NFGworld

My Old Day Job – Part Four

This is part four of a four-part series, detailing the last year at my old software job. I was a front-line guy, I answered the phone, did most of the tech support, as well as sales, implementation, and commiserating when it all went wrong and the customer had no one else who really understood their pain.

We did good software, I still maintain that it was super powerful stuff, but it suffered from a development staff in another country (OverseasLand) who didn’t really care about our little offshoot office in Australia, and who didn’t really understand the benefit of making the software better unless that specific bit of improvement was being paid for. Doing good for the sake of it was against policy over there, while over here we created an environment that made the customer’s life easier whenever possible. There’s also a support staff in a low-wages Foreign Country, a wholly owned subsidiary of Head Office, who have recently been brought online.

The relevant staff: me, the support guy, and the boss. And now there’s the new Manager, from OverseasLand. He’s only just moved to Australia, temporarily at this point.

All names are changed, of course. They’re not innocent but I’m sure they’re wrathful. 😉

Part one, part two, part three.

Here we go.


December 01, 2011

My phone wasn’t working this morning. Wouldn’t call out, no one could call me. When I messaged Head Office, they said “Oh, yeah, that happens.”

Oh, OK I guess. As long as it’s not, like, unusual…


The division of labour in this company is starting to get on my nerves. As a sales guy, my job is to call people, and get them to part with their money. I am apparently supposed to be pretty aggressive about it. The thing is, if I’m not involved with the followup support and, you know, regular contact with my customers, where exactly is my incentive to sell the right thing to the right person?

By asking me to get money money money and then rigidly enforcing the division between me and the customer, they’re practically encouraging me to make bad sales just to keep the numbers up. And why not, I’ll never hear from them again.

It goes on.

We used to have one main point of contact in Head Office for all things customer account and license related. Yesterday I get a panicked call from my favourite dealer, he hasn’t received his licenses yet. I checked, I ordered them a week ago. I sent off an email asking what’s up to our main contact in Head Office, and she replies “Oh I sent it directly to the dealer.”

See, before, they’d send it to ME. When the dealer calls me I know what’s going on. Now I have to fire off an email to OverseasLand and wait 24 hours for a reply (’cause of the time difference), and the reply is “Oh, we didn’t keep you in the loop ’cause, you know, you’re in sales.” Apparently the license went to the dealer, who didn’t get the email.

So I replied with the dealer’s current email address, and asked her to change it. “Oh that’s not my department. I’ve changed it this time, but from now on you have to send it to the account manager. I think that’s Brenda.”

You think. You’re not sure. I’m new here, hello? If you don’t know what the fuck’s going on, what chance have I got? You used to be the one person who could do everything for us, how come suddenly you’re not even able to tell us who can update an email address?

No wonder shit never gets done in this company. The divisions between departments have been carefully designed to be as inefficient as possible.

The stupidity has infected me. I just remembered that I can update the fucking thing myself now. Why didn’t that dumb girl tell me that!?

It’s too late for me. Save yourselves!


For years I’ve maintained that a good backup contains everything in the database directory. Lots of things go here, not just the database files. Painstakingly created invoice templates, for example. Our Overseasland Head Office has been quite adamant, in all their documentation and customer dealings, that we only need the database files themselves, just the ones with the .ext file extension. Certainly not all the extra stuff in the database directory that only serves to increase backup sizes, and besides, what if the customer files all their other random shit in there?

You can guess where this is going.

A large customer just had a server failure, and they were following the Head Office method. Their backup contained only the *.ext database files.

Which didn’t include the *.ext-01 file, where the rollover data went after the file became unusually large after some 15 years using our software.

So the official Head Office backup instructions work great except when they don’t, and this customer’s missing a bunch of shit.

Sigh.


I keep getting phone calls. When I pick up the phone, I hear the caller’s voicemail, then I get put on hold.

14 thoughts on “My Old Day Job – Part Four

  1. December 2, 2011

    Our phones don’t work. All calls to the normal Australian number get a 2-tone error signal and so we’re not getting any calls today.

    Customers who know about our sales-only 1300 (toll free) number are calling on that, but it only works because our telephone provider (Telstra) sucks. We asked them to forward the 1300 number to our new phone system two days ago.

    As soon as it starts working like it should, nothing will work at all.


