Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Crisis of Faith: Over

In the past few weeks I've been having a little bit of "buyer's remorse" if you will. My move to Chicago is imminent, and some issues have cropped up. Issues such as:
  • I haven't sold my house yet. I don't relish the thought of paying a mortgage and paying rent at the same time.
  • The blow up argument I had with the bartender last week had me temporarily wanting to spurn the entire city.
  • The actual mechanics of moving. I can't drive Alistair and a moving truck at the same time, and I'm going to have to rely on someone to drive one or the other of them for me. It'd be so much easier to just, you know, NOT move.
These particular issues are pretty easy to get over. It sucks to pay rent and a mortgage at the same time, but I have enough to afford it and I might still get the house sold in the next month anyway. I'm pretty sure the bartender and I have resolved our differences, but even if we haven't, there are actually other places to drink in Chicago besides Tai's. And even if I stayed in Cleveland, I'd still be selling my house because it's too big for me, so as long as I'm moving anyway, I might as well move someplace that's actually cool.
The biggest thing that's been nagging at me is my job. Things have been really great around here the past few weeks. The Gander has been ultra sweet to me lately. There have been no major crises to stress me out. I have mad job security out the ass here - even though we've already hired my replacement and I've been training her for the last three weeks, the CEO is still telling me regularly that if I change my mind and want to stay I am more than welcome. I genuinely like what I do for a living, it challenges me and never gets boring. The people I work with are fantastic, we are a really close knit group and all hang out together regularly. So I was starting to wonder why, even though I LOVE Chicago and dream about residing there, I was actually LEAVING this job on purpose. Because there will never be another job in my life where I am secure, challenged and well liked to the same degree as I am here. Was I making a mistake? Should I forego living in my dream city to stay at what is pretty darn close to my dream job? I was starting to wake up at night with these thoughts scratching my brain.
I had created a report for a client last week that had a number on it that didn't really make sense. It was bothering me, so before I sent it to the client, I sent a copy to the Gander and asked him to review it. Now, the number didn't look right to me. The only thing that could have changed the number I calculated was a cash flow out of an account. I didn't have ANY paperwork showing me a cash flow. In the absence of that data, I used the screwy-looking number and asked the Gander to look into it. From a liability standpoint, I couldn't just "make up" a fake cash flow out of thin air just because I "thought" there should be one to make the number make sense, because if someone comes back and questions it later, I can't justify making something up because I felt like it. I have to use the number I calculated. That way, even if it turns out wrong later, I have a trail of exactly what I did to arrive at that number and that I followed procedure. I specifically said to the Gander "This number doesn't look right. Ask [the client] if there was a cash flow we weren't told about. If there wasn't, then this must actually be the number. The Gander, of course, a) didn't ever check the report and b) sent it to the client as-is without ever asking about a missing cash flow.
Surprise! The client forgot to tell us about a nearly $1 million cash flow. Therefore my return is wrong, the report is wrong, and the client is upset. At 4:59, the Gander storms into my office and reads me the riot act. How could I let this number go out when I knew it didn't look right? Am I a monkey that never thinks? Do I know how stupid I made him look in front of the client? Do I realize that this is a PUBLIC institution, and our mistake is now PUBLICLY on the books? Through gritted teeth I reminded him that I can't make stuff up, that I asked him to review it and he didn't, and that when we issue a revised report it will also become a matter of public record. He could not be consoled. It was my fault. He doesn't have time to check over all my work and make sure that I'm doing it right. We look like idiots. He was literally screaming, red-faced, as upset as if I had accidentally given nuclear launch codes to North Korea. This went on for 20 minutes. There was NO WAY I was going to concede the point - I followed protocol to the letter; he's the one who dropped the ball. When he realized he wasn't going to dissolve me into tears he finally stormed off. I had a lot to do and had planned to stay late, but I was so furious I packed up and left to go have beers with some friends at 5:30.
Nevertheless, I walked out of the building with a huge smile on my face. Problem solved; I remember now. Thanks Gander, you've been a big help.


Eric said...

Do you get some sort of kick-ass severance package if you get canned instead of leaving voluntarily?

amberance said...

That last person they canned did in fact et a kick ass severence package. Sadly, I've had nearly identical exchanges with the Gander several times over the course of his tenure, but neither he nor I have ever been canned. Perhaps I should work on that, so I can take my time getting moved and still have medical coverage after February...

Anonymous said...

People like “The Gander” should make you a stronger person, don’t let him get in your way, and most importantly, don’t let anyone influence your decisions. If you decide to move, do it because you want to, not because people frustrate you, same with your job. I would be sorry to hear that you have made a wrong decision because of your feelings for others…GOOD LUCK!!!

amberance said...

That's sweet. My reasons for moving are not because people are frustrating me. I have been wanting to live in Chicago for a long time. I really enjoy my time there, there are many more career opportunities for me there, and I want to spend more time with my brother, who happens to live in Chicago. The Gander only served to remind me that while sometimes things are great at work, they are not so great that I should give up my dream of moving. Having said that, it WILL be a nice change to have my blood pressure even out by not having to deal with his crap anymore.

monogodo said...

One thing I learned long ago was that there is no such thing as a perfect job. Every job has at least one negative aspect to it. Every job has internal politics to deal with. Every job has some jackass who thinks it's his job to make yours a living hell. Some jobs are better than others, but they all suck to a certain extent.

Good luck in Chicago & with the house sale.

As for moving Alistair, I have two words for you: tow dolly.