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Old 03-20-2010, 09:54 PM   #41
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When I went to doing only occasional work for my old firm the relationship changed dramatically. Sometimes feel as if I am just a PITA to them so they do little things to make life just a little more inconvenient for me. Like making it hard to get reimbursed for expenses. Like changing the contract terms each year to take a little more away from me. I go back and forth on whether to completely cut the ties, but I like the bit of work I do and I like the extra spending money so for now I keep on doing it and try to ignore the fact that I am no longer a big shot and in fact have no say in anything my old firm does. Now that I have moved away from town it is easier to ignore them.
So, what's that about? Jealousy? Betrayal?
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:35 AM   #42
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It used to be in the prison system here that they never told an inmate when he was getting out. They could estimate within a few months, but the exact date was a surprise. The inmate would be woken up at about 0300 and told to pack his stuff while a guard watched. Within minutes he was shutoff from his cellmate and the rest of the population and would be on his way out of the system, usually arriving home on a bus in less than 24 hours.

They did it that way because when other inmates knew an inmate's release date they would give him a good beating as a bon voyage present.

It's a tribal membership thing - either you are one of us or you are an outsider.

The work group will move on without you - it has to. And no matter what a beloved ray of sunshine you might have been in the workdays of your colleagues, when you announce you're cutting the ties that bind you to them is the moment they start cutting those ties from their end. The members of the group that you are leaving have to change their relationship with you so they can fill the hole and continue on their journey, which is now separate from your journey.

I understand the reasons people give for wanting to make some kind of gradual transition into retirement. To be honest I think a lot of it is just fear of making the leap - but that's another discussion. Whatever the reasons for it, semi-retiring as a member of a work group means that your co-workers are a little confused (does this go to him or his replacement?), see your situation as a PITA they have to deal with (he needs to handle this but he won't be in until Tuesday, what do I do with it between now and then?), and eventually come to see you as something of an outsider who is meddling in stuff that doesn't affect you (who cares what he thinks? he won't even be here when we actually start the work on that).

They may love you, think you're the best guy ever, cry when you finally leave, and talk about you for years later (God, I miss that guy). But right now, you're somewhere between loyal tribe member and beloved memory. You're the hybrid freak of the workplace that is breaking the norms of the tribe - neither fish nor fowl.

As you can guess, I'm not a fan of the drag it out school of leaving the workplace. In the big blue machine I experienced transfers that I (and my co-workers) knew about for months in advance, and I've experienced the "Monday at 0900 you are to report to your new assignment" transfers. Both have personal and professional advantages and disadvantages. I came to appreciate the quick break and developed the habit of keeping a box under my desk so I was always ready to pack quickly. My retirement was that quick as well.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:14 AM   #43
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It used to be in the prison system here that they never told an inmate when he was getting out. They could estimate within a few months, but the exact date was a surprise. The inmate would be woken up at about 0300 and told to pack his stuff while a guard watched. Within minutes he was shutoff from his cellmate and the rest of the population and would be on his way out of the system, usually arriving home on a bus in less than 24 hours.
They did it that way because when other inmates knew an inmate's release date they would give him a good beating as a bon voyage present.
I had to read this three times before I realized it was a factual description, not a metaphor.

Oddly enough the prison story reminds me of my last submarine. We'd just finished a huge drydocking and were catching up on training for our next deployment in six months. Everyone was heartily glad to be out of shipyard-- life had sucked so badly that we were really looking forward to deploying. The CO's relief was in the pipeline and would arrive in about six weeks, enough time to finish getting ready for the deployment and taking us out there. So we knew we'd have a change of command in about eight or nine weeks.

But until then our current CO was still in charge of pre-deployment training. He was a John Wayne character with big brass ones that clanked together whenever he swaggered down the passageway, and it was clear that he was really getting into the training. He sort of knew that he wouldn't be accompanying us but it was his last pre-deployment training as a CO. He wanted everything to be perfect and ready to go before the new guy had a chance to screw it all up. He didn't let anyone wander a millimeter off the path that he felt he'd carefully charted to get the crew where they needed to be, and he jumped in as soon as he detected any sign of trouble... whether trouble was actually there or not. It was tiresome but you could tell that he really wanted to inculcate us all with the last iota of all his warfighting experience before he had to hand over the boat.