    I mentioned earlier that making invoices is an ordeal ’cause of all the manual math I have to do. Head Office has told me two things:

    1. The extra math isn’t a problem ’cause we’re not creating a lot of invoices. When we get busier and the extra burden is a problem (for more people than just me) then they’ll look at fixing it.

    2. I shouldn’t be making invoices that don’t end in whole numbers. $3299.99 is bad, $3300 is good. Because I have to jump through hoops to get the taxes to work for Australia, I cannot always do this. Taxes combined with penny rounding means prices sometimes cannot be massaged into position. Of course, no one told me I should be doing it this way anyway, they just told me I was doing it wrong after the fact.

    Summary: No one cares if you have to do extra work, no one will tell you how to do things the right way, and please do the impossible.


    Head Office wouldn’t give anyone down here permission to make changes to the software setup.

    But strangely they did give us the permissions necessary to get into the database and hack the raw files.

    So the old boss here teaches himself SQL one afternoon, gets into the database, and and fixes the Australian states, in about half an hour.

    Head Office sort of went insane at this point, everyone wants to know how he did it, and why, since they were going to do it themselves. Some day. It’s been a month, fuckers. We fixed it in half an hour.


    Head Office just called. We sent some customer data to their server last night. They said they couldn’t retrieve it, after 45 minutes of downloading they had only a 37kB file.

    We tested it: 200kB/s all the way from OverseasLand to Australia, and the file works fine.

    “Yeah,” they said, “But you’re closer to it.”

    Our reply used small words: “It’s on your server. It’s in your building. You can probably hear it from where you are now.”

    I suggested they walk over and copy it onto a USB stick.


    I wrote up an invoice yesterday that was a bit weird, so I sent off an email asking our admin contact to check it over for me.

    Today I got an email from the new manager, asking for proof of customer payment before this invoice could be processed.

    I didn’t ask for it to be processed, I asked for someone to check it. Does this mean you did check it, or are you not even reading my emails?


    My mental image of this company is an office full of people flailing their arms, screaming and crashing into each other for 8 hours a day.

  2. December 3, 2011

    The phones still don’t work. Our incoming lines are being directed to the OverseasLand switchboard, but some sort of internet glitch is killing these calls before they actually get to Head Office.

    So they wanted to re-re-direct them to our older VOIP lines which we don’t use anymore.

    The hardware we removed because they assured us we didn’t need it anymore.

    So they thought to re-re-direct it to our 1300 line… Except we already asked the phone company to forward that to the normal line which doesn’t work. Once that kicks in, we’d have a phone loop.

    That actually might not be less efficient than our normal uselessness.

    Once I stopped laughing I told the boss I’m taking an extra long lunch today. I figure instead of 1pm I’ll come back around, say, February.

  3. December 5, 2011

    We all came down to the new office building, intending to scavenge a bunch of cubicles from the empty offices upstairs. The landlord said this was fine, so, free cubicles!

    When we arrived, it was the first time I’d heard that our new offices have been painted in eye-watering yellow, green and dark blue. I asked if we’d somehow become a daycare center.

    Apparently these are the corporate colours, despite none of them being used on our software, documentation, logos, boxes, stationary or web sites. Apparently the CEO had a consultant tell him these colours were something something I was too busy laughing to pay much attention.

    It’s seriously garish. The only consolation is that apparently Head Office in OverseasLand is equally repulsive.

    Notice the exit sign above where two doors have been walled over. Pretty sure that’s against some sort of regulation, so they’ll have to remove it. But because they didn’t paint under it there’ll be a white patch when we do.

    Comedy.


    For most of the time we were tearing down and hauling the cubicle components we suffered with simple screwdrivers ’cause the power drill – fully charged and ready to go – didn’t have any Phillips-head bits. I don’t know how anyone could buy a collection of screwdriver bits that include Allen, Torx, Robertson and several other weird types, but no Phillips bits. I mean, how is that even possible? It’s the first or second most popular screwdriver tip in the world.

    We eventually caved, went out and bought one, and it brought the cubicle disassembly time down from 5-10 minutes each to about 60 seconds.


    But when we brought them all to the new office we couldn’t put them back together, because the masking tape outlines left by the new manager weren’t consistent, and we didn’t know how big the new desks were going to be, and the phones don’t work and it was very late in OverseasLand when we got to this point, so we couldn’t ask him.

    And the cubicle panels come in a bizarre array of sizes. I mean, we’ve got maybe 30 panels, and they’re in six different lengths. What the hell.

