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Old 01-15-2012, 05:34 AM   #41
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> Where I work, every so often they ask me to "go the extra mile" and I have to decide whether to do it or not. Sometimes I actually fear I will be fired if I refuse, but I have refused them several times and not been fired. Two of my coworkers have been fired for refusing to do things they thought were abusive to them, and to my astonishment, they were awarded unemployment compensation, even though the company challenged it. I'm in Pa. I'm not a socialist type, but I am glad there are laws in place that limit abuse of employees by corporations.
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:29 AM   #42
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One year ago I would not have contributed to this thread but now I'm reading it with interest. I currently work in an environment (I'm in university academia) that was great for a long time but turned sour due to various factions that formed around a policy issue. I objected to the issue at hand and took the side of the chair who also strongly opposed it. Then he resigned the position and went back to his home department (he was on "loan" to my dept.), effectively leaving me alone. It is a small department (6 of us) and now it is "them" vs. "me." Yes, they certainly talk and strategize behind my back, and this hurts. Sadly there is little to no help from the administration (typical) who by and large just want the matter to go away. Academia can be the most petty and demeaning of places. I have served my time and done an excellent job in teaching and scholarship as would be readily acknowledged, but no one would bat an eye--some of those 6 would cheer--if I walked away or dropped dead tomorrow. Unfortunately I will not be able to retire for years to come, and jobs for middle-aged professors in the liberal arts are very, very few. I do like to teach and my students like me--so this is the only thing that keeps me going these days.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:12 AM   #43
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...(snip)...
I objected to the issue at hand and took the side of the chair who also strongly opposed it. Then he resigned the position and went back to his home department (he was on "loan" to my dept.), effectively leaving me alone. It is a small department (6 of us) and now it is "them" vs. "me." Yes, they certainly talk and strategize behind my back, and this hurts. Sadly there is little to no help from the administration (typical) who by and large just want the matter to go away. Academia can be the most petty and demeaning of places. ....
I wonder if talking to each individual in a very straightforward manner about how this is making your work environment unpleasant, or maybe asking what you could do to make up for the past issues, would help to clear the air. Maybe just stick with neutral phrases. If you did this in quick succession so they had to deal with you 1:1 maybe the "group think" would be diluted? Just a thought.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:42 PM   #44
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I wonder if talking to each individual in a very straightforward manner about how this is making your work environment unpleasant, or maybe asking what you could do to make up for the past issues, would help to clear the air. Maybe just stick with neutral phrases. If you did this in quick succession so they had to deal with you 1:1 maybe the "group think" would be diluted? Just a thought.
Regarding "group think" : I've noticed during my working years that groups often (always?) tend to select one member of the group to be the "victim" or "whipping boy" who is made fun of. Sometimes the manager joins in and bullies the victim too, much to the delight of the group. Sometimes someone will come to the aid of the "victim" but usually the non-victims just carry on like everything is fine and normal, and just as it should be.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:02 PM   #45
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I worked for one manager that got on other people's nerves because he was underhanded but smart. So became to be seen as his lacky and got some grief from that as a result.

My thought above was to try to break up the "group think" by appealing to each individual on a 1:1 private discussion. It should not be confrontational and doesn't even have to be completely direct, just straight forward and honest. Doesn't seem like it would hurt and they might be more friendly over time if not right away.

Sometimes people at work act like they did as children in the school yard years ago. Nice to be out of that stuff.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:45 PM   #46
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Dealing with 180 entitled teenagers every year for decades just sucks the life out of you, as do the overbearing parents and ladder-climbing administrators. I used to love going to work but it has become no more than a means to an end. Two more school years and I won't look back.

