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uniball
Oct 10, 2003



My (new) boss recently forced me to take some hosed up hypercorporate cult-style sales training. Evidently it's very important for everyone in the company to "speak the same language" about "new opportunities". I'm a network engineer and I've been at a medium-sized MSP for three years without anything like this happening so far. I get that an MSP will be more sales-focused than most places, but don't loving offload your missed targets on your engineers.

I tried to get out of it a few times, but my boss eventually made it a condition of this year's raise so I figured I'd suck it up and sit through two days of hell. Once I saw that the raise had been processed, I signed up for the two full days of training (canceling a number of client meetings and postponing project work along the way).

Day 1 of the training was even worse than I expected. I worked in an Apple store years ago, so I was having severe PTSD flashbacks when the FranklinCovey trainer told us "you might even find these skills useful in your personal lives!". gently caress

I stuck through the grossly-irrelevant-to-my-career cold call training for as long as I could, but four hours in when the trainer told us that next we'd be roleplaying sales calls, I walked out and headed to a client site to get some actual work done. A couple days later my boss set up a meeting to "discuss my abrupt exit". Evidently the VP who organized the training was in attendance and was personally offended by my "rude actions", especially my icebreaker introduction (who are you, and why are you here? "I'm uniball, and my boss put this training in my contract and told me it's mandatory").

The meeting was 45 minutes of back-and-forth between my boss and another director and I regarding how critical it is that all employees be involved with "filling the pipeline" and "radiating opportunities". They were pushing hard for me to agree to apologize to the VP in question and complete the sales training. gently caress that forever, after 2 very angry years at Apple I now have some hard dealbreakers and dehumanizing corporate poo poo is one of them. I was completely prepared to get fired over this - I have plenty of savings and have been casually looking for a new job for 6+ months - but I'm the prime for so many systems and customers that I think they're pretty scared of losing me.

The meeting ended hilariously, with the director that's not my boss haggling over how much sales training I'd be willing to take - I agreed to a maximum of 30 minutes with absolutely no roleplaying. The entire meeting was surreal, which I expected, so I recorded it Listening back the next day was bizarre.

I've been lurking this thread for months, thanks for letting me vent!!

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uniball
Oct 10, 2003



Tab8715 posted:

How was working in the Apple store?
It was kind of fun in terms of how many crazy software/hardware issues I saw every day, and the social atmosphere was wild - imagine a 30 person helpdesk team that gets wasted with a large part of the 100+ person sales team three times a week. The actual work environment was hosed though: I was unanimously voted the best technician on the team multiple times, yet still got cost-of-living or lower raises every year because I openly shunned the scripted interactions. The daily brainwashing was exhausting to be around, to say nothing of the mandatory quarterly meetings where you listened to three hours of propaganda.

I hear that these days they've completely moved away from hiring technical minds and are now completely focused on "repairing the relationship instead of the issue". I learned a shitload about Mac OS, malware, bash, and networking while simultaneously furthering my antisocial tendencies and skirting alcoholism. My quitting-on-the-spot story is a post of its own.

Tab8715 posted:

How did this overall conversation progress? Personally, I've un-intuitively found success in feeding big egos only to go on with my original plan or finding greener pastures.
It was mostly me being lectured about "toeing the line" and "flying the flag" followed by rationale for my absolutely needing to complete this training and make upper management happy, with my responses stating no matter the corporate requirements I will never take training that involves roleplaying or focuses on sales. My favorite segment was them comparing my insubordination to cancer - "you start with one cell, others follow...".

Greener pastures is absolutely my main focus, this place is too small for stoking egos to give me any worthwhile returns.

uniball
Oct 10, 2003




OK. I'll explain my situation first so I don't come off quite as vindictive/unstable as the actions alone convey. If you just want the meat of it, skip down to The actual story.

