Chaos Attraction

Newfangled Teapot Making

2015-12-02, 6:35 p.m.

Here is a brief history of my past and somewhat career. I will be using the analogy of "teapots" a la the Ask A Manager blog.

(a) I get hired to work on the Helping People Make Teapots program. It's supposed to be for tea drinkers and tea makers. I mostly work on stuff related to said program behind the scenes most of the year.

(b) Unbeknownst to me, the tea making population hated Helping from the getgo before I got there, and the reputation of it never got better even with better iterations of the program. I had to sit through some very nasty meetings bitching about it.

(c) Meanwhile, a group of "rogue programmers" (note: actual terminology used) decide to create their own Specialty Making Teapots Portal just for tea makers (not tea drinkers). We are unthrilled at this because the rogues essentially designed this for their own office and Helping was supposed to be for all offices, not to mention the whole tea drinkers audience being neglected.

(d) Helping vendor starts to just really suck and the program has to be gotten rid of. The rogue programmers win and Specialty wins and becomes the gold standard among tea makers.

(e) Helping gets dropped, I get transferred to the department I am in now, the behind the scenes stuff I usually do is eventually transferred over to follow me there along with my 20 other new jobs, several of which are quite stressful.

(f) This year, the higher ups have decided to bring back this sort of program, and they do not want to use Specialty, for whatever reason. Let's call the new one... Newfangled Teapot Making.

I have been recruited to join the new Newfangled team, part time. I would love to be on it full time, but that won't happen. They want to hire two more expert people for it (still in HR process but supposed to be out of it soon), which I would like to apply for but I strongly suspect I won't even qualify for it, much less get hired. I desperately need to apply if I qualify, but since I can't get hired at anything else these days it will probably be more humiliation than an actual chance. I mention this because it's pretty likely to come up this month.

Anyway, some of the Newfangled team has flown out here for three days of intense meetings and demos, and I am happily getting to go to these almost all of the time instead of doing my usual job. God, yesterday (first day) was like a vacation--which is ironic saying that except for going to the memorial yesterday, I was in an all day long meeting for seven hours. I wasn't being asked questions I don't know the answer to all day. I didn't have to listen to a particularly complainy coworker who never leaves a thought unsaid or silence in the air and never misses an opportunity to share every ache and pain all day. I felt competent and was answering questions about things I'm an expert in and it was lovely. We watched the demo, we talked out how to present it to our tea drinking audience and hopefully how to get around what they didn't like last time.

Today, however, was the presentation for the tea makers, and I was having all kinds of fucking deja vu. Sure enough, they had tons of questions and I don't think it went terribly well, and one lady in particular kept ragging on it and nitpicking and going on about how much she loved Specialty and finally finished out the day by saying, "Why do we have to use this, again?" One programmer guy gave the best answer, which boiled down to "Because there's nothing for the tea drinkers." I about applauded that guy at the meeting later.

Cut to a few hours later when I have to do public service instead of the meeting (sigh) and overhear someone going on about this--apparently she was sitting next to the loudest complainer. "Why don't you tell them why they would want to use this?" she said. I pointed out the programmer guy did say that, but I'd pass that on when I got back. She also snapped at me that it never worked in the first place, and how the rogue programmers looked so sad and hurt at the meeting!

(Did it work? Uh, as far as I could tell from testing the thing, yes, but I can't speak for the exact requirements of the tea makers at this point. Mostly I just recall people refusing to try the new iterations of it.)

So when I got back to the meeting, I reported this--why don't we tell them why we're doing this. And the project lead essentially said, "We don't have a good reason, we're just doing it because the higher-ups said to."

A Daveed Diggs-style "whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat" just went through my head at that. I was all, "but that other guy said for the tea drinkers, duh," and.... *sigh*

Let's just say that today I'm thinking, "why the hell are we bothering, the tea makers just want their damn Specialty and we're going to never get anywhere all over again when they won't even try Newfangled." And hell, what's the point of trying to get on that group full time if it seems doomed again?

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