I had my first chewing out today.
Boss: Terry, can you step into my office?
Me: Yep.
Boss: You said to tell you if I felt you were letting me down or not fitting in. Something has come to my attention that we need to fix immediately.
Me: *heart pounding* What is it?
Boss: I don’t know how to say this, but I need you to wear leather shoes. Those sneakers are nice but they just aren’t up to snuff, I’m sorry.
Me: Will do.


Boss: Good job on those large-format prints. I’m rewarding you by letting you set up the two new workstations up front.
Me: Do you know what you just said?
Boss: Well, you like doing hardware work, so I figure it’d be a good reward.
Me: I don’t like it, I just prefer it. You essentially said “your reward for work is more work”. Rewards are things like attaboys, chocolates, a lunch out, or a promotion not more work. You were going to have me do it anyway, no?
Boss: Yes.
Me: Exactly, that’s like saying your reward for completing the first of three drawings is doing the second.
Boss: Will you drop this if I get John to bring in more caramel creams?
Me: Yes, yes I will.

Boss #3: Terry, we need to update user fields to include some referral information, that’s why I asked you to stop by.
Me: Ok. I’ll add that to the information we collect.
Boss #3: Good. Thanks for stopping by.
Me: If you need anything else just email or message me.
Boss #3: Nah, I like when you stop by, you should do it more often.


About six hours later, I decided to give a try at casually stopping by so I found reasons to be in that other wing of the building and repeatedly walked by that person’s door. Each time, my boss was either on the phone, meeting with someone, or looking out the window. On the fifth pass he saw me.

Boss #3: I guess I never realized how much time you spent on this side of the building.

At least I was on the clock for what I’m now going to call my Communication Attack Runs.

Boss: I keep hearing something that sounds like a goose call and then it smells.
Coworker: That’s Terry.
Boss:  Nah, I’ve worked with Terry for years, his farts are like thunder.
Coworker: This is his new fart noise.
Boss: You can change it?
Coworker: Or it can change.
Boss: Terry.
Me: Yes?
Boss: Good work.
Me: Thanks.

Boss #2: Terry, will you show me how to do a plot on the big printer when you get a chance?
Me: Ok, or I could do it.
Boss #2: You could?
Me: Yeah, I do kind of sit in your area, have a computer provided by you, eat in your area, sometimes sleep in your area, and have a cost center for your area.
Boss #2: So you’re saying, I can give you things to do, and you will do them?
Me: I’ll bill you for it, but yes.
Boss #2: That’s wonderful.
Me: Just tell me what you need.

*20 minutes later*

Boss #2: Oh, Terry.
Me: Yes?
Boss #2: I have a… ahem, job for you to do.  *chuckle*
Me: What is it?
Boss #2: I need you to print something.  I’m too busy with other things to do it so I figure I’d have you do it.
Me: It does make sense that you’d give to me tasks that you can’t do that I can.
Boss #2: *winks at me, laughs*

I wish all bosses were so easy to please.

Me: The marketing folks requested I print another set of posters for them but this time “twice as big”, does that mean 2x area or 2x each axis meaning four times bigger?
Boss:  Terry, you’re dealing with marketing people.  They’ve gotten where they are by ignoring fact and figures and going for what “feels” better.
Me: So you’re saying I need to say which “feels” twice as big?
Boss:  Yes, you could say that.  Which print has twice the presence to it?
Me: Presence?
Boss:  Yes.
Me: You agree that this is utter horseshit.
Boss: Yes.

I concluded to double the axes making it four times bigger, as that was twice the “twiceness” that the requester wanted.  I gave them 100% more twiceness than if I just made it twice the size.  That should make them happy.

Boss: Hey, please go to the product lab and make a few wafers on the setup there.
Me: You mean the setup that entirely consists of an aluminum slab held in place with duct tape using a die for a different product set with dimensions that may not be physically possible to weld?
Boss: Yeah, think you can do that?
Me: Yes, just let me get my physics gun to blow a hole in thermodynamics and it’ll be fine.
Boss: Thanks.

I brought some lamps into work so that I could better illuminate some work I was doing which required the big beefy bulbs I put in them.  I came back to them today and couldn’t find them:

Me: Did you seem my lamps?
Boss: Yes, I put them in the drawer by your desk.  You know, you really shouldn’t leave those out, otherwise someone may bump into them, knock them over, and then have to find a way to clean up the shattered bulbs without leaving a trace.
Me: Thanks for the concern.

I found the lamps where he said they were but the bulbs were gone.  Hm…..

My productivity has been… below average over the last few days.  I encountered some roadblocks that I’ve not had the capacity to tackle in a meaningful way and I just finished a tech project that also made it appear that I was suddenly doing nothing.  My boss saw me sitting listlessly reading the forums for a software tool we used and said “I need to talk to you about something later.”  Crippling existential dread would probably be the appropriate descriptor to the response I have to such statements.  I know I’m being fired in two months, but still, I’d rather go gracefully.  I quickly went through the checklist of things I could do right now that my boss could reasonably ask me if I’ve completed and over two hours knocked off three of them.  Later, he returned called me into his office and asked the following:

Him: Terry, there’s something I’ve been meaning to bring up with you for a while but just haven’t known how to approach it.
Me: Yes?
Him: Well, to put it bluntly, my mouse sucks.  Do you have a recommendation for one?
Me: Yes, the Logitech G500.
Him: *checks Amazon* That looks like it’ll do perfectly.  Your usefulness never seems to end.

Our new workstations arrived today and I began setting up one of them. They are a massive improvement over our previous systems but about 75% the power of my reasonably powered home PC at about four times the cost and I am skeptical that they will last the 40 months asked of them.  This after my request has several corners shaved from it for trivial cost savings.  I did some initial benchmarking and my very excited boss asked for feedback about their speed.  I was unsure of how to respond and the revision history of the email was something like this:

While sufficient to run AutoCAD I don’t think they’d run Crysis as well as you’d like.

They’re fast enough that I no longer realize how much slower they are than my home PC.

They are sufficient, for now.  Please plan to upgrade in 18-24 months.

While an improvement over what we have, I’m glad they didn’t come out of our department’s budget.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the monitors included displayport adapters.