    And they’re fucking burgundy, which at least won’t clash any worse than the existing office colour scheme.


    The phones still don’t work. Head Office can’t figure out why, it all works fine from here to OverseasLand where it dies mysteriously, and our VOIP provider in Australia won’t help diagnose problems outside Australia.

    Not that it matters when we’re all at the new office while the phones are at the old one…


    We had the electricians in to run power through the new office. They were hours late, the landlord didn’t leave a key to the electricity switchboard, and no one had a clear plan of what power points were needed or where they were to go…

  4. December 6, 2011

    For as long as I’ve worked here, and as long as we’ve been in business, we’ve taught our customers to be self-sufficient. We email them the program, the license file, the installation instructions. We invite them to call if they run into trouble. They rarely call.

    Now the new company policy is to email the program and half of the license keys, and tell the customer to wait until someone in our support team gets around to calling them.

    I told Head Office in a chat session:

    Oh good, as long as it’s a less complicated process than before.

    We used to send them a license file. It took seconds, they have a permanent copy in their email. Save it, apply it, done.

    Now they have to go to our hideously designed website, find the login section, remember their password, find the tiny link to license files, and download the correct one, and apply it on their own. Or wait to have their hand held by someone in a foreign country.

    Fuck’s sake you guys.

  5. December 8, 2011

    Our software runs on a database product that comes in three flavours: Client, Server, and Workgroup. They all have different versions, which can’t be compared: July 2010, V10 SP1, and 10.10.14.

    What the hell, how does that even work?

    It’s like our dumbass company recognized another dumbass company as a kindred spirit.


    A customer emailed me today, to tell me about his conversation with his new account manager at OverseasLand Head Office. This customer and I have a rapport generated over the last six years, and we frequently complain to each other about this company and the software.

    The new account manager had apparently introduced himself, and explained the way things work with the new company. My customer said he didn’t want a new representative, he wanted me, because I was willing to trade pornographic emails for software support.

    The new account manager, to his credit, took that in stride and simply said things will probably work a little differently now.


    A customer recently purchased a fairly expensive upgrade to the newest version of the software, downloaded and installed it, applied his license, and was immediately locked out of the system.

    I couldn’t help, so I put him on to the new Overseas Support team. They tried to get him going for several hours, then asked him to do something that’d take a while, and gave him a phone number to call them back on.

    A 1-800 number.

    Which doesn’t work in Australia.

    When our customer couldn’t call back, the supporting technician went home for the day, telling his switchboard “If this customer calls back, tell him I’ll call him again tomorrow.”

    A good, old customer who just paid a ton for an upgrade, has a total system failure, and this is how you handle it? With wrong phone numbers and going home at noon?

    Fuck’s sake you guys!!


    Phones still don’t work.


    We’re under a lot of pressure to get moved into the new office. The new manager was hoping we’d have the place ready before his return to Australia. There are still no desks, no interior walls, no cubicles, no network infrastructure, no power, and he wants to have it ready to shift some laptops, sit down, plug in and get working? Sit on what chairs, the ones we found in an abandoned office downstairs, with the holes and the wobbly wheels?

    And then what?

  6. December 10, 2011

    Remember that server failure back at head office? The one with no backups, that took down the e-commerce sites of every customer dumb enough to use our online package?

    OverseasLand Head Office just sent out a mass email to all our customers titled E-Commerce Best Methods and the subtitle was Building Trust Online.

    I’ll bet anything they don’t see the irony.


    Anyway, this email linked to a webpage that is incredibly amateurish. Allow me to demonstrate:

    – Correct English rules usually mandate two spaces after a sentence ends. Every time they did this, an extra character – Â – would appear. This means every time they wrote with proper English spacing, they’d get a bit of garbage on the screen. It’s telling that there were only four of these in some 30 sentences.

    – Every paragraph seemed completely disconnected from the rest. The first was about differentiating your business, and ended with a question: how? The next paragraph was about asking why you have e-commerce, and ended with the concept of building customer trust. The third was about useful things to include in your site, and so on. It was a mishmash of ideas that made no coherent sense to me.

    – It was riddled with simple English errors, misused words and grade-school-level writing. There’s one sentence that suggests in some ways e-commerce is different from regular retail, but in others it is the same. No shit, really?

