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The Real World...OPRA!

by March 02, 2006

My presence on Audioholics has been increasing for the last year or so... no more so than when I gave myself the title of OPRA. Many have assumed that I've been working for Audioholics for some time now... and that is true to a point. If by "working for" you mean "indentured servitude" or as Clint likes to call it, "paying my dues." Finally, at long last, Gene sent me an email that absolutely made my year:


Attached is an annual employment contract agreement and non-compete agreement. Please look it over and feel free to ask any questions.

Here is what we propose for a start date:

1) February 15 th , prorated month

2) March 1 st normal compensation as per the attached contract

Best Regards;

Gene DellaSala

SWEET! While negotiating contract specifics is never fun, doing it over email is infuriating. Luckily, my changes (which were minor but highly in my favor... except for the typo that indicated I only needed to do two reviews a YEAR to be in compliance. I probably shouldn't have pointed that out to them) were acceptable and we quickly came to an agreement. I've decided to keep a log of the last few days of work in the interest of... well... gloating really.

Before Audioholics (BAH) 35: I've been working for a... um... large bureaucracy for the last couple of years. It started off with a two week wait for a password to access my computer and went downhill from there. That's not to say that I don't like the people I work with, I do... for the most part. They have given me some good times that I'll carry with me...

Alright already! Enough PC "being nice to people" crap. I'm quitting. That's right, I'm outta here. Got the contract signed and sent off today so in I marched to my boss's office and plopped down saying, "I gotta go." Now, my immediate boss is a good guy that I'm good friends with. He got me into climbing and we climb together three times a week so, while he's sorry to see me go, he's not exactly getting rid of me. I ask him to keep this under his hat for a few days while I try to decide which of the two start dates I wanted to choose. Also, I'm trying to get a coworker fired because she is so incompetent that I'm amazed daily that she remembers to breathe. I figure I'll have more pull if they don't know I'm on my way out.

BAH 31: After weighing all the options, I've decided to go with option 2. It is better for my boss and it is better for me. A hard decision because that's two more weeks before I start with Audioholics full time. But I can suck it up right? I decide to wait until the end of the week to give my letter. So far, I've been completely unsuccessful in my quest to rid my coworkers of the dead weight in the office and I fear she'll never leave. I tried to do a good deed... I swear I did.

BAH 29: There is a yearly project that is currently ramping up. No one likes this project but we don't have a choice. It brings out the stupids in the people we serve. This year, people must have asked for a double helping of stupid with a side of brain damage. Today has been one of the, if not THE, worst days since the New Year. I had to stop answering the phone for fear that I might reach through the phone line and throttle the next person that asks a question that I know the trainer (at the training they SAID they attended and SWEAR they paid close attention) jumped up and down screaming the answer. Breathe, breathe... find your happy place Tom... one more day, just one more day.

BAH 28: R-Day. A skip in my step and a whistle on my lips, I traipsed into the office, letter of resignation in my hand. It's going to be a good day today. I'm joking, laughing, as chipper as I ever get (which honestly more closely resembles bitter than chipper ). My boss hand delivers the letter to his boss. I get called over to his office (a drive mind you) to discuss what I'll be doing in the future. He's unconvinced I have a new job; actually word is already out that I'm going to play "Mr. Mom." Once I tell him the truth, we talk about his new TV for a while and he hints that his old is up for sale. Um... no thanks.

Some have asked me if they tried to convince me to stay. The answer is no, no they didn't. Some people are taken aback by this suggesting that perhaps they were happy to be rid of me. I'm sure for some that is true. But the long and the short of it is that, as a large bureaucracy, they have almost NO negotiation power. The only way to convince me to stay is to appeal to my better nature... which I was tragically born without - just ask my wife. They can't offer more money or less hours or flex time or perks. Nothing. So why didn't they ask me to stay? Because all they could do was say "please" and they were pretty sure what my answer would have been. I could have given it to them in sign language.

BAH 21: Things have been going pretty good. There was some fear that I would be the target of discrimination and venom. So far, not the case. In fact, I haven't even brought it up recently, nor has anyone else. It is surprisingly quiet around here. Perhaps too quiet...

BAH 14: Been coming in progressively later. Office workers turned everything in my office upside down. I only bothered turning the computer and phone back over. I started training my replacement this week. I feel good about her. She's very nice and her position was in jeopardy of being cut so it is good that this opened up for her. She'll do very well I think.

