Friday, September 9, 2011

When the bullet hits the bone in the twilight zone

It was a very eventful week in politics, and I am not talking about national or state politics. I’m talking about office politics.

It would appear that my little blog has been getting around the office. It would seem that this little blog has produced quite a stir in the high command. You might even want to describe it as material damage.

Some newcomers were added to the hierarchy our firm at the beginning of the year, and it seems that they are already frustrated by some of the dysfunction they have encountered around the organization in their short time here. One of their associates discovered my blog, loved it, and passed it on to his commanding officer (one of the new comers). Evidently, what he read here did more than raise an eyebrow or two.

It would seem that Coronal Ghadaffi is now under siege (or at least in danger of being attacked) by U.N forces who may be bent on ousting him. Ghadaffi may be the target of a hammer and anvil play in which two EVPs are playing the roles of hammer and anvil (one each, respectively).

They sent him URLs to the blog, and pressed him on some of the questions raised herein. According to all reports, the Coronal was deeply perturbed, angry and yelling at assorted folks total unassociated with me. He was mumbling to himself all day long.

A few hours pass, he collects himself, and decides to meet with our HR chief. He shows her the blog and asks her to discipline me. She reads the blog. She flat cold turns him down. She tells Ghadaffi that no names were mentioned, the company name was not used, and I (your author) am entitled to the same 1st amendment publishing rights that any other American citizen has. The company can’t touch me. Ghadaffi argues with our HR chief for something over 45 minutes. She doesn't flinch. She flat cold turns him down.

I don’t think this verdict was the sole product of the 1st Amendment. The truth is a defense. No matter where you go in the world, the truth is a defense.

One piece of advice they gave me in the Army: If you get hit in battle, don’t scream. If you scream, the enemy knows he hit you and you are wounded. Further, the enemy knows where you are. I must have hit him pretty close to the mark to get him all riled up like that. In fact, judging by the way he screamed, I would say the bullet hit the bone.

He must have been feeling pretty funny when he sat down to dinner that night. I was laughing like hell when I found out about it. Rumor has it that the Coronal would have liked to have fired me yesterday, but he just can’t do it. The last time he wrote a performance review of me, he gave me all 4s and 5s on a scale of 5. All the other guys know I am damn good programmer, and will vouch for me. Legally, it’s too risky to fire me outright.

Now the Coronal must deal with the fact that he has a schism with the HR department, in addition to the hammer and anvil play. He’s been damaged. Folks have noted that he’s been avoiding the office in the last couple of days, making himself scarce. He doesn't want to be around at the moment. Can’t say I blame him.

I want to set one fact straight: I don’t hate the Coronal. If you could magically look inside my heart, you be astounded by the depth of sympathy I have for the guy. I already went through my midlife crisis. I have already been middle-age crazy. I hated every goddamn second of it. I did many stupid and self-destructive things in the epoch between ages 37-40. Yes, it cut me down early, but there were rather terrible factors at play in my life during those years. There were reasons why I went early. I met my own devil woman in those days.

The problem is that Coronal has made a nearly fatal mistake in embracing his darling Condie. Almost every dude in the programmers pit is of the same opinion: We all believe he would be a hell of a good boss to work for if he were not under the spell of an evil woman. She’s got him so wrapped around her finger its horrifying. I mean literally horrifying. By all accounts, he was a hell of a guy until this devil-woman began destroying him.

Specifically, the notion of making her a little princess in the corp is an out-an-out catastrophe. The notion that she can run his programmer-group is absolute and complete bullshit. The woman has never written a line of automata code her entire life. How then can she understand what we do, or manage our process? Even the mere suggestion is pure drivel.

So deep is he in the madness of love that he can’t see why this was an error in judgment. Still, these are the kinds of disastrous mistakes in judgment we men make when we are middle-age crazy.

These are the kind of mistakes that make us vulnerable to hammer and anvil plays.

A word of free advice to the Coronal: Don’t shoot blanks at me; get rid of her. She is your vulnerability, not me. Long after I have moved on to my next position, she will continue to be a huge weakness in your armor (presuming the hammer and anvil play fails). It may hurt like hell to do it, but you gotta put her away. She is your ruination.

It hurt me like a sonofabitch to cut off my devil woman. I was depressed for nearly 2 years as a result of this event, but I knew this was the way it had to go. It is now five years later, and I am absolutely certain that I made the correct decision in those dark days. I know life would have gone very badly for me if I had gone any other way. The cutoff play was the only winning play. It felt like I was cutting off my own right arm, but I did it anyway.

Ad meanwhile, the blog has garnered me quite a bit of praise around the office. Several voices have accused me of being a little suicidal, but they are pleased to know that there is at least one guy in the office with a pair of brass balls. One strange comment held that I was factually accurate in everything I said, but wrong to have said it. I find that one hard to understand, but I appreciate the compliment on accuracy.