    – They put full links in, asking the viewer to please check http://nfgworld.com for example, instead of making it easier to read like this, like every other webpage in the fucking world for the last forever.


    The email had only an HTML version, there was no plaintext. This is a technical failure, but for as long as I can remember they have never been bothered by this fundamental breaking of the way email works.

  7. December 13, 2011

    The new phone server arrived in Australia along with our new manager. He collected it at Sydney airport, and re-booked it for the connecting flight to Brisbane.

    The server never arrived.

    In a panic, they bought a used server, threw a phone-friendly Linux distro on it, and have just installed it in the new office.

    Phones still don’t work. All incoming calls are dropped. Outgoing ones work half the time.


    I just had a conversation with a customer experiencing a minor hardware failure. A barcode scanner is not working like it should, and it seems to be a battery problem. I wasn’t familiar with the particular device, so I asked him if it had a user-accessible panel so that he could access the battery, perhaps it has come unplugged.

    He replied “I don’t understand your techie talk! What does that mean!?”

    I told him it was a panel that could be accessed by a user, hence the term user accessible panel. He said he doesn’t like my attitude.

    I asked again, does it have such a panel? “Yeah we checked that” he said. I pressed the issue: Does that mean you looked for a panel, or you found it and the battery’s fine?

    “Yes.”

    I changed tactics a bit: “What’s the serial number?” He reads me the model number.

    I ask again, and he replies “Um… Seven?”

    I gave up, and called the manufacturer who assured me they didn’t need the serial number. Well, good, ’cause it’s apparently impossible to get. A new battery could be ordered, but the user would have to open the device with a screwdriver to replace it.

    I decided to talk to the user’s boss about other, more qualified staff members.


    The Foreign Country support staff still can’t work out Australian accents. They get a call for me from from Wesley, and the message I get is from Bradley. As a rule, they can’t tell me who, from where, or why anyone calls.

    I am wondering why anyone calls us too, actually.


    In the previous post I mentioned an email and a webpage that was, at best, not entirely professional. I asked someone today who wrote that page, ’cause it had some errors.

    “Oh, a word of advice?” she offered. “Watch your step. That page was written by Jackie, and she doesn’t take criticism kindly. And she never forgets.”

    So, I guess because of this dumbass’ ego, we’re gonna just keep on looking like retards to the world.

    I love it here.


    UPDATE: That barcode scanner customer’s manager just called me.

    “What did you say to him? I have a message to call him about it.”

    I told her how our conversation went, and she replies “…Yeah, I’m not going to call him back.”

    I asked her if there was anyone in his office qualified to work a screwdriver, because he was (and I quote myself here) “too fucking stupid to do it.”

    She assured me that everyone else was more than capable.


    Our software has an inter-office mail system, allowing messages to be sent to other users from within the software. But only from some parts of the software. It prevents you from sending messages from other places, as if you’d never want to send mail from the main menu, but only while viewing a customer account.


    The old office is a shell, naught but desks and phones, and me and my laptop, basically.

    Well, they just collected all the phones, but told me to stay here.

    What, I ask you, am I supposed to be doing here? No one can call. There is no walk-in traffic. My job for the next three hours is collecting the mail!?

    The hell is going on here? I cannot fathom.

  8. December 14, 2011

    Mushroom n. – any of several edible species, especially of the family Agaricaceae.


    I came to work a little early today, as is my custom, to get a coffee and enjoy some quiet time. my coworker showed up and we stared at each other in mutual surprise – I knew he wasn’t due in for an hour, and he thought I would be at the new office. He was only here to pick something up that he’d forgotten.

    Wait, the new office? I was supposed to go there?

    “Yeah, we sort of forgot to tell you.”

    It’s a three man office for fuck’s sake! The two of you only need to tell one guy!

    Should I bring anything?

    “Nope, we’re all set, got some folding tables to work on, and your phone’s hooked up.”

    So, the LAN? Power? Where’s my laptop? Chair?

    “Um… I don’t know actually.”

    Guys! Seriously!

    So he told me to just stay here and feign ignorance.

    Another day alone in the office. =)


    Mushroom n. – Someone constantly kept in the dark, and fed mostly bullshit.

  9. December 15, 2011

    This one’s a bit long, sorry.


    We’re finally at the new office.

    The new manager bought me a calculator, a cheap $2 unit, because every salesman needs one. As if the Windows one I call up with a keyboard button is somehow going to stop working some day.

