I’m Declaring Free Agency

Before I start, let me say Happy Birthday to Matt Gigliotti.  The thing I’ve always noticed about gigg’s birthday is it’s the day I realize how old he is.  Today makes him 26, while I’m still 24.  My birthday is on the 27th of this month however, so for the next 20 days it seems as if giggs is 2 years older than me.

However the big story of this labor day weekend would be the realization that I need a change in my workplace. 

The company I work for is self-described as a “leading Internet and Business Solutions Provider.”  It is correct, we do pretty much everything when it comes to IT: Hosting, E-mail, Design, Development, Maintenance, Software Applications, etc…  My position is “Design & Development”.  It is a lil broad but what I do basically is build entire websites.  I’m not a dedicated developer, I’m not a dedicated designer, I’m both.

Being both a designer and developer is cool and all, but one thing I realized is that even though I control the design and development of clients websites, when it comes to our own company websites, I have little to no control at all. I’ve fought my way to make strides and advance to the company into the “new era”, but no one hears it.  Just to let you know, I did do the current website for our company, but I don’t really feel as if it’s my own work (and I don’t really like it either).

Now some may say, “well you don’t get to decide, you’re just a worker” which is true to an extent, but I lay more on the side with “if I’m the designer and developer here, why not let me do design and development?”  All creative processes here have to go through unnecessary channels and jumps, and what was once a good product gets thrashed, altered, and destroyed to the point where the finished product is great to my boss but from a designers point of view, disappointing.  If you want to see a funny and visual representation of this, The Oatmeal (HOW A WEB DESIGN GOES STRAIGHT TO HELL) has this down perfectly. I STRONGLY recommend you click that link to know what I’m talking about.

What about the $$$$?  Well, I can tell you that the money isn’t the big factor here. Hell, we were given a 10% pay cut in exchange for getting work off at noon (which I and other co-workers find absolutely ridiculous because productivity is non-existent on fridays).  Also, I make enough money outside of work that I more than make up for the 4 hours less per week.

So to put it quite frankly, the big issue here at work is: Growth and Trust.  I don’t see myself growing in this company, I don’t see me getting larger roles. The reason? No trust.  If I were given the keys to tech initiatives, I guarantee I could get our company new business and clients.  I know so because my personal work is booming while my current job work is at a standstill.  And I would NEVER steal clients. I get my own clients through my own means.

I did get some hope when my project manager, my boss and I discussed and concluded that I would be allowed more control and personal ‘projects’ that I can manage.  First project? The ‘Our Process’ page on our website.  I built it on July 6th, and to this day NO comments, updates, or suggestions have been made. The page is NOT live, it’s just pending, sitting unused.  I built the page in 1 day, and it will take minimum of 3 months to get a single comment or some feedback, let alone actually go LIVE (going LIVE is when a site becomes publicly visible on the web).  Same thing goes with the main company website.  I finished that site last December, and it took 7 Months to get any edits or feedback.  I asked if I could push the page live because after all, I was told that I could ‘project manage’ the development of this page, but in the end it seems that was false hope, as I had no control when it came down to it.  All I got was the same response, “we’ll take a look at it and get back to you with corrections”.  And what’s funny is that the corrections that generally come back are just minor tweaks of what I wrote.  I would be impressed if I got entirely new content, created from scratch, but just using a thesaurus and replacing some words of mine isn’t actually creating content.  I always wonder, “how many hours do you have logged for this, because all you changed is 3 words?”

In April of this year, it was decided that we would have an e-mail newsletter every month.  I knew that the people in charge to do the work would not move forward or do any work on this new goal, so I decided to take charge. I designed, created, and delivered the April newsletter, as well as the May newsletter.  The topics of the June newsletter was on our Disaster Recovery initiative, it was decided that I would only design the next newsletter and not create content because it was about a ‘product I did not know about’.  At this moment I knew we wouldn’t see a June newsletter.  A newsletter has yet to be sent out since that decision. If there was any trust, my boss and project manager would have sat down with me, described to me the product, what they want to offer, and give me feedback.  But I guess no clients is better than some clients, right?  If they gave me the opportunity to create that newsletter, it would be done in 2 days.  Maybe I don’t know about the DR product now, but surely I have the will to find out and work hard until I come up with a newsletter that we can send out.  I don’t fuck around when it comes to getting jobs done.  But discipline is out the window here, and clearly ‘someone’ is lagging when it comes to getting out the June, July, August, and September newsletters.

In case I sound very angry about my workplace, I am not mad.  We here have a very relaxed and casual work environment.  My co-workers are great and everyone keeps to themselves and performs outstanding work.  I am just frustrated and moreso disapointed at the lack of motivation to do new things here.  When I started here I saw potential and had high hopes of where this company could go, and now that I’ve worked here it’s clear to me that these hopes will not be achieved.  Not anytime soon at least at the rate at which projects here get done.

So where do I go now? What do I do?

I will find a company that allows me to help them get better.

I’ve heard the question asked at interviews, “how do you see yourself making [company name] better?”  Call me crazy but I want that!  I want to make this company better, I really really do!  But I’ve asked, I’ve tried, and I can’t.  I realize here all I can do is sit and wait to be told what to do, never fully being in charge of a project, only having partial input.  Unless something changes…

For now, I will continue working hard and keep doing what I’m doing.  I’ll bring up my wants and desires next month when I hit my 3 year mark, but I will also open up the door for the job search.

I don’t know where I will be working in 2 months time but wherever it is, I will be constantly trying to help that company get better, given the chance that is.