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Fire me? Err, ok :)

Posted on | October 11, 2007 | 1 Comment

I must preface this little rant with a few things:

  • I don’t run up credit card debt.
  • When I find money, I save most of it.
  • I live very, very simply.

Today, a rather rude person seemed to suffer from the delusion that said “threatening to fire him will make him work harder for free”. This course of action did not turn out as planned.

I freelance and work strictly on an hourly basis (under most circumstances), I don’t donate time because a client’s idea was harder to pull off than expected. I spent roughly three hours tweaking a rather small cluster, adding functionality to auto-update ocfs2 configurations. My client decided that my solution should fix every problem that he had, then threatened to ‘fire’ me if I did not promptly (and freely) fix every problem that he had.

My reply was quite simple:

“We are all sentient beings floating on a rock in space, a rock which has not yet fully cooled. Please tell me how, with this knowledge in mind that you have some kind of invisible power over me, beyond threatening to take away my income knowing that I have a kid?”

The guy was literally dumbfounded, then offered to pay for the additional work. I declined and told him that the previous work was ‘on the house’, he needed it – apparently, obviously short on capital.

I’m wondering, how many of you give up time with your children because your boss needs to look better on a spreadsheet? How many of you resent this? Why do you continue to do things that you resent, then bring this resentment home to your family in the form of your behavior?

Being fired is not the end of the world. Usually, someone has done you a favor by firing you. This is what I suggest:

  • 8 And Skate – Give your required time and then go home. Unless some paper that you signed says otherwise, you are required to give 8 – 10 hours per day, nothing less, nothing more. Don’t take work home with you, the time that some company gets over your family life is simply not worth it.
  • Quit eating at your desk – Well, unless you want to. Some of us really enjoy our jobs and are quite content to eat and work. If so, do what makes you happy. If not, get the heck out of that office for an hour a day, it will do you some good.
  • Verbal insults from supervisors that others can hear is sue-able - If your manager, boss, robotic overlord, whatever, calls you ‘stupid’ from a position of authority .. and co-workers heard it, call a lawyer, they’ll be happy to hear from you.
  • Take what you can get – If you get ‘perks’ , use them. This might include health benefits, vacation, child care, whatever. If you don’t use these things, they’ll vanish.
  • Freelance on time off – You can make a rather substantial living from home, check out one of the million freelance web sites. Build a supplemental income that can be a cushion if your boss becomes a dictator. Do not accept a position that prohibits such things, this should cause you to immediately call the ethics of the company into question. You have as much right as they do to advance yourself. They don’t own you, they rent you for 1/3 of the day, only.

Don’t fall for “There is no I in TEAM” speech. There must be an “I”, we are all individuals. Help your company make what they can, do not donate your soul in the process of doing so :)


One Response to “Fire me? Err, ok :)”

  1. atomicrocketturtle
    October 12th, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

    Ahh Scope Creep… we’ve all been there :P I’d say this effect gets magnified when you’re also an open source developer. Theres a sort of sense of entitlement I get from time to time that because I do one thing for “free” I should fix all their problems as well. Fortunately that experience is rare.

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