    I filed it in a drawer and don’t expect to ever use it again.


    After replacing the server lost in transit, at a fairly significant cost and a lengthy installation, the first one turned up. Now we have two.

    In honour of the airline that lost it, we named the original one Qantas.

    I suggested we name the other one Clusterfuck but was ignored.


    They keep working on the wrong server and starting over.

    While re-doing their work for the third time, they used the downtime of one machine to unplug it and flip it around right-side-up in the server rack.


    The heavy duty server rack they bought for security has only three sides on it. Metal locking doors and only three sides.


    Reasonably sure the only skill I’m going to develop at this job is Bullshitting Management to keep them from realizing I’m on facebook all day.


    They asked me which cubicle I wanted. No one was suspicious when I took the farthest one so no one could sneak up behind me. And realize I’m on facebook all day.

    Why weren’t they suspicious? I’m disappointed, yet again.


    The new manager has a bunch of sales books, as if you can become a better salesman by reading about it. IMO sales is an art: you can either do it or you can’t, you can practice and get better, but you can’t learn it from a book. I have a fairly low opinion of anyone who thinks you can.


    The new manager is a numbers man. He loves him some numbers. They were trying to work out a policy today, and he said “OK, I’ll give you a budget of 15 minutes to sort it.”

    What kind of person says that?

    Everything’s got to be enumerated with him. Sales figures, call times, calls per day, how many prospects are near to closing, how many how many how many. I don’t agree with this, but I understand the desire for things you can measure. I wonder though if he truly believes this shit, or if he’s under pressure from management to quantify everything.


    After so much pressure to get into the new office, I arrived with my laptop and notepad and pens, and napped on the floor for an hour before being given anything to actually do, and then set my stuff up on a folding table, and was told to start calling customers.

    But the phones didn’t work for most of the morning.


    Apparently they record all phone calls. Yesterday the phone/IT contractor, with whom I’d been having some fun chats, told me my line was selected for special monitoring. Not sure if he was joking or not, but as you might imagine, I’m assuming the worst.


    The new manager went out shopping, and came back with some printer paper. In the same bag was a bottle of window cleaner. Now we have blue-edged scented printer paper.

    Later, he was showing off some promo stuff they used in OverseasLand, and there were stacks of papers soaked in coffee.

    I asked him why everything he had was dipped in fluid. He claimed he lived out of this bag for weeks, he stored everything in there.

    I told him he should get a separate bag for wet things.


    One of the promo things he had was a folded card they handed out to customers. Two sides were covered in fairly amateurish cartoon clip-art, and I asked about it. Apparently the whole company is smitten with this math major who does all the marketing work. The same person who wrote the web page I was so disgusted with a few posts back.

    “She’s so incredible, she drew this herself!”

    It looked like a collection of really bad clip-art with ugly fonts and, around the edges, badly spaced website addresses, separated by ⌧.


    Like this, but filled with bad clipart.

    Yay.


    Speaking of that webpage, I showed it to a PR specialist I know. She confirmed what I thought: it was pretty bad. She said I should mention her to management, ’cause they obviously need a PR girl.

    I said no one in this company was smart enough to recognize a problem, let alone take steps to fix it.

    She asked me why I was bothering to critique the webpage.

    …That’s a really good question.


    The new manager is a dedicated non-technical person. He’s damn near proud of himself for not knowing anything about anything, except selling stuff. I could fill another thread with the dumb shit he says, but we all know computer illiterate people, right?

    In a software company.

    He says it’s not necessary. He doesn’t need to know stuff to sell stuff.

    When I go looking stuff up before calling a customer, anticipating his questions and wanting to be prepared with the answers, I’m told not to waste my time. “Just tell them you don’t know. Tell them it doesn’t matter, you’ll find out later. Ask them if you find out the answer right now, are they ready to buy?”

    That’s by the numbers asshole-salesman technique right there. They gave me the same advice when I worked in an electronics store selling CD players. I mocked him. I said “Oh sure, I’ll found out the answer for you, if you’ve got your credit card handy.”

    Without a trace of embarrassment, he said exactly!

    It’s OK, I’m embarrassed enough for both of us.


    They bought new desks rather than buy the ones we used in the old office. Same size, fewer drawers, badly mistreated and covered in glue and all manner of shit, and poorly made. The ones we had were better quality, better made, but had about 20cm of the lowest part swollen from flood damage.