One day we were getting the wardroom brief on the special deployment equipment that would be installed soon. It included a bunch of whiz-bang stuff guaranteed to help us track the heck out of everything and shoot magic weapons at it-- the usual marketing festival before reality set in. After hearing about one piece of especially cool equipment that promised to solve a bunch of traditional problems, our CO burst out enthusiastically "Goddamn we're going to have a great bunch of gear for this deployment!"

As we were enjoying the moment of warm anticipation that followed this cheerleading, the XO quietly dropped his own little burst: "No sir. We're going to have a great bunch of gear for this deployment. You're going to be sitting in that building over there next to the admiral's office pushing a bunch of paperwork."

The CO froze, his eyes got big and round, his moustache bristled, and he snapped his head around to look at the man who'd had the audacity to throw cold water on his excitement. He uttered the traditional CO's feedback ("f#@% you too, XO"), leaped up out of his chair, and stomped out of the wardroom.

We didn't see much of the CO after that. He pretty much let the XO run the show right up through the change of command. As the XO had gently reminded him that he should have been doing all along...
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:37 AM   #44
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I had to read this three times before I realized it was a factual description, not a metaphor.
It puzzled me the first time I heard that story. But it just proves that every culture has its own standards of conduct. Just because you're a crook, and don't abide by "normal" society's norms doesn't mean you're exempt from the crooked society's rules. The relevance here is something similar to the "blood in - blood out" philosophy you see in a lot of gangs. You have to prove that you're tough enough to belong by taking a beating from several established gang members - "jumping in" it's called. And when you decided to retire from the gang, they kick your ass to take away all the status and "respect" you earned while you were a member.

It sounds weird in that context, but all groups do something similar to people who say "I don't want to belong anymore". I read a book about Amish (or a similar group, I forget now) that allows their youth a period during their teens in which they can live a life similar to what the rest of society has. They drive cars, wear "normal" clothes, live away from the community, work normal jobs, have girlfriends, listen to music, go to parties, etc. But after a couple of years they have to make a decision to either commit to the religion and the community or hoof it back to the real world. Those that elect to leave are just written off and forgotten about. Those that stay have to abide by the norms of the community about how to live, dress, talk, etc. Trying to waffle between one world and the next brings the risk of being punished by the community - from being publicly shamed, ridiculed, chastised to outright banishment and shunning. That message is clear; you can choose to be one of us, but when your commitment waivers we will force you to re-commit or leave.

I don't think it's strange at all. Any system is going to look out for it's health and viability. A foreign body, or a normal component that suddenly turns foreign, is going to be unwanted. The system will naturally try to isolate it, neutralize it and attempt to force it out.
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We didn't see much of the CO after that. He pretty much let the XO run the show right up through the change of command. As the XO had gently reminded him that he should have been doing all along...
Somebody just had to explain to him that FIGMO has more than one connotation.
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Old 03-21-2010, 05:33 AM   #45
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Oh, definitely. I don't miss the meetings at all. It's the not-being-invited thing that is different.

I know this is a transient and even superficial thing in the larger picture. Just kind of tracking and reacting - I've never done this before .
Will he stay or will he go?

Rich, you can't have it both ways. You want to ESR, ergo, it just isn't appropriate to invite you to meetings.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:54 AM   #46
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It used to be in the prison system here that they never told an inmate when he was getting out...
That is a hall-of-fame post (archives, at least), very well said - thanks.
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Old 03-21-2010, 07:58 AM   #47
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Rich, when is your beating scheduled?
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:28 AM   #48
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Rich, when is your beating scheduled?
I think it already started.
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Old 03-21-2010, 08:44 PM   #49
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So, what's that about? Jealousy? Betrayal?
Meh. I think it is a current board where the members view your value as your productivity. I think that want me either to be more productive or go but won't force the issue because they know my client won't stay if I go. Fits with what Leo says. I don't fit in the culture.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:22 PM   #50
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all you folk on the way out the door - maybe download, print, and post some of these signs on your way out....

CORPORATE FUN!
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Old 03-22-2010, 04:47 AM   #51
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This one really caught my eye.
The building I used to have to go to every day was an old depot that had been refurbished into hallways upon hallways of Cubeland style office space. Picture a "rat maze" in your mind.
There were no windows except at the main entrances and around the perimeter of the building. This was a white collar techie w*rkplace.
The air handlers installed after the fact of building construction were most likely incapable of handling that much area and the w*rker population.
I had always theorized that lack of natural daylight and insufficient fresh air might have been bona fide contributing factors to some of the slightly bizarre behavior.

End of threadjack.
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