This is the last entry in a 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.
For this last entry, there are only two of us in Australia, me and the Old Boss.
All names are changed, of course. They’re not innocent but I’m sure they’re wrathful. 😉
Part one, part two, part three, part four.
Here we go.
Since I quit the old day job in 2011, the company has merrily leapt from tragedy to tragedy, and I recently caught up with the Old Boss (And helped him shut down the Australian office – what was left of it).
Since I left they’d moved to a smaller, cheaper office without the daycare-coloured walls. The new office was old, the elevator was rubbish and Google Maps constantly sent people to the wrong street but that’s OK because all the staff had quit, the manager from Overseasland had left to join a competing company, my Old Boss was working from home because why commute to an empty office no one could find if they wanted to visit? The lease was paid up until the end of the financial year but the office was empty for the last seven months or so.
All that was left in the office was desks, a coffee machine, the server rack, and some security cameras. In true company style the security cameras were cheap units you buy in a bundle, and they’d just wedged them into the ceiling panels – they weren’t even mounted properly.
The company had just been sold, you see, and the changeover was happening at the end of financial year. Old Boss couldn’t get answers from the Overseasland staff, who seemed just as clueless now as before. What should be kept, discarded, or sold? No one would say, and the landlord was asking questions.
So we drove down, and cleared out anything of value. Pulled out the cameras, ransacked the desks, found a home for a few of the chairs, and liberated the coffee machine. As for the server rack…
The old CEO, perched on the edge of his chair waiting for midnight and the money to hit his account, at which point I imagined he’ll cackle gleefully and fuck off to an island somewhere, was on the phone with Old Boss. “Should we unplug it?” Old Boss asked. “Overseasland General Manager didn’t say one way or the other. Head Programmer said it was probably fine.”
The CEO said ‘I guess we’ll find out!’ and so I killed the power, and yanked out all the LAN cables, tucked everything in, and wheeled it into the foyer. The damn thing weighed like 200kg and it was great fun maneuvering it down the crappy old elevator (which twice that day forgot which floor we wanted) and onto the trailer.
A couple of hours later we were leaving the premises, and we got the phone call from the Foreign Country support office, asking why their phones were dead.
“Can you plug them back in?” asked the sad voice on the phone.
The server’s in the trailer behind the car, so, no. We’d also yanked the LAN cables which were hard-wired into sockets. The lease was ending. There was no going back.
Found out today that they hadn’t paid the bills for the phone services for a while, so although the VOIP systems can be paid up and brought back online, the toll-free number used by the company for decades was immediately canceled and is gone forever.
And in a final note, the Old Boss was invited to an all-hands party, which he could join via remote video, on Friday.
He received the invitation the next day, on Saturday.