    But they were durable and clean and looked nice. The new ones literally fell apart when we moved them. They’re propped up against the cubicle walls so they don’t fall over.

    Money well spent, assholes.


    A customer called and bitched about the phones not working.

    With the manager hovering nearby, I told her the new phones were awesome, ’cause it kept us from having to deal with customers.

    She laughed, and said she wished her phone worked that way.

  10. December 16, 2011

    In every Windows program, ALT-F4 closes the program and CTRL-F4 closes the active window within that program. For example, in your web browser, CTRL-F4 closes the current tab. ALT-F4 closes the browser. That’s how it works, they all do that.

    Our program does too.

    Mostly.

    If, when you first start the application, you hit CTRL-F4 on the main window, you get a payment screen for an invoice that doesn’t allow payments, and if you add an item to that mysterious invoice you get rental details for items that don’t allow rentals.

    I told the new manager about it and he says “Yeah, it’s like going to the doctor and saying it hurts when I do this. The answer is: don’t do that.”

    The fuck, man.


    Overheard:

    “When you enter the transaction details in the computer, it happens instantly. What happens in the real world might take longer. That cheque you just entered is instant in the computer. Your supplier may not cash it for three weeks. The totals won’t always match.”

    Makes sense to me. Seconds later I heard him say “I can’t explain it any simpler.”

    The conversation went on for ten more minutes, yet I didn’t hear anything different. Very glad this one wasn’t mine to handle.


    Our tech brought the coffee machine from the old office. To my great surprise, he also brought mugs, spoons, sugar, milk, and more coffee.

    I told him “I take back three of the seven hundred and nine bad things I’ve said about you.”


    New customers created for Australia do not default to Australia, the country is blank. It’s a half dozen extra clicks to change this, so I started asking who had the authority to fix it.

    No one knows, and our new manager ignored the message when I asked him.

  11. December 16, 2011

    A customer called and bitched about the Overseas Support staff. The customer wanted direct numbers, wanted direct emails, was pissed off she couldn’t have it.

    It wasn’t my call, but in a discussion with the tech who talked to her, I said “It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out” ’cause a lot of customers are in for some surprises.

    The new manager pipes up from two cubicles down:

    “It’ll play out like it did in Overseas Land. They’ll whine about complain and then they’ll get used to it.”

    There’s absolutely no room for the idea that maybe, just maybe, they might have made a mistake.

    I feel like I’m on some sort of rudderless warship, it’s all guns blazing all the time, with no one at the wheel. I have this hilarious mental image of a boat stuffed with cheering, gung-ho sailors whooping and firing their guns as they circle a massive whirlpool, lower and lower and still madly enthusiastic about it all.


    So I don’t know if I was ever closer to standing up, saying I quit and walking out the door as I was this afternoon.

    Our customer portal, for customers who have already given us money and are looking for installation software or codes, is a disaster. It’s ugly, has a dozen fonts, four colour schemes,and three confusing menus. On one page.

    I’m a computer guy and I overlooked the Login here, dummy! like four times. I would never have guessed where to go to find licenses. It’s a needless series of dumbass hoops which I’ve raged about before, and it sort of pisses me off.

    So I brought it up with the new manager today. He defended the site at first, saying that it was all done by the clip-art queen when she wasn’t busy poisoning orphans or whatever, and she didn’t really have time to just re-do massive parts of the site, and it’s just not feasible to have random people just make changes, ’cause then who would own it? he asked me. Who would be responsible for maintaining it? As if no one at all was preferable!

    Who would own it? I dunno, how about the entire company that kinda has this as our customer-facing image? What does this say, we’re ugly and we don’t give a shit?

    And then he dropped the bomb that nearly made me quit:

    This site isn’t designed to make our customers happy. It’s designed to make us happy. It’s complicated and confusing and full of extra links so that customers spend more money.

    I was floored. I said “This is the existing customer portal, right? For customers who have already given us money.”

    “Yes, that’s right. We want them to give us more.”

    Now, I’m sort of paraphrasing, but that’s more or less what he said. We, as a company, design confusing websites for our existing customers so that they have a hard time getting their shit done, ’cause it might entice them to spend more money.

    I do not want to work here anymore.

  12. December 20, 2011

    When you identify a problem in our software, corporate loyalism prevents anyone from admitting that perhaps you’re right, there’s a problem.

