(i just thought that was a khoul sentence. that's all.)
it snowed nearly a foot at my house yesterday. freak weather. i've never seen it snow in western Washington this many times in one winter, and every time it snowed there was more snow than usual, and it came down harder, and piled up quicker. temperature fluctuations for any given 4-7 day period are wider than i remember seeing, and it's been much colder overall than normal. we got our quasi-annual windstorm later in the winter (accompanied by the largest power outage i've ever seen here), and yesterday's snowfall, coming at the end of February, occurred unusually late in the season.
quite strange driving to work this morning- traffic was light, and the roads within a few miles of here were very slippery still, but once on the freeway it was basically bare and dry all the way to Seattle, where i spent a fairly chilly but mostly sunny day. sure enough, driving back within a few miles of my house put me right back in the thick of it.
however, it's plenty warm in here (it should be with the fairly higher-than-normal electric bill i just paid), and i'm fairly comfortable, all things considered. i have a little strong, black coffee; i have Chowder sleeping under my chair. it's quiet. i can hear the power supply fan from Loren's computer over my right shoulder, and from my own computer below my desk i hear the power supply fan and a slight high-pitched whine from the hard drive.
another work week nearly finished. Loren won't come until Saturday, since he's attending a friend's birthday party Saturday afternoon. i'm determined my time not be cut short over another birthday party. not that i begrudge Loren the opportunity, far from it, just that i see no reason not to arrange things so that Loren gets his party and i still get to spend a little time with him this week. we spend altogether too little time together as it is. some might disagree, but be that as it may, i doubt many- if any- dispassionate, objective bystanders would.
i've been a little tired, so i kinda scaled back my work hours a little this week. i should only barely get into OT tomorrow. i've accomplished a lot so far, with a little help from the people around me, but there's still a long way to go to get the shop up to speed. i'm trying to accomplish what i can in the time i have.
the way i interpret my work priorities, my primary responsibility is keeping track of the gear sent out to shows or lent to the production lighting dept. (in which category i would include keeping the shop organized in general), followed by (in order) making sure it's either staged (time permitting) or ready to be staged by the time a show sets, offloading trucks as quickly as possible, transferring gear to Tacoma or Portland from Seattle and vice-versa, maintaining the vehicles, washing gear as necessary, and running people around to job sites when necessary.
on my lunch break today i ran into my old boss Todd, the former production manager who, before being fired himself, hired me to fabricate at Trade-Marx sign, back in the day. he valued my contribution(s) there, and quickly promoted me to lead the light fabrication dept. after his termination things went rapidly downhill there. i liked the type of assignments i was given (for the most part) and i certainly improved the quality, consistency, and timeliness of both the work i did myself and the projects other guys were working on, but i never actually liked working for that company.
the owner, Don, is one of those guys who one moment wants to act like an obliviously (annoyingly!) condescending buddy, and the next becomes a fully red-faced, screaming twit. he's the kind of guy you'd like to like if he didn't spend so much time being a jerk and a bully. i honestly think he had no trust in the good intentions of those who worked for him, nor an appreciation of their skills (which, in my mind, requires a comparable level of competency in those skills). however, he wasn't responsible for my departure- that would be one Mr. Bart Haynes, a prick on an entirely deeper level. Haynes is a man with a profoundly ugly personality, almost pitifully arrogant, and often completely incapable of basic civility. as you might imagine, i have no respect for someone embodying those qualities. in one such circumstance i was forced to leave the room to avoid losing my temper with the man, and- rather than allowing some time to pass, allowing the situation calm, or attempting to resolve the disagreement in a more positive manner, he chose to chase me down, grab me by the coat, spin me bodily around, and start shaking me like an abusive parent might a child. i believe my exact words at that point were, "take your fucking hands off me or you're a dead man," at which point he laughed and gave me one more little shake before releasing my coat. it was like middle school all over again. i was actually extremely happy with the degree of restraint i showed, since i refrained from acting on the nearly overwhelming urge to punch him right in his smug face- and he (with authority i'm sure was more assumed than specified) fired me. i told him, "you can't fire me, i fucking quit." as fate would have it, there were no witnesses. so be it. then, since i seem to be (re?)telling this story in detail, i told him he was lucky i'm able to control my temper. i don't remember the next words out of his mouth, but they were derogatory, and i told him, "that's right, Bart, just keep digging your hole." i think he realized the precarious position he'd put himself in by physically assaulting me, and he followed me around the shop making more insulting comments for the next 20 minutes while i tried to gather my tools and things. i think he was trying to make me angry enough i'd actually lose my temper and take a swing at him, hopefully in front of some witnesses. well, he got no satisfaction there. i shook some hands with my co-workers, and generally took my time leaving. he tried to get my supervisor to have me sign a termination paper stating i'd verbally abused and physically threatened him. you can guess my reaction: no chance.
in any case, i was the 29th (by all counts) employee to be fired or quit as of the time i was terminated, followed soon after by my supervisor Donna, who was 'promoted' into her role after my old boss Todd was fired. i've never seen turnover like that in any company i've worked for. madness reigned (reigns?) at Trade-Marx Sign & Display Co., and i think this is directly reflected in the quality of the work the company turned out. i saw, and all too often was forced to fix, project after project that had what could easily have been the killing stroke laid down on it by a varying combination of sloppy fabrication and lack of adequate or accurate planning. sometimes those projects were truly beyond help, and in some of those cases, rather than admit their error to the client and fix the problems, they almost inevitably chose to wordlessly deliver substandard product on time. over and over projects were wrong, installed, then uninstalled and brought back for additional work, and sometimes that became a repeating cycle of failure. certainly, in some cases there may have been no alternative but to deliver on time, but i believe the choice, between doing that and delivering what the customer is paying for in as timely a manner as humanly possible, is best left to an informed client.
in the interest of fairness, i'm attempting to restrict my comments to my personal experiences there, which occured over a period of about half a year, ending about 2 years ago. i would have to say that a majority of the product they put out the door during my term of employment was flawed to some degree. it's rather ironic that the owner's projection of his company's commitment to quality could be so diametrically opposed to the manner in which it operated. dysfunctional is the word that most comes to mind, a company with a systemic problem that flowed from the top down, exhibited frequently by cascades of mistakes brought about in large part by a remarkable lack of effective communication, occuring in an often manic environment pervaded with personal tension. most of the product delivered by the 2 other sign companies i've worked for was consistently higher quality. Trade-Marx was one of the most inneffectively managed companies i've ever had the displeasure to work for- and that's a shame, considering i had high hopes for my prospects there when i started.
having said all that, i did form some friendly relationships with my co-workers there, so the experience wasn't a complete loss.
i think i've written most of what i wrote in the preceding paragraphs as catharsis, but also in the hope that someone casually interested in either working for or purchasing work from Trade-Marx sign, and happens to bump into this information online (which i grant is quite unlikely) might have a little better insight into the history of the place. i encourage such a person to take my (true!) comments to heart in their decision-making.
enough about old jobs. and new ones, for that matter. and enough for one post, already...since i've managed to spend considerably more time on the latter subject than i wanted to anyway. PEACE
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