I'm flying to Portland.

There's a strange freedom and joy that comes when you're exactly in that exact moment in your life and capable of anything and everything and it only gets better from here.

I leave in twenty minutes.

What's going to happen next?

(It's been a while since the below happening, and in order to move forward from the below, I've editted the below to de-personalize it.)

A small preface.


This was originally titled "please help," and I published it yesterday evening as a Facebook note. I've so far received no responses. I now publish this on everything2.com to see if I get a different response. At least, downvoted or up, I know somebody read this. 

Regards,

Hassan

--------------------------


Dear everyone,  

It may be a while since you last knew what I was up to, but I've been working in New York City as a web developer, at companies like Thrillist, NBC, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and most recently, Time Inc. It's been no news that we're unhappy with the "system", vis-a-vis Occupy Wall Street and similar movements, but until aforementioned system booted me out on my ass this Monday, I never knew I was the fortunate 1%. Monday, and today, I am 99%.  

Let me explain, and I hope this makes sense.  

I'll leave aside experiences like Thrillist and Martha Stewart, but this last experience at Time has me really impressed. I was hired as a contractor to be a part of a team moving essence.com from a legacy system to Drupal, as the Drupal expert in charge of "templates". On my first day, I was given four items.  

1) A print-out of a temporary log-in, username: hassan.timeinc, password: people12. I looked to put it away in a drawer, and found an identical print out. username: patrick.something, password: people12. Not a good sign.  

2) A chair to work in. Facing it was a Windows XP computer I rebooted two days later to find "(c) 1985-2004" on the loading screen, making it a 8 years old one.  

3) A timeline. Eventually an amusing document to read.  

4) Our existing code, one month into the project, of our soon-to-be new website.  

This, I kid you not, was a single functioning page of HTML. The rest? A useless back-end of legacy code. If you enabled modules to toggle on site functionality, pages on administration panels would start to break with errors. Additionally, it was hosted on the private clarencek.com website of one of the project leads. Extremely professional.  

At my first meeting with both of them, I was told I would have a month to finish the "templates", which were grouped by due-date milestones: Homepage. Channels. Articles. Feeds. etc.  So that over time, a website would grow.  The problem was, creating and theming template files is just one out of the many steps required to turn up suites of pages, like the "articles" milestones. Like I mentioned, I was being gunned for progress from the start, and I needed "articles" done by the end of the week, which Josh described as a "good first week". This, in steps I won't bore you with, I almost did. On our meeting on Thursday, the other project lead, Clarence, suggested the following week's Wednesday as our deadline. So I demoed what I had Friday morning, and it was deemed good progress.   However, it wasn't finished, and so Josh was hoping to see what I had at the end of the day. He came by later on the afternoon, for a friendly "status report". After having this conversation, I took my time, and then flipped.  

I went into his office for a private meeting, asking that he schedule these status reports into meetings, as being queried about progress after about six hours since he saw the latest, wasn't how I liked to work. He said that's how things worked around there, then asked if I didn't mind coming into Clarence's office. I complied.  

Inside, I explained all the above, and asked, that in addition to less of these informal status reports, I'd like additional structure added to the timeline document. I still have this. Deadline dates? June/July. So I figured the thing was porous enough to admit some dates of my own, reflecting the missing back-end functionality that I described working on a part of my status reports. This became a hostile conversation. However, I took a step down for a smoke with one of the project leads, and he seemed sympathetic to moving some of the dates of back-end functionality milestones, loosely defined for later July, up closer. He said we'd meet the next morning to discuss this.  

The next day, I went in with a tape recorder on. We had another ridiculous discussion. My favorite part was when I asked about speaking to someone more senior than him. "Someone more senior than me? Then you're asking to talk to the President of Time Inc., and that's just frankly a ridiculous proposition." The general thrust was that as a consultant and expert, I'm required to structure and manage my time on my own, and that the organization a whole wasn't the sort for "sympathetic handholding", and that if I wasn't a good fit in, then I'm happy to leave with a week of pay.  I kept trying to steer the conversation to issues about the website and additional structure, however, we meandered into topics, like how I must be insisting on a more senior position or pay raise, if I'm asking for adjustments in my role. None of these paths were helpful to a mutual conclusion, so when it became clear nobody would agree, the conversation ended with me being sacked, and Clarence escorting me off the floor. I asked about the week of pay I'd receive for our conversation ending this way, I got no response.  

I found out that president of Time Inc. wasn't his direct superior, and that a lady called Fran Hauser, Style & Entertainment and Lifestyle Group, was the president of the group I worked for. I tried finding her email address online, nothing was found. I then tried connecting with her on linkedin.com, and so far, no response.  

Finally, I emailed the project manager, ccing both Josh and Clarence, summing up all of the above, mentioning I had recorded our last meeting, and that I'd like to share it with her, or anyone interested in finding out what goes on in that building. I asked again about the week of pay, and sincerely tried to convey that I'd like to get back to work that day, if any sensible sort of conversation could be had about the issue I raised.  

No luck.  

One last email, to every email address at Time Inc that I had, maybe around 10. I asked for contact information for Fran Hauser, and what to do about the timesheet for my last week - was it 1 day or 5, and who would sign it.  Sorry to bore you all.  However, I'm a New York City-priced apartment I can't be in for much longer, and a trying three-month job search experience in the NY tech scene after the six-month Martha Stewart one.  

I'm no longer looking for help, which was the original intension of writing, however, I'm leaving this up, as a cautionary tale.

Thank you all for reading, and good evening.

- Hassan

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