    And in the unlikely event you manage to get someone to admit there’s a problem, the effort of convincing them that maybe it should be fixed is herculean.

    The question they always ask, in order to demonstrate their complete inability to recognize the reason the company exists in the first place as well as blow you off, is who’s going to pay for it?

    In some screens, it’s ALT-S to save your work. In some screens it’s automatically saved, and you just ALT-C to close it when you’re done. In others, you press F10. Sometimes it’s ALT-X to exit. Sometimes the icon’s on the left, sometimes the right, sometimes the middle. There are four different icons for exit/close/quit/save, and they’re used for other things too. I’ve been using it for seven years, and I still hit the wrong one all the time.

    The day I say that one of our customers should pay more money just so we can fix stupid shit that even monkeys can recognize is retarded is the day I want you, dear reader, to hit me in the head with your favourite gardening implement.


    No one pays attention.

    Customer pays good money to upgrade from the old Abandonware version, to CurrentProduct, and OverseasLand Head Office sends instructions to update one version of CurrentProduct to the newest CurrentProduct. They’re not even remotely similar instructions, they’re utterly and totally useless.

    In effect, they say “Click on auto-update, and wait!” but that feature doesn’t exist in Abandonware. They’re attempting a huge, significant upgrade. The process is not difficult, but is made massively more complicated by the bullshit hoop-jumping they have to do, and is made much more frustrating by inattentive bullshit upgrade instructions.

    Way to waste the customer’s time.

    The new manager just laughed. “That’s probably the first time a customer actually read the instructions and followed them!”

    To which I replied “Yeah, and the instructions were fucking wrong.


    UPDATE: This customer managed to log in to their account via our bullshit customer portal only to find their license file was apparently created in 1969, has obviously expired, and the expensive invoice they paid for last week has had no effect on their customer status.

    Of course not. Taking money and not delivering has been our MO for the last decade.


    Bonus fact: Our software produces exported data files that are so broken it can’t import them. When I asked the programmers about it, they confirmed that yes, it’s useless, and no, there are no plans to fix it.

  13. December 21, 2011

    So that customer waiting for their 1969 license update? Shit just got insane down here.

    I received two emails from the staff in OverseasLand Head Office last night, from two of the licensing staff. Both of them said they have no procedure in place to handle this sort of upgrade, and are waiting for instructions from the new manager down here.

    So I go and tell him that Alice and Jane are waiting for his instructions.

    Him: ‘why?’
    Me: ‘they don’t know what to do.’
    Him: ‘who?’
    Me: ‘Alice and Jane.’
    Him: ‘why?’
    Me: Because they’re waiting for you.
    Him: ‘Who is?’
    Me: Alice and Jane!?
    Him: ‘there is no they!’

    WTF is going on!?

    I so wish I could say I was joking or exaggerating, but that’s pretty much verbatim. I just grabbed my coffee cup and headed for the kitchen. I’m done here.

    I told my wife, and she says “Did he go insane? There’s a good hospital near there.”


    Before that conversation, I was 15 mins late getting to the new office. I had to go to the old office and turn off some networking gear that was causing conflicts with the new setup, and I had to put fuel in my bike.

    I get here and get lectured.

    Be here at 8! Do your job!

    My job is sales. Specifically, phone sales.

    …THE FUCKING PHONES ARE DEAD. AGAIN. What would I be doing here 15 minutes earlier!?

    NOTHING.

  14. Same day, 3 hours later

    I have just submitted my resignation letter. I sent it to everyone, there’s no going back.

    Seconds later the receptionist in Head Office emails me to say she’s finally added me to her address book.

    Somehow that seems fitting.


    The new manager was out when I sent the letter. When he returned, I told him I just gave my two weeks notice. Since I had nearly that in holiday pay, I was going to work until the weekend.

    I ask him “My laptop is full of personal shit, do you want me to nuke it and reinstall Windows?”

    He told me to do it, and while I’m wiping it clean I’m in a sort of daze. Completely empty.

    I finish the erasure, and he comes out of his office. “Can you give me a list of leads and notes for sales you were working on?”

    I look at the laptop.

    “No.”

    He stares at me.

    “And I have a few sick days I haven’t used. I think I’m done here.”

    It hit me. I smiled. I laughed! I picked up my jacket, and my helmet, and I giggled as I walked out of that office for the last time.

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