So no ONE person, it has been an accumulation of people. By and large I have good co-workers.
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:19 PM   #47
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Yes, I moved and took on a new job a few years ago. Ran into an arrogant supervisor and some really jackals who worked under me. Had a great career and enjoyed the job until then. Decided I did not want to either move or put up with the #$%, so I retired. Good decision. Still friends with folks from previous jobs, and both the supervisor and the jackals have retired, but too late for me. The supervisor was forced out and the jackals encouraged to retire, but again too late. I gues #$% happens.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:53 PM   #48
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One year ago I would not have contributed to this thread but now I'm reading it with interest. I currently work in an environment (I'm in university academia) that was great for a long time but turned sour due to various factions that formed around a policy issue. I objected to the issue at hand and took the side of the chair who also strongly opposed it. Then he resigned the position and went back to his home department (he was on "loan" to my dept.), effectively leaving me alone. It is a small department (6 of us) and now it is "them" vs. "me." Yes, they certainly talk and strategize behind my back, and this hurts. Sadly there is little to no help from the administration (typical) who by and large just want the matter to go away. Academia can be the most petty and demeaning of places. I have served my time and done an excellent job in teaching and scholarship as would be readily acknowledged, but no one would bat an eye--some of those 6 would cheer--if I walked away or dropped dead tomorrow. Unfortunately I will not be able to retire for years to come, and jobs for middle-aged professors in the liberal arts are very, very few. I do like to teach and my students like me--so this is the only thing that keeps me going these days.
While I w*rked for Megacorp, I used to think academia was probably a better place to be. I envied the "ivy covered walls" rather than my drab laboratory without windows I was forced to endure. So, because I had a very specific talent and experience level, I "hired out" to the local university first as a graduate assistant and then as a visiting instructor. I did it for little money, lots of work and relatively little appreciation. Still, I ended up getting a MS out of the deal. In essence, I helped to build a department that had not previously existed. I provided real-world (war stories) to students and have, over the years, received thanks and compliments from former students. Just about lost my DW over the long hours (still worked FT at Megacorp), but that's another story.

Long story short: I discovered that academia is far more political, back-biting, dog-eat-dog, spit in your food, sabotage your office mate, etc. etc. than Megacorp ever was. I was so shocked that I eventually bowed out, even though the s#%t rarely ran down to my level (unless you consider the lousy pay for service). Sad to think I had to get in the middle of an academic "food fight" to discover that even ivy isn't always greener than Transite.
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Old 01-26-2012, 07:38 PM   #49
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Not one person, but an attitude that somehow, someway because Mr/Ms. Administrator (at all levels) wills something to be done, it can be done. One wonders if they believe they could order the sun to rise in the West and set in the East, and the sun would have to do it.

Reminds me why I wish to retire. I was amazed at the number of younger teachers who are now saying they doubt if they will make it to retirement age like I did. Very sad that people can work so hard, for so long and feel so discouraged.
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:05 AM   #50
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Yes I retired a year early. The top people changed. I had enough.
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:37 AM   #51
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While I w*rked for Megacorp, I used to think academia was probably a better place to be. I envied the "ivy covered walls" rather than my drab laboratory without windows I was forced to endure. So, because I had a very specific talent and experience level, I "hired out" to the local university first as a graduate assistant and then as a visiting instructor. I did it for little money, lots of work and relatively little appreciation. Still, I ended up getting a MS out of the deal. In essence, I helped to build a department that had not previously existed. I provided real-world (war stories) to students and have, over the years, received thanks and compliments from former students. Just about lost my DW over the long hours (still worked FT at Megacorp), but that's another story.

Long story short: I discovered that academia is far more political, back-biting, dog-eat-dog, spit in your food, sabotage your office mate, etc. etc. than Megacorp ever was. I was so shocked that I eventually bowed out, even though the s#%t rarely ran down to my level (unless you consider the lousy pay for service). Sad to think I had to get in the middle of an academic "food fight" to discover that even ivy isn't always greener than Transite.

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Old 01-27-2012, 07:48 AM   #52
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Not a single person but real culture changes each time we were bought by someone new. At the end, we were owned by one of the companies that we originally had started to compete against and it just never felt right. The new culture wasn't bad, just very different than the one that I could operate within.

In fact, there were many people there that really impressed me and did soften my original thoughts about that take over. Eventually, they offered a package and I jumped at the chance along with many others like me. I missed it for about 20 seconds but was over it by the time I reached my car in the parking lot.

As background, I started at MCI in the the early 80's and left in 2008 not long after we were bought by Verizon. I had a two digit employee number that at the end, had to have 6 zeros in front of it to be entered in the admin systems. Before their break up, ATT was the "evil empire" and the baby bells were just their continuation in another form, lol.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:31 PM   #53
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Yes, I had an idiot "boss" who basically forced me out. I built a small software company that I sold to MegaCorp, and this guy resented some "young" guy coming in from nowhere and the thought of me running my own group, when he'd been there 20 years and ran nothing. He'd tell me to keep running it like I always did, and I'd assign out tasks and he'd immediately have a staff meeting (without me) to reassign the tasks. I'd ask him why, and he'd just shrug "it's better this way." What a jerk. I was willing to stay a lot longer even though I was able to RE, but that cemented it.