I'd been working at an extremely busy downtown Apple store for a little over two years, as a technician ("Genius") the entire time. I had just gone through my second annual performance review, this one by a former Lululemon manager wearing a Power Balance bracelet who let me know that I'd be getting a 2% raise, which I should be grateful for as it's "standard", and suggested that I if I want something better next year I should focus on raising my Net Promoter Score and "developing better relationships with my peers". The last part was one of many indications that advancement (to the maximum levels of Trainer or Manager) was accelerated by informing management which of your coworkers weren't loyal party members behind closed doors.

I had been very unhappy for at least a few months - my schedule was unbelievably unhealthy, I was regularly spoken to for things like 'not saying hello to people' and 'not being a team player', which I believe were code for 'please stop emoting anything other than saccharine happiness while at work'. I felt, and the other technicians generally agreed, that I did a great job getting my hands dirty and troubleshooting tricky issues in depth. I did research, learned new things, and spent extra time fixing people's bizarre hard-to-diagnose problems instead of just wiping their machines or checking them in for "tests" that often involved leaving a 10-hour youtube video playing overnight to see if it crashed. To be repeatedly told by management that I'm not doing good work when I and my coworkers feel that I am was infuriating. In addition to all of my personal incompatibilities, it was early 2013, Apple was more successful than ever, and the sheer volume of repairs and appointments resulted in pretty extreme pressure on the technicians to get unrealistic amounts of work done in an 8-hour day. Appointments were changed from 15 minutes long to 10, with the expectation that in addition to handling anything from simple how-tos through "my wireless drops exactly once every 20 minutes" style questions within the appointment time, we'd multitask and have more than one appointment going at once.

The poor performance review in context with everything else finally kicked my rear end into looking for a real job. I spent a couple months applying and interviewing, and eventually got a jr. sysadmin job working with some people who had quit my store a few months earlier. Between the final interview and signing the offer I think I burned 8 of my 10 sick days, all in late February/early March. I wonder if Apple (or anyone else) uses heuristics to see things like this coming. I wanted some serious catharsis from leaving this toxic dump so I agreed (on a Wednesday) to start the following Monday. This meant I'd do my quitting on Thursday. I was scheduled to work 10am-7pm, so I planned to phone it in and give people free replacements all morning, then hand in my letter and walk out right in the middle of the mid-day rush.

Three pieces of background before the actual story: first, Apple's internal training materials are extremely self-obsessed - references to old marketing campaigns are constant. The one that stuck out most to me, due to the intense irony involved, was the 1984 Super Bowl ad. As described above, Apple Retail is a cesspool of propaganda, doublespeak, and groupthink, so it was unbelievable to see the uncritical worship of an ad campaign specifically referencing those as negative traits.

Second, there were 27" iMacs everywhere in the back of the store - used for punch clocks, breakroom computers, repair room workstations, and a few mounted to walls just for slideshows of recent 'company events' etc. Displayed on all of these iMacs as a screensaver was a newish program, I think it started in 2012, called 'iCredo', in reference to the Credo, a horrific mantra that we were given on a small folding card and encouraged to carry in our wallets. iCredo is/was a barebones social network - all you could do at the time was post "Credos" (??) to your coworkers, meant to be "Nice work selling all those iPads!" or whatever. When using the desktop site, you could browse to your coworkers' pages and see all of the Credos they'd received, and the screensaver on every back-of-house iMac just cycled through the 10 most recent posts for your store.

Third, ANY open expression of negativity or even the possibility of negativity was unheard of. I know this is the case in a lot of places, but it was overwhelming in Apple retail. When someone quit, or even when someone was fired, the all-store emails that went out referred to them "moving on in their journey" or "graduating". This insane article about Hubspot covers some nearly-identical corporate psyops. I can't express enough how shocking it would have been to receive an email with any kind of honest negativity at Apple.

The actual story: I showed up to work that day and made some preparations on my first break: I bought a copy of 1984 (two actually, one to keep as a souvenir) and wrote my resignation letter inside the front cover. I made myself a second account ("Meow Meow" for some reason) in iCredo, so that I could post Credos to myself. I wrote up a blunt all-store email from my @apple.com email to the store DLs and saved it as a draft. I then worked the rest of the first half of my shift, replacing every frayed power adapter and cracked iPhone for free and telling the surprised owner that it's because I would be quitting in a couple hours. I still remember having to repeat it a couple times to a girl who kept thinking she was mishearing me.

