Merry Christmas, Screwed New Guy, Here's Your Pink Slip

by Jon Davis 1. January 2009 15:11

Happy new year and stuff.

I got a wonderful Christmas present a week or two ago. After accepting a job where my responsibilities, I was told, were to be trained for a certain very cool and expensive ASP.NET 3.5 based CMS and to generally do ASP.NET 3.5 work while helping to migrate from ASP Classic, instead upon arrival at the new job I discovered that all the CMS migration work was already outsourced to an outside consulting company, my employment was only to secure post-migration support and maintenance, and in the mean time I’d be spoon-fed ASP Classic and .NET 1.1 tasks one at a time for the next six to 24 months. On top of that, they didn't isolate their databases for development (development and testing was performed on production databases), and they didn't do localhost testing. Apparently my “bad attitude” (about being lied to? being suckered in? having to work with such unprofessional standards as developing against production databases?) showed itself to be a “bad fit” and the “contract was cancelled”, even though I kicked butt, performing tasks in a fraction of the time planned, like replicating and fully testing CAPTCHA across 20 web sites in 3 hours (and spitting razzberries after I was done? .. no, not really, just popping my head in and saying “it’s done, my plate’s clean again”). To whatever extent I might have had an "attitude", it wasn't just regretting having to work again with antiquated technology (which I managed to convince myself to enjoy), it was also being tasked with work different from what was in the job description.

Truth be told, no one said anything about an "attitude". It was about "personality conflict". But honestly I think that my personality came out a lot differently because I *did* have an attitude. For the first time in my career, at my last two contracts I was forced to work no more than eight hours a day (even if I didn't invoice for extra hours), I *had* to leave the building at 5 and I wasn't allowed to come in early, I had no co-workers to discuss the work (only one fellow developer, and we never had anything to do with each other), and absolutely no inspiration from the employer to stay on top of current technology. It was lonely and would have been depressing; I was grateful for a paycheck, though, and I kept coming home saying how strange this is, that I am neither loving nor hating my job, as it is the most perfect and ideal environment for absolute complacency. But that honestly had me kicking and screaming inside. I'm a driven worker, and I tend not to be happy if I can't throw in an extra hour of discovery and a few minutes a day (even five would suffice) discussing projects and/or technology with a peer. And no, study at home wasn't much of an option anymore; I may be single with no kids, but this job was almost two hours' drive round trip, I'm NOT a morning person and the drive home in stop-and-go traffic every day wore me out.

This is a really awful economy to be back on the job hunt, as anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave knows. But being that now is within the first few hours of 2009, I guess I want to get an early start at initial attempts to pursue my 2009 New Year’s resolutions. I need a job.


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About the author

Jon Davis (aka "stimpy77") has been a programmer, developer, and consultant for web and Windows software solutions professionally since 1997, with experience ranging from OS and hardware support to DHTML programming to IIS/ASP web apps to Java network programming to Visual Basic applications to C# desktop apps.
Software in all forms is also his sole hobby, whether playing PC games or tinkering with programming them. "I was playing Defender on the Commodore 64," he reminisces, "when I decided at the age of 12 or so that I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up."

Jon was previously employed as a senior .NET developer at a very well-known Internet services company whom you're more likely than not to have directly done business with. However, this blog and all of have no affiliation with, and are not representative of, his former employer in any way.

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