Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Life in Purgatory

This Thursday, I will have been at Pareto for 3 months. My probationary review was yesterday, during which I was told that my manager had expected more enthusiasm from me. The reasons she cited were:
  1. She had to speak to me, early on, about my tardiness. My response then, as now, was that the days on which I am late are due to the irregular scheduling of buses from the nearby subway station, as I leave home during a consistent time frame in the morning. Leaving 10 minutes earlier never results in me arriving 10 minutes earlier, so I give myself 45 minutes to get to work (admittedly, giving myself way less time than the average person would, but I work closer to home than the average person). Additionally, I've always been firmly of the opinion that it doesn't actually matter if a person gets to work 5 minutes late, and have always harboured silent resentment towards the managers I've had who think otherwise.

  2. My manager has also had to speak to me about the frequency with which she sees me on the internet or on a personal call. My response then, and now, is that I'm only ever engaging in such activities when my computer's running time-consuming, processor-hogging tasks, so there's very little else for me to do. I don't believe that I use the internet or phone excessively at all, and have actually noted that she's got an uncanny ability to walk in just as I'm making a call or opening a browser window. Regardless, she said she's seen an improvement since speaking to me about it.

  3. During my first few weeks of work, I requested two days off, well in advance of when I wanted to take them. I was given one. My manager's opinion was that someone who'd just come from the world of freelancing ought to be well-rested enough to not require vacation time so early on into their probationary period. I stated that the reason I requested that time was because I wasn't of the opinion that just because I started work in the summer meant I wasn't going to be able to take any summer vacation time. Additionally, I was requesting the time off, not demanding it, hoping that it would be an acceptable request. If I had known it would cause her to deem me somehow unsuitable for my role, I obviously wouldn't have made the request.

I went on to explain that I had an utterly miserable week, in terms of workload, the week before I took two sick days, and that the work pace during that time caused me to have some misgivings about continuing with the company, should it occur very frequently (which it hasn't, yet). Some unaired "dirty laundry" is that I am under the impression that my manager didn't believe me when I initially called in sick for two days. It wasn't until I returned to work and looked and behaved run-down that I feel that my time off was taken as being for perfectly valid reasons.

In good news, my manager says I have a very professional business manner, get along well with the account managers, get my work done, and get it done accurately. To me, that means that I do everything I'm supposed to, so I give myself an A. :P

At the end of the review, my manager opined that she'd like to have me on for another 2 months in a probationary role, and I agreed to it. Frankly, I don't mind the freedom that being able to walk away at a moment's notice gives me, especially if the workload gets particularly overbearing again, and it doesn't much matter to me if I'm officially full-time or not — it just means I have to wait longer until my benefits kick in, and I've heard that they're less than stellar any way.



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