I treated myself to a nice disgusting burger for lunch, then walked back to the store. Instead of going back to the floor and taking my next appointment, I sat at a punch-clock computer and sent my email to all 300 employees, posted a bunch of Credos to myself that were simply "I quit!", and found my manager and handed him the copy of 1984 with my resignation letter written on the inside cover. Walking out through a hallway of monitors showing my smiling face with "I quit!" next to it was exactly as cathartic as I wanted it to be.

Here's some slightly redacted photographic evidence:



I heard back from similarly disenfranchised friends working that day that they almost immediately put the Genius Bar on hold for 10 minutes to have an emergency meeting regarding my sudden departure. Two of them were nice enough to send me recordings of that meeting that I treasure to this day, in addition to the damage control email that was sent as a reply-all to mine:

quote:

Hey Team

Although <uniball>'s departure is sudden, we have known that <uniball> has not had the best experience over the past few months. We have actively been working with <uniball> and it is disappointing to see him leave in this way. As you know the connections and relationships we build in the store are the foundation of our Credo and Apple. We may never understand why <uniball> left the way he did but I confident in the team that we have today.

Many of you have approached me over the last few weeks to tell me how excited you are about the experience you are having in the family room. Although we have many opportunities, our culture and performance is changing to one of success and resilience. Continuing to hold each other accountable to the environment you want to create is the key to our success.

Let's continue to keep our dialogue open and if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out.

Thanks

<store manager>

I know "don't burn bridges" is universal advice regarding leaving a job you hate, but in my specific situation I'm positive it was the right choice. It continues to feel soooo good.

uniball
Oct 10, 2003



H110Hawk posted:


I hope you took a picture of the inscribed 1984 novel / resignation letter.

I wasn't going to post it since my handwriting is so embarrassingly bad (especially writing on the inside of a paperback with a solid dose of adrenaline) but here you go

uniball
Oct 10, 2003



Internet Explorer posted:

I hope you don't tell that story during interviews.

I had a nice smile to myself when a US border guard grilling me on my application for a TN visa asked why I left Apple. "There weren't many opportunities for advancement."

uniball
Oct 10, 2003



captkirk posted:

Uh, not sure this was the best idea. Doesn't that basically boil down to "and then I proceeded to steal from my job because I was quitting shortly"?

No, you're specifically given the ability to make judgment calls for small repairs. If you think it's "right for the customer" you're allowed to replace out-of-warranty parts for free, within reason (you can't swap entire computers without a manager, for example), as long as you classify the repair you create accordingly. I was just operating at 100% lenient for that shift.

uniball
Oct 10, 2003



Me: two APs didn't come back up after the electricians recabled them. can you have them unmount the APs so I can troubleshoot?
Client's PM: no, the APs are your responsibility. if they failed that's your fault, you need to take care of it.
Me: uh ok, do you have a stepladder I can use?
PM: no.

I borrowed a stepladder from a friendly tradesman and took the APs down. Here's what I found:



That's ceiling tile dust. He used the phrase "if they failed that's your fault" verbatim which I find, uhh, interesting.

uniball
Oct 10, 2003




Aruba IAP-225s.

uniball
Oct 10, 2003



GnarlyCharlie4u posted:

I don't think they're gonna be able to talk him through enabling RDC and setting up port forwards on his router if he can't even install TeamViewer...

since i guess it still needs to be said: don't expose RDP directly to the internet. especially when it's a normie's personal computer. all of ipv4 is constantly being scanned for listening RDP servers, and the ones that are listening immediately get bruteforce cannons pointed at them. and then there are vulns!

uniball
Oct 10, 2003



Bob Morales posted:

Work for MSP until a client hires you.

really? i would expect basically all MSPs to put nonsolicitation clauses in both the MSAs with the client and employment contracts with their workers.

