I’m running late today, so I will be brief. Work is absolutely crazy. I know, the title of this blog seems to be a pointed description of my typical post, but that’s just a side benefit of the actual meaning. That title, so it would seem, is my new job description. It seems that under the current system of changes and mandates (from the higher ups) my job is to sit around and to absolutely nothing.
Now, as exciting at that may seem, I simply loathe the idea because when review time comes, I know it will be all about what I’ve accomplished. If I’m successful at my new job description, I will accomplish nothing. If I’m unsuccessful, then I’m not doing my job. The internal voice is telling me I’ll be damned no matter which outcome happens.
You see, I am one of the only few programmers working in a language that my company has decided to sunset. Unfortunately, there are no plans currently for actively sunsetting this language. So it would seem that my job is simply to maintain the applications until such time as we move to actively sunset this language. This is what I had been doing up to about two months ago. That’s when the mandate (that was expounded on today) first was issued.
It seems that we have been doing too much enhancement work. Enhancement work is different than project work because of how we handle it financially. You see, enhancement work is handled as an expense while a project is handled like a capital investment. The differences are obvious and important to the accounting minded. For the rest of you, just trust me that they are important to the numbers guys. The actual work is not really that much different, though.
So, we were doing too much enhancement work and the mandate came down to stop doing the enhancement work and focus on the project work. I don’t disagree with this decision. The problem is, the new projects are in a new language that people need to be trained to use. (I know how to use this language, but I can’t seem to convince anyone that I just need a mentor and not the full “training plus a mentor” plan.) So, we can’t work on enhancement work, but we aren’t trained to use the new programming language. It would seem my job is to sit around and do nothing.
The astute among you will see the inherent flaw in this plan. While I am sitting around, guess how my time (and pay) is billed internally? If you guessed “As an expense” you are correct. So now, we are still spending the same money on expenses, but we are not getting the benefit of good will with the business users for providing the enhancements they desire. And we can’t make these enhancements into a project because the language we would use for the enhancements is now an obsolete technology in our company.
I brought up this “elephant in the room” in a meeting today. My senior manager acknowledged the issue and said it was a management problem that the management team would need to address and that they had already had some discussion about it. But in the mean time, he suggested that I talk to my manager rather than simply do nothing. (No, I didn’t make the mistake of telling a senior manager that “I have nothing to do.”) Well, talk to my manager I did, and we both agree that almost anything he would have me do would essentially be “make work” which we both despise.
So, for now, my job is to do absolutely nothing.