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I will take a chance on you!

My previous blogs were about negative experiences I have encountered in the workplace. I think I need to tell a story that is more on the positive side. When the stars align, a manager could take a chance on you. And trust me, you’ll appreciate it.
In today’s world, people spend most of their time at work, thinking of work, worrying about work, or dreaming of work. A good manager is the only thing that would make your life a lot better in that case!
One thing I learned and I will never forget: Your manager makes you, or breaks you.
Here’s the story…
After getting laid off, with a 3 month old baby and a bank account that was empty (People who had kids will relate), I frantically started looking for work. Anything please, anything. I will take a pay cut, work off the clock, and wash your car daily if that’s what it takes! 
Posting my resume everywhere, I started getting some calls. One of them was from a contracting agency 
-“Wold you take a contract?”
-“Good, interview tomorrow!”
This was a contract at a big, giant, software company. The job description said something about databases, BI, and OLAP
I thought to myself, what the hell is OLAP? Google, please tell me.
I read some things online, wikipedia helped (Thank you people who post on Wikipedia)
And off I went…got to the interview an hour early (When you are unemployed, you have time)
The manager came to meet me, and we went to his office. After the usual “tell me about yourself” and “let me run you through the role” stuff, we had this conversation
Manager: “So, do you have experience with databases”?
Me: “I did use access and wrote some SQL queries”
-“OK, how about BI”
-“BI, yes, not really”
-“So, do you have any experience with OLAP cubes?”
-“No, but I read about them yesterday and I have an idea about dimensionality and how you use excel to view data in cubes”
-“I appreciate your honesty. So, you have never worked with olap cubes hands on. Let me ask you this, if you were using excel and you can’t do something, what would you do?”
- “Go to help, search online, look in a book, ask someone”
-“Are you willing to learn?”
-“Absolutely, and if you give me this chance, I won’t let you down”
-“I will take a chance on you. I like that you are honest and didn’t try to Bullshit me. When can you start”
-“I will be here”
-“Welcome to the team”
This was by far the best year of my life. I learned a lot, I even ran a BI project for ETL work and report automation. Unfortunately, it was a one year contract that ended October 2008 (Yeah, same time the economy crashed, but that’s a different story!)
A manager took a chance on me…..and I succeeded like no other job I’ve ever had. I think trust and support go a long way!
We are still in contact, having drinks every once in a while. I owe this guy a lot!
To all of you suffering with your manager, I hope you will find the one who takes a chance on you.

We made a mistake when we hired you

This is a story from another job I had. I spent years there and left on good terms, but was told the statement above at a certain point. I guess the lesson I learned was, always watch your back. who you trust most could be the worst backstabber. Trust only the ones who earn it.

Six weeks into me being hired, into a totally new industry to me, I was pulled in a room by my manager

-“I feel we made a mistake when we hired you”

-“OK” (In a question tone)

-“During the interview, you were on the edge of your seat, and very excited, and now, you seem confused”
-“I am trying to grasp all the new information. No one is free to train me or let me shadow with them”

_”Have you asked?”


-“Well, I don’t care, you need to figure out the process and take over all the incoming requests”

-“OK, I will do my best. Do you have any suggestions on people to reach out to or any documentation to read?”

-“As I said, I don’t care. Figure it out. We don’t have a lot of documentation. You are more than welcome to document all our processes. And, if I ever have to sit with you again, it will be to fire you. Thanks!”


"Your Pregnant wife goes to the Doctor a lot"

I am fortunate to be in Seattle. I had the opportunity to work for major wireless carriers. The first, when I joined, was based in Seattle and just spun off. Watching the company’s stock go from $29 to less than $3 in three years, and that company being sold, it was time to go! I then joined a small wireless company, still based in Seattle, and went through the second sale in two years. Escaping being laid off, I joined my third wireless company and man was that a big promotion! I was hired as a manager with two people reporting to me. My life turned pink (Magenta to be exact) and was very happy to hear my wife telling me she is pregnant with our first child, after a series of miss-carriages

It was the happiest time of my life, until three weeks into me being there, I learn that we are having a re-org. My boss says, “We have too many managers, and since in the interview you said you wanted to learn about the company and liked it (WHAT DID YOU EXPECT ME TO SAY?), we are changing your title to (IC)”. “You and your direct reports will be peers, and you will report to another peer.” be happy!

Three weeks into this? really? Oh, and another peer of mine says “Why do you feel disappointed? You can just leave”..Yeah, look for another job, go to an interview and say “Three weeks into joining a company I felt I had to leave”..that will get me a job…

With a pregnant wife, I had to go through. After all, maybe things will get better. To make it more interesting, one of my peers becomes my bosses boss “The one who told me to leave”. 

Then, the final 8 weeks of pregnancy begin. My wife, since she is a high risk pregnancy, had to go to the doctor once every week. “I talked to my boss and said “I have to take her to the doctor, how about I leave on Fridays at 3 and make up the time through the week?” OK she says. (Mind you, I am a salaried employee)

Two weeks later, she pulls me in a room. “You took your wife to the doctor two weeks in a row”

"Yes" I said.

- “Why?”

-“It’s the final two months and I have to take her weekly, I told you that”

-“Well, it seems she goes to the doctor a lot”

"Um, OK?"

So, the due date approaches, I take a leave for two weeks (All I had in vacation) and have my first son. I get back to work after two weeks and first thing in the morning, a meeting with my boss and her boss (Both were my peers)

"Hi, we have some bad news". "Your position is not needed and we decided that today is your last day here" "Since it’s been a year, your severance is two weeks. You have an hour to pick your stuff. 

And then they shake my hand and say it was a pleasure working with me. Oh, and congrats on the new baby :-)

It was actually one of the best things that happened to me in my life (Well, at the time it didn’t seem like it)

That was my first of many stories to come :-)


My very first blog….reasons why I am taking this on

Yesterday, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19B. Regardless of the price, what got my (And probably a lot of people’s) attention was that the Co-Founder of WhatsApp, Brian Acton was looking for a job about 4 years ago and got turned down by Twitter and Facebook! Today, he sells his company to, who else, Facebook!

They say writing makes you vent. To me, I am not really trying to Vent…Maybe I am hopeful that through all the weird stuff that happened to me through my career and, actually, my looking for a career, all of that might be a good sign to what would come in the future. Maybe I will turn out to be like Brian Acton? Maybe I will finally find the dream job I am looking for? Maybe I will be able to secure my kids’ future? I don’t really know the answer to all of that, but I decided to write…so hope you like it. And, please don’t hesitate to comment :-)

I will keep my identity hidden. No need for my bosses (Previous or current), or recruiters to mark me as a bad candidate. This is not my intention as my real intention is to share what I now think is funny stories from the past and present.

Bye for now!

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