I can't say I'm entirely glad I left, because with Megacorp's resources, the group/my old company was able to work on some really cool projects for much larger customers. For me that's almost worth more than retirement. But the stress wasn't worth it.

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A high-up (*#@$_* decided to implement "extreme programming" company wide. I retired as our department was being forced to switch over.
Oh yea, I forgot about that short-lived fad. That was the thing where you'd put two programmers on one computer, one typing while the other went into a zen-like creative mode, solving difficult computational problems and innovating like crazy because he doesn't have to worry about the typing part. Triple the productivity!

Except of course, it actually meant you got some guy in your cube arguing with you it should be a do-while instead of a for loop, until he finally goes on smoke break and you manage to get a tiny bit accomplished while he's gone. Nothing like one programmer for the price of two!
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Old 01-30-2012, 03:30 AM   #54
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My last couple of years they promoted a narcissist/sociopath in charge of the department.He had a target out for myself and a few others.The last few years were hell but I did some mega saving and investing.Out of the blue the company offered a sev. package,I jumped on it.I have since heard that many good people left,and that they eventually got rid of this miserable subhuman.But the department was already ruined.Yes,I believe in Karma.
Life is short.
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:21 AM   #55
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Oh yea, I forgot about that short-lived fad. That was the thing where you'd put two programmers on one computer, one typing while the other went into a zen-like creative mode, solving difficult computational problems and innovating like crazy because he doesn't have to worry about the typing part. Triple the productivity!

Except of course, it actually meant you got some guy in your cube arguing with you it should be a do-while instead of a for loop, until he finally goes on smoke break and you manage to get a tiny bit accomplished while he's gone. Nothing like one programmer for the price of two!
Excellent description
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:49 AM   #56
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My last (2 levels up) boss caused me to retire 3 years early so I have some fondness for the impact he had on that decision. His management abilities brought the definitions of "Downing Effect" and "Dunning-Kruger Effect" into sharp focus.


He had no direct experience with our product line, but within the first month, he decided that we were going to reduce staff by cross-training. And also reduce travel costs and per diem by sending smaller teams to installations at remote/foreign sites.

The group (150ish) was set up in the 80s and many folks were still happy to be there 20+ years later, but within months we were seeing lots of long time employees (good ones) turning in notices, and others turning in retirement paperwork.

So happy to not have to be part of that, but also feel sorry for former colleagues who must stay or who felt compelled to go elsewhere.
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:42 PM   #57
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I worked for the guy who sunk the ship (a 50 contract killed in 3 years). So to make matters worse, rather than work to save the contract - he kept the "news" (contract cancellation) to himself while he ploted his exit. Then told a select few (me) the day he left that we had only months left.

Needless to say, this was very motivating.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:31 PM   #58
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.......

Long story short: I discovered that academia is far more political, back-biting, dog-eat-dog, spit in your food, sabotage your office mate, etc. etc. than Megacorp ever was. I was so shocked that I eventually bowed out, even though the s#%t rarely ran down to my level (unless you consider the lousy pay for service). Sad to think I had to get in the middle of an academic "food fight" to discover that even ivy isn't always greener than Transite.
I learned this doing some research right after getting my masters -and I had thought the military was bad.....wow - academia was worse, much worse. Made my decision right then to avoid it from then on - it's been 20 years and I've succeeded.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:35 PM   #59
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Our Megacorp had a massive re-org at the beginning of the 2008 downturn that set us up as independent business units. The VP over our unit and his direct reports decided that our division wasn't making enough money so hired some consultants to decide how to cut costs. This resulted in several layoffs and a decision to move the office I worked in. After working 12 hour days for 6 months and putting up with entirely too much drama, I started looking at my finances and was surprised to find out I could FIRE. I waited another 6 months to let some some stock options vest and then handed in my notice.

Best day of that year was when I told my boss he could put together his own D*&^($ budget and that my replacement would have to put together and execute the transition plan for the office move.

I loved my job with this company for 27 years but the last year was Heck. Its been a little over a year since retirement and I have no regrets. I've talked to some of my former co-workers and it looks like things have gotten a little better but not enough to tempt me to go back.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:24 AM   #60
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These days I sometimes ruminate to my spouse "I could SO do that job" and she says "Sure, but would you want to do it for _____"? At which point I get over my brief infatuation with paid employment.
I used to have the same thoughts when I would see an ad for a job that I knew I could do well. But I've gotten over it. As a matter of fact, I never even look at employment ads any more.
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