Sort of shocked at how little I do around here... mostly because I've automated everything but still, I must do more than this. I fear I am in for a rude awakening once I start for Audioholics. My current position is feast or famine - either you have nothing to do or there are not enough hours in the day to get it done. Translation: Long periods of mind-numbing boredom punctuated by intense stress. What will I do when I constantly have something to do?

Before my current position, I worked for a small consulting firm in Los Angeles. A really great company. Man, I was so busy that the days absolutely flew by. That is the scary thing really; Have I gotten so complacent, so indoctrinated into the bureaucratic mentality that I'll become embittered and resentful at being asked to work three straight hours in a row without a coffee break? I've only been working here for a year and a half. Perhaps I haven't been tainted.

BAH 7: My last week is upon me. I've taken to answering the phone, "This is Tom, I quit." I also randomly put the phrase at the end of sentences. "Yes, I can help you with that. First, did you fill out your TPS report coversheet, I quit? No? Hmm... you know, you really should do that for me, yeah. No, you can't have a red stapler, I quit." It's starting to freak people out... which makes me smile.

The large project is now in full swing. Everybody is in high stress mode... everybody but me that is. I'm completely relaxed. It is actually kind of fun watching them all scurry around with their little problems and their little lives. It is like watching ants on the playground or cars from a plane. Not that I feel superior, just that I feel removed.

They had a combo bi-month birthday/going away potluck this week. Well, the birthday thing was going to happen and they decided to tack me on to it. It was nice, actually. Usually people just pick up food from Costco or something but this time they actually put out some effort... well some of them. I boiled some shrimp which were a huge hit. I attempted on three separate occasions to put together some sort of farewell speech... but I couldn't. Mostly because there are some people about whom I couldn't find anything nice to say. Leaving them out would have been as bad so I decided to just let it go. I thought about emails... but you don't want to put something like that down on paper... now posting it in an editorial on the world wide web, that's a different story all together.

BAH 1: My last day. I'm almost sad to go... almost. My replacement has been trained and I only really slacked off on a few things - but she should be able to figure those out. The last two days my co-workers have been taking turns taking me out to lunch. That's been nice. As with any job, it is the people that make the difference. They are all (well, almost all) really good people. Bureaucracy just sucks. It is all set up to cater to the lowest common denominator. Why excel when Suzi Sleepsalot is going to get the same raise as you. No, she can't be fired for incompetence because she never does anything: She never does anything because she's so incompetent that no one assigns her anything. Sure, you could step up and do more work like Wanda Worksallweekend but all that does is garner you a pat on the back and more work . Hey, if you could get it done that fast last time, surely you could cut that time in half this time.

So you find yourself playing Scotty on Star Trek, "Aye, but'll take me tree hours Capt'n." When he knows damn good and well that all he has to do is go down there and sacrifice a red shirt to the warp coil and it will all be fine. Ten minutes, tops. After you get over your initial resentment and frustration, you stop blaming the people around you. It is not their fault really, it is the system. They are only playing the game as the rules are dictated to them. But surely there can be change? I don't know the answer to that. Literally, the day I turned in my letter, the new CEO announced that he was cutting 15-20% of the management. Everyone is freaking out. I don't blame them, I wouldn't want to be fired either. Now quitting ... that's the real joy.


miklorsmith posts on March 06, 2006 11:24
Does that mean I get to ride your coattails to the top? Behind every great OPRA is. . .I thought we had something special. . .One day we're sitting in a tree, the next you're jumping out of it to ride off in a Bentley. Hey, you're not OPRA! I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those darn kids! Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you. . .The Peter Priciple! In every pail of milk, the cream does rise. In Roman times, you would have been Opravius. So, you're finally out of prison for letting the subwoofer eat your kid? Softies. Would you look at that huge cranium! It's like an orange on a stick!! It's like Sputnik! Head, trousers, NOW!!

And there you have it. Nice work.
STRONGBADF1 posts on March 03, 2006 19:55
Now that you have a contract you don't have to hold back any sarcasm!

Good luck and hold on…your now in the crosshairs 24/7!!!

Tom Andry posts on March 03, 2006 19:17
Thanks guys. It really is a pleasure being here. What didn't make the editorial cut was that after my first day, I was already behind. Man, Gene and Clint work a lot!
Buckle-meister posts on March 03, 2006 17:29
I thought you were working for Audioholics since you became OPRA as it was.
Buckeyefan 1 posts on March 03, 2006 15:08

Your chiclets need updated to say - “I finally landed that job at AH!”

It sounds like you'll be best friends with the UPS guy in the upcoming year. Keep us up to date on the latest trends! Congrats on your new job.
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About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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