Several people at my workplace want me gone because I've managed to single-handedly develop, deploy, and debug a major website for our company, built on a highly-sophisticated content management system in a matter of weeks. "But Frost," you say, "isn't that a good thing?" Why yes, yes it is. A project this size takes 7 people to succeed, but thanks to budget cuts, I had the privilege of working solo under insurmountable personal stress... and I still got it done. I rule! Management does not share my sentiments.
In fact, after the 16-hour overnight website launch, not a single person congratulated me or thanked me for my hard work. Instead, I got complaints. Hundreds of complaints. I walked into the office the next morning, never quite reached my desk, still had my coat on, and already I was being hounded by those who sign my paychecks. Here are some of our brilliant exchanges:
Marketing Director: Frost, we need some text changed on the website immediately. It's all wrong.
Frost: No problem. We have a content management system for that. You can log in and make all of the changes you want, just like typing in a word processor.
Marketing Director: *blink* That sounds complicated.
Frost: No, what's complicated is trying to get this done by going through me. Each person should be doing this themselves, just like they can type up their own emails and wipe their own asses. I'm a developer, not a daily-use copy editor.
Marketing Director: *blink* Who is the editor?
Frost: I recommended that we hire one 9 months ago. And 5 months ago. And last week.
Marketing Director: *blink* So how fast can you get these changes done?
Art Director: Frost, where are the promotions on the new website?
Frost: There aren't any. None were ever designed. We had talked about it about six meetings ago.
Art Director: *blink* Why did we launch the site if there are no promotions on it?
Frost: I wondered the same thing. But at our last meeting we all went through the entire website, page-by-page, and everyone approved it as-is, including you.
Art Director: Well, that needs to get fixed immediately. I'm going to have the graphic artist start sending you artwork. What are the specs for that?
Frost: Are you retarded? I just got through telling you that no promotions feature has even been developed yet. If it's not developed, how could I give you specs?
Art Director: I've got a ton of tasks in my work queue that are due today, and all of them are for putting promotions on the website. This has to get done today.
Frost: Well, you're wrong. There is no possible way we could design, develop, and deploy a major feature like that all in one day. Especially since I haven't dealt with the aftermath of the launch yet. There are dozens of critical bugs which require immediate attention, all of which take a back seat to promotions.
Art Director: Explain to me why this can't get done today.
Frost: All of the features on this website require a team of 7 people to operate and develop on a daily basis. We currently have just one guy on that team, me. So all of the work that needs to get done, is getting done seven times slower than usual.
Art Director: Why didn't we plan for this?
Frost: We did plan for this. I had started training in the old webmaster to handle some of this work on the new website, but you fired him.
Art Director: *blink* So what time are these promotions going to be online today?
Advertising Manager: Frost, the coupons we're planning to offer next month... I'd like a demonstration on how that would all work. Can I set up a meeting for tomorrow and you can give us a demo?
Frost: I have an issue queue that will take me over 2 weeks to get through. Your project is next on the list after that.
Advertising Manager: No, I understand all that, I'm just wondering if we could see how it's going to work.
Frost: I don't have anything to demonstrate. It hasn't been developed yet. It's a feature request that I'm planning to do, and it will be ready by next month, as you requested.
Advertising Manager: Well, of course. But isn't there any way you could just show us how it works?
Frost: Let me explain to you the basic concept of linear time. If I need to program this feature in the future, then there is no way I could possibly show you that program in the present. I can only demonstrate things that have been done in the past. See? It's so easy, a caveman could do it.
Advertising Manager: So what time are you available for this meeting tomorrow?
Project Manager: Frost, here are some changes we need done to the sister-company website.
Frost: I'm in charge of our main website only. The sister-company website is being handled by Jordie.
Project Manager: Well, she's not here. Can you just do it?
Frost: No. It's completely different technology, different server information, different everything. That's why it's handled by Jordie.
Project Manager: Tell you what: I'm just going to assign the task to you, and you can figure it out.
Naturally, I kept working on my issue queue, fixing bugs, developing new solutions, and programming web applications... You know... my job. If anybody has a problem with it, they can just go talk to my boss. In the meantime, the geniuses listed above skipped over my boss and complained directly to the Vice President of the company. They just couldn't get it through their heads how 1 guy just couldn't do the work of 7 people at a moment's notice.
I painted the following metaphor: If the ship is sinking, and you only have one crewman out of seven, and that one crewman is the pilot, he might not be able to fix the breach in the hull, fix the engines, change the deck railings, cook meals for the passengers, install a swimming pool, and paint new lettering on the side all at the same time. And for God's sake, it's probably more important that we fix the breach in the hull first and think about painting new lettering at a later date.
So, naturally, we hired more help, right? We delegated the work to the appropriate skilled people, right? Nope. Instead, I got scolded for not doing enough, and now my very employment is on the line. No pressure in this economy, or anything...
As icing on the cake, Jordie put in her notice, today, so all of her work will also fall to me. Shit, I've already got 7 jobs. What's one more?