel said:  “Wow!  I love you so much!  Now I am engaged to a certified professional genius!”

To which I replied by inquiring about the potential need for a “wild genius ride”.  But, I received no response.  Apparently I thought it was a bit more humorous than she did.  😉

Either way, Marc has officially passed the CISSP exam!  YAAAAAHHHHOOOOOO!!!!