IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Posts Tagged ‘IT’

Goodbye Big Black Box

Posted by IT Pilgrim on August 27, 2008

This is my official goodbye to the Big Black Box Computer Company, where I was contracted to until October. However, it all ended last Tuesday, abruptly. They gave me some crap about wanting someone with different skills, but I am not that stupid, I know the real reason. The real reason is one the employees, the Team Lead no less was repeatedly trying to physically intimidate me. At over 6 inches taller than me, and a big guy, he tried to use his size to push me around. I told him Exactly what I thought about such behavior, and contractor or no, under no circumstances was I going to tolerate it. So here’s my five quick tips on assertiveness, something I use all the time.
From Wikipedia:

Assertive people have the following characteristics:

* They feel free to express their feelings, thoughts, and desires.
* They know their rights.
* They have control over their anger. It does not mean that they repress this feeling. It means that they control it for a moment and then talk about it later in a logical way.
* They have a good understanding of feelings of the person with whom they are communicating.

For Assertiveness in the Office:

  • Use “I” sentences. Using “we” or “us” makes a much softer point, save it for when you are actually trying to be nicey-nice.
  • Stand-up straight and tall, no slouching or rounded shoulders. That conveys vulnerability.
  • Be crystal clear in what you say and what you want. Always try to stay on message and leave no wiggle room.
  • Say No occasionally. Rather than be the world’s dumping ground, say no to some requests, but try to pick something fairly reasonable if possible. Remember, clarity.
  • Use your voice. Speak up, especially you ladies and you very soft spoken gentlemen. There is a time to be quiet, but its not all the time. Make youself heard. Use those lower tones to convey seriousness.

I could probably go on and on for hours about it, and about how important it is to be assertive. Sometimes, its better to err on the side of aggression than to err on the side of doormat. The funny thing is, I did not learn assertiveness in school, or even in a seminar. Assertiveness is a skill you learn when trying to command a thousand pound horse at 40 feet away. So next time you are not sure, just think, would your attitude stop that horse before it ran you over?

Last, but not least. To Big Black Box Computer Company. I will miss your empty parking lot, empty, because no one ever shows up for work. I will miss your white male dominated buildings where the desks are great, if you are 6 feet tall. OK, I won’t miss you persay, but I will miss your great toys that almost no other company can ever afford, and the 3rd largest SAN in the United States.

Photos by by jepoirrier via Flickr and by -= ierkof =- via Flickr

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Posted in Life in IT, Office Skills | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Commentary on Social Isolation

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 7, 2008

When I got to work this morning, the only person I saw was the security guard sitting behind his bullet proof glass. I walk down to my desk, and sit in my little fabric box, where the only view is the ceiling tiles and the while walls. Most of the light comes from my computer’s monitor because people have turned off what little light there was in here and it is difficult to get it back on. Though I often feel like I am the last person on Earth, I am not alone.

Everyday around the country and most likely, around the world, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of us that live this way. This is the price we have brought on ourselves by creating our culture of intellectual workers. The only sounds you hear are the whirr of the air conditioner or heater, or maybe a distant conference call at another desk. You don’t know who that call belongs to, because you have never spoken to that other person, and most likely never will. Though the separation can be as little as 20 or 30 feet, it might as well be a million miles away.

This is your world, this 4 or 6 foot fabric box which you are discouraged from decorating. Sometimes people walk by, but you don’t know them. When you first move in, you try to introduce yourself to people, you try to get them to talk to you. After a few weeks of strange looks, you eventually just give up. Now they just walk on by and don’t even look up.

How, as a society did we become this disconnected from the world around us? No longer does the neighborhood watch out for each other, people often have never even met their neighbors. For all our advances, is the world fundamentally a better place for it?

We drive to work in our little glass and steel boxes, then sit in our fabric ones for a few hours, then repeat the journey again. We surf the web, we shop online, we chat and play video games, but let me ask this question … when was the last time you even said hello to someone? For all our technology, many of us feel more cut off from each other than we have at any other time in our history as a race.

So what do we do? Well, that part is easy. Next time the person 3 feet away from you IMs or emails you, get up. Its that easy, just get up and go talk to them. Walk around a little, and look up, stop hiding from each other. Say Hi to the people you pass, even if you have no idea who they are. Ask them their name, then go back to your desk and write down who they were and what they looked like. That way, tomorrow, when you see them again, you will remember. When you get home, walk over to your neighbor’s house and say hi to them as well.

Try it today! Really, what do you have to lose? I tried it, and I now know all 4 of the people in my building. The best part is, it didn’t even hurt 😉

Posted in Life in IT, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

What Is The ITPilgrimage?

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 2, 2008

What is the IT Pilgrimage? Let’s begin at the begining. From Wikipedia:

A pilgrim is one who undertakes a pilgrimage, literally ‘far afield’. This is traditionally a visit to a place of some religious or historic significance; often a considerable distance is traveled.

A cultural pilgrimage, while also about personal journey, involves a secular response. Destinations for such pilgrims can include historic sites of national or cultural importance, and can be defined as places “of cultural significance: an artist’s home, the location of a pivotal event or an iconic destination.”

OK, so now that we have a definition, what does it mean, here and now. In short, I have started this site to try to chronicle a journey. I expect this journey to be long, and full of bumps and potholes in the road. While at this time, this is a lone journey, I do hope at some point to find some other Pilgrims on the way.

Where are we going, you might ask. Well… in short, anywhere but here. As an IT 9-5er for a major corporation, that shall rename nameless, I woke one day and realized that I did not want to be here anymore. As I looked around, I realized that very few of us actually do. It seems that most of us just sort of fall into IT and just never seem to get around to leaving.

I have always been told that if you want your next 5 years to look exactly like your last 5 years, just do nothing different. Its that simple. So in order for my next 5 or 10 years to not be like the last, in order to be able to wake up in the morning and have a reason to get up, so the journey begins.

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