Behind the Facade

Behind the Facade

John and I are one of those “grass is greener on the other side” kinds of people. We acknowledge that we are very fortunate, yet that never stops the yearning. I’m always searching for something…

When I first came to San Mateo, I remember posting a blog about Siebel (software company recently acquired by Oracle) and its kickass office space in town. The edifice was so impressive, all glossy and shiny with its pools and fountains. Walking by, you could hear the raucous little rug rats at the onsite childcare center. It must have been a dream to work on such a beautiful campus. Or so I thought.

After Oracle acquired Siebel, a bunch of people got laid off. One guy ended up joining John’s company, and damn did I have it all wrong: Mandatory work on Saturdays. No food/drink at your computer. The poor dude never saw his kids… he was out before they awoke and home after they were asleep. How could I have been so far off?

The world of business is a scary place, and I admit, I have my judgements. But still, working day in and day out with the CEO of my company has definitely shown me a thing or two. The thing is, I’ve always had a gut feeling that sleaziness usually goes hand in hand with business. Even when I worked in engineering consulting, I put two and two together when the same contractor always won every single project bid. But I suppose that naive, idealistic side of me always hoped for good clean fun. I’m not saying my CEO is a dirtbag, but I will say he does stretch the truth. And as a total goody-goody two shoes, even little white lies make me nervous. They just do. I can’t lie to save my life.

So anyway, I’m also starting to see patterns. Patterns amongst my own observations and experiences as well as amongst John’s. Granted, that’s still a very small sample size, but it seems that CEOs can often be harsh, moody, and downright unprofessional.

You see, I had a major meltdown at work last week. Long story short, I’d been busting ass working 15+ hour days. One morning, he called and jumped down my throat about not calling a customer. Now I’d been calling this damn customer every single day for a week. They never had a meeting date for me. So this one morning, the boss called at 9:30 a.m. I hadn’t called yet, and then he went off about how I lacked follow through and was being half ass. I couldn’t believe it. Part of me was thinking, “are you fucking kidding me?” but the other part was just plain weak. I felt like a child being scolded by the teacher. I was so upset. I ended the call abruptly and just said “bye.” Later, I met with a coworker who sensed something was wrong… my face likely said it all (I told you I can’t lie to save my life!). He kept asking me what was wrong. I said I was fine, but I just couldn’t convince him. He kept pressing and I started feeling the sting in my eyes. No tears but crazy ass stinging. Finally, the deluge came. I cracked. And I know, ALL the job websites say you CANNOT fucking cry at work. Was horrible. I had the fucked up breathing and all. Fortunately, the guy was really nice and understanding, but… I holed myself up in the bathroom for like 20 minutes trying to pull it together. It was bad.

And afterwards, I was so pissed at myself for letting it get to me. I hated my passivity. I should have said something, but I didn’t. I planned to say something the next day, but I didn’t. Now the time has past. What I realized though, is that I have to stand up for myself. We as employees have to stand up for ourselves. That’s one pattern I’ve noticed at my workplace. The employees are all super cool, but they don’t challenge authority. They don’t negotiate offers. They don’t make demands. In that sense, we have an entire fleet of goody goodies. And that is probably by design. In the end, who can we blame but ourselves. The world isn’t fair and unless we demand fairness, we’ll rarely get it.

Anyway, this week, I told the boss (sort of in jest) that he was working me to a nub. To my surprise, he sort of paused, thought about it, and then agreed. What do you know, at the end of the day, several of us received what we thought was spam in our inboxes (that’s how little we expect…). We got gift certificates thanking us for our hard work! I was pleasantly surprised.

So since my incident, I’ve still been working all the damn time but I’m starting to wet my feet with marketing. I sent out four cold-call emails requesting a call for us to introduce our company and product. Two people bit! And I developed a product brochure which was fun… that is, until I was forced to change it into something I don’t like as much… (ah, the joys of working with others). Anyway, at least now I’m getting some positive feedback for my work, which is nice. Ok, time to go enjoy my weekend. More updates later.

Livin' it up, Siebel style.  I'll bet their workers get offices with windows.

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