(a client is currently attempting to hire me and my MSP employer is not having it)

uniball
Oct 10, 2003



Zotix posted:

Those of you who have worked for an MSP before, how did you handle the almost guaranteed Non-compete that you signed? Worse comes to worse I can move and seek employment elsewhere, that seems to be outlined in my contract. I'm also going to meet with an attorney to find out exactly what all of the mumbo jumbo means exactly.

i recently spoke to an employment lawyer about this exactly (specific to Ontario). noncompetes are generally unenforceable here unless there are extenuating circumstances around real competition, like sales data/client lists/trade secrets.

nonsolicitation, however, is an actual concern. as i mentioned upthread my MSP employer appears to be refusing to let my primary client of 7 years hire me direct, as that would be a loss of revenue for them (even though i am the only person at my entire MSP with any knowledge of or access to the client in question). the MSP provides zero value-add and is just holding the client hostage thanks to the contracts in place and the amount of work it would take to replace me.

the lawyer told me itís anyoneís guess as to whether the employer would actually choose to go after me if i ignored the contract, but that (again, in Ontario at least) the worst case scenario would be an injunction that prevents me from working for that company. not exactly life-ruining. he told me that in his experience, the larger and more professional-services-centric the employer is, the more likely they are to pursue cases like this. evidently itís about putting the fear of god into the rest of their employees rather than handling the individual instances of lost revenue (which are almost certainly far less than their legal costs would be)

uniball
Oct 10, 2003



The Iron Rose posted:

Anyone ever set up anonymous messaging/chat/collab features for an organization before? Iím trying to set up a safe, anonymous space for trans people at my company. Iím tentatively thinking about rolling our own with element.io (formerly riot.im) but Iím not entirely sure how to handle authentication without collecting peopleís identities. I was thinking using a form limited only to employees that lets people request accounts with personal emails, but Iím curious if thereís any commercial offerings in this space, or if any of yíall have experience setting up something similar?

i donít have experience providing anonymous messaging, but i do administer a matrix homeserver. since you probably want to put the synapse (matrix/element homeserver implementation) application behind a reverse proxy like nginx anyway, it might be simple to restrict the account creation URLs to your workís public IP range, or something like that. thatíd give you pseudonymous chat at least. hell that might even be doable right in homeserver.yaml without any custom nginx stuff. keep in mind that even if all rooms are E2EE, anyone with access to the matrix serverís logs can trivially associate usernames to IP addresses.

uniball
Oct 10, 2003



this is marketing garbage, do not take it seriously

uniball
Oct 10, 2003



the lovely 250 person MSP/consultancy i worked for had been dying over the last 3 years and had bled down to ~110 people before getting acquired in May by a big accounting firm (not big 4, but ~5000 people). given the pandemic timing i felt i didn't really have a choice but to accept the buyout (same salary and vacation at least). it's been funny seeing my background noise work email go from old fashioned helpless incompetence to malicious HR-polished enterprise incompetence.

we all use BYOD phones and get $60/mo for our personal cell phone plans. HR just sent a form to everyone titled "Terms and Conditions for using Personal Mobile Computing Devices for Business Purposes". check out one of the terms:

quote:

I agree to submit my mobile computing device to be audited, at the firmís discretion, for compliance with the Mobile Communications Policy.

lol. i deleted the Outlook app and will no longer submit expense claims for the $60/mo. enjoy only being able to reach me while i'm at my computer!

uniball
Oct 10, 2003



klosterdev posted:

We're setting up printers to authenticate users with the card they used to badge into the building, and there's been an issue where sometimes when the user scans it doesn't recognize them.

The RFID reader was occasionally reading the number from the metro cards in people's wallets instead of the card they use to get in

for a few years the Lenel system in the campus i work for would initiate a max level alarm (same as a forced entry detected on a maglock) when a card with an ďunparseableĒ facility code or whatever was read. this includes torontoís metro cards. only once the market penetration of those metro cards was pretty high did they finally tune those alerts down from critical

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uniball
Oct 10, 2003



ands spends millions of dollars lobbying to prevent the creation of free online tax filing

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